These last few weeks I have been finalizing my research for a second doctoral degree in the area of Missiology and specifically looking at the topic of Muslim Conversion to Christ. I have interviewed quite a number now and I want to share with you some of what I have learned.
Many Muslims have questions about their faith that arise from what seem to be inconsistencies. They have heard teachings that do not seem to fit together well and so questions come into their mind about Jesus (Issa) or about how to get to paradise and avoid Hell. In many cases they cannot share those questions as it is not an acceptable part of their culture to raise such issues or discuss any doubts although some are bold enough to ask the imam or Quran teacher. In many cases these questions lay dormant until something causes them to rise into a flame.
One thing that can happen is the witness of a Christian. Muhammad was the oldest son of his family with a long line of sheik’s and imams. He was expected to continue the family tradition of becoming a Muslim cleric and so he was to go to study in Saudi Arabia. In his area 99% of all people were Muslim but in his school there was a Christian girl. She would witness and preach openly any chance she got. But Muhammad complained about her to the school officials for her preaching and got her thrown out of the school for a season. Evidently she began to pray for him because it was not long Muhammad had a dream in which Christ appeared to him and stirred many of the questions that had been in his heart for some time. Not long after he became sick with a very serious and contagious illness. No one visited him except his mother since he was in bed always and others did not want to become sick themselves. When he had been sick a long time, one day when his mother was out of the house he decided to go outside since he had not been for a long time. In the process he met some of this classmates including this Christian girl. She and the other Christian at his school told Muhammad they were not afraid of the sickness and would come to visit him but they had heard he died. The fact that they were truly not afraid of this illness moved him a little more toward being willing to accept Christ and Lord and Savior. When he had become well he returned to school where the other Christian, a young man, invited all the Muslim students to come to a certain place near the market and he was going to preach Christ. Muhammad went because this was a young man who had been his best friend when he was young but had converted to Christ and he wondered why? That day Muhammad received Christ as his friend shared how he had come to know the truth about Issa. He is now a preacher himself and has led many to know the Lord in truth.
Muhammad’s story is common in that it involves questions that he had thought about for a long time but never verbalized. It involved a dream appearance of Jesus and the supernatural work of the Spirit that gave his friends confidence to visit him even though he had a deadly illness. It was a process of God working driving small wedges in Muhammad’s mind that eventually moved him to receive Christ. It involved bold testimony of people who suffered persecution for their witness but retained love and compassion for others even though they suffered for their witness. All of these factors are common among Muslims coming to Christ here in Ethiopia.
Pray for the lost and seek God on behalf of those who cannot seek God for themselves.