MY CONVERSION FROM ISLAM TO CHRISTIANITY
by Timothy Abraham
A testimony received from an Internet Reader
I am Timothy Abraham (this is my Christian alias), a simple Egyptian from the Delta region. Farms surrounded me as well as streams from the luxurious Nile river endowing life with fertility. I had a strong Islamic upbringing in my childhood, studying in the village shop for teaching the Quran (al-Kutaab).
One evening around 7:00 p.m. in al-Mahatta mosque, having finished praying al-Maghrib prayer, I was introduced to Muhammad Imam and Sulleiman Kahwash. They were vitally influential in incorporating me into their group "The Islam Brotherhood -- i.e. al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin." They encouraged me to be a devout Muslim and fast on Monday and Thursday of every week and break the fast with them in the mosque. I diligently imitated every thing the Prophet Muhammad did, even the sitting posture of the Prophet as he was eating. They were so kind to me. They also saw in me the potential of being an eloquent speaker. Therefore, Sulleiman Hashem, the leader at the time, approached me gently, "Ibrahim, you are called by the Quran's teaching to proclaim the message of Islam "da'awah." "My Allah!" I pondered. "I am just 14 years old and I am easily intimidated." Nevertheless, Sulleiman gave me a stack of books to study in preparation for the sermon I was to deliver the next day.
I needed my father's approval. I wondered if he had ever heard his son, the 14 year old Muslim evangelist preach. To my astonishment my father was sharply criticized by people for having a son who was now a "fanatic." My father became wrathful over my Islamic radicalism and thoughtlessly punched me in the teeth. Today my front tooth is a fake one. It reminds me of my former perseverance to the point of death to be a zealous Muslim fundamentalist and my willingness to be persecuted for my commitment. My father burnt my Sunni (mostly wahabi and salafi) Islamic library.
Then John surprised me by coming to visit me in my village. That was the first time I saw a real Christian. His sincerity, frankness, genuineness, and openness impressed me. John stayed with me for two months. He had an amazing prayer life which served as a model for me in my later life. I did not know that Christians prayed until I saw a "living epistle" right in the middle of my house, a man from a far off land who became one of us and genuinely incarnated the love of Christ. John had an amazing prayer life, for he prayed more than he talked, speaking the words of the Bible. I became jealous of John's intimacy with God and increased my recitations of the Quran.
My Muslim friend, according to Islam, if your evil deeds are heavier, you will be cast into the fires of hell. It looks like you would need to be only fifty-one percent good to get into paradise. Yet you remain absolutely unsure whether or not you are going to heaven. All you say, my Muslim friend, is, "Only God Knows!" You hope for the mercy of Allah and hope that the angels or the Prophet will intercede for you in the last day, so you will be saved from Hell.
God in the Bible is both just and merciful. His justice requires that everyone be punished in Hell, for He is perfect 100 percent. No matter how hard we try to please God, we always fall short of His perfection. Our good works will not bring us closer to God. God saw our insufficiency, and decided to pay the penalty Himself. He sent His Word Isa Al Masih (Jesus Christ), who is absolutely sinless and faultless to carry the punishment of our sins on the cross. What can you say to the Judge when He chooses to pay your penalty for you?
After John left, his influence stayed. I thought I would depress John by saying, "John, your visit made me a stronger Muslim in the faith and do not try to convert Muslims anymore." Yet John prevailed in his supplication and prayers. His intercessory prayer moved the LORD to wake me up in the middle of the night as I had no sleep or rest. Inner conflict reached its zenith.Restless, I reached out to my Bible and opened it at random.. I found, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 9:4)" I remember one day in the heat of a debate between me and John, I made fun of the Bible. I said, "John, your Bible is the most absurd thing! How can you believe the story of Saul who became Paul, the servant of the Gospel?" John said, "The story is true, and that is why I am patient with you. You will be another Paul one day!" I replied, "John, you must be out of your mind to think for a second that I could leave the religion of all religions, Islam!"
My Muslim friend, my goal is not here to proselytize you, but to raise the ultimate questions, Who is Christ? Was he crucified? And how does this affect you? If the whole history of humanity revolves around Christ, then my entire life and existence should revolve around Him too. Denying the cross of Christ is contradicting history itself. Muhammad himself is claimed in the Quran to have been urged, by God, to refer to the People of the Book (the Jews and the Christians) is he in doubt concerning the Quran?:"And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which we reveal unto thee, then ask those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee." Sura Yunus 10:95 For the first time in my life, I began asking the question "why?" and challenged everything I took for granted. All postulates were critically examined. This got me into trouble in an authoritarian society. Questions, they say, fly in the face of Allah. Obey. That is All. In the Islamic Brotherhood, our motto was "samaana wa ataana" i.e. "we have heard and obeyed."
After years of study, I came to two logical conclusions: The Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and Jesus is the Word of God. I began to see it was possible for Jesus to be God. Intellectually, I accepted all the claims of the Christian faith, but in my heart I still feared being struck dead for calling the Almighty God "My Father." I needed a miracle! The Bible teaches us that no one can say, "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). No wonder every salvation experience is one of a miracle
of birth out of death into eternal life! >From the depth of my heart, in the midst of inner conflict, I cried out to Allah, even in the mosque, "Lord, show me the truth! Is it Jesus or Muhammad? Could it be that You are my Father? Show me the truth, and the truth you lead me to I will serve all my life whatever the cost may be!"
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but Thou art mighty. One night Christ appeared to me in a dream and said with a tender sweet voice, "I love you!" I saw how obstinately I had resisted Him all these years and said to Him in tears, "I love You, too! I know You! You are eternal for ever and ever." I woke up with tears all over my face filled with abundant joy, believing that Christ Himself touched both my mind and my heart, and I yielded. I was filled with great passion for Christ, jumping up and down, singing praises to His name and talking to Him day and night. I would not even sleep without God's inerrant Word, the Bible, next to my chest. I experienced what a "spoiled child" of God would: God would give me anything I ask for in prayer. But then the Lord wanted me to love Him and worship Him for His own sake, not for what I get from Him. I tried to keep my faith secret and so was baptized secretly in a pastor's house.
Filled with the joy of salvation I could not hide or deny Christ anymore. Therefore, when my childhood friend asked me if Christ was crucified, I answered, "Yes!" and explained why. He prayed with me to receive Christ. He was shaking and perspiring every time he prayed with me. He could see how mighty is the name of our Lord Jesus.
Since my secret conversion was now made public, the Muslims plotted to kill me, I had to flee. I was hunted by Muslims from my village in the Delta, to Ismalia until I arrived in Cairo where my Christian friends lived. Yet Christians were not willing to shelter me and I had to go back to the village, seeking refuge in His protective hands.
I talked on the phone.
I was arrested and released repeatedly. I learned what it means to have God as my only Hiding Place. In prison, my Savior knows I have come to experience true peace. I was not shaken because I saw Christ in prison, not myself. I sang songs of joy in the midst of tears, anticipating the shining Morning Star to come and deliver me. I decided to hide the Bible in a place where the police could not confiscate it -- in my heart by memorizing it. I have since made it a habit to sleep with my Bible by my side. Five years later, I managed to flee Muslims' attempts to kill me. I was shocked to find out that there are some professing Christians in America who attack the inerrancy of the Bible for which I was willing to die. What a scandalous thing!
I cannot forget those days when my mother would call the police to arrest me. She even went to a witch to put a curse on me and bring me back to the fold of Islam. The witch said, "Your son is following a path which he will never forsake and he will be victorious all his life as long as he walks in it." These words, from the mouth of a witch, brought my younger brother to know Christ. The testimony of demons about our victorious Lord renders skepticism and unbelief absurd (Please read Romans 8:35-39). You also can be more than a conqueror through Christ, your Victor who loves you! Believe it!
Patterson to supernaturally rescue my life. My own family disowned me, but Dr. Patterson has become my father and Dr. Mrs. Patterson my mother.
Lord, may I never be secure or seek easiness in life at the expense of union with You. Didn't you tell us Lord, "And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved" (Mark 13:13)? Please don't let me rush your salvation, Lord, in the midst of trouble, but please give me patience so I can endure hardships as a soldier of the cross of Christ! Lord, may Your love consume to such an extent that the doing of your will would be the real bread of my life. In Christ's name, amen!