From New York Times bestselling author and former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi comes this personal, challenging, and respectful answer to the many questions surrounding jihad, the rise of ISIS, and Islamic terrorism.
San Bernardino was the most lethal terror attack on American soil since 9/11, and it came on the heels of a coordinated assault on Paris. There is no question that innocents were slaughtered in the name of Allah and in the way of jihad, but do the terrorists' actions actually reflect the religion of Islam? The answer to this question is more pressing than ever, as waves of Muslim refugees arrive in the West seeking shelter from the violent ideology of ISIS. Setting aside speculations and competing voices, what really is jihad? How are we to understand jihad in relation to our Muslim neighbors and friends? Why is there such a surge of Islamist terrorism in the world today, and how are we to respond? In Answering Jihad, bestselling author Nabeel Qureshi (Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus) answers these questions from the perspective of a former Muslim who is deeply concerned for both his Muslim family and his American homeland.
After completing your medical degree you begun teaching, preaching, writing, and debating. What stirred your heart to spread the Gospel through your years of studying medicine?
After becoming a Christian, I think God changed my heart and gave me new passions. I started studying medicine while I was a Muslim hoping to heal people, but I realized when I became a Christian that the greatest disease people have is their brokenness, and the greatest cure for mankind is the Gospel.
Those who leave Islam for Christianity are often cut off from their families and friends & may even face death, how has this affected your personal life?
It was extremely difficult to lose intimacy with my family, and they even stopped talking with me for a time. It has been 10 years since I became a Christian, and only in the last year has our relationship begun to repair. But through the pain of losing my family, I learned to cling to the Lord and suffer for His sake, which is when God always sends his Holy Spirit to comfort us. That is the hope that I share with other young Christians from Muslim backgrounds: God will use their suffering to bind them to Him, and the rewards are eternal.
Have any of your family converted to Christianity based on your testimony?
Not yet, or at least none that have told me yet. But a few are close, please keep praying!
Have you had testimonies of Muslims finding Jesus after reading your book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus?
I have heard many, many such stories. Recently I have heard reports even from Pakistan, India, Egypt, and even Somalia. I'm praying to hear more such reports when I come to South Africa this summer, by the Lord's leave!
You speak of your friend David who led you to Jesus through defending his faith. Does any quote or scripture that he said stand out for you when you realised he was speaking the Truth?
Romans 10.9: "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." This was the crux of our study, did Jesus claim to be God and did he rise from the dead? If he did either, then Islam is false; if he did both, then Christianity is true. When I finally realized that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of both, I turned back to this verse and confessed my saving faith in the Lord, thereby leaving Islam. That is when I was saved.
What advice would you give to Muslims who find it difficult (based on the consequences) to renounce their religion, and how to openly walk as a Christian?
I would encourage them that living even one minute for Yahweh is better than a lifetime serving falsehood. God is our Father, and when we live in right relation to him, our lives take on eternal meaning. Since he has saved us by the work of His Son, we can live without fear of death, and thereby truly live. Plus, God rushes to the aid of his children, sending them the Holy Spirit, and no one has really lived until they are filled with the Spirit. Trust me, it is worth it!
To walk openly as a Christian, do not hide your Christian faith. Become part of a Christian community, start memorizing scripture, and pursue the Lord with your whole heart.
Stop all lying and deceiving because those are the old ways; Instead, be holy and trust the Lord protect you.
Are you writing another book now, can you share a sneak peek with us?
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is my first book in which I share my testimony, how the Lord led me from Islam to Christianity. Answering Jihad is my second book, which I wrote to help people answer the questions that they are asking in the wake of the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, such as "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" and "What is Jihad?" My third book, No God But One: Allah or Jesus? Will be released this summer (October in SA), and it is an in-depth exploration of Islam and Christianity, comparing the two religious systems and the evidence for each.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I like to write on ships or by the ocean, because I love the feel of the wind and the grandeur of the seas. It helps me feel very closely connected to God and free from the burdens of daily life.
Have you any advice to aspiring authors?
My advice for anyone who wants to write a book is to fast and pray! It is a very difficult undertaking, and I would only suggest it if it is done for the glory of the Lord in with His blessing. Fasting and praying also clarifies the mind and sharpens the yearning of the heart, which are both important when writing a book.
What have you learnt the most about yourself after publishing your first book?
I have learned that the Lord is willing to use any of us, no matter how feeble our attempts, as long as we strive for Him and His people. I do not consider myself an author, but a follower of Jesus, someone that He told to write a book! And God is faithful. Thanks for this opportunity to share my heart.