Middle East Resources

From Radical Islam to a Servant of Christ

By Bassam Michael Madany


9 April 2018


On 29 March 2018, Brother Rachid introduced his weekly program, “A Daring Question” with these remarks: 


Every conversion story has a lesson to teach us. There are various explanations as to why and how Muslims are converted to Jesus Christ. When they cross over from Islam to Christianity, their lives are radically changed, especially in the fact that they experience peace with God, a gift that Islam had failed to provide.


The following are excerpts from the conversion story of Muhammad.


“Muhammad was raised in a non-practicing Lebanese Muslim family. Due to the troubled conditions in Lebanon, the family moved to Kuwait, where his father found a good job. He attended school in Kuwait but remained attached to his homeland.


“When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, the family returned to their village in south Lebanon, a few miles from Sidon. The area was very close to Israel. Muhammad’s  father was a committed Pan-Arab nationalist, and an ardent supporter of Gamal Abdel-Nasser, president of Egypt (1952 – 1970.) Growing up in such an environment, the boy hated Israel and its main supporter, America.


“September 11, 2001, was a turning point in his life. Watching a local TV station, he witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center. He was thrilled by what happened and began spreading the news throughout his village.


“Becoming aware that it was a group of committed Islamists who had planned and executed the attack on America, triggered his interest to study Islam. He had never read the Qur’an; the only  thing he knew was the “Fatihah,”[1]  the first chapter of the sacred text that he had learned at school in Kuwait.


“Now Muhammad began listening to the Du’at (Propagandists of radical Islam) on        Al-Jazeera TV. In Sidon, he attended a mosque where two divergent groups met, one was Salafist, and the other was Sufi, i.e., mystical. He aligned himself with the Salafists who advocated Jihad against the Kuffar (unbelievers.) Once, a delegation of Sufi members of the mosque went to his father and warned him about the consequences of his son’s decision.


“Alarmed by the information, Muhammad’s father sent him to Dubai, to live with his married sister. Having finished High School in Lebanon, he enrolled at the American University in Dubai, while holding a job. Now that he had  become a committed Muslim, he began observing the daily routine of the Salat (Ritual prayers.) It didn’t take him long to discover that it was impossible to work, attend school, and do five sessions of ritual prayers daily, as it left him only four hours to sleep!


“That led him to neglect his devotional life, which in turn led to a strong feeling of guilt. In his quest for a solution to his predicament, he went to Mecca in 2007, to perform the “minor” pilgrimage, i.e., in a season other than the official time for the Hajj. He stayed in the holy city for two weeks, praying at the Kaaba to Allah for guidance and forgiveness!


“Back to Dubai; his search on the Internet led him to discover “The World Islamic Resistance Movement,” which claimed that the struggle against the World Order began in Israel. He went back to Lebanon, with a plan to recruit Jihadists in the mosques of Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon.
“An integral part of the Jihadist ideology is the restoration of the Caliphate, and Muhammad began a serious study of the early years of Islam. He was shocked to find that those days were far from ideal. Of the first four Caliphs, three were assassinated by other Muslims. The assassination of Ali, the fourth Caliph, precipitated the great schism in Islam (661.) Now two Muslim camps, Sunnis and Shi’ites, began their opposition to each other, that has lasted for the last 1400  years. The first Sunni dynastic Caliphate, the Umayyad, ended in a blood bath (750). The founder of the second dynasty, the Abbasid Caliphate, was known as Al-Saffah, the Blood-letter. His successors masterminded the murder of all those who had supported the rise of the new Caliphate!


“Coming to the present, Muhammad noticed the existence of a fierce rivalry among the  Jihadists, with some planning to eliminate their opponents! Then, in Egypt, one year after President Morsi came to power through the assistance of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptians repudiated his Islamist regime.


“So, Muhammad concluded that the Utopian dream for the restoration of the Caliphate has led to untold disappointments and sufferings to Muslims worldwide. His disillusionment let him to Agnosticism. But he clung to the hope that there must be a God other than the Allah of the Qur’an, somehow a God that would reveal Himself as Personal and truly concerned about the plight of man.
“A friend suggested to him to watch the weekly programs of the Egyptian-German, Hamed Abdel-Samad, “The Box of Islam.”   Mr. Abdel-Samad was born in Cairo, the son of an Imam, had learned Islam from his earliest days, and was very conversant with the Qur’an, Hadith, and the Sunna (Life of the Prophet.) He went to study in Germany and eventually discovered the true nature of Islam. He wrote several critical books, in Arabic and in German; went on lecturing tours in Europe and initiated his weekly television show in Arabic, “The Box of Islam.” Muhammad watched several of these archived shows on YouTube. In one show,  Abdel-Samad announced that the following week, he would be interviewing a former Muslim, Brother Rachid, whose Thursday shows were telecast on the Satellite TV “Al-Hayat.” Muhammad waited eagerly for the Interview and began watching “A Daring Question,” as Brother Rachid’s program is called. He was thrilled to find another former Muslim, now expounding the beliefs of the Christian faith. 


“As Brother Rachid’s programs were archived on YouTube, Muhammad started watching several of his shows, that led him to the Christian Faith. He discovered that  Christianity didn’t proclaim a hidden deity, highly exalted above mankind, as Islam did. The God revealed in the Holy Bible, was both transcendent and immanent. The Trinity wasn’t “Tri-theism,” as Muslims claimed, but affirmed both the Oneness of God, in Three Persons. What finally convinced him to adopt the Christian faith, was his reading of the First Chapter of the Gospel according to John. Wow! The Logos that had existed from all eternity, who was with God, and through Him all things were created; the Eternal Word became flesh, assuming our human nature. He did all that to atone for our sins! Muhammad’s eyes were open to the Truth, and for the first time in his life, he experienced peace. It was the tenth of March 2016. He began attending church services, took instructions in the Christian faith, and was baptized in June 2016. He was no longer to be called Muhammad; he chose Mark, the name of the Evangelist Mark!”


 Comments


As Brother Rachid had pointed out, “there are various ways leading to the  conversion of Muslims to Jesus Christ.” Having watched several of these conversions on “A Daring Question,” I noticed that there were certain common factors that surfaced in all of them. I consider them quite relevant in the Evangelization of Muslims.


The first is the belief in the existence of objective Truth. Islam teaches that God’s previous Revelations to the Jews and the Christians have been corrupted. Finally, God chose Muhammad as the recipient of authentic revelation, which may be accessed through the reading of the Arabic text of the Qur’an.   


A second feature of Islam is the incomprehensibility of the Divine. Allah is “bila shabah,”  an important theological doctrine in Islam. It means, “Allah cannot be likened to anyone.” Allah is wholly Other; or supremely transcendent; all His attributes are incommunicable! Islam doesn’t refer to the Person of God, thus leading to Allah being impersonal. A Muslim cannot know God, he can only know the will or Shariah of Allah. The Qur’an consists of “Commanding the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.” This explains why there are few theological subjects that are discussed in Islam; while the exegesis of the Shariah, known as the Science of “Fiqh,” is extremely important. Among Sunnis, there are four accepted Schools for the Interpretation of the Law; and are considered orthodox. In Shi’ite Islam, “Fiqh” is the domain of the official clergy, known as Ayatollahs.


Because of the extreme legalism of Islam, Sufism arose among early Muslims, impacted by Christian monasticism and Buddhism, and sometimes flourished. We noticed in the account of the Sidon mosque, that both Salafists and Sufis that met there for worship!
Another feature of Islam, as in all legalistic religions, human beings can never be sure of their eternal status; they have no assurance of getting to heaven. Since making it to Paradise depends on Good Works being far more than the Bad Works, a Muslim must wait for the Judgment Day to learn about his or her, eternal state. Assurance of salvation belongs only to those who are martyred “In the Pathway of Allah;” in other words, only those who have taken part in Jihad, can be sure of possession the joys of the Islamic Heaven!
Thus, any radical Muslim who discovers that the Jihadist Utopia had been a mirage, turns away from his dreams, and becomes either a Mulhid (atheist), or a convert to Jesus Christ, as Brother Rachid did, and many others who are now at peace with God, and assured of their eternal security.


A final note is in order.


Enumerating the several factors that play a role in the conversion of Muslims, does not tell the whole story. Ultimately, salvation is a gift of God freely bestowed on His elect. This is the plain teaching of Holy Scripture. The best way I can describe it, is to quote the following passage from Ephesians 2.


And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 1 – 10 ESV  

                                                 
On the other hand, God also uses what is known as the “Means of Grace” to fulfill His purposes; a major one is the preaching of the Gospel, as Paul wrote in his First Letter to the Church in Corinth, Greece.


 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach  to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. I Corinthians 1: 21 – 25  ESV  


 [1] 1 In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. 2 Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, 3 The Beneficent, the Merciful. 4 Master of the Day of Judgment, 5 Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help. 6 Show us the straight path, 7 The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray. The Opening Surah of the Qur’an

Muslim commentators agree on the meaning of verses 6 and 7; the “straight path” is Islam, the absolute truth. The first part of verse 7, “the path of those who earned Allah’s anger,” are the Jews, while the second half, “those who have gone astray” are the Christians.” Only Muslims possess the Truth, while all other faiths are in error.

URLs for studies in Islamics 


Hamed Abdel-Samad’s website includes materials in Arabic, German, and English. They are polemical in nature 

https://plus.google.com/115940793490537236777


Brother Rachid’s website includes a few programs in English, most are in Arabic


http://v1.brotherrachid.com/en-us/


Review of Brother Rachid’s Book by Bassam Michael Madany


“ISIS and Islam: Through the Eyes of a Former Muslim”


http://www.unashamedofthegospel.org/review-brother-rachids-book.cfm 


Free online books of Middle East Resources 


The Bible and Islam: A Basic Guide to Sharing God's Word with a Muslim


by Bassam M. Madany, http://www.unashamedofthegospel.org/bible_islam_online.cfm


An Introduction to Islam: by Bassam and Shirley Madany.  http://www.unashamedofthegospel.org/intro-islam-online.cfm


The Missiology of Kamil Abdul Messiah: By Rev. Bassam Michael Madany


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