“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity ” – A Topical discussion book for your life group
Most of us today know people or have friends who have different religious beliefs. It’s challenging to know how and when to share our faith. Often it’s critical for us to have an understanding of, and respect for, the other person’s belief system before we bring up the topic. If you’re looking to get a perspective on Islam and what it’s like growing up in a Muslim community, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity ” by Nabeel Qureshi may be a great fit for you and for your life group. My group studied it over a period of about three months and every one of us came away with a deeper understanding of the Islamic faith and what it means to properly share our faith.
In his book, Qureshi delivers insights into both Islam and Christianity and provides substantial food for thought and lively groupdiscussion. He starts by discussing his upbringing as an American Muslim and paints a comprehensive picture of growing up steeped in his faith as his Pakistani parents migrate to the US then to Scotland and eventually back to the US. Along the way, Qureshi explains different tenants of his faith and provides religious and cultural perspectives. He enjoys being part of a Muslim community and is proud and content with his faith. Well, at least at first.
All of this begins to change, however, when Qureshi enters college. It’s there that he meets a young Christian named David. David was new to his Christian faith, having studied it for five years to determine if it was true for him. They strike up a friendship but David did not preach Christianity to Qureshi who writes “Even though the gospel was his passion, he did not bombard me with his beliefs straightaway. The discussions arose much more naturally, after we became friends, and in the context of a life lived together.” This is an important take-away as the two friends begin to discuss and explore their faiths together. I too learned both about Islam and about Christianity through their discussions and exchanges. Qureshi was intent on defending his faith. David was intent on not ramming his faith down Qureshi’s throat. However, as Qureshi digs deeper into Islam he finds more questions than answers and begins to find more truth in Christianity. But at what cost? He begs God/Allah to guide him to the right answer knowing that, should that path lead to Christianity, he’ll be abandoned by his family and most of his friends.It’s a challenging walk for Qureshi and a fascinating story as he tells of arriving at his conclusion.
I found Qureshi’s stories, documentation of the Koran, other Islamic texts and explanations extremely helpful. It’s one thing to try to understand another faith from the outside but very different – and far more powerful and credible – to have it explained by someone who lives and practices it. This book is very helpful in understanding some of the inner workings of Islam at a personal and cultural level but also provides valuable insights into understanding and sharing your faith with others. The first three chapters perhaps start off a bit slowly as Qureshi recounts his upbringing but, if you’re like most of my small group, as you get into chapter four and beyond you’ll find it hard to put the book down.
The book is available on Amazon for about $15 and works well for a weekly or bimonthly life group discussion.