You were born in a Muslim family, were you a practicing Muslim?
Yes. My parents are practising Muslims, they taught me Islam and the principles to follow. I was observing the five pillars although I never had the opportunity to go on pilgrimage. I prayed five times a day and fasted every year during Ramadan. My father encouraged me to memorize chapters (suras) of the Qur’an. I often conducted prayer for other students at the university.
At what age did you begin to frequent the mosque?
It was when I was very young. My father attached great importance to it, especially on Friday. During school holidays I attended Islamic courses every day. I will always remember the Fakih (Qur’anic teacher) who beat me on the head with a cane! My mother was preparing breakfasts to take away and share with the other children.
Tell us a little about what your parents were telling you.
Every Muslim hopes to go to heaven, it was my dream too. But how could I get there? My parents told me it was by working hard and being a good Muslim.
Can you explain that in detail?
Being a Muslim I thought I had an angel on each shoulder. The one to my right noted my good works, the one to my left the bad ones. On the day of judgment my works would be weighed. My hope was that the good works would weigh more heavily in the balance. For this to happen I had to pray a lot, fast, help the poor, and so on.
Does this mean that any Muslim applied is sure to go to heaven?
No Muslim is sure to go to heaven.
They must do their best and wait for the day of judgment. Even if their good works weigh heavier, it is up to Allah to grant them entrance to paradise.
How does a Muslim think paradise will be like?
Paradise for a Muslim is a place where every man will have many beautiful women to serve him. Wine will no longer be forbidden and there will be a beautiful river …. Now you understand why I really wanted to go!
I believed that wine is forbidden by Islam?
This is true but not in paradise.
How can Allah forbid things on earth and allow them to paradise?
It is a reward for Muslims who have self-control during their lives!
Now that you are a Christian, what do you think of paradise?
The paradise is so special that nobody can really imagine it. I know one thing: in heaven I will be face to face with God and I will have a perfect relationship with Him. I will live for eternity in His presence. There will be no sin there. I will love and praise God with all my soul, my heart and my strength. That’s why I’m looking forward to that.
Let us return to your life before becoming a Christian. Were you afraid not to go to heaven?
Oh yes! Despite my efforts to be a good Muslim, I was not sure. In fact, I was afraid of death. Frankly, I did not know if I was going to escape hell.
At that time did you have doubts about Islam?
I remember an incident when I was 15 years old. I was attending an Islamic course at the college where my father worked. On that day, we studied a passage in the Qur’an that speaks of the day of judgment. It says that Allah will choose some Muslims to go to heaven while others will be rejected. I remember that if that were the case, I had no assurance of going to heaven. I argued saying, ‘That’s not fair! If I do my best to please Allah why can he not promise me paradise? “The teacher was very angry and spoke to my father.
What happened after that?
I had to pray more and fast for a few days so that Allah would forgive my doubts.
What did you know about Christianity at that time?
Nothing. My knowledge ended at what I had seen in movies. In fact I believed that all Westerners were born Christians.
Do you still believe it?
When I understood what it meant to be a Christian, I was shocked. I discovered that few Europeans were real Christians.
What do you mean by ‘true Christians’?
No one is born a Christian. People become Christians. A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus died for his sins. He believes that he can be saved by what Jesus accomplished on the cross. A Christian trusts Jesus and accepts him as Savior and Lord. So all Europeans are not Christians. In fact, unfortunately, most live as if God did not exist. That is why there is so much immorality in the West.
How did you think of God when you were a Muslim?
I always believed in a divine creator and that Allah was this creator. He was omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. But at the same time I believed him to be inaccessible, incomprehensible and that we shouldn’t even try to describe Allah with our human words. He revealed himself through the pages of the Qur’an and through his creation. But Allah was hidden, unattainable. He could not be known in a personal way.
What about Jesus and the Bible … ..?
Jesus is respected by Islam as a great prophet, but only as a great prophet. He is called the Messiah. I thought he was born of a virgin and I believed in his miracles, but to say that he died on a cross was a blasphemy. I believed like the other Muslims that someone else had taken his place on the cross while he was ascending to heaven. I also believed that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospels, like the Quran, were revelations of God. Nevertheless, Christians and Jews were accused of having altered and falsified their Scriptures. Consequently, I didn’t believe that the Bible could be a reliable revelation of God.
Were you looking for God, or were not you concerned?
I have always believed in a divine creator. What I was really looking for was peace with Allah and the assurance of a place in heaven. I was trying to please Allah by my own works; to be a good Muslim. But I felt that I could never do enough. The problem was my heart! I was afraid of death, knowing that I had nothing to bring to Allah.
Who told you about Christ for the first time?
My brother first spoke to me about Jesus. He had gone to Europe and had given his life to Christ 8 years before me. As most North Africans returned during his summer holidays, that’s where he told me about Jesus. I became angry, the only thing he could do was to leave me a New Testament in Arabic (injil) before his return to Europe. I remember that day very well At first I didn’t even know it was a Bible. He told me by phone.
How did you react?
I was frightened and I hid it from my parents. Although I kept it, I didn’t read it. A year later I went to Europe to continue my studies. There I began to study the Bible in Arabic. I met some Christians who helped me to understand it. Seven months later God opened my eyes and I put my trust in Jesus Christ. Before you reject the Bible.
What made you change your mind?
Before I left for Europe I had a hard time getting a visa. My brother sent me emails to encourage me and he told me that his Christian friends were praying for me. I was surprised that strangers were praying for me. Where did this love for others come from? There must have been something good in their Injil. I wanted to know what their book said but it was also to look for faults and be able to argue with my brother!
What did you discover in the Bible?
I was already convinced that I was not good enough to deserve paradise. The Bible confirmed this. I read verses like ‘There is no righteous, not even one’ (Romans 3:10). I would never be good enough to go to heaven. It was hopeless because I was still a sinner. But the Bible also told me that there was someone without sin who had never sinned. He alone was pleasing in the eyes of God.
Who was that person?
It was Jesus Christ. Being perfect, he had lived the life I should have lived. And he died, the death that I deserved because it was the only way to avoid the anger and judgment of God. He had carried the wrath of God in my place. In punishing Jesus with death, God has fulfilled his righteousness and the sinner can be welcomed. But, He also displayed his love. God is just, but God is love. For the first time I met God as He was, I had found the way to heaven.
What has most affected you in the Bible?
I was very surprised that the Bible included the Tawrat (torah), Zabur (psalms), the writings of the prophets, and the Injil. I thought that Christians had only the Injil (New Testament).
Another thing astonished me: The Bible says that a person can know God personally through Jesus Christ. It was completely new to me. I could have a personal relationship with God! Me, a sinner!
How do you view God today?
The God of the Bible in whom I have all my confidence now is a holy God, just, trustworthy, faithful, honest and kind. I believe in a God who is love; an accessible God that a person can know personally. He revealed Himself in the Bible and through the Lord Jesus Christ.
How would you describe your first experiences in the Christian life?
No time is more joyful than the moment you know you have been saved. I know how I was before, and I know how I am now, another person. I have a profound peace. It is wonderful to know that all my sins – past, present, and future – are forgiven by the death of Christ on the cross. This assurance of forgiveness doesn’t encourage a person to sin. I received the will and the power from God turn from and forsake my sin.
Can you share something that gave you great joy connected with Jesus?
I listened to the Gospel and studied the Bible for seven months before giving my life to Jesus Christ. Although I was convinced of the truth of the message; I was afraid of submitting to it. People were telling me to pray. But I did not really know who to pray! I wondered if it was possible for me to pray to a God other than Allah? One night I prayed saying, ‘Jesus, if you are the true God, help me to give you my life. Remove the obstacles in my heart. Allah, if you are the true God, forgive me my doubts. If you are the true God, I will serve you with more fervor than ever. “The next day I woke up with the assurance that Jesus had answered my prayer by creating a peaceful conviction in me. Afterwards, did everything become perfect? Unfortunately no ! What would my family and friends say? Of course the devil often attacked me with doubts about what I was doing by giving my life to Christ. ‘Don’t you see the danger of what you do?’ Do not you see the consequences of your decision? Is this a way to thank your parents for all these years of support?” These questions continued to go through my head.
How did your family react when she learned you had become a Christian?
A year later, I went back to North Africa to visit my family and tell them about my conversion. First, I tried to talk with my mother and my two sisters. Realizing what I was saying, my sister got up angrily and said, ‘You’e become a Jew’. My mother started crying and begged me to go back to Europe, she was afraid my father might hurt me when I heard the news. So I left without telling him. He later heard about it and cut off all contact with me. Nevertheless, I wrote to him every month, though he never answered me.
Why did they reject you?
A Muslim who becomes a Christian is considered an infidel, a traitor who deserves to be punished. For a Muslim family, it is shameful if a family member becomes a Christian. They thought I would forget my parents, my family and my culture. Also, that I was going to drink and lead an immoral life.
Why did your family think that?
They did not know the Bible. They thought that every European was a Christian, and that Christianity was the cause of immorality! False ideas about the West and Christianity are widespread. The Holy Bible is against evil and impurity, and later they were surprised at how the Bible deals with these subjects.
How did you overcome these difficulties?
By prayer! One of my Christian friends was praying regularly with me, and God answered miraculously. I began to have money problems to finish my studies because I depended on the support of my parents. When I became a Christian, they had stopped paying for my studies. I didn’t know what to do. But God provided for me. A school offered to give classes on Saturday. Two years later my parents contacted me, and now our relationship has improved.
Have you a word of encouragement for those in the same situation?
Perhaps you are convinced that what the Bible says is true, but you have not yet given your life to Christ. Perhaps you dread the consequences of a conversion, the reaction of friends, family. Know one thing: on the Day of Judgment, you will be alone with God. Your friends and family will not be here. What are you going to tell him? The Lord knocks at the door of your heart now. Will you let him in? What will happen next is already known to God, and he will give you the grace and strength to endure them. Trust him.
What else have you to say?
The Bible says that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the source of true peace, the peace of God. This peace comes from the assurance that your sins are forgiven, that God has adopted you as a son or daughter, and that He loves you. He will never reject you and you can be sure you will go to paradise. This peace will help you to overcome the difficulties and frustrations of life.
The Bible says that if you believe that Jesus died in your place and rose again to justify you, you will know the peace of God. Jesus’ death on the cross reconciled sinners with God; He has borne the wrath of God for our sins so that those who believe in Him will escape judgment.
The most important thing in life is peace with God. This will not happen through good works or religious life. Not at all! The Holy Word of God tells us that it is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice to the cross. It is the only salvation offered and available to all men; it is the “good news” for those who will acknowledge themselves to be sinners.
Those who think they are good enough, those who believe they are able to perform the will of God by themselves may be sincere at first but either they despair or they become hypocrites who camouflage the fact that they cannot help but sin. The Gospel is for those who despair of themselves. After reading this conversation, there may be questions about your eternal salvation. Perhaps you still doubt and resist God who offers to save you from your sins? I encourage you to trust Jesus Christ the Messiah.
This webpage may have been pointed out to you by a friend, or you may have found it by chance. It is not a coincidence ! God gives you the opportunity to know Jesus His Son, the Savior. If you look to Him, you will receive forgiveness of your sins and eternal life with God in paradise.