The BIBLE  or the QUR’AN

Paul’s story about his tasks and researches

Extracts  from the Children of Ismail   (With permission from Avainsanoma, Finland)

 

1. The Task

2. The Bible and Islamic Books

3. Was Mohammed the Messenger of God?

4. The Bible attracted

5. Doubts and conflicting thoughts

6. God's attributes in Christ

7. The Bible recorded things in the present time.

8. The Emir got angry

9. Mohammed’s background

10. Hostility and cruelty against Christians

11. Stand up - the Christ wants you

12. Christian’s  suspicion

13. The vanished plastic bag

14. The changing power of God’s love

15. The faith grows stronger

16. The Fruits of Faith

 

 

1. The Task

When we read the newspaper, about of missionaries who converted nominal Muslims to Christianity, we feel humiliated that we felt short of standing for God. We in our Islamic group  decided to play an effective role against Christian evangelism in order to stop it at any cost. After long arguments, we ruled out the military solution for many reasons.

 

Therefore we searched for another way to counteract Christian evangelism. Finally, we thought of the 'logical confrontation'- expose the false teachings and corruption in the Torah and the Bible. All the leaders hailed that approach and we started looking for the person who would assume this great responsibility of highlighting the truth and defeating the infidels, I never expected to be a candidate for that task, not for lack of ability but because everyone knew how much I hated Christians. After a long time of tense silence, the voice of the Emir announced the name of the person chosen to do that job. I almost fainted when I heard my name. I was beside myself with anger. How could they ask me to do that job, one which entailed, of course, reading Jewish and Christian books?

Our Emir looked at me and said, "This is an order! You have no choice but to comply if you really believe in Allah and the Last Day." He quoted from the Qur'an.

"It is not fitting for a believer, a man or a woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision." (Surah 33:36)

I tried to convince the Emir to choose someone else, but he refused. He said to me, "I feel that you're the best man for this task. If you do it well, you will kill 2 birds with one stone. First, you will educate all Muslims and open their eyes to the facts they can't see; second, you will earn a lot of 'good' money, because your research will be translated and published all over the world..."

 

His words made me so anxious to get to the topic and nature of the research. The Emir said, "Your research should have 2 parts: first, to prove from the Torah and the Bible the authenticity of Muhammed's call as a prophet, as the Qur'an says,

"Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures), in the Taurat (Torah) and the Gospel" (Surah 7:I57);

Second, to prove, by finding contradictions, that the Torah and the Bible that people have today, are not the same Books inspired by God; they were altered and corrupted..."

 

Unwillingly, I accepted the mission. I said to the Emir, "But this task necessitates that I buy a Torah and a Bible to read." He told me that we would go downtown Cairo to buy them. We walked on Gomhoria Street until we found a bookstore that sold these books. We could not walk into the bookstore wearing our traditional outfit, because it was so conspicuous. The people at the bookstore would most likely call the police thinking that we came to wreck it. A man was passing by and we stopped him and. asked him about his name. We asked him to go into the bookstore and buy the book for us. He did. 

 

The Emir and I then went to my house in south Cairo. It took us more than a couple of hours, during which time I was trying to get rid of the Bible. Once I left it on a seat; another time I pretended I forgot it, but each time the Emir would bring it to me and remind me to keep it with me. Finally we made it home. The Emir departed for his hometown and left me to start my tough

journey with the Torah and the Bible.

 

2. The Bible and Islamic Books

The first day was the most difficult. I was under the impression that the Bible was not from God, and that it might bring demons into my house and I wouldn't be able to pray. Therefore, I kept it outside my bedroom. For many days I was paranoid.

I had these fears for a long time until I realized that I did not choose to have this book at my house. I just obeyed God, through obeying the Emir. The prophet Mohammed commanded us in his Hadith to obey the Emir, "Whoever obeyed my Emir has obeyed me, and whoever disobeys my Emir has disobeyed me." I came to the conclusion that I was carrying out the orders of the God-appointed Emir and, therefore, the Bible would not harm me if I kept it in my room; Allah would help me.

 

The group provided me with everything I needed. They gave me 500 Egyptian pounds every month as an allowance in return for my full time research. Every time I tried to forget about that research, I would remember the Hadith, "Whoever obeys my Emir has obeyed me, and whoever disobeys my Emir has disobeyed me." I would ask God for forgiveness three times and then pray. Nothing distracted me from doing that job. I had many references that helped me do my best, and I already had a good knowledge of Christian issues. So, I made the decision to start this hard journey.

 

I was worried, because I did not know where or how to start. I did not have a specific method to approach the two parts of the research. For example, regarding the issue of proving Mohammed's prophet-hood, I expected to find the exact name 'Mohammed' in the Torah and the Bible, or at least 'Ahmed' or 'Mahmoud'. I did not know where or how to start. Things were muddled up in my mind. I was not sure, which name I should look for in the Torah: Mohammed? Ahmed? Mahrnoud?

I got really confused, so I decided to move to the second part of my research, i.e. to look for differences and contradictions in order to prove that the Torah and the Bible were not from God. Likewise, I failed to define a standard by which I could measure the Torah and the Bible and refute them. I was upset because these things, somehow, made me feel inept in doing this research. Giving in was not one of my qualities, so I decided to focus and save no effort to achieve my goal.

 

The Emir and I met once a month to discuss the research. Every time I asked him to change his mind and assign it to someone else and I would assist. However, he would strangely insist that I was the one for that job.

 

I prayed and asked God for strength. I felt unusually brave and started to read the Bible, but without any system or method. I started with the book of Genesis and I did not know, what I was supposed to look for. I found strange names that I had never heard before in my life, which made me upset. I threw the book in the corner and said angrily, "Those Jews and Christians are stupid. How could they say that such a strange book, full of strange names, is from God? They are crazy!" I stopped reading.

 

Two days later, I went back to reading the Bible. This time I did not read in Genesis because I did not want to come across those difficult names and words. I flipped some pages and continued reading. I was impressed by the writings in the books of Numbers, Exodus and

Deuteronomy. I found a lot of information about Moses, Pharaoh and the Israelites, written in detail, which satisfied my curiosity.

 

I finished reading the Old Testament in 2 months, but it was a superficial reading, nothing in depth. I read it once again, this time looking for anything relevant to Mohammed, Ahmed or Mahmoud, but found nothing. I moved to reading the New Testament. I read it completely but did not reach any conclusions. I could not stand the whole thing. I felt angry with the Emir, who got me caught up in this research from the beginning.

When the Emir visited me I told him, that I could not find any clue, that could lead me to what we were looking for. I had read the Torah and the Bible and did not find anything. The Emir told me, that there was a book, that we used to study abroad that would help me a great deal in my research.

'Revealing the Truth' was a valuable reference for us, especially when we debated with Christians to convince them, that Islam was the true religion. It contained erroneous quotations from the Torah and the Bible, which we used to tell Christians, who converted to Islam. We used it successfully with three people in a row.

 

I started a new way of research, with the help of some other books that the Emir gave me, such as Sects and Denominations by Shabristani, Deciding on Sects and Cults by Ibn Hazm, and some other historical and biographical writings that attacked Christianity. I wrote down all the verses that Ibn Hazm said were contradictory and looked them up in the Torah and the Bible. Most of the verses I found were phrased differently, or referred to some different people. I did find many verses, that had some contradictions, but if we used these verses as basis to prove that the Torah was not authentic, we would have to accept similar verses in the Qur'an, and that too would be not from God.

 

I searched sincerely, motivated only by my love toward God and the Prophet. My group noticed my increasing fascination with the Bible. They always asked me about it and I always lied to them. I had to concoct an excuse, so I told them, that we were meeting some Christian young people to invite them to Islam and we had to know their background.

 

3. Was Mohammed the Messenger of God?

 

After failing in my attempts to undermine the Torah by proving its contradictions, I decided to try the second part of my assignment, i.e. to establish from the verses of the Torah and the Bible that Mohammed was the Messenger of God. I looked into EI-Hindi's book, Revealing the Truth. and I was ecstatic to find what I desired. I joyfully prayed and thanked God that He had led me to these verses. I started to write them down in the following order:

Gen. I7:20     Gen. 49:10 Deut. 18:I8-20 Deut. 32:21 Deut. 33:1-3   Isa 42:9     Isa 54: 1-3       Isa 65: 1-2 Ps. 45: 1-3    Ps. 149:3    Dan 2: 31-32   Matt. 3:2  Matt. 13:31    Matt. 20:1   Matt. 21:33       John. 14:15 Rev. 2:27

These were not the only verses that El-Hindi mentioned to prove Mohammed's prophet-hood. There were some other verses, which I excluded because they were not as clear. I studied these verses very carefully and objectively. We, as a unique group of believers, never accepted any information without a strong proof from a reliable source. These verses were, on the surface, very appealing to any Muslim to accept, but through - scrutinizing - the method of fundamental Muslims - one would find that the deduction based on the proof was invalid.                                     

Therefore, I collected all the books that I thought would help me in my research. I started to imagine my future after the success of my research. I would have done God and the Prophet a great favor and gained a handsome amount of money .

I started reading the Bible once again. I became an addict of Bible reading. I wrote many evidences to prove, with logic and corroboration, that the Torah and the Bible confirmed Mohammed's prophet-hood. The outcome was not good because I was too meticulous in my research, I think, for the sake of absolute confirmation of Mohammed's divine message. I depended on many references, such as The Dictionary of Countries by Yakot EI-Hamawi. I also used linguistic dictionaries such as Arabs' Tongue and even Hebrew dictionaries to understand meanings of words like 'Shelon,' for example.

I wanted to produce a book that not one person could refute, not even one word of it. Unfortunately, things did not go the way I wanted. All my logic and linguistic

deductions fell, one after the other. I could not find a single verse that emphasized my theory.

I finished studying all these verses, but did not find what I was looking for. My feelings were a mixture of sadness, despair, anxiety and confusion. It never crossed my mind that Mohammed was not a prophet. I tried to soothe my self with the conclusion that I failed to connect the evidence to the character of the Prophet.

I decided to give the matter another try. This time I used other books, such as Evidences of Prophet-hood, Dictionary of Countries, and The Arabic Encyclopedia. I tried my best not to fail this time. Failure, after all the trouble I had been through, meant destruction of my whole life. Well, the second time was no better than the first, but even worse! In the second time, I came across many points that opposed my theory.

 

Sometimes, I would look at the huge number of Islamic books and references and wonder, "Could it be possible that all these books have deceived us and presented us with an imaginary character? If that was the case, God would not deserve to be worshipped..." I would not go down this path. Then I would quickly pray and ask God for forgiveness.

 

4. The Bible attracted

 

All of a sudden, I found myself overlooking the subject of my research and going back to reading the Bible for the third time. I found a strange ecstasy in reading the Bible, so much so that I feared I was falling under a spell. We used to say that Christians were sorcerers, who derived their magic from the Torah and the Bible. Nevertheless, the Bible attracted me in a strange, irresistible way.

The Emir visited me regularly. Every time I expected him to be upset with me for not achieving      my goal and to relieve me of my assignment. On the contrary, every time he seemed more enthusiastic than before, assuring me that I was the best one for that job..

I started reading the Gospel of Matthew and already stumbled even before I finished the first chapter. I saw that they traced the genealogy of Christ back to David. I thought they were crazy. I consoled myself with this thought, hoping to find what I was looking for. I was really fascinated by chapters four, five and six of the Gospel of Matthew. I had read that part twice before, but this time I felt as if I was reading it for the first time in my life. I felt as if there was a hand tapping my head and opening my mind. I heard a voice inside me saying, "It's about time you understood what you're reading without being concerned about who's right and who's wrong... " I was shivering for no apparent reason, and felt as if I was in a semi-trance.

I found the Bible speaking about what we did with Christians as if it recorded the present events. I read what the Bible said about persecution, humiliation and murder - our idea of obeying God. "How strange that this Bible knew what we said and did to Christians! Could it be that Christians recently added that part?"

 

We always interpreted Christians' love and humility as fear of us Muslims because they were a weak minority; as the Qur'an put it,

 

"They were covered with humiliation and misery. (Surah 2: 61).

 

I found many verses promoting love, obedience, submission and even love towards enemies. I was puzzled, "How could someone write down the cause of his own humiliation?"

 

Whenever I read God's commandment for Christians to love their enemies, I remembered my harsh treatment of my parents . I was too cruel to them. I always found new ways to hurt them. One time, I got ill and underwent a serious surgery at a hospital. My father wanted to see me, but I refused and said that I did not want to see an infidel. My mother used to send me food through a third party; otherwise I would refuse to accept it. She used to stand for hours outside my hospital window, in the scorching heat, just to steal a look at me through the window.

 

I finished reading the Gospel of Matthew, but its words were carved in my memory. They chased me day and night, and whenever I wanted to do something bad, I read the rest of the Gospels and the Epistles and was amazed to find philosophy and rhetoric superior to those of the Qur'an. Since the Bible was written 630 years before Islam, how could we say that the Qur'an was unique in rhetoric?

 

One chilly winter night, I was reciting a Surah from the Qur'an, hoping to erase the words of the Gospel of Matthew from my mind. The brothers and I were jealous, always envying Christians because they enjoyed close friendships with many people. In contrast, we could not establish even casual relationships with minimum tolerance, so as to invite people to join Islam. This was a great obstacle in our way. The Islamic Call did not permit us any leeway for building relationships that would bring us closer to people - the very thing we needed in order to attract them to Islam.

Our life was full of violence, cruelty and terrorism.

This was not our normal behavior. We felt that if we did not act this way, we would not he obedient to Allah. Allah had stated in the Qur'an the way we were to treat the infidels, whether People of the Book, polytheists or false Muslims. The Qur'an says about People of the Book,

 

"O, ye, who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust." (Surah 5:51)

As for the other kinds of infidels, such as Muslims who did not pray, tithe, grow beards or commit a sin and refuse to repent, the Qur'an says,

"O ye who believe! Take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers." (Surah 4:144)

As for family members and relatives, the Qur'an states,

"O ye who believe! Take not for protectors your fathers and your mothers if they love infidelity above Faith: if any of you do so, they do wrong" (Surab 9:23)

"Thou will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred." (Surah 58:22)

If we add to these Qur'anic verses the authentic Hadith told by El-Bokhary, by Muslim and by El-Termezy; according to Omar, the Prophet Mohammed said, "Do not shake hands with People of the Book; do not return their greetings; if they meet you on the road, push them off the side."

There were scores of these verses that defined our relationship with our families, friends and non-Muslims. We had no say or choice in defining these relations simply because Islamic thinking in general, and the Qur'an in particular, did not give the Muslim any room to use his mind. On the contrary, anyone who used his mind to explain a verse or a Hadith would be labeled 'infidel'. You had to accept things as Mohammed interpreted them. If there was something that Mohammed did not mention, you were to stay away from it. El-Bokhary mentioned a Hadith. According to lbn Abbass, the Prophet Mohammed said, "Whoever expressed his own opinion of the Qur'an, would have reserved his place in Hell." After all these Qur'anic verses and Hadiths, how could we be nice or friendly towards those who differ from us? We could not do that, as the Qur'an says,

"And incline not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will touch you." (Surah 11: 113)

Therefore, my heart filled with anger and resentment whenever I read in the Bible any verse that talked about love and forgiveness. Many times I felt ashamed while reading the Bible that we claimed to he corrupted. I wondered if Christians altered the Bible and still gained people's love and respect, how did we, who did not alter God's word, fail in that? Something had to be wrong.

 

5. Doubts and conflicting thoughts

 

I tried to brush aside these thoughts. A thought kept coming back. What if I did not reach a conclusion in my research? I was struggling so much that every time I had these thoughts I cried out loud, "May God forgive me. I proclaim that there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His Messenger." I would then rush to pray to get rid of these thoughts. I told myself that Mohammed was actually the Messenger of Allah, even if I could not prove it from the Torah and the Bible.

My problem became more serious. Instead of looking for evidence to prove Mohammed's prophet-hood, I found myself attracted by the sweet words of the Torah and the Bible. I wondered, "How can I get rid of their influence on me?" "How can I prove that the Torah and the Bible were not from God? All the ideas recorded in them both were good and could not have been written by man. How could people penetrate the depths of the future and talk, two thousand years ago, about things happening in the present time? If we assumed, for the sake of argument, that the Torah and the Bible were compiled by man, we would have put man on the same level with God in knowledge and wisdom. We certainly know that God is omniscient, omnipotent and has no like.

I suddenly found myself reading the Book of Psalms, and then the Book of Proverbs. I learnt some verses from Psalms 23 and 143 and repeated them in my prayers. Anyone who heard me praying was touched by these verses and would ask me to write them down so they could use them in prayer. I still tried to find evidences of Mohammed's prophet-hood and the Bible's fallibility, but could not find anything. I struggled with doubts and conflicting thoughts inside me. I tried to ignore them but they were growing stronger every day. I loved God but my background and my love of my religion always prevented me from thinking that Islam might not be the true religion given by God. I became confused and restless. I could not enjoy a good night's sleep like before.

One time I was praying at dawn. While reciting the Qur'an I suddenly stopped and my mind wandered. I asked myself, "What would you do if, for example, Islam turned out not to be the way to heaven?" I tried to brush aside this question, but I could not. I could not even finish the dawn prayer. I cried my eyes out until I fell asleep on the carpet. A couple of hours later, my mother woke me up. I went to work absent-minded. I did not know where I was walking or to whom I was talking.

When I came back home, I felt a strong desire to read the Bible. I read the Gospel of John, chapters one to fifteen. I found the highest kind of rhetoric, philosophy and linguistic expressions that were very elegant and cohesive - especially when the Bible talks about the sheep and the shepherd; the vine and the gardener; the branches that bear fruit and those that do not they are thrown into the fire.

I screamed at the top of my voice, "Oh, God, have mercy on your servant! Please tell me where you are and on which side: are you with the Jews and Christians? or with Muslims? Please have mercy on me. I am your servant. I committed my life to follow you. I am grateful for all your favors. I cannot stand before you, and you would not step down to stand before a breath of yours. You are Almighty God and I am the helpless human being who cannot do anything until you allow me to. You are the Most Merciful, Most Compassionate and I am your servant with no power or wisdom. My whole life is in your hand. I have loved you since childhood. I sacrificed myself for the sake of heaven and your love. I did not care about prison or torture---even the whole world could not stand in my way of my seeking you. Why do you treat me this way? I loved you and tried to please you the way your Prophet Mohammed taught us, but here I am helpless and unable to continue. Each side says that you are their God. I don't know who's right and who's wrong. Oh, God, shall I swear to you that I love you? I think not, because you know everything. Oh, how much I suffered in my search for you! I left my studies, my family and my friends. I wandered like a stranger. I was imprisoned and tortured for your sake. Why didn't you answer me? If you are the God of Muslims, take out everything from my mind except Islam, and if you are the God of Christians, give me some light to follow..."

I hardly slept and my mind was spinning: "What if Islam is not God's way? What if God's way is the Torah and the Bible? Are you going to follow Christians?" I would shiver thinking of what could happen to me, as if God and people would blame me. One day, I brushed aside all my fears and told myself, "What do you want? Enough is enough! You are no longer as you used to be. You have two ways before you, and both seem straight. Don't waste your time and look for God's way with all your strength. It doesn't matter if it is the Jews, Christians or Muslims; the only important thing if that it would be God's way-that is, if you really search for God. This is your destiny and you have to accept it. Be sure that God will respond to you according to your sincerity. Forget that you are a Muslim and start searching afresh. What would prevent you?"

 

I thought about it and said, "Oh, God, please lead my steps and give me strength because I'm facing a hard trial. If you don't help me, demons will tear me up. I will wander the earth, aimless and restless. Oh, God, please help me. I promise to follow you wherever you are, even with the Christians, whom I can't stand" I suddenly felt a certain peace and tranquility overwhelming my whole being. For the first time I was thinking logically.

 

I reached a conclusion: Christians went astray and became infidels for two reasons. First, they said that the Christ, Isa, son of Mary, was God; second, they said that he died on the cross and rose to redeem people from their sins. Why don't I focus my research on these two issues and examine them from an Islamic point of view? I was curious to know what the Islamic scholars thought of these issues.

 

6. God's attributes in Christ

 

I started going through books of Islamic history, biography and exegesis. I looked for anything related to Christ and whether he manifested God's attributes as mentioned in the Qur'an. I used reliable and authentic references like The Interpretation by lbn Kathir, History of Islam by Dhahabi, Beginning and End by lbn Kathir, Sects and Denominations by Sherhristani, Deciding on Sects and Cults by lbn Hazm (also known as Abu Mohammed), Holy Books before Islam, and

Christianity between Logic and Recount. As a result of my intensive research, I found some attributes of Christ that even Christians did not deal with in their books. For example:

 

1) The ability to create:

 

The Qur'an says,

 

"That is Allah, your Lord! There is no god but He, the Creator of all things" (Surah 6:102)

"For verily it is thy Lord who is the All-Creator, knowing all things" (Surah 15:86)

"Those on whom, besides Allah, ye call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all met together for the purpose" (Surah 22:73)

"Those whom they invoke besides Allah create nothing and are themselves created" (Surah 16:20)

"Is then he who creates like one that creates not?" (Surah 16:17)

 

These are but some of the verses that restrict the ability to create to God only. When God wanted to distinguish Himself from other gods, He highlighted this attribute of His that surpassed all other gods. Meanwhile, the Qur'an clearly admits that Christ created things:

"1 make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave" (Surah 3:49)             1

"Thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by my leave, and thou breathest into it, and it becometh a bird by my leave" (Surah 5:110)

When I read these verses I thought in my heart: it was God who gave Christ this ability; it was not part of his essence even though, Christ was the only one on whom God bestowed one of His divine attributes. Why Christ and not Mohammed? God said to Mohammed,

"Canst thou cause the deaf to hear the call?" (Surah 27:80),

which is a lot easier than creation. God did not give Mohammed, the best of His people and the Seal of the Prophets, the ability to make the deaf hear. He challenged people to create a fly, but gave Christ the ability to create birds. Birds are small creatures, but it is not a matter of size, but of principle. He who creates a small creature can create a big one. This cannot be of man, but of God.

 

2) Knowing what is hidden:

 

God spoke of Himself in the Qur'an,

"Say: none in the heaven or on earth, except Allah, knows what is hidden" (Surah 27:65),

"With Him are the keys to the unseen, the treasures that none knoweth but He" (Surah 6:59).

In the first verse, the Qur'an emphasizes beyond any doubt that knowing what is hidden belongs only to God and nobody else. The second verse underlines the fact that only God knows the unseen and the future.

Meanwhile, the Qur'an teaches about Mohammed that he used to rebuke anyone who attributed to him the ability to know what was hidden, "Say: I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know what is hidden" (Surah 6:50).

 

One time Moaz said to Mohammed, "..  if Allah wills and you will", and Mohammed interrupted him saying, "How could you make me equivalent to Allah? No one in heaven or on earth knows what is hidden but Allah"

 

As for Christ, we find all limitations removed. He knows and does what every other person cannot. The Qur'an says,

"And I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses" (Surah 3:49).

 

It is very unusual that in these verses Christ speaks in the first person; it must be God himself speaking . On the other hand, Mohammed was always told what to ‘say'. Christ was unique because he spoke of himself, which means that his abilities were his and not acquired.

 

In Beginning and End by lbn Kathir, part 2 and page 86, I read a story that made me ashamed. It was a proof beyond any doubt that Christ possessed supernatural powers to know what was hidden. (It is a long story; those interested may refer to the book by lbn Kathir).

3) Healing the sick:

 

The Qur'an mentions Abraham's words that God is the only healer,

"And when I am ill, it is He who cures me" (Surah 26:80).

Mohammed said in an authentic Hadith, "Oh, Allah, there is no healing but yours." Meanwhile, in the Qur'an we find Christ saying about himself,

"I heal those born blind and the lepers" (Surah 3:49)

4) Giving life and death:

God is the only one who holds life and death in His hand; no one else can give life or death.

The Qur'an says,

"And verily  it is We Who give life and Who give death;: it is We Who remain inheritors (after all else passes away)" (Surah 15:23),

“Verily, We shall give life to the dead, and We record that which they leave behind" (Surah 36:12),

"Verily it is We Who give Life and Death; and to Us is the Final Return" (Surah 50:43).

As for. Christ, the Qur'an mentions that he said about himself,

"And I bring the dead into life by Allah's leave" (Surah 3:49)

 

In his book Beginning and End,  lbn Kathir tells a verified story that proves Christ had the, authority to  give death as well as life. It is told that Christ saw a woman crying over her daughter, who had died long ago. He asked her, "What makes you cry, woman?"

She said, "My daughter died and I have no more children." Christ asked her, "Would you like me to raise her from the dead?" She said, "Yes, O Spirit of God!" So, Christ stood by the grave and called the girl three times. On the third time, the little girl came out and talked with her mother. Then the girl asked Christ to let her return. He told her, "Go back!" The grave closed and she was dead. (Beginning and End by lbn Kathir, part 2, page 84)

5) Giving sustenance:

 

The Qur'an says,

"For Allah is He Who gives (all) sustenance, Lord of Power, Steadfast (for ever)" (Surah 51:58).

It is clearly stated that God is the only one who can give sustenance. God rebuked anyone who claimed the ability to give sustenance to people. As for Christ, lbn Kathir mentioned that he had a special ability to give sustenance to whomever he wished. The best example was feeding the five thousand people with little bread and a couple of fish.

 

6) Matchlessness:

 

The Qur'an says about God,

 

"There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees" (Surah 42:11).

 

As for Christ, it goes without saying that he is matchless. He was born from a virgin without a man. He was the only one described as 'God's Word and a Spirit from Him'. He was the only one, over whom Satan did not have any authority. He was the only one who had divine characteristics.

 

7) Commanding authority:

 

The Qur'an mentions this attribute of God,

 

"For anything which We have willed, We but say 'Be', and it is" (Surab 16:40),

 

"When He decreeth a matter, He saith to it: 'Be,' and it is" (Surah 2:117).

 

This is a unique attribute of God, being able to call something into existence., According to lbn Kathir, Christ manifested this attribute when he changed the water into wine (Beginning and End by lbn Kathir, part 1, page 85).

 

8) His throne over the waters:

 

The Qur'an says about God's throne,

"And His throne was over the waters that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct" (Surah 11:7).

Kortobi and El-Hadathi said that this verse also applied to Christ, whose throne was made by God on the water in order to test people's faith. Christ walked on the Sea of Tiberias towards his disciples in order to test their faith. He later said to them, "You of little faith." (Mat. 8:26)

 

9) Judge and Ruler:

 

The Qur'an says about God,

"The Command rests with none but Allah: He declares the Truth, and He is the best of judges" (Surah 6:57),

"Hold yourselves in patience until Allah doth decide between us: for He is the best to decide" (Surah 7:87).

 

EI-Bokhary explained that he heard from lbn Abbas, who bad heard the Prophet Mohammed saying about Christ, "The Last Day will not come until the son of Mary comes back as a fair judge to administer justice and wipe out injustice."

 

10) A grasp over all visions:

 

"No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision; He is subtle well-aware." (Surah 6:103)

This is another attribute of God that Christ manifested. lbn Kathir and Kortobi told a story that Christ was one day on a mountain and the Romans wanted to arrest him . He went right through them and they could not see him, but he saw them all. (Sects and Denominations by Sheheristani, page 27)

11) Most Gracious and Most Merciful:

 

The Qur'an says,

”And your God is one God: there is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful" (Surah 2:163),

 

"Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to the Most Gracious as a servant." (Surab 19:93)

 

In their books Sects and Denominations and Proofs of Prophet-hood. Sheheristani and Azraki mentioned that Christ was after the image of God. He was compassionate. He raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead and healed many sick people . He created eyes to the born blind by putting mud on the man's eyes because that's how God created in the beginning.

 

12) Speaks in Parables:

 

The Qur'an states that only God can speak in Parables.

“Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things" (Surah 24:35)

"So Allah sets forth Parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition" (Surah 14:25)

 

In 'EI-Kashaf', lbn Kathir, Kortobi and Zaniakhshary say that God used parables to bring people closer to Him, and so did Christ. The New Testament is full of parables that no other prophet told.

13) Sends messengers and gives them power:

 

The Qur'an says,

"Set forth to them, by way of a parable, the (story of) the Companions of the City. Behold, there came messengers to it. When We (first) sent to them two messengers, they rejected them, but We strengthened them with a third" (Surah 36:13)

lbn Kathir and all interpreters agreed that the mentioned city was Antioch, and the men were messengers of Christ. They had authority from Christ. What other man has such authority?

 

14) To be worshipped:

 

The Qur'an says,

"The Jews call Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the Son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say... they take their priests and anchorites to be their lords beside Allah, and Christ the son of Mary" (Surah 9:30)

lbn Kotaiba sees this as a problematic verse, because it puts worshipping God and Christ as a commandment. So, lbn Kotaiba thought in order to avoid this problem the phrase 'Christ the son of Mary' should be syntactically interpreted as a 'second object' to the verb 'take' and not an 'annexment' to the word 'Allah'. This way the verse would not support the Christian view of

Christ's deity.

 

15) Comes in clouds:

 

The Qur'an says,

"Will they wait until Allah comes to them in canopies of clouds?" (Surah 2:210)

lbn El-Fadl EI-Hadathi said that this verse referred to Christ who would come back on the Last Day on clouds. He also interpreted the following verse as referring to Christ too,

"And thy Lord cometh, and His angels, rank upon rank" (Surah 89:22)

As a matter of fact, I found out more than I sought or wanted. I wrote my findings in a separate booklet titled 'The Inevitability of Christ's Deity'. I originally called it 'Christ's Divinity', but after I finished my research I had to change the title to 'The Inevitability of Christ's Deity'. I concluded the booklet with the following sentence, "Even if Christians did not claim Christ was; God, he had to be God"

 

Christ's death

 

As for the second part, namely Christ's death as a sacrifice for the sinners, Muslim always rejected this idea because the Qur'an said,

"No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another” (Surah 17:15).

How could an innocent die for sinners? Well, we bad another dilemma: did Christ really die? I was very confident - I don't know why - that I would not find anything to prove the death of Christ . I had searched and did not find any evidence that would appease my conscience and strengthen my faith in Islam. Therefore, I was so anxious to counter the evidence of Christ's Deity by proving that he did not die, and could not have died for sinners.

I was trying to refute the idea of 'Sacrificial Death' when I came across the following verse in the Qur'an,

"And remember Moses said to his people: 'O my people! Ye have indeed wronged yourselves by your worship of the calf: So turn (in repentance) to your Maker, and slay yourselves (the wrong-doers); that will be better for you in the sight of your Maker." (Surah 2:54)

I read lbn Kathir's interpretation of this verse. He said, that the Israelites wanted to repent of their sin of worshipping the calf, but God did not accept their repentance. When Moses mediated, God told him to tell the Israelites that the only way to get forgiveness was that each man should kill everybody he met. It is said that they put on blindfolds so they would not have mercy on their families but would have the courage to obey God's order. lbn Kathir said that at least seventy thousands were killed that day, and blood ran like a stream. When God saw it was enough, He told Moses to tell the Israelites to stop. God accepted their repentance through the blood of those who died . If someone did not worship the calf and died as atonement for those who did, why would we reject the idea that the sinless Christ died for sinners, and that He was still alive?

 

I felt God was encircling me with evidences and I had no way to reject Christ's call for me to follow him . I even found many references to the death of Christ. I read lbn Kathir's interpretation of Surah 4:157 and other verses from Surah 3 that spoke of the death of Christ. Actually, people differed not on the death of Christ, but on how long it was. The stories varied between 3 hours, one day and two days. This proves the actual death of Christ.

 

7. The Bible recorded things in the present time.

 

I grew more angry and frustrated because I wanted to find anything to refute Christian beliefs. I was proud of my religion and myself, and I hated Christians. Meanwhile, I had no choice but to adjust to the new situation, but how?

I never stopped reading the Bible. It became a friend of mine. The more I read, the more I tasted its sweetness. One time while reading I was stunned by the following verses,

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matt. 6:5-6)

 

I was amazed how the Bible recorded, two thousand years ago, these things that happened in the present time. I remembered the time when I used to put something hard under my forehead when I knelt down during prayers in order to brag about my 'prayer mark'. I used to boast about my fasting and worship. I even wore certain outfits to show that I was religious.

I searched the issue of Christ's death and crucifixion, and whether Christ actually died. I studied all the Christian books and references that dealt with the 'Sacrificial Death of Christ'. Finally, my mind was almost convinced of Christ's divinity and crucifixion. Some people might think that I was pleased with my findings. On the contrary, I was so upset, frustrated and tense. I wished God had killed me before I found out that I had lived all my life with false beliefs. It was so hard on me to find out that those repulsive, filthy Christians were right and I was wrong.

I could not sleep a wink. I roamed the streets talking to myself. Thoughts tore me apart; doubts shook my being whenever I started to pray. I did not know what to do. I asked the brothers to visit me less often. I invented an excuse that I was under police surveillance. Gradually I grew apart from the whole group, I would feel sleepy whenever I recited the Qur'an everyday as usual. On the other hand, I could not read enough of the Bible. I was very much attached to that Book. One day, the Emir visited me and found out that I had not made any substantial progress in my research. He said to me, "It's the will of Allah! Give us the Bible and we'll find somebody else to do the job instead of you. It seems you're not cut out for such a task."

I was supposed to be happy because that was what I wanted, but things were different. I asked him to give me one more month because I had managed to put my finger on some essential clues. The truth was I did not want to lose my permission to read the Bible, and the Book itself. The Emir agreed. I did not know why I did so. I could have agreed to give the Bible back and save myself all the strain and the unknown future that I was heading for. Every time I got ready to pray I heard an inner voice asking me, "How could you pray to a god you are not sure exists?" It made me cry.

One time, I resisted that inner voice and started reading the Qur'an. I came across a verse that captured my attention:

"And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except in the best way, unless it be with those of them who do wrong but say, 'We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we submit (in Islam)" (Surah 29:46)

I wanted to study this verse more in depth, so I referred to the commentaries written by lbn Kathir, Kortobi and Zamakhshary. First thing I found out that they all agreed that this verse was abrogated by the famous verse of the 'Sword' in Surah 9. Abrogation was only part of the problem. I noticed that the verse stated that our God and the People of the Book's God were one and the same. I could not go on; my mind stopped! The Muslims' God had abrogated all previous kindliness towards non-Muslims and replaced it with killing, torture and hurting. He even made us, Muslims, His instrument of torture:

"Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, and disgrace them" (Surah 9:14)

In the Qur'an there are more than 27 verses speaking about the fact that Muslims are obliged to fight non-Muslims. Meanwhile, the God of Christians says,

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28),

"But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue yon and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (Matt. 5:39-41)

 

I started comparing these verses to what the Qur'an says:

"lf then anyone transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him" (Surah 2:194)

"Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies." (Surah 8:59)

"Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other." (Surah 48:29)

It is impossible that White and Black would he one; or Good and Evil would be one; or Day and Night would be one! One has to be distinctly unique. So, there should he only one God. I was sure to find that God, because I loved Him. No one would prevent me from believing in the One True God, even if He were the God of Jews!

In my mind, I talked to God, "Oh, God, I need your help. Do not forsake me for I'm now confused. I don't know where you are. If I was misled, it was not on purpose. You know how much I love you, and how much I suffered for your sake. Oh, God, if you're punishing me for some sin I committed, I ask for your forgiveness. You are the only God and I am your servant, who obeys your commandments. I confess my sins and repent. Please, don't be so harsh in your punishment."

Certain thoughts made me shiver out of awe and fear. I thought that the Qur'an and the Bible could not both be the Word of God. One had to annul the other. I panicked when this thought crossed my mind. Whenever I heard a strange sound I thought that God would destroy the house and make it fall on my head because of my attitude towards the Qur'an.  My life became unbearable! It was even harder than the time I was imprisoned and tortured.

Soon, this feeling subsided and I decided to study the Qur'an afresh in order to review every possible aspect and to evaluate the verse objectively:

"Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy" (Surah 4:82)

As a matter of fact, I was not objective. I wished to find something in the Qur'an to lead me to believe that it was not from God. I had deep bitterness towards Christians. I would have accepted anything but to become a Christian. The word 'Christian' provoked me, and aroused in me a strong desire of aggression and revenge towards anything related to Christians. I did not know why I felt this way; perhaps it was due to my upbringing in a strict family that loved Islam and hated Christianity, assuming the latter was infidelity. Our parents used to warn us not to play with Christian kids because they were traitors, and not to cat their food because they could poison us. We were raised to think that Christians bad no god, no faith and no trust.

I started to study the Qur'an in depth and I found out amazing things that I bad never noticed before. I complied my research and titled it "Is the Qur'an the Word of God?" It took me about six months to finish it.

 

8. The Emir got angry

 

One day, the Emir paid me an unexpected visit. I was in the restroom when he came. My mother let him into my room because he was well known to my family, since we bad been in prison together. The Emir saw papers scattered around the room and thought that I finished a good part of my assignment. I heard him saying, "Allah bless you! You're the man! I was right; you're the only one who could do it!" I thought in my mind, "You don't know what's on these papers!"

A moment later, I came out to meet him. His face was red and he seemed flabbergasted. He pulled me by the collar and screamed in my face, "What is this? Did you write that? It could not be you. Who deceived you? Who tricked you? Who tempted you to sell out your religion?"

 

I said to him, "lf there was deception, it would be yours; if there was temptation it would be from you; if I committed a sin, it would be on your head! You're the one who pushed me to all this. I wanted to be relieved of this research and you refused. You knew how much I hated Christianity and Christians, but you insisted that I read their books. I swear to you I wish everything I found out were untrue. You and I shared the most difficult time of our lives, didn't we?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Did you notice anything unusual?" He said, "No." I said, "Excuse me, it's out of my hand. It's not just a matter of information; it's my heart, over which I have no power. I wish you would read what I read and learn what I learnt!"

He went berserk and wanted to tear all my the papers (Deity of Christ, the Qur'an is not the Word of God, etc.) We had a major argument that brought my mother to the room. Before leaving my house, the Emir said to me, "Now we know what's wrong with you, but I have a request if you want to stay alive." I said, "What is it?" He said, "Don't you ever tell your group about this poison you're writing. I will tell them that you apostatised, but I won't give them any reasons. If you tell them anything else you know best what will happen to you."

I said to him, "What you don't know is that things have, changed; the time has changed. You know best that I don't get threatened because you're not able to carry out any of your threats. For your information, I was faithful to my brothers when I asked them not to visit me. I could not continue teaching them something I wasn't sure was true. I pushed them away because I cared for them. I assure you, I love God, and I pray that He would bring me back if I have gone astray."

 

I broke in tears as I remembered our beautiful memories, our life together in prison and how we faced hardships together. To be honest, it was too much for me to stand. But if this is the will of God, good bye to all good memories away from Him and welcome to all thorns on His side.

 

The group started to cut all ties with me, Members avoided me, and did not even greet me on the street. I knew immediately that I had been pronounced an infidel. They took back the money they used to give me from the group's 'House of Treasury' for my personal expenses. They thought that would break me and force me back to the group. They never understood me.

 

The Emir and I, together with some other people, had an investment company. We used the large amounts of money that we brought from abroad to buy and sell clothes. I was the official manager who signed cheeks. I was legally responsible for the business. When I refused to repent, they did not pay their share and took me to court. They expected me to apologize and repent for my infidelity. At the courthouse, the Emir came to me and whispered, "We could drop the charges if you came to your senses and repented to Allah, and told us who misled you," I didn't answer.

The court sentenced me to pay the money back in the form of monthly instalments of 160 Egyptian Pounds. It was a blow to them because they wanted to see me go to jail. I thanked God that the trial went well, but I spoke to God in a bitter, angry way: "Oh, God, why do you do this to me? Why do I have to suffer? Since I was a child I have suffered and struggled. I have no more friends because they don't believe in you. I lost the love of my family because they did not accept you. I lost my studies because they stood between you and me. Now, I don't know what pain you have in store for me. Please, have mercy on me. I'm weak and powerless. Don't leave me for the waves to throw me around in this rough sea. I don't know where to go. Tell me where you are. Are you the God of Christians?The God of Moses? The God of Mohammed? If you were the God of Mohammed, why would you leave me to suffer and doubt you? Please, God, don't leave me alone. I promise to follow you wherever you are. I fear nobody but you, and you know that very well."

Suddenly my train of thoughts was interrupted by my mother's voice asking me to take my food. I didn’t eat with my mother because I believed a Muslim should not eat with an infidel - and according to the group, my mother was one.

 

9. Mohammed’s background

 

I then came to a very critical matter: If the Qur'an was not from God, then who that Mohammed might he? He had to be a false prophet. But how do I prove that? I suddenly panicked and thought, "It couldn't be! Mohammed is a false prophet? What about his miracles and his empire, and all the multitudes who followed him?

I felt like I was about to face God's wrath and torture. When I cooled down I felt a strange courage and a strong will to focus my research on who Mohammed was, and whether he was a prophet or not. I found out that Mohammed's claim to prophet-hood was based on two aspects: he was illiterate but he received the Qur'an; and he was infallible - before he became a prophet, he never committed a sin.

Illiteracy:

 

It was completely out of my mind to find a proof that Mohammad could read and write. All that I knew was that it was impossible that Mohammad could read and write. This issue motivated me to read once again the Prophet's biographies. In fact, I found many issues I had not noticed before, to my great astonishment. I discovered that Mohammad used to go to the same place where El-Nadr lbn El-Hareth, Waraka lbn Nofai and lbn Sa'eda, the well-known priest, used to go. I also found out that Mohammad used to conduct business with the big fortunes of the rich lady Khadija and that he made lots of contracts and agreements with the merchants of Yemen and Greater Syria.

It was said that Mohammad carried with him a stamp he used instead of a signature, which meant that he was illiterate. But carrying that stamp did not mean that he was illiterate since it was common place among merchants of that time to write the contract between the merchant and the customer, and then stamp it for authorization like the Seal of the Republic nowadays.

I discovered that, after the peace treaty of AI-Hudaibiya, Mohammad wrote the reconciliation treaty with his own hands, that he was under the custody of his uncle Abu Taleb, and that he was older than Ali. Ali could read and write and it was unimaginable that Mohammad would not learn even the minimum basic level of reading and writing.

I found out that Mohammad used to sit with Yassar Al-Nusrani (the Christian) and to take from him the texts of the Bible and read them. I realized when the angel Gabriel carne to Mohammad and asked him to read that, it was not logical on Gabriel's part to ask Mohammad to read, knowing that he was illiterate! If you add all the above-mentioned issues to what I discovered regarding the authenticity of the prophet-hood of Mohammad, you will come to the realization that Mohammad was neither a prophet nor a righteous man.

 

Inerrancy:

 

As for Mohammad's inerrancy, there are many biographies such as "Al-Seera AI-Halabiya," "Al- Tahakaat Al-Kubra" and " Seerat lbn Hisham" even the commentaries that dealt with Surah 16:

"And from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine, Ye get out strong drink" (Surah 16:67)

There are many authentic Hadiths stating clearly that Mohammad used to drink wine and recommended that his friends put some water into wine if it was highly concentrated. He used to eat from the animal sacrifices offered by Kuraish at El-Ka'ba for idols. He allowed the forbidden and forbade the allowed by God. He was making eyes at the women of his friends, and he never hesitated to take any one of them if she pleased him. At the Day of Kheibar, Safiyya, daughter of Yehiah lbn Akhtab, came under the lot of Abdallah lbn Umar. But Mohammad took her from him and married her. He also took Zainab daughter of Galish, the wife of Zaid (his adopted son), to be one of his wives.

All those events demolished any hallowed picture of Mohammad and blew up the sacred status I used to ascribe to the Prophet Mohammad. To be honest with you, I was in pain whenever I discovered any thing like this.

 

With all that I found out about Mohammad, honestly speaking, I was still hoping to find any virtues in Islam to clutch at in order to remain a Muslim. It was hard for me to leave the religion of my childhood. Whenever I toyed with the idea of leaving Islam, strange feelings of fear, confusion and turmoil would assail my mind.

 

10. Hostility and cruelty against Christians

 

Whenever I read any magnificent and meaningful text in the Bible, my hatred, hostility and cruelty would increase against Christians. I had a Christian colleague. Whenever I found something great in the Bible, my anger was kindled and I went and destroyed his belongings to let out my bottled-up rage. I paid money to others to conspire against him and send false complaints against him to the high authorities. One day, I set all his clothes on fire and he had to go back home in his work's uniform.

I used to stand before one of the shops owned by a Christian man, preventing people from buying from him and accusing him of being a cheater. I would say to people on the street, "Do not buy from Christians; they are evasive swindlers. They want to destroy Islam. , The Qur'an said 'They have no faith."' That old Christian man used to say to me: "Oh my son, what have I done to you? Have mercy; I have to earn money to raise my children."

Other times, I would warn my friends against shaking hands with Christians, observing the Hadith, "Do not shake hands with the People of the Book; do not greet them and make their way narrow." I often would shout, "They are malicious, showing a fake love but they are such enemies to Allah and true believers. Don't be deceived by their counterfeit humiliation. God said: “They were covered with humiliation and misery."

On one of those hectic days, teeming with all such deeds against Christians, I felt a hunch in my heart of hearts. There was an inner voice telling me, "Be honest with yourself. Do you think all such acts could remove all that you have learned from their Books? You said that you would follow God, wherever that would lead you; so why, whenever God would reveal to you some light of inspiration, do you try to put it out? Be honest with yourself in order to have a clear conscience.

Check you inner motives. Do you really want God? If otherwise, what do you really want? It is all up to you. It is all in your hands and nobody will force you into anything."

 

I want back home, weighed down with lots of burdens. I tried to pray but I couldn't. I began to read the Bible and I came across the prayer of Christ in the Gospel of Matthew. When I read that prayer, I suddenly felt a strange sense of peace, tranquillity and calmness covering me. It was as if one had poured water to cleanse my memory from something . I said in my heart of hearts, "Oh my Lord, can you give me that kind of peace, patience, love and endurance that the Christians used to have, if I pray exactly as it is written in the Bible?"

I was beside myself with joy as if I heard the answer, "'Yes." My face lit up with pleasure and I made up my mind to pray the Lord's Prayer regularly. I would get up early at dawn, the same time of ritual prayers, but would pray the Lord's Prayer this time. I would also complete my ablution and spread the prayer carpet on the ground as I used to do in the past. Then I would stand on it and say:

"Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come.                               

Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive our debts  As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation. But deliver us from the evil one."

 

Finally, I would conclude by saying: "Peace be upon you and the Mercy of God, Peace be upon you and the Mercy of God." (the Islamic conclusion of prayers.)

I continued like that for quite a long time but I did not notice any change in my character. I was still

aggressive with my family and with Christians.  So, I decided to do away with all religions. Neither Islam nor Christianity worked. Perhaps after converting to Christianity, I would read a book, only to find some other, better religion after a while, spending all the rest of my life jumping from one religion to another. The best thing to do in such case, I thought, was to lead a normal life like others, like ordinary people. Why should I overload my mind with all that religion stuff. Let me enjoy a carefree life and when I die, let God do whatever He wants with me!

 

But that was not a real solution. All of a sudden, an idea came to my mind. I said to myself that the reason for all my problems and confusion was that Book, i.e. the Torah and the Bible, so let me tear it into pieces and get it over with it forever. I was about to do so, but I felt a shiver in my body and an inner voice whispering in my mind, "Leave it. You may need it some time. Why do you want to get rid of that particular book?

The Qur'an has caused you far much more trouble. Why didn't you want to tear it into pieces?"

Whenever I would ride in a car, I would pray that the car would be in an accident and every one in it would be rescued except for me. I also wished, from the bottom of my heart, that the house would tumble upon my head, that I alone would die. "Oh Lord," I said, "lf you do not wish to give me guidance, it is better that you would finish my life and let me get out of my dilemma."

 

11. Stand up - the Christ wants you

 

I was in the middle of that turmoil of conflicting thoughts. It was four o'clock in the afternoon of one of the summer days of July. I was sitting by myself, reminiscing, thinking about my long associations with Islam, Islamic Groups and terrorism, and finally, with the New Testament and the Torah. I prayed: "Oh God, you know that, in all these events, I was searching for you. Is it fair to leave me in such a condition? Where is your justice and love? Even if you want to punish me for a crime I committed, I, think, by now, I have already paid for all my crimes . What crime requires such a severe punishment? Please God; do not leave me alone in such a struggle."

Suddenly, I saw the door of my room open. I thought it was my mother bringing me something to eat. And behold, there was a hulk of a man width long hair and heavy beard and a pillar of white radiating light beside him. It was like light coming from a great number of florescent lamps put together. I could not look at his face or fix my eyes upon him. I heard him calling me, "Stand up; the Christ wants you." In no time, I jumped out of my room. I was flabbergasted and I called my father, mother and brothers to come and see the Christ (our Master Isa) since it was written in Al-Bukhari Book that he who would see a prophet had seen ‘guidance,' since demons did not take the form of prophets. I said to myself that my family might believe if they saw the Christ.

I went back to my room to see nothing. I was shocked from head to toe. I was deeply distressed. How could I prove this to my family? I blamed God for not helping me, "Why didn't you wait in the room so that they would see you and come to believe? They will think of me as one who has lost his mind."

That was exactly what happened. All my family members went into my room only to find nothing unusual. My mother said, "Oh Lord, why do you allow all this to happen to us. We were glad to have our son back and now you let him go mad!" She started crying bitterly and she hugged me. My brother told me not to worry for he would take me to the best psychiatrist in Egypt. My Sisters said, "All that because of what you write during the night. The end of all this is madness.

Why don't you believe me? I have seen him as a great light. He spoke to me." But their viewpoint was stronger than my argument. Finally, I started to believe them. I must be really mad. So I went to my bed and stayed there. I must have lost my senses. What I say lacks common sense. I remained in my room and my brothers would come to me to comfort me, but I uttered nothing. I resorted to complete silence.

The following morning, my brother took me to one of the best psychiatrists in the country. We went to his clinic and I waited my turn. Finally, they called me to see the doctor. I sat before him and he asked me, "How can I help you?" I told him, "I don't know. My brother decided to bring me to you." He said, "Your brother said that you have seen our Master the Christ!" I said, "Yes, I have seen him indeed." He said: "Can you describe him to me?" I asked him, "Have you seen him before?" He said, "No." I said, "lf you don't know what he looks like, how can you know if I am right or not?" He said, "Your case is a very hard one."

He called for my brother from the waiting room. When he came into the examining room, the doctor told him that I bad a severe case of depression and I needed electric treatment quickly. I started with six sessions of electric treatment and gradually it was reduced to two. He asked my brother to bring me to the hospital twice a week. I told him that I was not afraid of electric treatment as I had already experienced them when I was tortured in concentration camps. I was sure that medical treatment would be less severe than those electric shocks we used to endure in the torture rooms.

I did not find any reason to refuse the electric treatment. If I were really mad, this would help me gain my sanity back. If not, this pain would he added to other painful experiences I had during my search for God; hopefully God would take that into consideration and have mercy on me.

Eventually, I completed my treatment sessions and I took all the medications that my doctor prescribed. I expected that I would be healed by then and would forget all the thoughts that used to torment me if they were brought by madness or psychosomatic tension.

However, I found myself urged to read more in the Bible. I couldn't sleep unless I read a part of the Bible. I decided to keep all my findings to myself and tell nobody of any experience I might have from that time on. I decided to live as a Christian to see the work of God. If this were the way, surely I would see the fruits of it. I wanted to see God's support of this choice; otherwise I would brush it aside.

 

12. Christians  were suspicious

 

As I previously said, I used to pray regularly, in my own way, five times per day: at dawn, noon, dusk, sunset, and evening. I did not read anything in my prayers but the Lord's Prayer. But I was perplexed as to which religious practices I bad to perform to make my prayers complete and acceptable in order to gain some merit before God. I had to go to the church to learn how I can worship God. I did not like the idea of going to church. How could I go to the church in such a state? How could I go to church in a state of humility and submission as I was so antagonistic in the past? "No, I will not go to church. Maybe some other time," I said to myself.

 

I tried to ask some Christians for help but who would agree to speak with me after all that I had done to them? All of them refused to meet me. They thought either I wanted to kill them or force them to he converted to Islam. Finally, one of them agreed to meet me in a month. I had to wait for that time. I decided to use that time in reading more about the Christian beliefs and concepts. I wanted to know what they said and whether they had their own Christian books similar to what the Muslims had.

First of all, I decided to shave off my beard just to look normal. I borrowed a shirt and a pair of pants instead of wearing the 'Galabia' (Islamic outfit) that I used to wear all my life. I went to the bookstore where I got my Holy Bible . I did not like any of the books in that bookstore, so I decided to go to another one nearby. I began to look through the shelves, from outside the store, to see what kind of books they carried. I did not dare to enter a 'Christian' bookstore. I couldn't even look at anything Christian; so how could I enter now a Christian place? I was afraid they might ask to see my ID (ID's in Egypt state one's religion) and they might call the police. I would, then, fall into the hands of the Secret State Intelligence, which was like going to the bottomless pit.

After a long time of hesitation, I took heart and entered the bookstore. Some books caught my attention. I did not know what sort of books I wanted to read.

Whenever I came across a title that would catch my attention, I would buy the book. I took a book called "Evidence That Requests A Decision," "My Faith," and "Atonement of Christ." As soon as I finished reading one of the books, I burnt it at once.

When I finished all those books, I went back to the bookstore to get some more. I found two books: "Monotheism and Trinity," and "Biblical Theology." When I looked at the prices of those two books, I figured out that I did not have enough money to buy them. So I returned them to the shelves. At that moment, an old man approached me and asked, "Why have you put the books back?" I said, "I don't want them." "lf you don't want them, why have you taken them in the first place?" he said. I said, "That's none of your business. Are you interrogating me?" He put his hand on my shoulder and his face showed a trace of a gentle smile. He said: "My son, take those books and I will pay for them for you. I will give you my address. If you like them, you can pay me back. lf not, you can get rid of them or bum them and you have nothing to lose." I asked him how he knew that I did not have the money to buy the books. He told me that it was the Holy Spirit who told him. I said in my heart of hearts, "What might that Holy Spirit be?" I thought much about that subject. I went with him to his house. We sat together for a few minutes. I was afraid he might ask to see my ID. In that case, he would know the truth. But all things went smoothly, thank God. The man did not even ask about my name.

I kept on reading those books and others diligently, either at home or I would rent a hotel room to enjoy all the time reading on my own without any disturbance. I did not want to waste a minute even to eat. I wanted to devour all the Words of Christ that would take me at least one step further to the new road of my new life. I used to frequent a coffee shop, the customers of which were Christians. There I would read all the Christian books I bought. I loved the teachings of the Bible. To be more accurate, I desired to be that type of person portrayed in the Bible. If I would live accordingly, I would turn into an angel walking on earth. I was preoccupied with one question: "Lord, is it possible, if I receive you and walk according to your Bible, for you to make me better? Can I have some friends even if they don't believe as I do? Can I love my mother,

father, brothers and sisters even if they don't accept my new beliefs? Can I love my friends even if they don't share my faith or believe what I say? Can you do this for me, Lord? Can I love my country and feel the same loyalty as other people? I wish this could happen."

 

The first step the Islamic group took to disciple any new comer was to uproot any other loyalty, whether to the homeland, family or anything else. One should have no other loyalty but to Allah, and no other devotion but to the Emir. That's why I did not believe I could change or love. My last vision of light and that person who said to me, "Stand up, the Christ wants you" caused me much perplexity. I knew that any vision of one of the prophets was a divine guidance, but what kind of divine guidance at that particular phase? Was it guidance toward the Christian or the Muslim faith?

My mind was so tossed by all those waves of thoughts that I walked the streets with a quick pace as if somebody was chasing me. I did not know where to go. It was really a terrible time. At last, I made up my mind to go to a church. I wanted to be the man God wanted me to be. I heard an inner voice saying, "Now you have heard the voice and you have to follow it. You have lived in Islam all your life, but you haven't lived yet in Christianity to know what it is like. You haven't lived the Christian faith to know which is better or nearer to God, Christianity or Islam."

I went to many churches. It was not easy to do so. I had to struggle against the Devil whenever I decided to enter a church. The Devil would whisper in my ears, "Have you reached that miserable status as to go to a church? Shame on you! How much difference between going to the church now in humiliation and when you went there to exalt the Word of Allah. Have your forgotten what you did to the church in the past? If you forgot, I can remind you. You used to say: 'Truth has

(now) arrived, and falsehood perished; for falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish.' Where is that truth for which you have exposed your life to death? You have nowhere to go but to the church - the den of infidelity, polytheism and blasphemy. Are you going to believe in more than one God after all that long journey of loyalty and faithfulness to the only God? Wake up; repent to God and ask His forgiveness and repeat the two Shehadas (Testimonies): 'I witness that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammad is His Messenger.' Get up and wash yourself of all these evil thoughts and take refuge in Allah against the abominable Devil."

After that, I found myself unconsciously going to church. It was still difficult and I would feel as if somebody was pulling me back to prevent me from going there. I even would shout loudly, "I will go to church. I will go to church; come what may." It was enough that I had no more friends and no more family members. I had not known about mercy all my life. I had killed and robbed and now I stood without relatives, friends, any companions or any of God's creation. Could God be happy with me in such condition? Could God approve of killing, hatred, hostility and vandalism towards all who refused to accept what we say?

I said: "Oh God, have mercy on me. I am a miserable and lonely person. I want to lead a normal life, loving my country, family, and friends. But how can I do so? In which of the two ways can I do so?"

So I decided to go to church even if it would have cost me my life. I dashed quickly towards the church. The attitude of the priest was not as I expected. He refused to listen to me, which added fuel to fire and aggravated the devilish attacks against me. When I went out of the church that day, I felt some sort of inner relief within me despite having failed to convince the pastor to listen to me. That encouraged me to try again. Unfortunately, I failed in all my attempts to sit with any pastor and to learn what I could do to deserve the salvation of Christ. The text says, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." I was preoccupied with the questions, "How can I believe? What can I do? How can I pray, fast, go to pilgrimage, or pay alms?"

The last time I left church, I was so burdened and heavily laden, as they say, "covered with burning shame." Satan whispered in my ears, "They have rejected you. It serves you right. You deserve more than that and God will show you harder lessons." But the demonic harassment did not last long. I heard a quiet and gentle voice from within saying, "Hey you, you do not worship people; don't he upset by their behavior towards you. Since you worship God, He only will not let you down. He will never disappoint you or let you go astray. Just be patient and hold firmly to Him if you are really searching for Him. The days of your suffering will not be long. God will never reject all those who seek Him. Haven't you read, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"? (Matt. 11:28) I said to him, "I have read it Lord, if not now, at least I have read it several times written on the wall of a church I passed by everyday on my way to medical school." I knew that verse by heart and I knew the place of that verse to the extent that I used to close my eyes trying not to see it.

The voice said, "Give your life to God and He will bring it to pass." I said, "Oh God, I give you my life. Please save me from my circumstances. Teach me your ways. I am at a loss. I am perplexed. This happens to me quite often, Lord." Whenever I would go through a hard turn, I would go back to the Bible to find a wonderful sense of peace and inner calmness.

I thought, afterwards, to get in touch with some of the Christians who used to work with me, but they did not welcome me. They were afraid of me. They thought I would trap them to hurt them as I used to do in the past. Some Christians refused to talk with me, believing that I was aiming at converting them to Islam. But if God wants something, nobody can stand against Him. Once, I went with friend if mine, an engineer, to visit one of his friends. On our way back, he sarcastically asked me to visit a Christian friend of his. He knew how much I hated Christians. He thought by this sarcasm he would make fun of me and he did not expect me to agree so quickly. He asked me, again, "Are you sure you want to visit that person? Do you know he is a Christian?" I said, "Yes, I know, and I agree to go with you and visit him." He asked me not to mistreat that man. I promised him to behave properly and decently.

 

We went to that Christian friend who knew me very well. I used to accost him on the street and provoke other Muslims against him, attempting to force him to be a Muslim. As soon as he saw me standing at his door, he was dumbfounded. Immediately, though he closed the door and drew back. My friend kept on knocking on his door so finally, he opened and started blaming my friend. He said, "How can you bring that man with you to my house? Have you forgotten what he did to me? Have mercy on me. I am a man of peace and I have enough problems."

 

Knowing that my friend had gone into another room to get some rest, I took the chance and tried to start a conversation with my host, desirous of achieving my goal of learning the Christian's road to God; but he did not cooperate with me. I asked him if I could visit him some other time. He agreed, providing that we would not be alone. He would prefer to have some friends of his at that time. I told him that it was fine with me to have some others. He wrote down his address and at the appointed time I visited him to find half a dozen of his friends at his apartment.

He was so afraid of me. I talked with him for a while and I did not deny that I was talking like a defeated military commander making peaceful negotiations with the victorious commander. I put my head down. I was so ashamed that I looked down all the time. I remembered what I used to be. Now here I was, begging a Christian for some words that would lead me to what I used to fight before.

My friend had little knowledge of the Bible, so he was not able to give me any more information.

After a while, my relationship with him grew stronger, and I had the chance to visit him more than once. He provided for me a quiet place where I could read freely. He did not try to force me to accept any kind of particular thought. I had one specific approach and that was to know the Lord Jesus Christ apart from all factions and denominations, avoiding what I had suffered from in Islam.

Things did not go the way they should have. Our friendship did not last long, but I came to know another Christian who was well versed in the knowledge of the Bible. I did not expect him to be willing to meet me. However, he agreed to meet me one month later. He asked me to confirm my visit by calling him one week earlier.

 

13. The vanished plastic bag

 

I felt that the circle was getting smaller around me. There were no pastors of churches to listen to me, no individuals willing to meet with me. My position was dubious in the eyes of all Christians. It was difficult for them just to mention my name. If anyone who wanted to threaten others, it was enough to tell them, "I will tell Mr. So and So." I was like a scarecrow scaring birds from the field. Three weeks later, I wanted to contact that person to confirm my visit to him. Since I did not have a phone in my house, I had to go out to use a public phone.

 

Whenever I would go out, I used to take with me all my papers and memos to make sure they would not fall into the wrong hands. It would be very dangerous if anyone saw these notes since I had many pages of research about the Deity of Christ, the fallibility of the Qur'an, Mohammed's prophet-hood and whether he was really a prophet, etc. I used to carry all those papers, along with the Bible, in a plastic bag whenever I went out, wherever I went.

 

When I went out to call that person from a telephone booth in front of the train station of my town, I was shocked to find that the whole plastic bag with all the papers had just vanished into thin air. Everything was gone - my wallet, my ID, the Bible and all the research. However, within I had a strange kind of peace, calmness and tranquillity that I developed first in my dealings with the security officers and secret police. The sole preoccupation of my mind at that time centered on two things.

First, the one who stole my bag might read all my papers and send them to the State Security

Investigations Department. I would then be an easy prey in their hands as my ID card was included with the papers, making it so easy to identify me. I could be executed for attacking the Qur'an; capital punishment is the only possible sentence in such a case. However, this subject did not bother me so much since I was quite certain that when my time would come to meet my Creator, I could not delay even for a split second. Every soul, for sure, would taste death.

Second , a sneaky whisperer stealthily got inside my mind, controlling all my thoughts and feelings. The subtle message was to the effect that God loved me so much that He wanted to give me crystal clear evidence that my walk towards Christianity was a fake one. A vague hunch was hovering above the ceiling of my mind that Christianity was nothing but the path of the Devil; that's why God had removed all attacks against His Holy Qur'an, His Reverend Messenger and also removed all the poisons of the Bible.

I kept on thinking, contemplating whether God would forgive me for all that I said regarding His Prophet Mohammad and His Holy Qur'an. I felt as if somebody was speaking to me saying, "You did not attack anybody or speak any kind of falsehood. All the conclusions that you reached was not of your manufacturing; they were self-evident." I stood up, spread, my prayer carpet, and I repeated the two Islamic Testimonies in order to go back to Islam. I tried to pray but unsuccessfully. I could not utter a word from the Qur'an. I could not bow down either. So, I placed my head between my palms for a while. Then I went away saying just few words, "Oh Lord, if you are not angry with me, nothing will do me any harm. If you are punishing me now for some transgression I did, I ask you to forgive me and alleviate my punishment . If you are standing against my guidance, that is foreign to your nature. Oh Lord, I have no more power to deal with my situation. If you will not reveal yourself to me, I will go astray. I love you Lord. I did what I was ordered to do. I did what all the others could not, just to please you, as I thought. When you revealed to me your light and called me, I did not delay. How long will you leave me groping in pitch darkness? All that is taking place in my life is a test of love you have prepared for me to lead me to your side. You are the Good Shepherd. Please give me more of your love and guidance to bring me more towards meeting you."

 

That night, I slept so deeply, like never before in all my life. When it was nearly dawn, I saw a vision while asleep . There was a hulk of a man with wide shoulders, a thick beard, bronze-colored face, long hair and a very beautiful complexion. He held me at my shoulders and shook me gently saying, "Do you still have doubts about me?" I told him, "Who are you that I have doubts in you? I don't know you." He said, "I am He for whom you are searching." I said, "No, please remind my failing memory." He said, "Read in the Book. Why didn't you read the Book?" I said, "Don't you know that I have lost the Book and all my papers, so how can I read now?" He said, "The Book cannot be lost. Stand up and open your closet and you will find it there; and all other papers will come back to you within a week."

I shuddered as if awakened by a whiplash and I went quickly to the small closet in one of the corners of my room. I was shivering when I opened it and to my great surprise, there I found the very book I had lost. I froze for a moment. I was shivering as if it was a chilly night in winter. I hugged the Bible tightly in my arms as a child who returned to his mother after a long time.

I ran to my mother, waking her up and smothering her with kisses. I told her with a great joy what happened that morning. I said, "I will never allow you to call me crazy any more." I threw myself into her arms, crying and saying, "Forgive me Mom, for treating you harshly . I thought that was according to the true faith. But now I know what the true faith is. Please, let me kiss your feet and I will not accept anything less."

She said, "Tell me my son, what happened to you?"

I answered, "I will tell you, but please swear to me by all that is dear to you, not to think that I have gone mad. My mother, God has guided me."

She asked, "And where have you been before?"

I replied, "God who guided me is not the one I was following before."

She responded, "Is there another God?"

I said, "Yes, there is another God who instructs me to love you and to obey you."

She asked, "Who is that God?"

I told her, "The Christ, Isa as the Qur'an says."

She urged me, "Please my son, don't say so before your brothers. They will think that you are really mad."

I said, "Ok, I will do as you say, but do you believe me?"

 

She observed, "Why wouldn't I believe you. I have already seen the evidence; you have never treated me like this in twenty years. Go, and God will never forsake you. But keep the matter a secret."

I confided, "Put yourself in my shoes, and you will understand my true feelings. I wish I could stand in a public place and shout at the top of my voice proclaiming that Christ is God and He has changed me. He did what the God of Mohammad was unable to do." She put her hand on my mouth to prevent me from speaking.

 

14. The changing power of God’s love

 

From that time, at the break of dawn and the rising of the sun, I would go out to people as if I were a newborn babe, seeing life for the first time. I went out early in the morning, looking at everything around me. I was able to see everything covered with beauty. All people were good in my eyes. I started to shake hands with all the people that I met, whether I knew them or not. I went to the Christian grocer. I used to harm him so much and when he saw me, he thought that I was coming to attack him. He started quickly to close his grocery . I called him, "Don't be afraid." He was bewildered and uttered nothing. I hugged him and asked him to forgive me. He couldn't help but to cry. He said some words, I couldn't understand at the moment. Only later, I realized their full meaning. He said, "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord." I said, "What did you just say?" He said,

"In His time, you will know what it means." After that, he went away.

I saw people from a new perspective. I wondered if I might have lost my sanity. People stared at me and wondered what bad happened to me. Even my colleagues were fully amazed regarding the sudden and radical change of my behavior. I could read astonishment on their faces saying, "This man used to spit on us yesterday. Now look at him; he is like a gentle lamb! What is going on? Is it a new tactic or plan against us?" I saw perplexity and confusion reflected on their faces, their high brows and wide-open eyes. They could not believe that my behavior could be changed 180 degrees. But I did not give much attention to their reactions. All that I cared about was to compensate those whom I bad attacked, humiliated and insulted. I was beside myself with a joy that filled my heart. Meekness and calmness furnished the inner curves of my innermost being for the first time in my whole life. Sometimes, I would think that I was in a beautiful dream. I did not want to wake up from that dream. But it was the power of God. I was in a rush to get more of the experiences that would prove that I was really changed forever, not just temporally.

I kept thinking about what the man I saw in my vision had said - l would find the papers within a week. Days went by and I began to doubt that vision. I was afraid that I might not find my papers. That was likely to ruin my happiness. I kept on counting the days till there was one day left before the deadline given in the vision. On that day, I was near the train station and I wanted to make a phone call, so I had to go to the same phone booth where I had lost my papers a week ago. I hesitated for some time. I would go forward and then shrink back. The owner of the booth noted this, so he said to me, "I see you are in hesitation. Do you have a problem?" I said, "No, this phone is a bad omen for me since I used it last week and I lost my bag. I don't want to use it again since I don't know what I am going to lose." He inquired, "Was it your bag?" I answered, “Yes, do you know where it is?" He responded, "Give me some description of the bag to show me that it really belongs to you and I will tell you where it is." I told him that it was a plastic bag with some papers, a Book like the Qur'an, my ID, and my passport. There was no money in the bag. He nodded and said, "That's correct." He told me to come the following day and he would take me to the one who found it.

The following day was the seventh day since I had seen the vision. We went to a village in the suburbs of Cairo towards the south. We met the man who found the bag. He gave it back to me. I quickly opened it but I did not find the book. I said to him, "There is a book missing." He said, "I swear by the Name of God, I did not take anything from the bag. It includes papers, passport, ID, and a Qur'an (Holy Bible)" I was glad to hear that and I told him that I really believed him. That meant that God had fulfilled His promise to me that He would give me back the very lost Book.

I was on cloud nine; in all my Islamic life, I had never experienced asking something from God and receiving an answer. This was a super miracle for me. I felt so small and humble before the grace of God. I said to God, "Who am I that you would give me all these favors?" Soon the answer came to me, "I did so and I will continue to do greater things for those who love God." I was talking to myself, wishing that God would let me go through an experience that would make me quite certain that I was really changed. That would really make me glad.

 

15. The faith grows stronger

 

Soon God answered my prayers. He gave me my first experience in my new relationship with Christ. At my job, employees used to receive periodical financial awards, each one in his turn. I would bully the payroll personnel, forcing them to place me at the top of the list. I also used to take a percentage of all those awards because the money belonged to Christian infidels; therefore it should not be distributed equally.

One day, it was time to receive the money from the company's cashier. One of my colleagues had very hard circumstances at home; so he came to the manager and begged him to give the money to him this time so that he could get out of the financial dilemma. The manager told him that the list was already arranged and everyone had his turn. The manager said to him, "Mr. X is on the top of the list and you know that he is an evil man and we cannot let him wait. We have to please him by any means to fend off his evil." At this moment, I entered the office of the manager to find him, whispering with my colleague. I asked them quickly, "Are you speaking about the award?" The manager answered in a manner tinted with awkwardness and clumsiness: "Yes, but don't worry. Your name is on top of the list." I asked him, "So what does my colleague want?" He replied, "He wants to have his turn this month to get out of his financial difficulty, but I refused his request." I asked, "Why? You can put his name instead of mine." The manager thought that I was making fun of him. He said, "Your name is on top of the list and nobody can remove it." I said, "But I want to give it up to him this month." He said, "That's impossible. You... You can do so?" I said, "Yes." He wondered, "How?" I answered, "I'm telling you; please remove my name and put him in my place. It is better that all of our colleagues will also give up their turns for him." I heard him saying, "Glory be to God who can change circumstances. What is going on? What has happened? May be it is Doomsday today! That person could do so! I can't believe it!" I said, "God is Omnipotent and He can get 'out of the eater, something to eat; and out of the strong, something sweet.’” My eyes were wet with tears in that situation, which was the first of its kind in my whole life. I used to take the lion's share of everything, legally or illegally. But now Christ has taught me how to give. I was thrilled to enjoy the ecstatic taste of giving.

My family began to feel the change in my life. They used to turn off the TV and run away as soon as they caught sight of me, especially my sisters. After that day of transformation, I would enter our house and let them watch TV. I just asked them to avoid the indecent programs. They said, "That's impossible. You allow us to watch TV? No way!" I answered, "Why not? If you knew what I feel for you, you would not believe how much I love you. I want you to forgive me for all my misbehavior towards you." Immediately, all of them burst into tears. Whenever I would go out, upon my return I would kiss my mother, bringing her a present every now and then. She would cry. I am thankful to God that when she died we were on good terms and I managed to make amends for what I had done to her. I was very grateful to that God who returned the smile to all our family members, believers and non-believers.

My Christian friends were following all the events that took place and were afraid that people of the village would discover my situation and then it would recoil upon their heads since they were my friends. So they asked me to leave Egypt and travel abroad, but I refused categorically. I was still aware of what I had done against Christ and the Christians. Therefore, I told them I had prayed from the first day my life was changed that God would help me to serve Christ as much as I

opposed him. I had persecuted his people in Egypt so I would not leave Egypt . I promised them that I would not mention their names anyway if I were arrested.

One day, they asked me to go to a church I had never visited before and I agreed without discussion. I met some of the Fathers and I told them all  that God had done with me. Their faces were lit up with pleasure and they were thrilled for the great wonders God did in my life. I wanted to be baptized. They responded to my request. I was baptized on May 9th, 1993. I still remember that day since I consider it my real birthday. It is closely connected with the time I was born again.

 

16. The Fruits of Faith

 

I talked in detail about my life before my conversion. It is more proper now that I speak about the work of God in my life after I came to know Him. All of my relatives, friends and acquaintances could not believe that I could change so radically. No one could believe what took place after my regeneration. Once I asked God to give me some experiences to prove to me that I was really converted. Actually God gave me lots of experiences, not only to prove the change to me but also to train me for the coming hard and thorny challenges. I didn't choose the new way, not even my life with Christ. On the contrary, I tried to deny what I saw. It was Christ who chose me. He did not choose me haphazardly but certainly for a specific purpose and ministry He had already prepared for me. I am sure He also prepared me for that kind of ministry. In this regard

I would like to mention some of the perilous experiences I faced and what God did with me.

I used to work in an office with three other colleagues. We used to work in turns so we rarely got together. Each of us had his own locker in which to keep his personal belongings.  One day I was shocked to discover that some of my things were missing. I did not have any suspicions toward any of my colleagues. The following day, the same thing happened and I discovered the loss of some other items. I used to put the blame on my wife, but when the same thing took place for the third time and all of my salary was stolen, I finally realized that the lock was broken. I knew for sure that one of my colleagues was responsible. Suddenly a terrible Satanic Spirit of anger controlled me. I started to swear and curse in my old manner, as I was before salvation. I said, "lf I have accepted Christ and you have seen me meek like a lamb, that does not mean that you can make fun of me, making me an easy prey for you." I swore to get even with them and pay them back double. I made up my mind to break all their lockers and take all their belongings and then burn them, leaving all the lockers open, like Abraham had done with the idols. I wanted them to know the feelings of those who got robbed and looted. I went and fetched a big hammer to carry out my plan. I closed the office and after making sure nobody was watching, I grabbed the hammer with both hands and swung it in the air. I was reeking with anger and shivering with a burning desire for revenge. I was about to hit the lockers when I felt something holding my hands and a gentle voice saying, "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing; be a peace maker." I turned around to see who was talking, but nobody was there. I said to myself, "Oh Lord, do

you agree with what has happened to me? Your will be done. Please extinguish my fury and quench the fire of my wrath. I can hardly control myself. Please give me peace." Suddenly, I felt a strange peace surrounding me, as if nothing had happened. I heard a voice asking me to write on a paper the following:

"My dear brother who opens my locker, I am sorry for not being able to meet your needs. Please write down all that you need and I, by the grace of God, will do my best to help you. To prove my good intention and honesty, I will not exchange the broken lock. I know that the love of God is exceeding great to all of us human beings. Finally, I hope that the peace of God that surpasses all minds will keep your life forever. Your Brother

After writing that letter I put it in my locker and left it as it was. I prayed and gave thanks to God for preventing me from being misguided by satanic thoughts.  I went home and hugged my wife as soon as she opened the door for me. She said, "Don't be afraid. If God is with us who can be against us? As for the stolen money, the Bible says, "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." (Ps. 37:25) God can meet all our needs since He is our Provider."

Two days later we got a surprise. One of my colleagues came to the office during my shift. That was unusual. I asked him, "What brings you now?" He said, "I'd like to talk to you." "What do you want to say?" I asked.

He told me it was better to go to a quiet place to speak with each other.  So we sat facing each other. He looked down and said, "I don't know what to say to you. I don't know what to do." I said, "Tell me what happened." He opened a small bag and showed me all the items he had taken from my locker. I couldn't believe my eyes . It did not occur to me that those things could ever be returned. I did not expect a man like him to he the thief. He was a religious man who used to

keep prayers regularly. He said: "Those are the things I took from your locker; please take them back and don't tell anybody. As for the money, I cannot pay you back right now since my children have been so ill and I had to take them to the doctor. I can pay you back on a monthly basis." I said, "You can take all these things. They are yours now. I did not lie when I wrote you the letter. God will compensate me for everything; you take the money. I am sure God will provide for everything.

 

Had I been dishonest, I wouldn't have left my locker open with a broken lock." He said, "I just have one question. I want you to answer me frankly. I responded, "Have I lied to you before?" He said, "No." I inquired, "What is your question?" He began, "You speak like Christians saying Lord, Lord. You use the same words and expressions that I often hear from Gergis the carpenter, my neighbor, who's a Christian."    I said to him, "In fact, when I discovered that my items were stolen, I had two options, either to repay aggression with aggression, and tit for tat according to the Hadith that says, 'He who dies without his money, he is a martyr,' and 'None of you shall he a sissy, just take your due rights and pay attention to nothing else.' In other words, I have the option regarding the way through which I can get back my belongings. The other option was not to repay evil with evil and not to avenge myself. If someone wants to sue me and take my tunic, I must let him have my cloak as well. Which of the two ways is better in your opinion?" He said, "The second option is much better of course." I said, "That's what I did. I behaved in a way so as to keep the bonds of love and cordiality, disregarding the source of that pattern of behavior whether coming from Islam, Christianity or Judaism. What counts is the behavior itself. If I found such a behavior in Islam, for example, I would have behaved accordingly without hesitation." He wondered, "From where have you got this? Where have you learned these concepts?" I answered, "I will tell you later. Now you are tense. Some time later when you take some rest, I will share with you, maybe after a couple of days or a month. If you are still interested to know, I will never hesitate to tell you."

Two weeks later, after he finished his shift, my colleague came to me and said, "Now I have simmered down and I am still interested to know the source of your teachings, as you promised." I said to him, "I will see you tomorrow to tell you all that you want." The following day, he met with me and asked me the same question. I said to him, "One moment." I took the Bible out and said, "lf you really want to know where I have learned all that, read this book." He said, "This is a Bible! God forbid!" I said, "Yes, this is the Bible and you are totally free to read it if you would like to know. You can take it if you want. If not, it is up to you." He took the Book and kept on turning it on both sides and looking at it in astonishment . Finally he took it and left. I said, "lf you encounter any difficulty, you can ask me.

For two weeks, he kept on coming to me with several questions. He continued to read the Bible till I noticed a big change in his life. His love of the Bible remarkably increased. One day, he said, "This book contains a great blessing. Since I started to read it, my relationship with my wife has gotten better and all our differences have vanished." I said, "Read more to know what you ought

to do." He absorbed the Bible quickly.

One day, he came to me and suddenly asked me to teach him the Christian prayer. He wanted to know what it was like. I told him that it did not have a specific form. "You can pray in any position using any style," I said. After three months he came and it was a big surprise to see him hugging and embracing me warmly. He asked me how he could be baptized. My friend accepted the Lord and he was a tremendous blessing to his whole family. I was glad to feel that God had really chosen me to work in His vineyard and to be one of His sheep. It was a privilege to be one of those who lead people, not to delusion and deception but to Salvation and Eternal Life. In the past, I used to catch people to bring them to destruction. How wonderful to work with the Lord, the Rock of ages, the Savior Jesus Christ.

For the first time, I began to feel that I loved my country and my people. I started to love forgiveness and tolerance. Really, I became a new creation. God used me to attract many souls to Christ, bringing back many sheep that had gone astray leaving Christ. I went through many experiences that detected the remaining parts of the old self in my nature. With the remaining parts of the old self came many attacks of Satan on my spirit and body as well.

 

I do not want to finish my testimony. Actually, it is an on-going testimony. As long as the Lord is working in me the testimony continues.

 

In a nutshell, I want to say that God has given me this life for free. If we consider any other options, we will find nothing but destruction, devastation and sin. God does not mention our sins anymore. We enjoy freedom since the Son has set us free. We have become free indeed. Life is Christ and death is gain. I am filled with that feeling for the first time in my whole life. In the past, death was an ugly and fearful ghost. I was afraid of the torture of the grave and the questioning of the two angels, etc . Now I say good-bye to you, my dear reader, till we meet in a new thrilling experience of the endless precious divine dealings of the Lord who is able to guard what has been entrusted to Him.

 

Yours Paul

    after 17.6.2006.

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