About four years ago, Adnan made the dangerous decision to openly question the Koran in Lebanon. He had read the entire Islamic text multiple times and studied it carefully, but many verses still puzzled him.
When he took his questions to a local mullah, a Muslim theologian, expecting to find peace in the cleric’s answers, the mullah told him not to be bothered by such questions. After accusing Adnan of having an evil mind, he ordered him to leave the mosque and pray at home.
“I was angry and confused,” Adnan said. “Why were there no answers for my questions?”
Adnan was growing restless in his pursuit of sacred truth; even his internet searches failed to provide answers.
Hoping to uncover something new, he opened his Koran once more. That’s when he came across a verse about Isa, or Jesus, whom Muslims consider to be a prophet but not the Son of God.
“This verse says that [Isa] held mud and blew with his breath in that mud, and it turned into a bird and flew,” Adnan said, referring to the 49th verse in the third chapter of the Koran. “I thought, ‘This prophet is not a human being; he must be [special] or a partner with Allah because he is a creator. He created a bird from mud.’”
Adnan searched the internet again, this time looking for information about Jesus Christ. After visiting several websites, he found contact information for a local pastor. “At last,” he recalled thinking at the time, “I might get answers to my questions.”
Adnan called the pastor and was invited to visit his church. But accepting the pastor’s invitation in an area controlled by the Islamic extremist group Hezbollah came with considerable risks.
Though Lebanon has a sizeable Christian population, Christians frequently face persecution, and Muslims who seek to learn more about Jesus as the Son of God are specifically targeted. People living in Lebanon’s urban areas are generally more accepting of other faiths, but Christians outside these cities, especially those living in majority-Muslim areas, face significant opposition.
Adnan chose to accept the pastor’s invitation, and during their time together the pastor answered his questions clearly and without hesitation. He also explained what Christians believe about Jesus.
The conversation touched Adnan deeply. “It was like I was holding heavy things on my back and suddenly someone took them off my back,” he said. “I was very happy.”
Still, Adnan wrestled with the thought of leaving Islam for Christ. As he lay in bed that night, he called out to God. “God, please help me,” he prayed tearfully. “I want to know the truth. I need your help. Just give me a sign that I should follow you.”
After falling asleep, Adnan had a vivid dream in which he heard Christ call to him — “I am the way, the truth and the life.” As Adnan awoke, his eyes again filled with tears as he placed his faith in Jesus Christ. “That was the first time in my life when I woke up and I felt peace inside,” he said.
The following Sunday, Adnan attended a worship service at the pastor’s church. As he returned to the church each week, he got to know members of the congregation well. “Believe me, it was the first time that I knew I had a family,” he said. “All the brothers and sisters here share in your troubles.”
Soon, Adnan’s relatives and friends began to see changes in his behaviour. He had always been angry with his wife and children, at times smashing dishes in a rage. But now, the fits of rage had stopped and he showed love toward people he once hated. “Before, when I was Muslim, I only loved Muslims,” he said. “I didn’t accept others.”
Learning of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross and of his resurrection from the dead has helped Adnan view people differently. “I love my enemies,” he said. “I discovered [Christ’s] love. His love is unlimited.”
Adnan’s new faith had the opposite effect on his family, however. When his wife heard that he had left Islam, she started sleeping in another room with their three children, believing she was forbidden to sleep in the same bed as her infidel husband.
She also told her parents and Adnan’s father about his conversion, complaining that he was teaching their children about the Bible. In addition, she told them that he had shared the gospel with neighbours and customers at his brother’s shop, where Adnan repaired and filled gas cylinders.
That was more than Adnan’s brother could take. He told Adnan that if he returned to the church, he could no longer work at the shop. Adnan’s father responded more harshly, telling him that if he went to church again he would kill him. Adnan accepted his brother’s decision, prayed for his angry father and trusted in God.
“Because I knew Christ,” he said, “I was not afraid to be killed, but I was afraid for my children.”
Ready to Die
For his family’s safety, Adnan attended church every other week, taking a different route each time. Though cautious about church attendance, he grew bolder in his witness.
“Because my life had changed, I really wanted others to feel how I feel,” he said. “I really want others to know Christ.”
Today, Adnan remains committed to studying the Scriptures, growing in faith and reaching Muslims with the gospel. His wife tolerates his Christian faith, but their marriage and other family relationships are difficult.
Adnan asks for prayer that his family will endure the challenging environment they live in and that his relatives will come to know Christ.
Despite an uncertain future, Adnan remains filled with the same peace he found years ago when he placed his faith in Jesus Christ. “I don’t care if I die,” he said. “I now know where I am going. Now I know there is no death with Jesus, because he promises those of us who follow him that we will have eternal life.”