This review was written by an ABEFC member who has relationships with many foreign and American Muslims.
Since 9/11 our media have paid more attention to Islam, and the vast majority of their stories appear in response to sickening acts of terrorism. But many of us frequently interact with gentle, friendly Muslims who are horrified by what extremists do in the name of their religion.
Nabeel Qureshi was raised in such a Muslim family: they loved each other, loved their faith, loved people around them, and loved America. Nabeel’s dad was in the U.S. Navy and—apart from their roots in Pakistan—the Qureshis were like many other military families. The Navy moved them every few years (Scotland, Connecticut, Virginia), and in each location the family sought stability and friendships in school and church—which for them meant finding a mosque.
The Qureshis were devout believers, raising their children to love the stories and teachings of the Quran and other Muslim writings, and to represent Islam well to those around them. For the first third of his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel helps readers to understand this way of life and why he loved it. The remaining two thirds of the book describes his difficult personal journey from Islam to Christianity.
In college, a friendly classmate challenged Qureshi to compare the historicity and teachings of the Bible to those of the Quran, of Jesus to Muhammad; thus began a long, hard intellectual and spiritual road. From what he’d learned, he was sure that the case for Islam was a ‘slam dunk’—that the tenets of his faith would prove unassailable in comparison to the ‘fairy tales’ of his friend’s Christianity. Because of Qureshi’s family and culture, and because of the depth of his faith, he neither wanted nor expected to find historical or moral problems in the beliefs and practices of Islam.
Qureshi devoted several years of persistent research to this challenge and encountered numerous troubling facts: the bibliographic unreliability of Quranic manuscripts, the violence and sexual immorality of Muhammad and his followers, the glossing over of historical inaccuracies in Islam’s stories and traditions, the contradictory teachings of major figures who spread the religion, and Islam’s distortions of the Christian Bible. Muslim writings mention Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. They also say that Jesus was a great prophet—not God incarnate—and that He did not die on the cross or rise again. The historical identity of Jesus was crucial to Qureshi’s quest. Also crucial was Qureshi’s friendship with his college and graduate school friend, David Wood.
Although Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is primarily about Querishi’s years-long pursuit of ultimate eternal Truth, it is also about the persistent love of his Christian friends. Many Christians regarded him with fear or suspicion, but David Wood and a few others treated Qureshi with love, respect and patience.
Qureshi’s book is a poignant account of a dangerous, costly pursuit of answers, and of excruciating choices. Choosing Jesus cost him everything he had loved most—before he loved Jesus even more. His Muslim family and friends rejected and despised him, and some even called for his death. In the decade after his 2005 conversion, Qureshi’s life was blessed with new family and friends, and then with fruitful ministry. He wrote several more books and served effectively through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries for four years. In 2016, he was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer, which claimed his life on Sept. 16, 2017. Nabeel Qureshi, just 34, left a wife, Michelle, and their two-year-old daughter, Ayah.
While readers of this book will be engrossed in Qureshi’s dramatic story, they will also learn a lot about Islam’s religious, political and cultural traditions. If you’ve ever wondered ‘why those people think like that,’ you’ll find many answers here. You’ll also learn crucial differences between Allah and the one true God, between Muhammad and Jesus, between the Quran and the Bible, between near-truth and ultimate Truth.
While I discovered much I hadn’t known about Islam, I was especially grateful to learn from Qureshi and his friends just how to approach many (but not all) Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In my numerous relationships with Muslims here in Colorado, I expect to rely heavily upon what this excellent book has taught me. I heartily recommend that you enjoy reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi.