My name is Tahir and this is my journey from Islam to Christianity.
Soon after arriving in the United States from Palestine 14 years ago, I married a nice Christian girl. She tried to become a Muslim to please me, but the more she did, the more I turned away from her. We had a child together, but the marriage didn’t last because it is hard to love when your heart is filled with hate. Hate is what I was taught growing up in Palestine; hate towards the Jews, the Christians and hate against the world. As a Palestinian, you are taught from day one that the whole world is responsible for our misfortune especially Jews and Christians.
After we divorced, my ex-wife told me that she had my daughter baptized. I was so angry that I stormed into the church, cursed at the priest who performed the baptism, and told him that he was going to hell because of it. I didn’t want my child growing up Christian. My unsupervised visitation rights were taken away because my ex-wife feared that I would kidnap my daughter and take her to Palestine. The courts agreed and now I don’t get to see her much anymore.
My next church experience was in college when a Muslim Arab girlfriend and I toyed with the idea of converting to Christianity just because it was a more lenient religion. We knew what we were doing was wrong and the punishment for apostasy in Islam is stoning, but we needed an ideology that would justify our sinful life. Because of an invitation from an Arab Christian girl from the collage that we both were attending at that time, we visited her church one Sunday. The Church service was full of joy, something I had never seen in Islam. After the service, a Bible and a book about the divinity of Christ were given to us. A few months later and then again on Christmas Eve we looked for a church that some Arab Christian friends from collage told us about, but to our surprise it was closed.
My friend, Khalil, and I used to get together and talk about life and the state of the world. At times we wondered about Islam and why things are such a mess in Muslim countries. We wondered if this religion that we barely followed by tradition was for real. But our wondering didn’t lead to immediate action.
I got married again. This time it was an arranged marriage was with a girl from Palestine. This took place after my family stood in my way of marring my collage girlfriend due to the fact that she wasn’t pure enough for them. I brought my new wife to the U.S. but found it hard to love her since I barely knew her. So, I was glad that my job took me from city to city. That way I could indulge in things unmentionable (including having girlfriends in every town) and not have to think about my situation.
Then September 11, 2001, happened. As the towers collapsed, the last bit of respect I felt for Islam collapsed as well. This catapulted me into an all-out search for Truth.
I was laid off from a very good job as the result of the economic fallout of 9-11. As I was online every day searching for jobs, "for some reason" I frequently landed in Christian chatrooms. One day I even found the Bible in Arabic online.
One late wintry night I found myself reading the gospel of John. I never trusted the Bible, and I was taught my whole life that the Bible is corrupt and has been changed. As I started to read I was astonished. As I began reading about Jesus and his beautiful, pure, sinless, holy, amazing, miraculous life I couldn’t stop. I remember reading the whole Gospel from start to finish. It was early in the morning when I finished reading. I was crying so much that I was worried I might wake up my wife and I didn’t want her to see me crying so that she won’t ask me why. A few days later, I logged on to my computer and "for some reason" looked for Arabic churches in the area. I then called one and the voice on the other end of the line told me that his dad was the pastor, but he had passed away. He gave me another number to call—a man named Farooq. This man is my current pastor and the person the Lord chose to lead me to himself. We discussed deep issues like Muhammad’s personality, lifestyle, his many marriages and his many wars. Farooq gave me a book he wrote that compares Islam with Christianity, complete with references from the Koran and the Bible.
As I began reading Farooq’s book, I was both shocked and fascinated. I looked up the Biblical and Koranic references—all of which were actually there—and couldn’t believe my eyes! I realized I had been deceived all my life! The main issue that grabbed my attention was the completely different way the two religions treat women.
I can’t pinpoint the exact day on which Farooq led me in a prayer accepting the Lord in my life as my personal Lord and Savior, but it was sometime in early 2002. I do remember the exact day I was baptized. It was the most incredible and scary day of my life! And I have changed so much since I accepted Christ.
I am free! I have found that there is no comparison between Christianity and Islam. Where I once had many rules to follow from the Koran and the Hadith, I now have a relationship with God. It’s so different. Islam is based on force, but Christianity brings so much peace and love. I am a completely different man now. I am committed to my wife and am learning to love her. Now, instead of partying, I read the Bible. I attend church and Bible study when I can. And I don’t hate Jews anymore.
I have been sharing my testimony and faith with pretty much anyone who comes in my way. I shared it with my family, co-workers and even people on the street. It didn’t go so well with my family especially with my wife who still refuses to accept the fact that I have converted. She thinks that I’m toying with this and soon enough I would wake up and come back to my senses. My family, on the other hand, tried talking me out of it through debating about Christianity and Islam, then through abandonment and ignorance, but finally they have come to accept me for who I have become, due to the good and loving relationship that we have. Were we still living back in Palestine I’m sure things would be different and they would disown me or even try to threaten me.
By the way, my friend, Khalil, has also rejected Islam completely and refuses to obey by its rules and commandments. He is living his life as a secular person away from religion altogether. I’m in continuous prayer for him to come to the Lord and get free from the evil one.
I gave my wife a copy of Farooq’s book, but she was offended when she read it. Please pray for her to know the Truth. I want to go to church as a family, but this is only a dream unless she accepts Jesus. Currently I attend Sunday morning church when conditions permit. My wife knowing where I go is constantly making up last minute plans to prevent me from going.
I get most of my spiritual "feeding" through reading the Bible alone and listening to pastors on the radio while I’m in my car or online.
I wanted you to know what the Lord has done in my life. If you’ve been in America for any length of time, you understand that Christians aren’t the ‘big Satan’, as you were taught."
I am proof that a life can change when Christ sheds light in the darkness. I hope you will be challenged to see and learn more of the Truth, wherever it is found — radio, TV, books, or online. May Jesus lead you in your search.
Your are welcome to contact me.