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Dinner With Muslim Friends

I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a number of Muslims over the past six years. Quite honestly, they are one of the hardest groups to share the Gospel with. Part of the problem has to do with their religion often being very strongly connected to their family background and culture. The other problem is their erroneous belief that the Gospels have been corrupted and changed from the original manuscripts. This usually stops any fruitful discussion dead in its tracks.

Experience has shown me that the best way to witness to Muslims is with your actions and then words. I’ve had much more success sharing the Gospel with Muslims I’ve been friends with because they are able to see the change that God has made in my life. So when I eventually get round to talking to them about The Bible and Jesus, they are much more open to listen. But you must show you are willing to listen too!

AN EDUCATION

One of the most memorable encounters I had was with a group of Muslim friends in an Indian restaurant. I’d built up a friendship with one of the workers at my local newsagents and he invited me out for dinner. We arrived at the restaurant in London where he introduced me to his friends for the first time. Three of the men were Muslims, originally from Pakistan. The younger of the three (we’ll call him “Abdul”) was very interested in the fact that I was a Christian and was open to dialogue.

I started off the discussion by asking Abdul about religion and his culture.

'What are the relations like between Christians, Muslims, and Hindus in Pakistan?'

'In some parts of the country they live peaceably,' he explained. 'But the conflict in the other parts of the country is really down to a lack of education.'

'That’s very interesting,' I said. 'I think the conflict in that region reveals a lot more about the heart of man. The Bible says it is desperately wicked above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). What do you think about that?'

He agreed with the verse, but wanted to explain the context of the conflict further.

He continued, 'Some Muslims today still regard some men as a holy. What happens is one holy man will pray one way and another holy man will pray another.Two uneducated men will see this and go back to inform their tribe. This is when conflict arises. Each tribe will adopt different prayer methods and then try to kill each other over who's right. It's very black and white, there isn't any tolerance.'

He looked at me solemnly to stress his point.

'So you see, if there was just more education, it wouldn't be a problem.'

I thought on this for a moment.

'I understand where you're coming from Abdul,' I replied. 'But the truth is that some of the most educated men in history are responsible for the most horrendous evil and conflict. In the 20th century, communist leader Joseph Stalin was responsible for millions of deaths. As a Christian, I believe what we really need is for God to change our hearts.'

At this point, all of the men around the table were listening in. Abdul insisted that a man must learn to be good by himself.

THE INJIL

As the conversation progressed, we spoke a bit about the Bible and translations.

'The Injil (gospels) were corrupted and changed by man,’ Abdul stated.

'If the Injil were originally given by Allah, why did he allow them to be corrupted?' I replied.

Abdul simply responded by saying that Allah promised he would never allow The Quran to be changed.                                                                                                                              

HOW TO COUNTER

This is a counterpoint I recommend bringing up to Muslims. According to Muslim belief, The Injil means the original Gospels of Jesus given by Allah. But Muslims believe the Gospels have been corrupted and changed from the originals. This presents a bit of a strange dilemma for them.

If they want to argue that Allah promised not to allow his word "The Quran" to be changed, you could ask why would he allow The Injil to be changed? Wouldn't that make him indirectly responsible for multitudes being "deceived" into believing Jesus is the Son Of God?

'As a Muslim, who do you believe Jesus is?' I asked.

'The words for Jesus and Moses in my language are Isa and Musa,' he replied.

Muhammed also mentioned there are approximately 144,000 prophets aside from Isa and Musa. By implication, he was saying that Jesus was only a prophet. So I asked him what he thought about what Jesus said about himself.

'In John 14:6 Jesus says, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'

I looked up at Abdul and shared more about the verse.

'Jesus is claiming to be the only path to God the Father. He Himself is claiming to be truth. He declares that eternal life is only available in Him. Surely if He was only a prophet this would be a terrible blasphemy?'

Sammy disagreed with me.

'What Jesus said was true for that time,” he said. “ I think Jesus is talking about a way of life.'

'But Jesus isn't talking about a way of life,' I replied. 'He's saying He is the life.'

Abdul thought for second.

'I’ve never heard that verse before,' he said. 

We spent the rest of the evening at Abdul’s house where our conversation moved into different areas. But I was certainly grateful I had the chance to plant a seed here.

LESSON LEARNED

This was a situation where God really used relationships in my life to reach out to people. I was already close with one of Abdul’s friends before. In turn, he had spoken to the others about me and told them I was a Christian. It was actually at their request that he invited me out for dinner. This gave three Muslims the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ in one night. That’s why I think building relationships can be an essential part of evangelism, especially with our Muslim neighbours.

Adam Brennan is a digital producer at Premier

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