"Love One Another!" 16/2010 → Eternal life
The house was silent; you could have heard a pin drop. Everyone was asleep. I got into bed, put out the light, and suddenly heard a voice say: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
I rose from my bed and went slowly to where the voice was coming from. On reaching my sister’s bedroom, I opened the door and saw my sister sitting on the bed with a book in her hand. She was reading. Tears streamed down her cheeks. On seeing me, she took fright and hid the book under the pillow. I asked her to let me see it, but she replied with a categorical “No!” “Why not?” I asked. “You’ll only tear it up!” she answered. I promised her I would not, and she passed me the book.
It was a small book printed on thin paper and comprising many pages; it had the title Al-Ahd al-Djadid (New Testament). I noticed that the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke was marked. My sister had just been reading it. I wanted to read the book for myself and asked my sister if I could borrow it. After thinking it over, she agreed.
I read that strange book, page after page, the whole night through. I felt something stir in my heart. My soul began to feel lighter as I took in the words I was reading. I began to be filled with a great love for Christ, whom I had just got to know. I felt an irresistible need to know Him better; then I prayed and entrusted my life and myself to Him.
That night I decided I would be a spiritual guide for the sons of my country. I would show them the way of the Gospel; the way that leads to salvation and eternal life. I contacted a group of friends and began discussing spiritual matters with them. I tried to persuade them that there was nothing harmful in studying the Gospel; that to do so did not mean departing from their true and sincerely held belief. Did religion not mean faith in God, in His angels, His books, and His prophets? To study the Bible and to come to know Jesus was no sin for a Muslim. To do so was not to become an apostate! On the contrary: by reading the Bible we could strengthen our faith in God. My friends agreed with me. From then on, we began to read the Gospel together and study its message. I could see this interested them and that they wanted to continue our meetings.
I read them the first verse of the Gospel according to St. John: “Fi-l-bad’i kana al-kalima…” (i.e. “In the beginning was the Word,” even though the Arabic word “kalima” is grammatically feminine). I read on, and the more I read, the more they wanted to hear. They listened intently, showing no sign of boredom; and as they listened with rapt attention, I could feel God’s words penetrating their hearts and souls. Soon it seemed I could hear the whisper of angels and that the face of Christ himself was about to appear!
By God’s will, good soil can yield good fruits. My friends were that good soil upon which I sowed good seed; and these seeds sprouted up and brought forth good fruit. They received God’s word with joy and enthusiasm. Without hesitation they confessed acceptance of God’s word, believed in it, and wanted to spread it among their relatives and friends. The Holy Spirit did what Jesus promised He would do. He cleansed their hearts of sin and weakness.
Not long after this, I began to experience great hardships. People accused me of having renounced Islam. They showered me with insults that I would not dare repeat. But nothing can stop me from walking in the Way of Life. Without fear I take my mission to the people. I have decided nothing will deflect me from my purpose of spreading God’s word.