Give no offence, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God.(1 Corinthians 10:32). It is a fact that Muslims are generally very slow to turn to Christ as their Lord and Saviour, rejecting Islam to become Christians. How often do we, as Christians, stop and consider all the hurdles—the stumbling blocks—that Muslims have to overcome to commit their lives to Christ? Here are a few of them:
Muslims are taught that Mohammed is the final Prophet and the Qur’an is the final book, both superseding any previous person or book. Thus, to become a Christian is seen as regression and not progression. The Islamic law against apostasy in the Qur’an says that anyone leaving Islam is to be killed. Historical Christian Crusades are still an issue for many Muslims, who view them as an era of Christian oppression of Muslims, even though they happened eight centuries ago. (Some 200,000 to 300,000 Muslims were killed). Yet many Muslims do not realise that tens of millions of Christians have been killed in the last seven centuries. Present day wars waged by the “Christian” West merely entrench the atrocities of what happened during the Crusades in the minds of Muslims.
The Israeli-Palestinian issue is a major point of contention, as Muslims see Christians as standing for Israel and against Palestinians. This creates a massive religious-political stumbling block for Muslims to believe in Christ. Muslims often only see “nominal” Christianity – drinking, smoking, partying, Hollywood and all kinds of perversion in Western society – and think that is what Christianity is all about. Thus, to become a Christian is to become a bad person. Muslims have a complete misunderstanding of fundamental Christian doctrines, such as The Trinity, the divinity of Christ, Jesus as the Son of God, and God as Father, as well as the Crucifixion of Christ and His atoning work on the Cross.
- That God will reveal Himself to Muslims in such a way that they will overcome all stumbling blocks and believe in Christ as their Saviour.
- That Christians will build bridges and attempt to break down barriers when reaching out to Muslims.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17). Some Christian workers in South Africa estimate that in 2015 there were already about three thousand MBB in South Africa. Most of them are South African, but some come from countries in South-Asia and the Middle East, and fled persecution in their respective countries. There is clear indication that the number of Muslims becoming Jesus-followers is increasing faster than in the past. Some MBB still live as secret believers, even in free countries, such as South Africa, due to the fear of persecution, ostracism or even death at the hands of the Muslim community. Most MBB have had to leave their communities after committing their lives to Christ due to such factors. Besides persecution and ostracism, many MBB face other issues which need to be handled sensitively. Such issues include:
Anger and unforgiveness towards the Muslim community for the way they were treated. Guilt and shame as MBB try to come to terms with having gone against the wishes of parents (loyalty to parents is a strong value taught in Islam). Difficulty in deciding when to tell their families that they’ve become Christian, if they have not yet done so. The transformation of their identity from being a Muslim to being a Christian: Should they change their name, clothes and culture? Can they still eat Halal food and celebrate Eid with their families? Do they still belong to the Ummah (Muslim community), or do they belong only to the Christian community now?
- That MBB will have the courage to stand firm in their faith in Christ, regardless of the difficulties they face due to their new faith.
- That MBB will have the wisdom they need to deal with the issues they face.
- For entire Muslim families to become Christian.
- For MBB to start prayer groups and be bold and wise witnesses to other Muslims
And it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (Joel 2:28). In recent decades, an increasing number of Muslims have received visions and dreams of Jesus and subsequently become His followers. Visions and dreams are one of the most common strategies Jesus uses to reveal Himself to Muslims and draw them to Himself. More than 90% of Muslim Background Believers (MBB) testify that it was because of a dream or vision that they became a follower of Jesus. Such encounters are so personal and real that one can neither deny nor ignore them. This exciting phenomenon immediately reminds us of God’s promise in Joel 2:28-29.
- That God will continue to pour out His Holy Spirit upon Muslims all over the world, as was prophesied in Joel 2:28-29 and repeated in Acts 2:17-18.
- That the Holy Spirit will visit our Muslim friends, neighbours and colleagues, and they shall receive a personal revelation of Jesus, which they can neither reject nor ignore.
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.(Hebrews 2:14-15). In 2018, The Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr) falls on 10 June. The last ten days of Ramadan are deemed to be a special time of prayer, culminating in the Night of Power. In most places around the world, The Night of Power is celebrated tonight. This night is an opportunity for Muslims to gain closeness to Allah and obtain forgiveness of their sins and an elevated position in Jannah (Paradise). Muslims are encouraged to seclude themselves in a Masjid (place of prayer) for worship, to increase their recitation of the Qur’an, increase prayer, and spend much time begging Allah to fulfil their needs, both in this world and the hereafter. Muslims all over the world have an expectation of receiving dreams or visions during the Night of Power.
Invite your friends and family to join you for a time of prayer. You can organise your own 12-hour prayer watch from 18:00 to 06:00. People can take an hour, 15 or 30 minutes. Get as many people as possible to join you in your prayer watch. A WhatsApp chat group that will exist for 12 hours can also be very helpful to link people during the night of prayer. Pray-ers can simply use the words “Sign in” and “Sign out” during individual prayer slots. Refrain from sending pictures and long prophesies, and from promoting your own ministry. Delete the group after 12 hours.
- For Muslims to receive a revelation of the Fatherhood of God, and Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and be convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin, righteousness and judgment.
- For Muslims to experience the love of God and the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ when He died on the Cross.
- Take the book of 1 John and read it – even several times – during your prayer time. Proclaim the truths and promises of God, especially those that speak about Jesus Christ.