God Story
Drawn by love

Danyal’s* family never imagined how deeply he would delve into Islam. Nor could they imagine how God would use that journey to draw Danyal to Himself.

“I started seeking God when I was 15, because I liked a girl who was wearing a hijab (a Muslim head covering for women),” Danyal remembers. “She made me curious to know more about Islam, so I started going to the Sunni mosque and learning to read the Quran.”

 

Kicked out

Though Danyal’s parents identified as Shia Muslims (a sect distinct from the more widely known Sunni Muslims), the family didn’t go to the mosque and rarely prayed. However, when Danyal’s father found out that Danyal was pursuing Sunni Islam, he was furious. He threw away all of Danyal’s books about Islam, including his Quran, and harshly berated both Danyal and his mother during the argument that followed. “I would rather you be a Christian or even a Jew rather than a Sunni [Muslim]!” yelled his dad. He left the home, only to come back with an axe and threaten them, before kicking Danyal out of the house.

“I was angry at my dad for abusing my mum verbally and, at other times, physically,” Danyal says. “But I also felt sad and a deep sense of pity for him.”

 

Looking for the purpose of life

Two weeks later, Danyal left his hometown to attend university. “My goal was to do my best to find the truth and to find myself, the reason for my existence and the purpose of life in an impartial way,” Danyal recollects.

At the age of 19, he joined an Islamic society where he took seminary classes about interpreting the Quran. He recalls spending 10 days in the mosque 24/7. “But the more good I tried to do, the further I felt from God,” Danyal explains.

“I would read the Bible for the sake of arguing against Christian workers,” he admits. But instead of helping him find a goal in life, Danyal’s quest into Islam led him to hopelessness, to the point that he considered suicide.

Amid Danyal’s despair, God sent a couple of Christian workers into Danyal’s neighbourhood. They made him feel at home, serving him tea and showing the love of Christ to him through practical means. Their kindness and hospitality opened his heart to learn what they believed, and he asked to study the Bible with them. Little did he know then the story God was unfolding in his life.

 

Drawn By Love

Danyal remembers hearing 1 Corinthians 13:13, comparing faith, hope and love. “Islam says that faith is the greatest,” Danyal comments, “but in the pages of the Quran I mostly encountered torment and fear.” Hearing that the New Testament puts love at the summit, Danyal wanted to read more about what the Bible had to say.

His interest came with a cost: As it grew, his friends noticed and backed away. Nevertheless, as he continued to study, he saw God’s active involvement in the Old Testament, and it gave him a desire to have a similar relationship with God. Like most Muslims, he had believed that the Bible had been changed, but now it seemed to point to the solution for his soul’s hunger.

For a couple years, Danyal continued practising Islam while also studying the Bible. “I didn’t give up; I kept reading and seeking,” he says. As he did, God revealed His love through His people. “I [had] never seen that kind of love before,” Danyal recalls. “I know my family loves me, but when I’d do something bad, they would get mad fast and punish me.”

 

The gift of God

He describes how it was Jesus’ unconditional love that drew him in at last: “He loved me; even though I denied Him, even though I was hostile to Him, He loved me. What kind of love was this? … Love was Jesus.”

On a Saturday evening in August 2018, Danyal became a believer through reading Ephesians 2:8: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” It was then that he found the forgiveness of God, something all of his Islamic practice and study had not granted him.

(The original article was shortened. Read the full article here.)
* Name changed for security reasons.

Source: Christar

 

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