I recently completed “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi, a devout Muslim who encounters Christianity. Qureshi speaks fondly of his Islamic upbringing, taking the time to educate readers on the foundations of Islam, defining terms and sharing quotes from the Quran. He explains the deep influence of paradigms and the internal clash of East and West as a second generation Pakistani American. Qureshi states that “people from Eastern Islamic cultures generally assess truth through lines of authority, not individual reasoning…and leaders know best…Islamic cultures tend to establish people of high status as authorities, whereas in Western culture authority is reason itself….(in the East) correct and incorrect courses of action are determined socially, not individually…this positional authority yields a society that determines right and wrong based on honor and shame. Rational authority creates a society that determines right and wrong based on innocence and guilt…much of the West’s inability to understand the East stems from the paradigmatic schism between honor-shame cultures and innocence-guilt cultures.” To obey your elders was paramount. Muslim immigrants view the West as a promiscuous domineering immoral culture, and because it is called a Christian culture the two must be intertwined.
Qureshi also outlines the central differences and points of contention between Christianity and Islam which essentially worship the same God, Allah. For example, our entrance into Heaven is not dependent upon salvation through Christ but by our good deeds outweighing our bad deeds. Qureshi finds the common practice of “foisting Christian beliefs on strangers” problematic and believes that “effective evangelism requires relationship”. He details his path to experiencing Jesus, beginning with a college friendship in which their differing faith systems were a source of discussion and debate that were never greater than their mutual love and respect for one another. Years, and many insightful and challenging conversations later, Qureshi began to apply methodical critiques to both Christianity and Islam. A decision that would eventually erode his devotion and dessimate his bond with the family he so loved and respected. This a poignant dialogue on the difference between faith and religion, and one young man’s cry to Allah to reveal His truth, so that he may honor Allah with his life.
I highly recommend this book to educate and to combat the prejudice that is born of misinformation, fear-mongering, and to re-humanize the faces of Islam.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers