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A Journey From Islam

Nabeel grew up in Virginia Beach, VA.  His parents were from Pakistan and devout Muslims.  Nabeel’s dad left his native country in the 70’s and joined the United States Navy, driven to provide a better life for his family.  Nabeel lived a very protected childhood, physically, emotionally, and socially.  His father taught him that Islam was incorruptible and shared his vision for a global Islamic future.  Nabeel’s mother was from a line of Islamic missionaries who played a large part in raising her siblings and teaching them the way of Islam.  She did the same for her own children.  By the time Nabeel was 6, he had read the Qu’ran, learned to pray 5 times a day, and fully embraced a life of Islam.

Growing up, Nabeel shared his beliefs with anyone who would listen.  At school, he was too Pakistani to fit in well with his American friends.  “There was always a barrier,” says Nabeel.  His parents warned him of being too “Americanized,” dressing less conservatively, cursing, drinking and spending too much time with friends.  Because of these cultural differences, Nabeel had no friends and later was also launched into adulthood alone.

During his first year in college, Nabeel was horrified to watch the terrorist attacks on 9/11.  “I had to learn the truth about my faith once and for all,” says Nabeel.  “I had to figure out how to reconcile my Islam, a religion of peace, with the Islam on television, a religion of terror.”  One day Nabeel met David at school but Nabeel had no idea David had been studying the Bible for the last 5 years.  When Nabeel saw David reading his Bible, he started asking him questions.  This led to a 3-year conversation that got Nabeel thinking.  “Everything I had learned about Islam was based on tradition,” says Nabeel.  “What hit me the most at the time was that perhaps everything I believed was a lie.”

Nabeel began reading the Bible and comparing it to the Qu’ran.  He also read reams of information on Muhammed and found one violent story after another.  Everything came to a head on the day before college graduation.  “I did not know who God was; I did not know what the world was; I did not know who I was,” says Nabeel.  “I had no idea what to do.”  Accepting the Christian message would not come without a high price.  Muslim families are based on honor-shame.  “What would this do to my family? The whole family bears the shame,” says Nabeel. 

On the night of December 19, 2004, Nabeel pleaded with God for the truth.  In that instant, God gave him a vision of a field of hundreds of crosses.  After the vision disappeared, Nabeel, dismissing what he had just seen, told God, “That didn’t count!”  That very night, God gave Nabeel a symbolic dream that pointed to Christianity as the truth.  For months, Nabeel sat on its meaning.  Then on March 11, 2005, God gave Nabeel another dream; this one so clear it didn’t need interpretation.  His friend David stood in the doorway of a room that contained a feast.  Nabeel said, “I thought we were going to eat together?” David said, “You never responded.”  Nabeel knew he needed to respond to the message of the Gospel but still would not.  On April 24, 2005, Nabeel received his third dream: stairs leading out of a mosque. Finally on August 24, 2005, Nabeel got on his knees and asked the Lord into his life.

He had to tell his parents.  “My family is from one of the most peaceful sects of Islam,” says Nabeel. They were broken-hearted and for months they tried talking him back to Islam.  The Lord told Nabeel to stay in medical school but to prep for ministry.  After Nabeel graduated from medical school, he decided to go into ministry full time where he was a youth pastor for a year.  His family took this as a personal affront.  “I had a calling,” says Nabeel.  “After I became a believer, immediately I had to tell people.”  In 2010, Nabeel launched his own evangelism and apologetics ministry before becoming involved with Ravi Zacharias International.

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