A friend of mine asked me today if I knew someone doing evangelical work by the name of Nabeel Qureshi. I vaguely recalled the name, and doing a little digging on the Internet discovered that Nabeel Qureshi had grown up in his high school years in Virginia Beach, Virginia in a Muslim family. My friend’s older brother was at one time very good friends with Nabeel. Nabeel would come over and visit and play video games. My friend recalls Nabeel leaving the house terribly frustrated because he kept losing all of the time.
Nabeel’s father was a member of a persecuted Islamic sect in Pakistan who brought his family to America for the purposes of religious freedom. In gratitude to the opportunities given to him in the United States, Nabeel’s father joined the Navy, eventually bringing his son and the rest of the family with him to the Virginia Beach area. According to his story,Nabeel described himself as being a very devout Muslim.
An aside: I would like to know if his religious parents had let him play video games or if he just snuck out some nights to play on an Xbox or whatever (rather badly) at his friend’s house, but that will be something to talk about if I ever meet Nabeel…
Anyway, by the time Nabeel entered his freshman year at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia, he thought of himself as a fairly competent Muslim evangelist. Sincere Christians would come up to him and ask him if he knew that Jesus was God. Nabeel was well equipped to respond and demonstrated that the average Christian had absolutely no clue how to respond to his logical argument that Christian belief was nonsensical and could not even be supported by the Bible. No Christian he ever met could provide a satisfactory explanation of the Trinity. It all sounded ridiculous to him.
Christians simply could not answer his questions…
That is, until he met a sophomore named David Wood. Unlike most Christians he had met, Nabeel found David at one point reading his Bible in his free time. Furthermore, David had actually studied apologetics. So when Nabeel tried to stump David with how corrupt the Bible really was, David responded with much of the same arguments that my fellow co-blogger John Paine knows about regarding the reliability of the Bible.
Nabeel had met his match. He and David became fast friends and they looked at the claims of the Bible and the Qu’ran together. Through their debates with one another, it was their friendship that kept things in check as they learned and shared a lot of hard things with each other. Eventually, Nabeel’s mind was opened to Christianity, but he was fearful about the cost. After experiencing a vision and several incredible dreams, Nabeel finally gave himself over to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Some ten years later, despite the terrible costs to him and his family, Nabeel Qureshi has dedicated himself to the ministry of Christian apologetics, particularly engaging in debates with Islamic apologists. Apparently, Muslims who are motivated by their own missionary interests love debates. These debates can get testy at times, but I find that the interchange of ideas and arguments have challenged me to dig deeper in the Bible myself so that I might be better prepared to answer the type of questions that Nabeel had back in his college days at ODU. As Nabeel has matured in recent years, he has also done some teaching with some introductory videos on Islam and at Biola University, where he received his masters in Christian apologetics.
Today, Nabeel has published his first book, a detailed look at his inspiring conversion, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. Nabeel has recently joined the staff of Ravi Zacharias ministries.
Hear Nabeel’s testimony:
In his testimony, Nabeel tells about witnessing a debate between Mike Licona and Shabir Ally about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, held about ten years ago at Regent University. This debate helped convince Nabeel of the intellectual integrity of the Gospel message. Shabir Ally is one of the most engaging Islamic debaters today, very well liked by his Christian counterparts, despite their differences. Mike Licona is probably one of my favorite Christian apologists today, ably defending the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a winsome way. If you live in or near Williamsburg, Virginia, we hope that there might be a great opportunity to see Mike Licona in action with Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelburg within a few months (stay tuned for that). I highly recommend Mike.