His best friend, David Wood, who led Nabeel to Christ, when both were students at Old Dominion University, has put together some interesting photos of Nabeel, on his Twitter feed.
David and Nabeel loved putting together YouTube videos, in a rather poking fun, and often sarcastic, manner, that were intended to prod and encourage Muslims to reconsider their faith and investigate the Christian faith. Ah, these guys, were a bit younger then, and it shows. The first video below is the final product of one of their sessions, but if you want a good chuckle, you should take a peak at the second video, with the blooper outtakes. Go to the 4:30 minute mark, for the handshake part, if it gets to be too much for you. What a couple of knuckleheads, but I appreciate their desire for Muslims to come to know the Truth. Be sure to view their last YouTube sessions together, filmed this past summer, with some excellent teaching. Nabeel Qureshi will be sorely missed.
Nabeel Qureshi is a Christian apologist, from a Muslim background. Please pray for him. Nabeel is dying of stomach cancer, and the immediate prognosis is not good.
Nabeel grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, having parents grounded in Ahmadiyah Islam. He became a follower of Jesus, after becoming friends with David Wood, an atheist turned Christian, while both were students at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia. He wrote the best-selling Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, after pursuing a medical degree and advanced theological studies in Christian apologetics. Nabeel is a speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
Fellow Veracity blogger, John Paine, met Nabeel at an apologetics conference a few years ago, and John wrote a great series on Islam, based a lot on what John learned from Nabeel.
Nabeel’s critics from Islam believe that his stomach cancer is a sign of God’s judgment against him, for turning his back on Islam, and becoming a Christian.
Please pray that God might work a miracle, or otherwise, finish strong.
Within a few weeks of the 911 attack on the World Trade Center, Karen Armstrong, a former Catholic nun, who now specializes as a scholar of comparative religion, and very popular author, wrote an essay for TIME magazine. In the essay, Armstrong makes the case that the terrorists who destroyed the twin towers did not represent the true face of Islam. The prophet Muhammad, she argues, sought to heal the rifts between different, warring tribal factions in 7th century (A.D.) Arabia. In portraying true Islam as a religion of peace, she concludes:
The vast majority of Muslims, who are horrified by the atrocity of Sept. 11, must reclaim their faith from those who have so violently hijacked it.
I have been listening to an audiobook by a Catholic popularizer of contemporary scholarship, who specializes in Islamic history, Robert Spencer. Listening to The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion has been a challenging experience. Spencer notes that while some Koranic texts do suggest that in Muhammad’s early career, the prophet did seek to promote peace, the story of his later life suggests a more complicated, and much darker story. According to Spencer, the theology of jihad, or “struggle,” was used to justify violence against Jews, Christians, and others who resisted Muhammad’s message towards the end of his prophetic career. This tradition is still appealed to today by the followers of extreme Islamic groups, such as ISIS, who are demonstrating their commitment to erase Christian believers from much of Syria and Iraq.
“Reading this, I doubt Armstrong actually read the book. Or maybe she just wants to make sure no one else reads it.” (retrieved from jihadwatch.org).
So, which narrative is correct? Is Islam a religion of peace, or a religion of violence?
Strangely, I know many Christians who never give much thought to the study of religious history, considering the matter to be of little consequence to their daily lives. Yet I would contend that such ignorance provides little consolation to the families of those who lost loved ones during the 911 attacks, or to the millions of Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS, looking for sanctuary in Western countries in our current time.
Lurking behind this debate over Islam is the debate among Christians as to the history of violence even in the Bible. I have been studying the Book of Joshua for the past few weeks, and I am struck by the message that God gave to Joshua to drive the Canaanites out of the land, and to claim the ancient land promise given to Abraham and his descendants (see these Veracity posts on Christian Zionism). Here are some vital questions for believers today:
Is the Book of Joshua a justification of ethnic genocide, or was it a directive by God to execute judgment against the wickedness of the Canaanites? Would God ever command Christians to do the same today?
What does it mean to “trust God” in the face of evil and wickedness, and to what extent are believers to engage in combating such evil and wickedness?
What should be our priority, sharing our faith with non-believers, or doing what we can to prevent or restrain acts of violence?
Such questions require thoughtful consideration by Christians. The questions are complicated because people are complicated. For example, while it is surely true that Islamic extremists threaten with acts of violence, the vast majority of Muslims regard their faith as essentially peaceful. Islam is not a monolithic movement. But should our view of Islamic extremism cause us to love our Muslim friends and neighbors any less? I hope not. I hope that we as believers would make the sharing of our faith, the Good News of the Gospel, our highest priority.
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.
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.