Nabeel is a friend and colleague of mine; my review of his book is therefore ‘biased’ in the sense that I do not have a studied distance by which to evaluate it. But then again, that is also part of why I feel it is important to share my impressions of the book: knowing not only the power of Nabeel’s story in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, but knowing Nabeel personally, I can share with great confidence that this is a true and inspiring story. Also, this book is not a scholarly tome on the development of science in Australia in the 1800s, but Nabeel’s autobiography. In this case, perhaps a review from someone who knows and trusts Nabeel is more helpful than a third person perspective. The friendly, open-hearted, and genuine tone of his autobiography is not the work of an editor, but is a reflection of Nabeel’s consistent character and great integrity.
To start with, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is very well-written. The chapters are short, page-turning accounts of the significant moments of Nabeel’s life and eventual decision to follow Christ. Nabeel has a great sense of humor and an eye for detail, making each chapter fun to read. The definition of Islamic terms is educational and clarifying. The selected topics present the primary issues of both the Muslim and Christian worldviews.
In addition, the book contains links to additional content from expert contributors. You’re getting a lot of value for this one book! And Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus addresses, with wisdom and grace, topics of pressing urgency and great relevance – Muhammad, Jesus, pluralism, immigration, the meaning of 9/11, truth, and the very meaning of life. Finally, you’ll be reading the story of a man with an interesting background – how many people do you know who were raised by Muslim immigrants to America, became a trained medical doctor, and now serve as an internationally respected Christian apologist? (Perhaps there are many doctors who were raised by Muslim immigrants to America – it is the third part that is so unique).
Here are what I see as some of the main take-aways from Nabeel’s book:
- From the inside, one’s own religion or worldview appears to be beautiful, satisfying, and filled with meaning. By reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, you will gain an empathetic understanding of how good Islam seems to its Muslim adherents. If you broaden this empathy to consider atheists, Christians, Buddhists, and so on, you will gain a priceless understanding of our diverse and pluralistic world. As Nabeel writes, “The mystical beauty of Islam that enchants billions cannot be grasped by merely sharing facts” (17).
- To the outsider, other ways of living can seem strange or ‘foreign.’ In this unique account, you will understand both how strange Christianity and America can seem to Muslims and immigrants, respectively. You will also get a better picture of the ways in which judgment and exclusion are serious matters with real, personal costs. The greater understanding you receive from Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus can remove fear and build friendships.
- The power of a friendship rests, in part, on the trust that is built up from hundreds of interactions where we learn that the other person is for us, not against us. And this makes it possible to dialogue about difficult issues, like religious disagreements, in a spirit of love. It raises a question of immediate application: How can you build new friendships with people who believe completely different ideas and live in a very different way than you do?
- The historical approach to religion is invaluable. The journey from one faith to another is related to our friendships, experiences, and emotions – but it is also connected to reason, truth, and the search to really know find and know God. Nabeel explains clearly why he found the evidence for Christianity to be so persuasive. Everything about Nabeel’s family, culture, and childhood prepared him to defend the honor of Allah and the glory of Islam. Read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus to learn why, despite all of these factors, he decided to become a Christian.
- Jesus is compelling. We need more than truth – we need meaning, beauty, and fulfillment – and we need a God who loves us enough to find us. Nabeel’s story explains how, at the end of his search for God, he found God reaching out to him. The dreams that God provided are a powerful if unique part of what led Nabeel to make a dramatic conversion. As Nabeel writes at the end of the book, “All suffering is worth it to follow Jesus. He is that amazing” (Kindle 4247).
In a world of division and misunderstanding, Nabeel’s own life serves as an important bridge between Muslim and Christian communities. How can we ever understand one another without listening to each other’s stories? By reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, you will gain a deeper appreciation for both Islam and Christianity, and a renewed understanding of how each religion is captivating for its adherents.
Further, I hope this book puts to rest the idea that Christianity is built on warm fuzzies as a fundamentally a-rational ‘faith.’ No. Authentic Christianity compels millions of people, every year, to make tremendous sacrifices for Jesus because it is a reasonable and true faith – and because people experience a personal, loving encounter with Jesus himself.
It is a curious story – why did Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, a formerly devout Muslim, decide to follow Jesus? Read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and find out for yourself. I strongly recommend this excellent book if…
- You are a Muslim, but you find it baffling why Nabeel – or any Muslim – would decide to follow Jesus instead of Muhammad.
- You are a Christian, but unsure why Jesus is God or you are lacking in passion to follow Jesus with everything that you are.
- You are interested in truth and the question of who God is (or if God exists) – and you are willing to courageously follow the evidence wherever it may lead.
- You want to better understand Islam and Christianity in order to break down the barriers of fear and judgment that so unnecessarily divide our world.
You can get a copy of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus at Amazon.com and many other bookstores.
(Additional content from Nabeel is available for a limited time. See the book’s website for more details).
To listen to part of Nabeel’s story, here is a talk he gave on November 4, 2013 at Georgia Tech: