‘The Christians were cursed, but their love influenced me’
Siddique’s story | A servant of Jesus offers me tea
“I was born into a fanatical Muslim family in Lahore, Pakistan. My father was the mosque leader, and I was the youngest of six children. He taught me to read the Quran out loud at the mosque. His desire was to raise me as a good Muslim child and a good Muslim leader.
At the same time, my father never said anything good about the Christian faith. He said Christians were the worst creatures. They believed in magic and drank alcohol. They were hugging and kissing in church. In my father’s mind, the Christian Bible was corrupted, and Jesus was not worthy to touch the sandal of Muhammed. Christians were dirty and a cursed people.
In 1981, I saw an advertisement for a Bible correspondence course. I felt shocked. The Bible was corrupted! I wrote to them, saying I wanted to see their religious book. Mostly, I wanted to prove that my father was right, and they were wrong.
I received 25 Bible lessons. But I didn’t get a good impression of the Bible stories. It was in Urdu, which is not the divine language, so it seemed man-made. I didn’t get inspired. I put the certificate in my bag and forgot about it.
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Some months later, my elder brother found it. He said, “What is this?”
I felt terrified. I could not say a word. He said, “Your father is teaching Islam, and you are studying blasphemous Christian things! How will we survive in this society? You are going to ruin us!”
My father became very angry, and I felt terror and guilt. I repented in front of them, saying I would never do it again. Then, at college, I joined the Islamic Student Front. We were thinking about how to get Kashmir back from India, then raise the Islamic flag, and the whole world would turn to Islam! I also joined the Pakistan Airforce, and married my cousin Fozia, a staunch Muslim lady.
In June 1996, I was having my lunch at the Airforce mess and a thought came into my mind. What if I were to go to the Christian church to teach Islam? It would glorify Islam! After my lunch, I went to the nearest Christian church, and knocked at the door.
He said, “I am a Christian.”
I said, “But you are such a nice person.”
A man came out, and looked at me in my strict Islamic dress. I told him I wanted to invite him towards Islam. If I didn’t, he would be in hellfire forever. I also said that his Bible was corrupted.
The man stayed calm. He said, “Wait a minute.” He came back, carrying a Bible. He said, “I know you think this Bible is corrupted, but I think it is the living word of God.”
I don’t know what happened to me. I said, “Okay, I’ll take it.”
I took the Bible home, wrapped it in newspaper, and put it in a secret place. If anyone found it, I could be killed. After two or three months, I felt curious to read it. I took it to a lonely place, and read the book of Genesis. The words were new to me, and it was not very interesting, so I put it back in the newspaper. I did that a few more times, but each time I had no understanding. I went to the mosque and repented, praying to Allah to forgive me.
In 1997, Fozia became very unwell. She asked me to go to the market to get cumin seeds and tea. I found a shop where a fair-coloured man was sitting at the counter. He gave me the items I asked for, and then spoke to me in an unusual way, “Don’t worry about the money. When your wife gets healed, please come back, and have a cup of coffee with us. It will be free.”
I’d never heard of that before. I felt inspired in an amazing way. Nobody gives items for free. I asked the shopkeeper his name. His name literally meant, ‘Servant of Messiah.’ Then he asked me if I wanted tea. But as Muslims, we cannot take tea from Christians. We would be cursed. So, I said, “Are you Muslim or Christian?”
He said, “I am a Christian.”
I said, “But you are such a nice person. You are generous and respectful. I need to tell you that, as a Christian, you will go to hell.”
He stayed calm. Then he introduced me to another Christian family, and I went to their house. They welcomed me in with open arms.
Their love influenced me. It made me want to go back.
At first I felt reluctant. Their bodies were under a curse! But I went inside, and we sat together, and they offered me tea. But I could not take it from them. The curse would come on me, and Allah would punish me. I said, “You are amazing people, but I am worried for you. You will go to hell. Your religion is not good!”
I know that my voice was harsh with them, but their voices remained gentle with me. The man explained to me that they were not scholars, and they did not want to argue with me, but they wanted me to know their house would always be open to me. Their love influenced me. It made me want to go back.
A week later, I went to their Christian church with them. I will tell you more of the story. But first I want to say that it was that family that influenced me. It was their humility and welcome. Sometimes a person’s silence can be the biggest thing. The next week, I went to their church with them, and later I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. I will tell you about that in the next part…”
This is only the first part of Siddique’s story. Click here to read the second.
Siddique’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.