JOURNEYS OF INSIGHT
"Never said I to them aught except what You did command me to say, to wit, 'Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord'; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when You did take me up You were the watcher over them, and You are a Witness to all things.'"
He was born in the Land of the Mid-night Sun close to the Artic region which had been home to the longboats; and centuries of pagan ritual, and the worship of many gods had been part of his heritage before Christianity had entered the Scandinavian peninsular.
He had been born into a family which had strong ties and his father was a Christian minister. As time went by he, too, felt the urge to serve God in this way, but his thoughts were of those who had so little knowledge of Jesus Christ and his way, and so it was that he determined in his heart to become a missionary.
He followed his chosen pathway, becoming more and more involved with the Church. As time went by he taught Sunday School, then moved on to study at a Christian seminary. After completing his studies, he married a beautiful young woman, also the child of a young Christian minister of religion. His young wife was one of the younger children of a large family, and most of her siblings had already become either Missionaries or Evangelists.
The religion they followed was fundamentalist Protestant which had been imported some years before from America. There was no half-way. Jesus was the Son of God and God; Trinity was a condition of belief. They lived impeccably moral lives neither smoking nor drinking; no gambling or laxity in sexual matters clouded their system of belief. They were true to all that they knew of the teachings of their Master.
After graduating from his Theological course, he, and his wife, were delighted to receive word that they had been selected to go to Pakistan as missionaries. How very different it would all be! No more ice and snow; no more endless days, or days woven into night. The cool crisp air would give way to the rising heat. They could hardly wait to begin their ministry, certain that the myriads in this pagan land were in need of the gospel.
Their arrival in Pakistan was everything they had imagined, with vast numbers of people whose ways and lives were so very different to theirs. However, they soon began to find that the Islam they had come to supplant was not going to just go away. Surely there were people who did not understand it, but still they clung to what they knew. Of the knowledgeable Muslims, they found that there was something very real, almost tangibly so. The faith and obedience to Allah and their religion had bestowed on these Muslims a beautiful graciousness which reminded them of the stories of Jesus. How were they going to reach these people?
After some time had passed, it became patently obvious that unless they, also understood Islam, they could never hope to convert its followers. So it was that this young man, against the better judgement of his wife, went to a Muslim teacher and learned a little of the meaning of Islam. However, he obtained a Quran translated into English, in which he was proficient. "Now," he thought, "I shall be able to find a weak link which will enable me to reach these people!"
He became drawn to reading the Quran, and instead of finding the weakness he had envisaged, he found passages regarding Jesus (a) and Christianity, which prodded his conscience and caused him to reach for his Bible to refute them. However, his Bible gave him no comfort, rather showing the many areas which were contradictory. "How," he questioned, " could I have not seen this before?"
In particular, the Quranic injunction struck forcibly:
"They do blaspheme who say: 'Allah is Christ son of Mary.' But said Crist: 'O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.' ..."
And again in the following verse:
"They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a trinity: for there is no God except One God. If they do not desist from their words, verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them."
"Where was his Biblical help? Oh yes, he had been instructed well in the Pauline gospel, but what of the words of Jesus himself? "You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve."
"The first of all commandments is 'Hear O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord; and that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. and with all your strength."
"Yes, but Jesus does not say he is not God," he defensively thought. So, to the Bible again: What of the rebuke he gave the young ruler. "Why callest thou me Good? There is none good but One, that is, God."
(Mark : 10:18; Luke 18:18)
If he saw himself as God, why did he say to Mary Magdalene,
"..... but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God."
His studies intensified and as the months passed by, his findings brought him to one conclusion - Jesus had never taught that he was God or that there was a Trinity. He had come to full belief that Jesus (peace be upon him) was indeed a Messnger of Allah and that the original Message had never changed, that indeed God is One. This was the starting point.
Thus it was that after four years as a Christian missionary to Pakistan, Yusef, as he is known to Muslims, put aside his mission easy, but long and hard from the point of view of his kinfolk, but Allah is Most Gracious, Most Merciful, and Insha'Allah this is just the beginning of this strory.
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