By Khadija Butt
Before I begin, I would like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for saving me, and I declare that all that is written below accurately describes why I became a Christian.
I was born in the West, far away from my ancestral country of Pakistan. My dad moved to the West at an early age, and there met my mother who was a Catholic and they married. As she was a 'Person of the Book' my family back home were not too disturbed by his choice, although they naturally would have preferred a Muslim woman. Little do they know that my mother left Catholicism long ago before meeting my father, and now praises Islam above her previous faith. She also happily agreed to let us all have Muslim names, as well as banning Haram food at home etc.
Given that my parents come from different faiths, my parents did not conduct any formal religious education with us, like some families did. When I went to Pakistan, the Imam would come and teach us about Islam, and teach us to recite Quranic verses because we didn't receive much religious education at home. My parents, who both started practising their faiths at a young age, wanted us to begin taking religion seriously when we were mature and old enough to understand the complexities of faith and religion. Looking back now, this is not an approach I will follow with my children, but it was their will for us. That said, their approach filled me with a sense of profound responsibility. I knew that I needed to inform myself about Islam, and other faiths before I would become a religious person. It filled me with a sense of purpose, and I looked forward to the day in which I would be old enough to submit my life fully to God in a meaningful and knowledgeable way.
As I prepared myself through reflection and contemplation, Islam shone out like a beacon of truth among Christianity, Judaism and other religions. It was filled with noble people. They were the most zealous believers, who prayed, fasted, and dressed modestly. It was obvious to me that these were the followers of the true God. Not only did I have a spiritual affinity to Islam, but I had a strong political affinity to Islam. 9/11, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, all strengthened by my sense of Muslim brotherhood, or Ummah. I then reached 18, and went to University. I was now an adult, and my time to submit myself to God had finally come. That is why one of the first things I did when I reached University was join the 'Islamic Society', where I could be among my Muslim brothers and sisters and where I had access to many books and good guidance. My father was happy to see that I told him I joined the Islamic society, and I too was proud to be entering fully into what was my religion from birth.
As soon as I joined the society I read many books and pamphlets distributed by the society. There were books about the miraculous eloquence of the Quran, the scientific truth contained in the Quran, pamphlets about the intifada that showed the destruction and tragedy found in Palestine, and books about the final judgement. I devoured these books, read them intently, and yet questions loomed in my mind. These books, while they were fascinating for my young mind which was yearning to submit to God, also had an air of dubiousness. The sources they quoted seemed unreliable, and many statements were unfounded. I began to feel that I had to sift through the information to get to the truth.
While I was going through the process of evaluating these claims, I was also suffering from a severe depression, which dragged me through frightening psychological depths. It was a difficult period, made worse by the fact I was far from home. I was terribly scared, as my family had a history of depression and similar disorders, I thought I was suffering from a genetically-inherited disease that I was powerless to fight against. In this period, a campus evangelist approached me one day, asking me if I would be interested in a Bible Study class. I had been approached by similar evangelists before, and had previously declined on other occasions. That day, I had some spare time on my hands and thought it could be interesting to hear what he had to say. I was curious.
We read the Bible together and he asked me for my thoughts on the passages and parables we were reading. I didn't think much of them, to be honest, and soon forgot about them all together after our classes finished.
A few months later, however, they all came back to mind when I was going through a night of mental torments and anguish. I was tense, and was repeatedly getting panic attacks. It was frightening, and for a moment I thought I'd rather die than continue with this condition. Then, in total desperation, I instinctively cried out to Jesus. What then happened to me was without doubt the most beautiful experience in all my life. My mind was cleared and freed completely from my disturbing and restless thoughts and replaced by a deep peace that I had not felt in many years. The next morning, before waking up, I dreaded the possibility that the relief I experienced the night before was all just a dream, but to my joy, it was not.
I realised that I did not have 'inalterable psychological problems', but rather 'alterable spiritual problems'. Demons, or other dark spiritual forces, had tormented me and I was freed from them from one moment to the next. With joy I can share that they have never returned to dominate my life.
The release was so powerful that I started reading the Bible again, and all of a sudden all those verses I read with the evangelist came to life. I realised how truth can really be hidden from us when our hearts are hard and unwilling to hear. However, despite my joy at what Jesus did for me, I still was worried about becoming a Christian. What would my parent say? And my friends? Then I read this verse:
"To whom much is given, much is expected." (Luke 12:48)
It dawned on me that I cannot conveniently take what Christ had given to me without acknowledging him publicly. I cannot be a "closet Christian".
I put my trust in Him and started studying the Bible daily. I needed answers for a lot of questions and doubts that I had. "Was Christ really God, or just a prophet?" "Was the Bible corrupted as Ahmed Deedat says, or is it the incorruptible and unchanging Word of God?" "Could God really be One God with three elements to him?"
I researched and prayed a lot. On countless occasions, I cried out, "Almighty, Ruler of all Heaven and Earth, if I am wrong please guide me back to Islam, but if I am right please give me confidence in my faith in Jesus Christ".
Time after time God gave me the answers I needed. Many came from the Answering-Islam website, to which I will always be grateful. They are true servants of Christ, and blessed children of God.
It is not easy to take the precarious road from one faith to another. Often, we journey in secret, and without any companions. Even God seems far, as we don't know which is the true God and which isn't. It is a road where everyone is treated with suspicion, after all, the wrong decision could lead to eternal damnation. I now know that I have come through to the other side. While I continue my daily spiritual pilgrimage towards Christ, I know that turning back is not an option.
I can look at Islam now and say, with confidence, certainty and clarity that this is not a religion from the Almighty. The Quran is just a book, and Muhammad was just a man. No longer do I fear Allah, for I know Allah does not exist. There is only Christ, and Christ alone. All others are just Anti-Christs, which I must daily pray against, for it is written:
"Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the Anti-Christ- he denies that Father and the Son. No-one who denies the Son has the Father also." (1 John 2:22)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." (1 John 3:16-18).
It is my prayer that whoever reads my testimony would also have the eternal life that the incorruptible, unchangeable Word of God promises us. Amen.
If you have further questions, you are welcome to contact me.