Bahasa Melayu

The Testimony of Siti Zainab


My name is Siti Zainab. I am a Malay Muslim woman from Southeast Asia. I was born into a Muslim family, very traditional in its ways and strong in their adherence to the religion of Islam. From the very beginning, I was given an Islamic education that was solid and deep, thus was my knowledge of Islam from a young age.

As part of my basic Primary School education, I was also made to attend Muslim madrasah (Islamic religious) schools, and started reading and reciting the Quran early, absorbing the key precepts & fundamentals of (Sunni) Islam, from qualified religious teachers (ustazahs) and various other qualified Islamic teachers. There I learnt to fear and obey Allah s.w.t. and also to follow the teachings and example of Prophet Muhammad (especially those found in the ‘Valid Hadiths’). I also could recite the Quran wholly, much to the delight of both my parents and both of them were quite pleased and happy with the formation of my Islamic devotion. In brief, I had experienced a solid foundation and deep religious formation as a devoted and committed Muslimah 

I never neglected my religious duties to do the Solat (or Namaz) obligatory prayers five times a day, and religiously fasted the required 30 days during the Ramadhan ‘holy month’ of the Muslim calendar. I practised the Islamic ‘pillars of faith’ dutifully, without being told and/or reminded by anybody, particularly by my Muslim parents! In short, nobody doubted or questioned my religious upbringing, commitment and experience as a devout and God-fearing Muslimah (female Muslim), whatsoever.  

Even so, as I continued to carry out the pillars of Islam fastidiously and faithfully. After years and years of fulfilling and carrying out the observances of Islam as a Muslim I had not questioned or doubted the significance or importance this ‘offering of worship’ ['ibadah'] was for me. Yet, as time went by, all these works proved increasingly to be ritualistic chores, meaningless going-through-the-motions that lost all meaning and attraction to me! Were these rituals and routines describing the best kind of relationship that God/Allah can establish with Mankind – that between a Master and a slave??  Also, rituals that are done just to collect more merit points/brownie points that would possibly increase my chances with Allah to get into Paradise??

I had many, many such questions and doubts like that I kept in my heart to myself but I did not raise them up because I did not want to hurt the feelings of my fellow-Muslim friends. I also remembered how harshly I was scolded, reprimanded and prevented from asking these sincere questions by my Islamic religious studies Teachers!

Nevertheless these Questions lingered on in my soul and my thoughts, and grew as I matured further in Age into my High School years! As I developed further into adulthood, the Islamic obligatory rituals increasingly became shallow, empty and even dead deeds. They were not the meritorious and deeds of blessings my ustazs and ustazahs (religious teachers) so vainly tried to teach us about.   

That did not mean that I had not tried hard enough! I actually attempted many times to focus my attention on what was ‘beautiful and pure’ behind each act of ibadah (worship), nevertheless the realisation of how shallow and empty these Islamic actions were could never be shaken off..! The questions still remained; Was this actually the right and best way for mankind to be related to GOD?

After completing High School, I gained admission into University and into a Course of my preference. Whilst in University, I also increased further the search for the answers to my questions of Life and the emptiness the Islamic Religion had offered me, mentioned above. I increased my readings and research until I discovered a Book entitled “Appointment in Jerusalem. This Book was written by a Danish lady, and it describes her deep spiritual struggle and search for meaning and spiritual enlightenment and satisfaction in her religion. I was very drawn to its contents as it was very similar indeed to my own spiritual struggle and quest!

I was not a little surprised when I discovered that this Danish lady had obtained the realisation that her own relationship with GOD could be directly and spontaneous, without going through the motions of religious rituals and prescribed ritualistic formulations. I learnt that mankind could relate to God freely through even a personal and direct relationship with Him. That is, we could be related with the Creator-without all that religious ritualism, directly and personally, even as a Child relates to his/her own Father! This is a direct, personal and dynamic relationship. Therefore it means that mankind can now get to know God personally in the same sense as a Father and his Child.  

Could this be the kind of spiritual relationship that I was looking for all this while? In my University classes there were also other Christians, who were kind and helpful. Yet, I did not mix closely with them, and only observed them from afar. I was trying to figure out if their faith and relationship with God was in line with what my struggle was about. Or were these Christians also having a shallow and meaningless ‘experience’ or ‘knowledge’ of God like I was as a Muslimah!

Even though these Christians were strong in their faith, they did not try to evangelise me or preach to me Christianity. It was only after many months had passed, that I finally inquired about their religious and spiritual experiences. They were intrigued that I as a Muslim, wanted to discuss religion with them, Christians.  However, I really respect them for not trying to ‘sell their religion’ to me. On the other hand, we were able to sit down together and discuss about our religious and spiritual struggles openly, as equals and as mature adults.

It was through the interaction with these fellow university students, that I acquired a better understanding about what Christian teachings were all about, as well as a clearer understanding of the Book Appointment in Jerusalem".  Nevertheless, for 2 whole years in the University, I did nothing about Christianity. I still wanted to search within my religion of Islam about the true relationship between God and Mankind, and to compare that with the teachings of the Gospel. During those 2 years, my Christian classmates were very patient with me and my questions, sometimes, my questions were silly and shallow, other times, they were complex! Nevertheless I was very impressed at the Christians’ courtesy, kindness and sincerity.

After the 2 years, and further into my quest, I finally decided to embrace and accept the authentic teachings and message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since that time, my prayer life, worship, fasting and good deeds have all been greatly enriched and blessed by Almighty God many times over. I have since come to realise that  Man is not made just to function like a ‘Robot’, existing in a relationship with God/Allah merely like that between a Master and a Slave!!    

On the other hand, the message of the Holy Gospel of Christ states that –all peoples that receive the Way and the Truth of God, they shall be given a brand new relationship with God, and the right to be known as “Children of God”, as it is written in the Holy Scriptures and taught by Sayidina Isa A.M. himself:

“But to all who received Him, He gave them the right to become the Children of God, to those who believe in His Name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, not of the will of men, but of GOD.” 

                        John 1 : 12-13.

After being blest by the Lord, as His ‘child’, my life began to change – for the better. This caught the attention of my Family members. They finally came to know about my Christian faith and being a follower of Jesus Christ as taught in His Gospel. At that point, it was a little difficult for them to accept me as a follower of Jesus Christ — Islam is a grossly intolerant religion towards its followers that reject it, I remember undergoing a time of trial, tests and tough obstacles during that phase of my life.

In spite of all that, the Lord GOD provided me with the strength and patience that was sufficient to endure and undergo the bittersweet initial reaction of my family members. I had embraced fully the fact of Jesus Christ as my Redeemer, the Living Word (Logos in Greek, Kalimatullah in Arabic; cf. John 1:1-5, AQ Surah 3/45, 4/171) of GOD, into my life.

I reckon that they are truly ignorant about what becoming a follower of Jesus Christ actually is. The Quran does not have a full account of the life and ministry of Sayidina Isa Al-Masihie. Jesus the Messiah. However the Gospels in the New Testament has a complete and comprehensive account of everything significant that Sayidina Isa A.M. had ever said and did! 

Today, Praise God, Alhamdulillah, the situation in my family is very much improved. Most importantly, I now possess the assurance of a real and powerful relationship with a loving God, unlike before, when all my good deeds or amal saleh were inadequate to assure me of a good and acceptable relationship with Allah, even though I strove to be an excellent or even a good Muslimah. No Muslim ever knows or is assured about what or when is ever good enough with the God of Islam! Now, as a follower and believer in Jesus Christ and his Salvation, I have a relationship with God that is far more blessed and better than that of a Slave and her Overlord – as Islam teaches, because as a slave, we are never sure if ever our overlord is pleased with our service or submission! 

Today, as a child of God, I now possess the confidence and the eternal assurance regarding my relationship with God, that was based upon the loving gift of my Redeemer Sayidina Isa, who offered the perfect kiffarat [the atoning sacrifice] on my behalf. Now, the Spirit of God Himself has showered every good and wonderful spiritual blessing from His bounty into my life, as both His child AND His willing servant.

I would like to invite you to be healed from your spiritual uncertainty, confusion and lack of eternal assurance regarding your life in the Hereafter (Akhirat), and to come and experience and to know for yourself the incomparable spiritual blessings that the living God would bestow you now. I myself have no regrets whatsoever about the decision I have made, to follow and remain faithful to God’s living powerful Word, Sayidina Isa, the Messiah, for today as well as for tomorrow.

Your Friend, Zainab.


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