With Visions of Jesus, Islamic Extremists Turn to Christianity
'We used to worship in fear — now everything has changed,' says one Muslim convert
Muslim conversion journeys to Christianity can involve a dream or a vision of Jesus as part of the testimony of faith, as was true in recent reports about such incidents.
On March 15, Muslim extremists attacked a Christian pastor and his congregation at a church in Central Africa that is part of Bibles for Mideast, an underground ministry that operates the nondenominational Assembly of Loving God Church.
“There’s a big gap between the god I used to worship and the one I worship now.”
The Bibles for Mideast faith meetings occur in homes in the Middle East and surrounding areas. Many of those on the team are converts from Islam to Christianity. The church community that was recently attacked in Central Africa has been preaching to local Muslims — and apparently this has not been received well by some within the Islamic community.
“The enraged assailants, armed with rods and swords, charged at those gathered and managed to demolish the church as believers gathered on the third day of a 21-day period of prayer and fasting.” That’s according to a report from Minoo Hussain of Bibles for Mideast, Africa.
Ibn Yakoobi, one of the “more extreme and fanatic religious leaders” in the area, was among the assailants.
“At one point, Yakoobi attempted to kill Pastor Musthafa with his sword,” Hussain wrote on March 19.
The pastor was saved by a “huge warrior angel,” according to the account.
“Heavy rain and blustery winds unexpectedly formed with thunder and lightning, swirling around the church and surrounding area,” Hussain wrote. “Massive drops of rain fell on the attackers like stones, throwing them into disarray. Yet the believers stayed dry and protected from the downpour.”
Yakoobi had a vision after this occurrence in which he saw a man who showed him his “nail-scarred” hands. “He could also see blood-stained marks on his legs, and on the side of his chest,” according to the Bibles for Mideast account.
Yakoobi knew the man was Christ Jesus. Jesus told him: “I was brutally beaten, wounded, crucified and died on the cross of Calvary. After death, they pierced my side with a spear. But I rose from the dead. You are healed by my wounds. You are purified by my blood.” Jesus also said: “You have salvation by my death. And you have eternal life by my resurrection. Now I give you a new heart and new life. Be faithful.”
Yakoobi converted to Christianity. He shared this message with family and friends; and some (including some who attacked the church) put their trust in Jesus as a result. Christianity Today and Christian Daily both reported on Yakoobi’s conversion story, noting Yakoobi volunteered to help rebuild the very church he destroyed.
Other Christian converts from Islam claimed a vision directed them to Christ. The New York Times recently reported on a jihadi extremist and his wife in Istanbul, Turkey, who put their trust in the God of the Bible.
Bashir Mohammad, 25, fought on the front lines in the Syrian civil war for an offshoot of al-Qaida less than four years ago.
Mohammad’s cousin had started taking him to a jihadi preacher when he was 15 years old. That same cousin introduced Mohammad to Christianity years later, Patrick Kingsley of The New York Times reported.
Mohammad’s wife, Hevin Rashid, fell sick in 2015 after the couple fled war-torn Syria for Turkey. The once-extremist cousin, Ahmad, now lives in Canada and prayed for Rashid over the phone.
“An enthusiastic convert [to Christianity], Ahmad asked Mr. Mohammad to place his telephone close to Ms. Rashid, so that his prayer group could sing and pray for her health,” The Times piece noted. Rashid’s health improved in a few days; as a result, Mohammad started to meet with a Christian missionary.
“Reading the Bible, Mr. Mohammad claimed, made him calmer than reading the Quran. The churches he attended, Mr. Mohammad said, made him feel more welcome than the neighborhood mosques. In his personal view, Christian prayers were more generous than Muslim ones.”
Dreams apparently played a role in this couple’s conversion to Christ.
“For Mr. Mohammad and Ms. Rashid, perhaps it was their dreams that sealed their conversion,” The Times piece also noted. “As the couple began to consider leaving Islam, Ms. Rashid said she dreamed of a biblical figure who used heavenly powers to divide the waters of the sea, which Mr. Mohammad interpreted as a sign of encouragement from Jesus.”
“Then, Mr. Mohammad himself dreamed Jesus had given him some chickpeas.”
Now Mohammad hosts other converts in his living room for weekly Bible readings. “There’s a big gap between the god I used to worship and the one I worship now,” he said. “We used to worship in fear. Now everything has changed.”