THE JOURNEY OF A TURKISH MUSLIM TO FAITH IN JESUS
I was born in Turkey and raised a Muslim. My beliefs, culture and identity were Muslim. I had never doubted the Muslim faith. I believed in the Quran and the final prophet with all of my heart. I was not pushed to become a Muslim. I believed Islam was correct. So I studied and sought out followers of other religions to learn why they did not believe in Islam.
Surprised to Learn That Christians Will Go to Hell
When reading the Quran, I was very surprised to find a verse that tells us Christians will go to Hell. So those who follow Jesus, the Word (Kalimat) of Allah, blaspheme. The Quran says, “They do blaspheme who say: ‘Allah is Christ the son of Mary.’ But said Christ: ‘O children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ Whoever joins other gods with Allah―Allah will forbid him the Garden and the Fire will be his abode…” (Qs 5:72). I did not understand how this could be! Didn’t God send Jesus? It seemed Jesus was unable to finish His mission as a prophet. God could have rescued Jesus from His crucifixion. So, why did God send Him?
Christians Need Help Because They Are Confused
I felt sorry for the Christian community. I thought I should study Christianity, so that I could help them. I bought an Injil (Gospel) and started reading it. My goal was to find mistakes in it. I read several chapters in the Injil and discovered that a man’s body belongs to his spouse, and the woman’s body belongs to her husband. This was the reason I married! I liked this verse more and more. Apparently the Bible took the position that women are not second-class citizens.
I started to realized I might not discover mistakes in the Injil. On the contrary, I kept learning more and more interesting things about Christianity. Because of this, I stopped reading it.
Several Turkish Muslims Became Christian
One day my friend told me that one of his friends talked to him about Jesus. So I contacted that Christian and asked him if I could attend a church meeting. When I went to the meeting, I didn’t believe that there were really Turkish Christians. How could a Turkish person become a Christian? In this country, it was easy for them to study Islam. I believed Turkish Christians had weak social connections. They couldn’t be independent, so they got involved in church activities.
I actually enjoyed the meeting because I could ask questions and discuss religion. The second week, I invited my good friend to the meeting.
One day, my Christian friend invited me and my friend to his house to watch a film called “Jesus the Messiah.” While watching the movie, I expected Jesus to say, “A prophet will come after me and you must believe in him.” I was surprised that Jesus did not say that.
Is it true that Jesus is the Messiah?
I realized that the Christians were extremely different from what I thought they were. I decided to go back and read the Gospels. I soon realized that I had to believe in either Jesus or Muhammad. Jesus said that He is the only way, but Muhammad said that he was the final prophet. “Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6).
I asked my friend if he could show the places where Jesus was predicted in the Law, Psalms, and the Prophets in the Bible. He gave me several chapters like Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Psalm 2. I read all of the chapters. All of them were about the arrival and the crucifixion of Jesus.
At this point, I clearly saw Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. However, I was afraid that I was making an eternal mistake. So I prayed and asked God for help.
A Longing to be Cared For and Making a Mistake.
Every person believes other religions are wrong. Intelligence is not enough when seeking God. I thought when I pray and tell all this to God, I will no longer be worried about it. I was sure people could make mistakes but God could not.
This was my prayer: “God, I want to know You. I want to serve You. I do not seek heavenly comfort, or respect from other people. I just want to know You. I do not want to make a mistake. Please show Yourself to me so that I will know You are God.”
Receiving Jesus As My Answer
Several weeks after my prayer, I had a life changing experience. When I read the Bible, the answer to my question was right in front of my eyes. I asked for several signs from God if I was to follow Jesus. And He gave me every sign. In 1996, I decided to follow Jesus. Since then, God has always added to my faith in Him.
Used with permission. The original article is published at Isa and Islam: A Religious Dialogue