I grew up as an ordinary Muslim who used to pray on Fridays at the mosque. I had the fear of God in my heart at that time, especially close to exam times. Other than that I felt that I loved God but was not close to Him.
One of my best friends as a boy was Ahmed. We spent much time together, and we used to discuss many things about Christianity until the day came when he told me that he had found the living God. After that I began to notice changes happening to Ahmed but I couldn't understand what was happening.
I was shocked and sad at the same time because I believed that my friend would go to hell since he had become Christian. One day I spoke to Ahmed and expressed my frustration. He asked me three questions:
- "What if you die now, where will you go?"
- "Do you think God loves all people to the same degree? Or does He love believers more?"
- "Do you think that god loves you and knows you in a very intimate and personal way?"
That last question really touched me. I borrowed Ahmed's Bible and started reading the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Chapter Five. I was so touched by each word I read. I felt a very intimate relationship between God and myself. I had the feeling that my heart was getting washed, but I could not explain what I was experiencing at the time. To my surprise Ahmed asked me to remain with Islam. He told me to pray honestly during the month of Ramadan, and that God would reveal Himself as long as I was sincere in knowing Him.
As I browsed through the Quran I felt nothing was touching me personally. It was all meaningless. When I read the Bible however, it was quite the opposite experience. The love of God was touching me tremendously in a very personal way.
Time passed and the day came when my sister gave birth to a baby girl. Two days after her birth the baby had a heart attack and the doctors advised my sister to take her home because very soon she would die. Immediately I remembered the verses in the Bible about Jesus the Healer. I head the Bible and began to pray, "Isa, if you are the God, then heal this sick baby." Immediately the baby opened her eyes. God had healed her!
I responded by hurrying to Ahmed's apartment to share the good news. I told him that I wanted to know Jesus more and more. The love of Jesus overwhelmed me. I was not just a new person but a new creation!
Later I had a vision of Jesus during the hour of crucifixion. I saw Jesus on the cross with his eyes full of love looking me in the eyes and telling me three words, "I love you." Since then I realize that Jesus loves me personally and has redeemed my life.
(To learn more about Hassan, read his story in Secret Believers by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen.)