Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

September 19, 2017 by

Seeking Allah Finding Jesus book cover

Nabeel Qureshi, a well-known author and Christian apologist, died last Saturday from stomach cancer. Ann Morrissey reviews his book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – which details his conversion from Islam to Christianity – and shares her thoughts about Qureshi’s life and legacy.

The tragic irony of Heather Heyer’s death in Charlottesville on August 12th disquieted me. Heather, a tender-hearted, forthright legal assistant, the antithesis of a bigot, repeatedly stuck her neck out for the underdog, for anyone, in fact, she felt was misunderstood. She did not limit her battle against injustice to North Carolina’s immediate issues. Not so long ago, Heather put her constructive finger on widespread destructive feelings when she posted a link to the video: “If You’re Scared of Islam, Meet a Muslim.” Precisely.

You may not be scared of Islam and you may find it dubious to befriend someone just because he is a Muslim, but neither objection negates that the most effective way to overcome the seemingly ubiquitous polarization of Muslims and Christians is for us to meet each other honestly and openly.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, a New York Times bestseller by Nabeel Qureshi, offers this opportunity to both groups, particularly to those of us who have not personally crossed from our world into the other. Nabeel’s own story breathes life into both faiths. Born a Muslim in the West, Nabeel grew up in America and Scotland in the eighties and nineties. His depiction of the multi-layered richness of his devout Muslim family pays tribute to the strength and wisdom of Muslim traditions. Allah is the very air Muslims breathe and Muhammad is Allah’s ever-present prophet.

As a five-year-old Nabeel begins to read the Quran with his mother and to memorize it – a necessity for devotional prayers. An early surah (chapter) that he learns is number 112, one of his mother’s favourites. Muhammad proclaimed this surah to be so “weighty and consequential” that reciting it is like reciting one third of the Quran. Its essential content? God is not a father, and he has no son.

The best way to overcome the polarization of Muslims and Christians is to interact with one another.

When I read this, a startling chasm gaped between Nabeel, a Muslim, and me, a Christian. Without God the Father giving his son to rescue me from the just punishment I deserve for my wrongs, the cornerstone of my faith disintegrates. I found myself floundering in the presence of Nabeel’s impersonal Allah, since my faith hinges on an intimate relationship to God, my father, and to Jesus, his son. Although essentially other, God the father willingly invites my familial intimacy.

Nabeel’s Muslim faith rests on his devotion to Allah, his deep respect for Muhammad, his recited prayers, and his dedicated memorization of the Quran in Arabic. Although arresting, these differences grounded my understanding of the Muslim faith and interestingly deepened my respect for Muslims.

Nabeel further clarifies Islam by chronicling his childhood and adolescence with warm, painstaking detail. As a Muslim growing up in non-Muslim countries, Nabeel knows he is set apart and often feels distant, even from his friends. He does not necessarily comment on the differences between Islam and Christianity. He does not need to; they are readily recognizable.

While at university, Nabeel unwittingly befriends a Christian, David, and treats the reader to a distillation of their intriguing, intense sparring: Islam and Christianity crossing swords. Nabeel’s unrelenting hunger for the truth about God drives him into these probing discussions.

Nabeel claims, however, that if he and David had not developed a trusting friendship, such a meaningful exploration of their faiths would never have happened. And here we come full-circle to Heather Heyer’s video link, except that Nabeel and David notch up the necessity of meeting someone who disagrees with you to developing a genuine friendship with that person.

When you pick up this book, resolve to digest Nabeel’s story from beginning to end. No backing out halfway. It is an especially enriching read for Muslims and Christians since Nabeel focuses on these two faiths, but Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus resonates with anyone hoping to better understand those who live differently.

Strikingly, as I wrote this review, Nabeel Qureshi, who suffered for a year from a virulent stomach cancer, died aged thirty-four on September 16th. He has in the last years shared his faith with thousands through public appearances, writing, Facebook posts, and vlogs. Nabeel’s last message on September 9th poignantly pleads: “As you consider my ministry, I hope it leaves a message of love, of peace, of truth, of caring for one another. Our God is a God of love.” Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus testifies to this, but more, Nabeel’s very life proclaims the loving God he so passionately believed in.


About the author

Ann Morrissey photograph

Ann Morrissey

Ann Morrissey lives in Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in England, with her husband, Dave. They delight in the English countryside...

Read Biography
View All Authors

Recommended Readings

View All

You Might Also Like

View All Articles
View All Articles
  • Hello Ann, I am Muslim who read Nabeel Qureshi's book. I have written a response to his book in an effort to help bridge the gap between Islam and Christianity. If you get a chance please do look into my book response: A Believer's Response to Nabeel Qureshi's, Seeking ALLAH, Finding JESUS: A Devout Muslim EXAMINES by Nabeel Waseem

    Nabeel Waseem
  • Thank you for this review I have read all of his books, I think,there was 3. Each one was great. His legacy will live on, and I'm sure thru his books more Muslims will come to know Christ. I was deeply saddened to,hear of his passing. People all other were praying for his healing. But God in His sovereignty decided to take him home. Let's continue to,pray for his family. His wife Michelle, daughter ayah, and for the salvation of his parents and sister, so that his parents and sister will reunite with Nabeel one day.

    Emily Russo.