How do you approach a Muslim?
Think about this, 20% of the Muslims in America are Americans who have converted from other religions or from being non-religious. This means that 360,000 Americans have converted to Islam. Most of these conversions come from our prison system. Muslims do a lot of recruiting in our prisons and they also do a lot of proselytizing in our colleges through the Muslim Student Association.
Islam in our country is not benign, they are not just looking after their own, they are evangelizing and proselyting our young and vulnerable. This is just one more reason to address the Islam issue before it is too late.
The first question is how to you approach a Muslim? The answer is the same as you would reach others. You start by building relationships with them. You have to show an interest in their lives. Of course your primary interest is their eternity, but you will not reach them until you build a relationship with them that is based upon a true interest in them as a person. You should show your interest by asking questions about their lives, not just religious questions, but questions about their families, their interests, etc. You would ask similar questions to anyone else you were getting to know.
Once you develop a relationship you can start asking questions about their culture and their belief system. They do have a different culture and belief system and it is natural that you should be interested in learning more. It is important that you show genuine interest when you ask these questions.
The Bible says “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Islam teaches that Muslims are not to be friends with Christians. It is a powerful thing for a Christian to show genuine interest in becoming their friend.
Dr. Ergun Canter, a former Muslim, wrote, “You may be the first Christian friend that a Muslim has ever had. You need to understand that there are layers of suspicion and doubt that must be cut away, especially from those immigrants who have a caricature of Christians as hateful, selfish, and openly sinful. It may take time to bridge the gap.” He goes on to say “Often taking an interest in their lives is the best open door. Ask questions, be genuinely curious. Ask about their clothing, holidays, and dietary restrictions. Once they respond in kind, don’t be secretive about your faith, rather be clear.” The point is that they also are curious about you.
Something we must also understand is that Muslims view all Americans as Christians. We know that this is not true, but that is their understanding. When they look at the immorality in America they equate that with Christianity. This means that we, as Christians, need to demonstrate a sense of morality based on our Scriptures.
One of the best questions to ask a Muslim is, “Have you ever let a Christian open the Bible and explain it to you?” Then follow up with, “If you ever want to do that, would you let me do that? I promise I am not going to tell you that I’m right and your wrong. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, it will speak to your heart. If you have any questions I’ll try to answer them.” It is hard to get a Muslim to read the Bible, but when we do, they start seeing the truth that is found their and it has an effect on them.
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Muslims Objections To The Gospel
One of the biggest objections that Muslims have is the Trinity. They have been taught that we believe in three gods and are polytheistic. We have to explain to them that this is not the case. Islam teaches that Allah is not a father and the idea that he could have a son is totally foreign to them. The idea of a Holy Spirit is also foreign to them also.
They believe that when we talk about the Trinity we are saying that Joseph is the father, Mary is the mother, and Jesus is the son. They believe that we should not say that any of these are God.
The Bible teaches us that there is a heavenly Father who has revealed Himself in three distinct persons but they are all one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
When we deal with this subject we must start by presenting the concept of a heavenly Father. This could be a very important issue to a Muslim because if he leaves Islam he will probably lose his earthly father.
Muslims have been wrongly taught what Christians believe and what we do believe needs to be explained to them. We must communicate that we are not trying to win a debate with them, we are just answering questions and clearing up what Christians really believe. If we make it an adversarial confrontation you may have all the answers and win the battle, but you will lose the war. The objective is not to win an argument, it is to win them to Christ.
The second area they will usually attack is our Bible. They have been taught that our Bible has been corrupted. There are a lot of resources out there that you can study to learn why we can have confidence that our Bible is God’s Word. It was inspired by God and it has been preserved by God. You need to be familiar with this subject because if you are going to be dealing with Muslims they will bring this subject up.
It is so important that we get Muslims into the Word of God. Remember, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
If they have been taught that your Bible is corrupt then you need to answer that question. There is ample proof of the reliability of the Bible but I don’t have the time in this short article to cover this. This is why we have produced the course “Engaging Muslims With The Gospel” to help you. It is a 90 page book and four hours of my teaching on this subject. You can get it in our online store. You can also get it by calling 1-800-716-9272.
Another important point you will have to deal with is their concept of Jesus. The Qur’an teaches that Jesus is a prophet of Islam. It mentions this some 90 times. They have been taught that we believe that man became a god. We need to show them that this is not what we believe. We believe that God became a man.
They need to understand that because of God’s love for mankind (John 3:16) He sent His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sin. This will be a new concept to them because in Islam there is no concept of the atonement for sin. There is no sure solution to the problem of sin. All they know is that Allah is fair.
We must teach them that God so loved them that He came Himself to pay their debt. This will touch them. It may initially offend them, but it will touch them.
It is very upsetting to me to hear those who want an interfaith dialog say that Christians believe in Jesus and Muslims believe in Jesus and that it is the same Jesus. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We need to present the true Jesus of the Bible to them.
I want to give you ten steps suggested by Dr. Mark Gabriel for reaching Muslims. Dr. Mark Gabriel is a pseudonym name for a former Muslim who was an Imam who studied at Al Azhar university, the most prestigious school in the Islamic world. He started studying the Christian Scriptures to prepare himself to deal with Christianity and ended up getting save. This shows how important it is to get Muslims into the Bible.
Here are the ten steps taken in part from “Jesus & Muhammed: Profound Differences and Surprising Similarities”
1. Make Friends – Very important
2. Prayer – Equally important – Dr. Bob Baird (Mission Director) said “No one was ever saved that was not prayed for first.”
3. Share the Word of God – This is key
We must get them into the Bible. It is the power of God’s word that can change hearts and lives.
Jer 23:29 – “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Ps 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure,making wise the simple.”
Rom 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Most Muslims welcome spiritual conversation. Talk about Christ, sin, heaven and hell. Tell them about your assurance of salvation because God cannot lie.
4. Ask thought provoking Questions
Good questions to ask are:
“Do you have assurance that God will accept you?”
“What does the Qur’an say about forgiveness?”
“Is God more concerned about our outward ceremonies or the condition of our hearts?”
“Do you serve God because you love him, or because you are afraid of Him?”
“Is God able to forgive sins without a sacrifice?”
“Can God Lie?”
“Can we trust God to keep His promise?”
5. Listen actively
Give them an opportunity to respond. Don’t interrupt. You will learn a lot just by listening.
6. Present your beliefs openly without apology.
Be clear and show the scripture for your beliefs as support for your teachings. This will place the responsibility for your doctrines where it belongs – On God’s Word.
7. Reason – Don’t argue
An argument may win a point but lose a hearing. Don’t get upset. Remember, they don’t have the Spirit of God yet. Truth cannot be discerned by them yet.
8. Never denigrate Mohammad or the Qur’an You are seldom persuasive when you are abrasive!
9. Respect their customs and sensitivities
Do not place your Bible on the floor. Muslims revere their holy book by covering it in velvet and placing it in an elevated place.
Do not speak about sex, it is dirty to Muslims.
Do not appear too familiar with the opposite sex. Be discrete and proper in this regard,
Do not make jokes about sacred things as prayer, fasting, heaven, hell or God.
Do not offer pork to eat.
Do not offer alcohol in any form.
Do not dress immodestly whether you are a male or female.
Do not show cleavage or thighs. Notice how careful their women are in covering themselves.
As mentioned before, be patient. Let the Word of God and the Holy Spirit do its work in their heart. You want a Real Convert – not a False Convert.
Looking for a quick and easy podcast to listen to on-the-go? Check out our podcast series, Fortress of Faith, where Tom Wallace will discuss topics like Islam in America, how to reach out to Muslims with the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and revival and restoration in our nation.
We desire to come alongside other believers to help equip and train them. If you want to go in deeper and learn more, explore our selection of 8 different courses:
A man who was born a Muslim, converted to Christ, and became a great preacher of the Gospel and dealt with the issues of Islam, has died, His name was Nabeel Qureshi. He died as a young man. I don’t understand why God sometimes chooses to allow some people to suffer with disease and cancer, and so on, but God chose to allowed Nabeel to suffer thus, and he died on Friday.
While he was in college, he had a Christian man as his roommate. His name was David Wood, who we have had on our broadcast in the past. Although I never had Nabil on our show, I had talked with him on the phone.
It was David Wood who led Nabeel to Christ. Nabeel had the standard questions and answer most Muslim have for Christians which most Christians could not deal with because Most Christians are not good students of the Bible. The Bible tells us that we are to study so we can be approved of God:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
This is not just instruction for pastors, it is for all Christians. It is not a suggestion, it is a command.
David Wood was well versed in the Scriptures and didn’t fold like most Christians when Nabeel challenged him. Because David had answers, it provoked Nabeel to look deeper into things.
Nabeel wrote a great book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.” If you don’t have a copy, I recommend that you get one. It is possible that God took Nabeel to Heaven because more will hear the truth in his death than in his life.
In his testimony he tells how would make short work of Christians, and would tie Christians in knots with his questions. Sadly these Christians didn’t have good answers. He finally met a Christian who knew his Bible and was able to answer he questions. It is so important that we all be well versed in the Scriptures so we and answer those who speak against our faith.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15)
When you go to church, go to be fed and learn. If your church is not feeding you, find one that will. So many preachers are just preaching a few shallow topics, and they don’t get into the doctrine and theology behind what we believe.
Don’t just get your knowledge from your preacher, get into the Word of God on a daily basis. Study things out for yourselves. Don’t just learn, but share what you learn with others. If you don’t, you will stagnate.
There are three major issues that Muslims have a problem with. They have been taught that Jesus was just a man, that He didn’t die on the cross, and that the Bible is corrupt.
As Christians, we need to learn to deal with these three issues if we want to reach Muslims for Christ.
Here is a video link to the full testimony of Nabeel Qureshi: