A Memorial to Nabeel Qureshi

This Saturday, Nabeel Qureshi (1983–2017), a passionate Christian apologist, went to be with the Lord after fighting cancer for over a year. Qureshi was born into a devout, orthodox Islamic family. While studying in college, Qureshi began to face challenges to his faith, especially after befriending a follower of Jesus Christ. After years of questioning and later receiving dreams suggesting the truth of Christianity, Qureshi gave his life to Christ. That decision would dictate the rest of Qureshi’s life. He studied Christian Apologists and became an itinerant speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministry. Qureshi published three books all which cover Islam in the light of Christianity. His last book, No God but One: Allah or Jesus? A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity, explores the major tensions between Islam and Christianity.

Qureshi was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year. After radiation had stopped working, Qureshi was placed on palliative care. On Saturday, Qureshi passed away. Although the Christian community has lost a passionate, powerful apologist, we are rejoicing that Qureshi is now spending eternity with his heavenly Father.

As a memorial, we have selected several compelling quotes from Qureshi’s last book to share.

“The very earliest Christian records are unanimous: Jesus is God. All four gospels teach that Jesus is divine, and even before they were written, Christians had firmly established God’s incarnation as the core of their faith. This was not a teaching that evolved over time but one that was present at the inception of the church and has its roots in Jesus proclamation” (233).

“This is the dilemma I had as a Muslim: Either I could trust the historical sources of Muhammad’s life and find a man I would never want to follow as a prophet, or I could question the sources and have no reason to consider him a prophet. Either way I could not conclude, based on the evidence, that Muhammad was a prophet of God” (264).

“The Quran is, to Muslims, the eternal Word of Allah himself…To Christians, the eternal Word of Yahweh is Jesus…To comprehend the insult of burning a Quran, a Christian would have to imagine someone burning Jesus” (105).

“But in order to follow a peaceful Islam, one has to ignore or reject swaths of traditions from Muhammad’s life as well as virtually the entire history of Islamic jurisprudence” (136–137).

“For those who study Jesus’ life in academia, the idea that Jesus did not die by crucifixion remains, to this day, outside the realm of possibility” (169).

“Islam diagnoses the world with ignorance and offers the remedy of sharia, a law to follow. Christianity diagnoses the world with brokenness and offers the remedy of God himself, a relationship with him that leads to heart transformation” (45).

“The gospel is the answer to our individual pains, to the world’s sufferings, and to life’s mysteries. There is no God but one, and he is Father, Spirit, and Son. There is no God but one, and he is Jesus. It is worth all suffering to receive this truth and follow him. God is more beautiful than this life itself, and the one who loves him is ready to die when death comes, not just to glorify him but to hasten to his arms” (294).

“As I studied each of the arguments for the Quran’s inspiration, a pattern became clear: I could find reason enough to defend my faith in the Quran, but it was beyond doubt that not a single one of the arguments could stand on its own merit and compel a careful investigator who did not already believe Islam” (288).

“Finally, though we had firm faith in the perfect preservation of the Quran, the fact is that it is impossible to prove. When Uthman produced an official, edited copy of the Quran and destroyed all the other copies, he left future historians no means to determine whether today’s Quran actually goes back to Muhammad. Uthman destroyed all the evidence, and it appears he did so precisely because there were variants” (281).

“Let us now summarize the minimal facts. When considering the life of Jesus, we can be very confident of these three conclusions: Jesus died by crucifixion; Jesus’ followers truly believed the risen Jesus appeared to them; and people who were not Jesus’ followers truly believed the risen Jesus appeared to them. Given that the task of a historian is to provide a narrative model that makes the best sense of the historical records, what is the best historical conclusion regarding Jesus’ life? According to the Minimal Facts Approach, the best explanation of the facts, by far, is that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Every other explanation ignores or strains the facts too much to be plausible” (192).

“Of course, killing people for their beliefs is an assault on the sensibilities of Western morality, including the sensibilities of many Muslims in the West. So in adapting their understanding of Islam to fit Western notions of morality, they often argue that Islam could never teach such a thing. Unfortunately, quite the opposite is true: Islam always has. From a historical perspective, denying the punishment of apostasy is a modern phenomenon, as is insistence on a predominantly peaceful Islam” (135–136).

“Remember that, according to Christian teaching, sin is not just doing something wrong. It is a rebellion against God, the Source of Life. Death is not a punishment for our actions as much as it is a consequence. God does not execute us for jaywalking; we get run over by a truck while jaywalking” (40).

“Given that the task of a historian is to provide a narrative model that makes the best sense of the historical records, what is the best historical conclusion regarding Jesus’ life? According to the Minimal Facts Approach, the best explanation of the facts, by far is that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Every other explanation ignores or strains the facts too much to be plausible” (192).

“But in order to follow a peaceful Islam, one has to ignore or reject swaths of traditions from Muhammad’s life as well as virtually the entire history of Islamic jurisprudence” (136–137).

“My tears are on my cheek and, Oh! the heart is sad.
On those who become Christians, how you are so cruel!
The Messiah says: “blessed are all the persecuted”
And we, for the sake of the Messiah bear all things.
What is it to you that we are apostates?
You will not enter our graves or be buried with us.
Enough, your swords do not matter to me at all!
Your threats do not concern me, and we are not afraid.
By God, I am to death a Christian!
O, my eye, cry for what has passed as a sad life,
For I was far from the Lord Jesus for many years.
O history, record! And bear witness, O witnesses!
We are Christians walking on the path of the Messiah.
Take from me this knowledge and note it well!
Jesus is my Lord, and he is the best protector.
I advise you to pity your state of being
Gaze upon your look of hatred, how hideous it is.
Man is brother of man, O learned ones!
Where is the humanity and love? And where are you?
My last words I pray to the Lord of the worlds,
Jesus the Messiah, the Light of Clear Guidance:
Change their hearts and set right their discernment.
May he spread love among you, O Muslims” (295–296).

 

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