From Salafism to Jesus Christ

Tomas Samuel — March 21, 2023

My name now is Tomas Samuel. I want to tell you the story of how Jesus called me to Himself from Islam. I was born and raised in Egypt. I came from the family of Aqeel ibn Abi Talib who was the cousin of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. I was a strict Salafi Muslim who preached, taught, and delivered programs on a well-known Islamic Salafi Channel. I was around six years old when my mother looked at me and said, “May I see you a Leader of this umma [Muslim community], advancing with victory, or I see you killed as a martyr for Allah.” I will never forget these words, as they have become part of my psychology and worldview. The passion I saw in my mother’s eyes was too precious for me. I hoped to fulfill her wish to make her proud. While I tried, through some family connections, to achieve her dream, I could not travel outside my home country to participate in fighting for Allah.
As an alternative, I began to preach Islam (this duty is known as da’wa, i.e., Islamic preaching), specifically through Western Islamic TV shows—my goal was to beautify the image of Islam. I quickly succeeded in converting some atheist Westerners to accept Islam. I tried to win more: Christians were my next target, so I started studying Christianity. Then I was surprised.

As I was studying elements of Christianity, I began to admire it. I started to be skeptical toward my faith. I said, “if Islam is wrong, there is no God,” and I became an atheist. This was a dark period when I did everything wrong, but in secret. I was intentional not to show anything to others—particularly to my family. I was a hypocrite with two faces: an Imam preaching Islam in the morning and a slanderous evil person doing everything terrible at night. I struggled a lot with my thoughts, and I could not continue like that. I chose to believe that there was a God even if I did not know who He was. However, I kept questioning why God could not communicate with us if we could communicate with each other. If God exists, He should be able to communicate.

After a while, I could not bear myself and my thoughts. I cried out to that deity who existed somewhere out there: “God, if you are there, save me! Do something! Please do not stay silent; I am tired.”

On that night, I had a dream. I was running on a very long path. The path was filled with many trees and covered with branches; their thorns chased me. I was terrified. However, a man was standing at the end of the path. I screamed for him to come help me. He extended his hand and brought me near him. In the dream, I realized he was Jesus Christ when he said, “It is your time to follow me.”

When I woke up, I did not believe that the dream was meaningful or significant. I thought it was a mere hallucination. On the following night, I had the exact same dream with the same specific details. When I woke up, I was puzzled, but I thought I had to challenge Jesus. I said, “if you are trustworthy, come to me one more time with the exact details tonight.” To my astonishment, on the third night, Jesus came in the same way in my dream—but this time he told me, “Didn’t I tell you, it is your time to follow me?”

At that time, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. To learn more, I started comparative studies between Islam and Christianity for three years, in order to comprehend which vision or sect of Christianity I should believe. Unfortunately, while surrounded with nominal and traditional Christians, I began to fulfill rituals and turned into a Pharisee—a religious Christian instead of a true follower and lover of Christ. This dark phase lasted eight years. I struggled with Christianity and wondered how it actually differed from Islam—both seem to be merely fake religions. I was disappointed. I began to explore New Age Movements, which propelled me to move to India for some time, where I became a Guru. None of this satisfied my heart. After a while, I realized how blind I was, as I remembered Jesus when He said to me in the dream, “Follow me,” not “Follow others.” I decided to leave India and return to my home country, and I realized that I truly belong to the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Because of my love for studying, I began to reexamine Christianity, but now I took a different direction: I met a born-again Christian who opened the doors to the world that I was searching for: the real Jesus Christ.

I was introduced to works by C. S. Lewis, Willian Lane Craig, Os Guinness, John Lennox, Dallas Willard, Mike Licona, Alvin Plantinga, and many other wonderful Christians. They helped me tremendously to understand more about Jesus. Then, I married a wonderful lady. God used me to win her to Christ from Islam. However, my Muslim family disowned me. They refused to bless my marriage and shamed me as I abandoned Islam.

At this point, we faced real problems in Egypt. My wife and I were targeted and about to be killed because of our conversion to Christ and open ministry. We escaped and traveled to Sweden. God blessed us in many different ways. Today I am a theology student who joined God’s Bible School and College to finish my master’s after studying at Mission Muslims World University (MMWU). My wife is in the third year of her online master’s studies and wants to specialize in practical theology. I believe I am called to be a theologian specializing in Islamic Studies on an academic level. My dream is to accomplish my Ph.D., serve with my brothers and sisters in the Lord, and wash their feet. The most important lesson I learned in my journey: “Trust the Lord and He will split a sea through you.”


Tomas Samuel

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