Saturday, March 6, 2010

Muslim Ahmed encounters Jesus and becomes Catholic

This article is a true account of a courageous Catholic convert who is still being persecuted for leaving his Muslim faith. He is using a pseudonym, Ahmed, for security reasons to protect his young family's life.

I was born in a large radical Muslim family. I grew up having learnt the Koran and devoutly practised my Muslim faith and followed its teachings. One day in October 2004, after work, I went home and took a bath as was my usual routine. I was tired and I then slumped down on my bed. At that time, my company was going through a very difficult time and I was very depressed.

My wife was preparing dinner in the kitchen and my daughter was watching cartoon on television in the lounge. Very gently, I fell into a light sleep in which I could hear all that was going on in the house. Suddenly, all these sounds stopped as if my ears were blocked. At that moment a very strong, intense light gradually invaded my room, advancing from the left corner of my bedroom. Advancing towards me, in the background of this intense light was the figure of Jesus Christ - I was completely astounded! It was as if I was struck by a bolt of lightning. I was feeling terrified and was shaking like a leaf blown in a gust of wind! At that time I had no personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus placed His cool right hand on my back. I still remember the position and the feeling of His touch. With His hand on my back, He said to me reassuringly and kindly, "Do not be afraid. Instead, I am here to help you!" All this lasted a little less than a minute and thirty seconds. Then Jesus retreated into the light and disappeared with it into the corner of the wall. Things came back to normal. I jumped out of bed, yelling and calling for my wife to relate to her what happened. My wife found the story difficult to believe knowing full well I was a fervent Muslim. It was when she started seeing the transformation happening later in my life that she finally believed this story!

To my wife, the change that she could perceive in me was nothing short of a miracle as all the while I was still a fervent Muslim, clinging onto the faith I was drilled in during my childhood and the only one faith that I knew. As for myself, I refused to believe that this meeting with Jesus ever happened! I tried to continue to live my life as if nothing had happened, but the more I denied this visitation from the Lord, the more things became difficult for me. My business was falling apart. I was losing customers every day. In short, everything was falling apart around me and I felt very bad.

Despite hardening my heart, deep within me, I felt the call of the Lord. God was merciful and patient. But I still persisted in my disbelief. I conveyed my line of thoughts to my wife who is a Catholic - if what had happened to me was really of divine origin, I would not be passing through all these difficult times! However, later on, by the mercy and grace of God, I began to be interested in the Christian religion. I did lots of research which later led to my Baptism, my first Holy Communion and marriage in the Catholic Church! This is a major milestone in my life and constitutes another miracle the kind Lord has executed with His strong hand in my life. Just over a year back, I would never ever have envisaged myself being a Christian, much less a practicing Catholic! With God nothing is impossible! (Luke 1:37)

With all my heart, I praise the Lord for His unending Mercy and Patience towards me in leading me from my darkness and into His wonderful Light - where there is freedom from all bondage to sins and slavery. "He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains." (Psalm 107:14) "... and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light." (Colossians 1:12)

Since then my life began to change as if by magic. I found inner peace in my heart and mind. My business took off. I won the biggest contract of my life and I was engaged in charity work until the time I was caught up by my former Muslim community. They had decided to eliminate my family and I. From the moment we learned of their evil intentions, we began to move across the country to escape their attack. However, they always managed to find us! They burned and destroyed my office, my home and all our assets. They made our lives a living hell, and we endured untold sufferings. The situation was so tense and risky that for almost a year I did not know the whereabouts of my wife and kids. We were all hiding in different locations in order to escape detection. But throughout this ordeal we were not alone, Jesus Christ was with us!

God helped me to escape to another country with the help of the Catholic Cardinal of my country. Before leaving the country, I found out that my young children were with my mother-in-law and my wife was hiding outside the country. I collected my children and hid them in a bushland far away from the city - I thought it would be a safe place for them till I would send for them later. During this time, I managed to get in contact with my wife. I told her to go back to the country and to be with the kids until I found the means to take them out of the country.

When I had fled out of the country in September 2008, my wife and two young daughters were attacked by some members of my former Muslim community.

They arrived at the house where my family was temporarily hiding early one fateful morning as my wife was boiling drinking water on an open fire. When they attacked, my wife started screaming, and ran out of the house using another door. Taken by alarm, they started to run off distracted by my wife's screaming. Unfortunately, her screaming awoke my younger daughter who also started yelling and calling for her mother. This caught the attackers' attention since she was sleeping on a couch outside on the veranda. Quick as lightning they grabbed her and dumped her mercilessly into the huge pot of boiling water! Then they ran away shouting "Allah is great!" in Arabic.

My wife took her to a hospital but it was a six-hour journey! By the time they reached the hospital, she was already in a coma. I am very sad to say my daughter died six days later. I still remember the sweet innocent smile on my little daughter's face, never once imagining, that such a little beautiful one could suffer so much at the hands of the people of the very community that I used to identify myself with. This attack was decided and meticulously planned by the head of my former Muslim community with the complicity of my parents. I asked myself - what kind of religion could inspire such deep hatred and violence for one's own flesh and blood?

My precious little baby died for a great cause. She died for Jesus Christ! She earned for herself the distinction and honour of being a martyr for God. She died because I discovered a new life in Jesus Christ; because I converted to Christianity; and because I have accepted and welcomed the Lord Jesus Christ into my life. Though we truly miss her, we are very proud of her and have no doubt of meeting her again in the promised Kingdom of Light. There, our joys will be even greater for all the pains we have been through on earth! Such was the will of God. Every day, we pray for her and we know that she hears us from above. I know that with her new status as a martyr, she has become an angel who watches over us - because she died for a worthy and noble cause.

After the death of my daughter, we hit rock-bottom. My wife and I fell into an inexplicable emotional and psychological trauma - especially when we were separated again with me abroad and her at home. The pain was so deep and unbearable! That had been the most difficult moments of our lives. But we did not stop praying even when we were down and out. Without money to get my wife and surviving child out of the country, once again God worked one of his miracles.

"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress." (Psalm 107:13) He touched the hearts of some kind women whom I did not know to get air tickets for my wife and child. Again with the intervention of God, my wife managed to get a visa to join me. What a miracle! Since the beginning of this trial, I had felt the presence of the Lord with me and my family because His help was always with us. To evade the many attacks from the Muslims in my country, I had to leave the country despite the fact that we had no money to buy our air tickets and to pay for the consular and visa fees. I felt that the murder of my daughter which I am convinced was the will of God and which I willingly offer in sacrifice for the conversion of my father's Muslim family, was to help my wife, remaining daughter and I to leave my country in one piece. As if that was not enough, God established a strong relationship between Himself and I!

From then on, I have a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour. I talk to Him daily and I can feel His Presence and His actions in our lives. It is extraordinary what we have lived through. We have lost all our worldly and material possessions but we have found inner peace of heart and mind - the Peace of God which is free for everyone but which no money can buy! God has called me out of my misery and ignorance and revealed to me His wondrous Love and Truth. Despite the horrific trials we went through for God's sake, by His grace, we are not broken but live instead to joyfully proclaim his Good News!

I have never been so internally at peace than today and I thank the Lord from the bottom of my heart. This experience has made me understand that when one is with the Lord, one needs not defend oneself - He will do it for us. "Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you." (Deuteronomy 3:22) All praise and glory be to the Lord forevermore!

(Divine Retreat Centre requests your prayers for the martyred soul of Ahmed's young daughter who died a year ago in September 2008. May God's Protection be upon Ahmed and his family to be permanently resettled safely to start life anew in a new country. They live in poverty now.)

2 comments:

RickinMiami said...

Is there a way that help may be found for this brother and sister of ours who has gone through so much?

Parry Sequeira said...

Hi RickinMiami,

Praised be Jesus and Mary.

Thanks for your kind and concerned comment for our catholic brother's family.

If you wish to assist them, you may want to contact Fr Michael http://drcm.org/ContactFrMichael.asp Assistant Director of Divine Retreat www.drcm.org - largest Catholic retreat centre in the world.

Please note that their identity will never be revealed due to the threat to their life.

May God's grace be with you always,
Parry

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