After having increasing doubts about Islam–the religion he had known all his life in Saudi Arabia–Mohammed* began looking for truth online. What he found changed his heart and life as he knew it forever.
“For many years, I had doubts when reading the Quran,” Mohammed shares. “For example, the fact that Allah and Mohammed are considered to be equal. How could Mohammed, a sinful man, be equal to God?”
There were more inconsistencies. Gradually, Mohammed decided to put his Muslim faith to the test. All his life, he had been taught that missing even one of the five daily prayers would cause a Muslim immediate misfortune. Something bad would most definitely happen if you ceased praying.
“So I decided to stop praying for just one day and see what happened,” Mohammed says. “Nothing bad happened. On the contrary, I had an amazingly successful business day.”
SEARCHING FOR TRUTH IN SAUDI ARABIA
Mohammed’s doubt continued to mount. He began to look on the internet to learn about other religions. Soon, he learned that the message of the Bible is easy to translate and understand in every culture.
The love of God that he saw in the scriptures he read stuck with him. He continued his search online, even downloading an app on his smartphone. Through it, he learned about the basic foundations of Christianity. Mohammed felt more and more eager to meet Christians, visit a church and own a Bible.
In Saudi Arabia, churches are forbidden, especially for native Saudis like Mohammed. Converts from Islam can face the death penalty. And Bibles are illegal.
But the risk of arrest, discrimination and even death didn’t stop Mohammed. He traveled to two different countries in the Middle East where Christians are openly allowed to visit a church and obtain a Bible.
However, these “open” churches are usually not allowed to minister to Muslims, only to Christians from families that have been believers for centuries. Mohammed wasn’t allowed to step foot in either church. He walked away, dejected and empty-handed.
‘I KNOW JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD’
But Mohammed knew he had found the truth. He couldn’t let go. He wouldn’t let go. Again, he went online and found a Christian website aimed at the Arab world. At that point, he boldly put into words what he had felt for a while but had never said to anyone.
“I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” he typed. “Can I visit you? Please take me to a church and give me a Bible.”
His message ended up with a Christian social media team in the Middle East. Each day, these teams respond to questions and responses from visitors on Christian social media pages, some of them supported by Open Doors. They invited Mohammed to their country.
Finally, after years of doubting and searching, Mohammed attended his first-ever church service and, with other believers around him, worshiped the true God for the first time in his life.
“I felt my heart being filled with joy,” he remembers.
That day and the week following, a whole new world opened for Mohammed. He joined every Bible study meeting available, sometimes up to four a day, and talked a lot with the church’s pastors.
‘Who is Jesus for You?’
After a few days, one of the church leaders asked him: “Mohammed, who is Jesus for you?”
His response couldn’t have been more clear: “Jesus is my Savior, my God.”
The pastor continued: “Do you believe He died for your sins at the cross?”
Again, a full confirmation: “Absolutely.”
A few days later, the church leadership baptized Mohammed during a special meeting. In front of a newfound group of friends—brothers and sisters in Christ—he declared with his whole heart be a follower of Christ. The day after, Mohammed returned to Saudi Arabia a newborn Christian, carrying with him his precious possession—his first Bible.
Mohammed now lives as a secret Christian in Saudi Arabia. If the authorities or his family find out about his faith in Christ, his life and his family’s lives could be in danger. Even his wife and children don’t know he has converted. Through social media, the follow-up team of Christians is discipling him.
Saudi Arabia is ranked No. 15 on Open Doors’ World Watch List. In this country often in the headlines, the state creates and maintains a strict Islamic system that treats Christians as second-class citizens. Islam is the only recognized religion. In fact, no other religion can have a place of worship. Consequently, Christians must gather in utter secrecy, if they gather at all.
Today, Pray with Mohammed and believers like him who are forced to live their faith in secrecy. Pray that they will find an online community of believers they can pray with and grow in Christ. Currently, there are 1.4 million Christians in a country of 33.6 million.
*Representative name and photo used for security reasons