Book review by Val Viljoen
I have previously reviewed this New York Times Bestseller but this third edition with additional content has been brought to my attention.
To recap briefly, Nabeel, as an American-born devout Muslim, met David Wood, a devout Christian, when they were both students. Each recognised in each other the strongly held conviction that their own faith was based on absolute truth.
They also saw and respected in each other the importance of a continued pursuit of truth. Since, clearly, both faiths couldn’t be correct, David challenged Nabeel to a thorough investigation of both Islam and Christianity, David taking on the same task.
This book chronicles Nabeel’s often painful journey of several years through this process, as a deepening understanding of Islam brought more and more disillusionment, much to his surprise.
At the same time he was studying the claims of Christianity, which more and more rather held for him the ring of truth. The day inevitably came when he surrendered his life to Christ.
This decision was made at great cost to his relationship with his parents, who were deeply hurt by his rejection of their faith. David, however, had become a close friend.
Nabeel’s life-changing decision to surrender to Jesus was of such importance to him that after completing his medical degree in 2009 he went into full-time ministry.
Sadly, in September 2017, having been diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer in August 2016, Nabeel, outstanding academic, writer and speaker, passed away. He was still ministering via video till the very end.
The third edition of this his first book was published after his death and contains additional material. Besides an expanded epilogue, previously written by Nabeel himself, which updates his story and tells something of his years in ministry, there is an afterword by his mentor Mark Mittelberg and reflections on Nabeel’s life and legacy written by his wife.
Also in this third edition, is a conversation between David and Nabeel which had been recorded during the Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting in 2015, when they got together to reminisce about their friendship, Nabeel’s conversion, and what they had learnt about ministering to Muslims.
Rendering this book all the more effective as a tool for deepening one’s understanding of both Christianity and Islam is the appendix of contributions by experts, matching each of Nabeels chapters.
Personally, I feel that in today’s world where the clash between these two major faiths has huge ramifications, all Christians should have a good grasp of the Islamic religion. Perceived similarities to the Christian faith are merely superficial and this is important, both for ministering to Muslims and in understanding current events worldwide.
This book, as well as the other two books written by Nabeel in his short life, No God but One: Allah or Jesus? and Answering Jihad, a New York Times Bestseller, are thus of great importance.
Rest in peace, Nabeel. You have left a great legacy.