Nabeel Qureshi, author, and apologist best known for his documentation on his conversion from Islam to Christianity via his best-selling books, died on September 16, 2017, at the age of 34 after a year-long battle with stomach cancer.
Appearing first in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:15, apologetics is the religious discipline of defending or proving the truth of religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. It deals with the tough questions that are typically posed to the Christian faith such as meaning, origin, destiny, and morality. Christian apologetics engages people in meaningful interactions and answers specific questions to help make the truth claims clearer.
The Life of Nabeel Qureshi
Raised by parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan, Qureshi was brought up as an Ahmadi Muslim. While attending college, a Christian classmate sparked his interest in his own faith and urged him to critically research Islam as he had done Christianity. These extensive studies over the years gave new visions and dreams to Qureshi, which led to his eventual conversion to Christianity.
His family did not take well to this conversion, as his grandparents were Muslim missionaries in Indonesia and raised their family according to their faith and beliefs. Qureshi did not take his conversion to Christianity lightly, and only did so after several years of examining the authenticity of the Bible and the claims of Jesus.
This documentation of this decision and his new beliefs ultimately led to his 2014 New York Times best-selling book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity.”
The message he delivered in this book was a personal one. Qureshi admitted that when he was young, he struggled to gain “righteousness before God,” and found out that the righteousness he sought was already found in the cross through Jesus. He felt a connection with the gospels of Jesus Christ in the Old and New Testaments and found the message of salvation. He shared his message through his ministry and as two additional apologetic books – “Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward” and “No God But One: Allah or Jesus? A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity.”
Many Christians looked to Qureshi for information about Islam and trusted him as a safe source of knowledge on the subject. He held Master’s degrees in religion from Duke University and Christian apologetics from Biola University and was well-respected in the ministry as well as by followers and colleagues.
He was open and candid about questions when asked about his conversion and his thoughtful and clear responses touched many in the Islamic and Christian worlds. He was clearly passionate about his beliefs and was adamant about spreading the word that God’s forgiveness was available to everyone. His passion kept audiences tuned in and his authority helped them understand.
Ravi Zacharias of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries where Qureshi was an itinerant speaker, said he believed Qureshi’s books were so popular with Christians “Because Islam is so much in the sights of the world right now, an articulate and attractive personality like Nabeel was often given a fair hearing.” He also indicated on his website that Qureshi preached “with an anointing that was rare” and taught him “so much.”
Qureshi’s Final Thoughts
Qureshi knew his destiny in September, as he was receiving palliative care at a Houston hospital. In his final video, Qureshi shared where his heart had been during his ministry.
“I think it’s very important that we discuss matters of truth, but at the end of the day, that is supposed to be undergirded by love and by peace,” he said. “When we talk to people about our beliefs, we should do it through a lens of love, and the whole point should be to bring people together — to bring people together to the truth.”
His hope of love and peace resonated in the video, and helps one understand exactly why so many people listened to him and looked to him for guidance.
“As you consider my ministry, I hope it leaves a legacy of love, of peace, of truth, of caring for one another. That’s my hope and my purpose behind this,” Qureshi continued. “If at any point I’ve said anything that seems to contravene that, I do apologize, and I hope that that’s not the legacy I leave behind.”
His final words in the video are spoke about what he believed in his heart.
“Whether you’re talking to a Hindu, a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian — whoever you’re talking to, may it be out of love.”
~ 1776 Christian