Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

‘Pigs and Dogs’ Became Brothers and Sisters

Former Muslim Zaine Abd Al-Qays shares his personal testimony in an issue of CT magazine:

My story begins in the Arabian Gulf region, where my tribe raised me as a devout Muslim. When I was a child, my father would wake me up at 5 a.m. so we could attend morning prayer at the mosque. Growing up, I was proud to be zealous in my faith.

The first major turning point in my life occurred when my family moved to an English-speaking country. I hated it there. I had a conversation with my grandmother, who warned me, “Watch out for the infidels, and don’t befriend or associate with them; they are a disease on society.” I prayed for the death and destruction of Jews and Christians, the “atheists” who were unclean, equal to pigs and dogs, and not to be touched.

My first conversation with a Christian man (who) came to our home bearing gifts—clothes for our family and a car for my father. He spoke to me with love and kindness. He even asked to pray for us, bowing his head and saying, “Father in heaven, I pray for your blessings upon this family. Show them your love, mercy, and grace.” It shocked me to see him pray this way while I was praying for his punishment.

My Christian friends … invited me to a church service for prayer and support. Entering the church, I experienced a strange sensation: As people began praising God, I felt an overwhelming surge of emotion and fell to my knees. I felt helpless and weak—but also as if someone was assuring me that everything would work out.

After the service, I received a Bible and … days later, I started reading the New Testament and fell in love with the character of Jesus. As a Muslim, I knew of Jesus, but I was unfamiliar with the miracles he had performed and the claims he had made about his status as God’s Son.

Within months, I had read the Bible in its entirety. The more I read, the more I saw God as my true and loving Father. God’s Word spoke to all the difficult situations in my life, to my many fears and anxieties. I knew that whenever I opened the Bible, I would feel God’s comfort.

One day I went up to my room, locked the door, fell on my face, and prayed to God, telling him I would put my trust in Christ as Lord and Savior. I wanted to share this decision with my family, but I was terrified of the repercussions. I started waking up every Sunday morning to attend church, but my family noticed these strange absences. When my mother and my siblings found my Bible, they had proof I had become a Christian. One night, around 2 a.m., I received a call from my grandfather—the head of our tribe. As we spoke about my faith, he grew angry, shouting, “You are no longer part of the family! Change your name—you are dead to us!”

My uncle called me with a warning: “Gather your family, pack your bags, and move out of the house, because your grandfather is going to terrorist groups, and if they find you, they will kill every single person in the house.”

Looking back, I can see that the boastful spirit I had developed as a Muslim carried over into my newfound Christianity. I needed to let go of my pride so I could love my Muslim family and community. I didn’t need to fear that I was abandoning Christ by participating in their events and celebrations.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes, “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews…I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (9:20, 22). From his example, I learned that I can retain my traditions and honor my elders while remaining a follower of Christ. Adopting this mindset has improved relations with my family, some of whom have now heard the gospel with warm hearts.

Editor’s Note: Zaine Abd Al-Qays (a pseudonym used for security reasons) is the founder of Al Haqq Ministries

Related Sermon Illustrations

He Escaped from Iran but Not from God

In an issue of CT magazine, David Nasser shares the story of his escape from Iranian religious zealotry and coming to faith in Christ:

I was nine Wyears old when I decided that I hated ...
[Read More]

God’s Word to an Iraqi Interpreter

Abbas Hameed grew up in Iraq in an untraditional family. His mother was Muslim and his father was Catholic and a wealthy businessman. When Hameed was about eight-years-old it was discovered ...

[Read More]