On Saturday, September 16, 2017, Nabeel Qureshi, age 34, entered into the home of his master, Jesus Christ, after suffering a yearlong battle with cancer.
Nabeel was born in California as a U.S. citizen to Pakistani immigrants who fled religious persecution at the hands of fellow Muslims. Nabeels parents were devout members of the peaceful Ahmadi sect of Islam, which differs from orthodox Islam on some minor theology but shares the belief in the six articles of faith. They also hold on to the five pillars of the faith.
Nabeel’s family was the most loving and tightly knit family that he knew. And it was entirely centered on Islam, which shaped the path for his life.
His mother taught him Urdu and Arabic before he ever learned the English language at the age of 4. By the time he was 5, he had read the entire Qur’an in Arabic and had memorized many of the chapters.
His parents also taught him apologetics so that he would not only believe in Islam, but could defend it and also dispute other religions like Christianity.
In August 2001, Nabeel was a student at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He was observing fellow student, David Wood, who was reading the Bible in his free time. Nabeel read the Qur’an regularly, but it surprised him that he saw a Christian reading the Bible on his own.
Nabeel often challenged David’s belief in Christianity, beginning with the charge that the Bible had been corrupted over time. Wood was studying to be a Christian apologist, and the two young men formed a friendship and often engaged in debates, and it continued for several years.
In working through David’s arguments and examining the research himself, Nabeel eventually became convinced of the general reliability of the New Testament.
He next raised the objection that Jesus was never claimed to be God. After finding out that this wasn’t true, Nabeel challenged David that Jesus had never died on the cross. Again, in his research and studying, Nabeel changed his mind.
About two and a half years later, and Nabeel become stuck with the hardest part, accepting Christianity. He didn’t understand how one man could die for another man’s sins. What about the Trinity? He was at the point where he was reading the Bible and considering Christ’s claims for himself.
As a result of Nabeels change of heart, David began to question Nabeel’s confidence in the claims of Islam. The biggest one being, that Muhammad was a true prophet of God. But after studying primary sources and many biographies, Nabeel eventually concluded that he could not reasonably hold to the idea that Muhammad is the greatest of prophets and history’s most perfect man.
According to The Gospel Coalition, Nabeel experienced three vivid dreams between December 2004 to April 2005. The dreams strongly suggested to him that Christianity is true and that Christ is someone that should be followed.
Nabeel did end up traveling to several different countries, and sought the knowledge of devout Muslims and asked questions about the arguments against Islam he had heard back home.
“I heard various replies running the gamut from terribly unconvincing to fairly innovative, and I encountered people that ranged from sincere to condescendingly caustic. At the end of my research, the arguments for and against Islam still hung in the balance, but one thing was abundantly clear: they were far from approaching the strength of the case for Christianity.”
With all of this in mind, Nabeel dedicated his life to Christ, but it wasn’t entirely easy. Nabeel’s family was “shattered” by his betrayal to his Muslim faith. Nabeel went on to study Christian apologetics at Biola University, graduating with an MA in 2008, while also completing his medical degree. As of 2012 he completed an MA in religion at Duke University, and then entered an MPhil and Phd program at Oxford University in New Testament studies. He then went on to be a speaker with Ravi Zacharias’ International Ministry.
Nabeel became a Christian author, and on the day of the book release for No God But One, Nabeel wrote a post on Facebook, announcing that he had been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer.
In October 2016, his wife, Michelle, suffered a miscarriage, and in May 2017, Nabeel announced that the radiation had not worked and that the cancer has spread to his chest.
Just last week, his doctors decided to put him in hospice, as there was nothing else they could do. Late last week, he came face to face with his Savior and told Boundless in an interview prior to his passing:
“I have fought the good fight.
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith.”
Entering into the joy of his Master, he undoubtedly heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
A fund has been created for Nabeel’s wife and daughter, which you can contribute to here.