Khalil started memorizing the Qur’an at an early age and developed what he called a “love for the word of God.” As he grew older, his views hardened into a radical form of Islam and he joined an Islamic group. He engaged in terrorist acts designed to overthrow the Egyptian government, and for a time received military training in a remote, desert area of Yemen.
The group’s Emir, however, eventually came to the conclusion that a military option was not practical in achieving their aims against Christian missionaries. The Emir, instead, proposed an intellectual approach. He assigned Khalil the task of writing a book that would discredit Christianity by exposing the Bible as a corrupted text and revealing the passages in the Bible that foretell of the Prophet Mohammed. Khalil was repulsed by the idea that he would have to read the Bible as part of his research, but eventually took on the job at the Emir’s insistence.
When he had completed reading the Bible and cross-referencing it with numerous texts from the Qur’an (as well as commentaries on the Qur’an), Khalil discovered the Bible was neither inaccurate nor corrupted. Furthermore, he found no mention of the Prophet Mohammed, and he discovered the Qur’an itself acknowledges that Isa (Jesus), the Messiah, is God.
Growing doubts now made Khalil’s life miserable. He had always loved Islam and had always believed the only way to God was through the Prophet Mohammed. But now he asked: If Jesus and God are one, then who is the Prophet Mohammed and what is the way to heaven? Khalil began to put his thoughts on paper. He knew his conclusions were not what the Emir would want to hear, but his honest enquiry offered no alternatives.
One day, the Emir came to visit Khalil in his house and discovered the manuscript, which Khalil had entitled “Is the Qur’an God’s Word?” The Emir was shocked at Khalil’s premise, and especially his conclusions regarding Jesus. He threatened to kill him if he ever shared his heretical ideas with another Muslim. As far as the Emir was concerned, Khalil had become a kafir (infidel).
Khalil, however, could not deny his growing conviction that Christianity was the way to God. He began to cautiously seek out Christian acquaintances at work, hoping to learn more about their faith. One day, as he placed a phone call to one such friend from a café, his briefcase was stolen. The bag contained his manuscript, Bible and identity card. Khalil rushed home, troubled and tormented. Alone in his room, he repented for daring to think the Prophet Mohammed was not sent from God and the Qur’an was not the Word of God. He knelt on his prayer mat only to discover that he could not say his prayers or utter one word of the Qur’an. Instead, he prayed in his own words—from the heart—asking God to show him the truth.
That night, Khalil fell into a deep sleep. In a dream, a man came to him and told him he was the one for whom Khalil had been searching. He also told Khalil to read the Book (the Bible). Khalil said he loved the Book, but had lost it, to which the man replied, “The Book cannot be lost. Stand up and open your closet. You will find it there.”
Khalil awoke from the dream, got out of bed and opened his closet door. His Bible was inside on a shelf. Khalil hurried to his mother’s room, woke her up and begged her forgiveness for his years of harsh treatment. As the sun rose that morning, he went outside, greeting friends and strangers alike. He sought out the Christian owners of businesses whom he had robbed or mistreated, and begged their forgiveness, too.
Over the ensuing months, Khalil grew in his faith, gradually winning the trust of local Christians and finding fellowship at a church where he was baptized in water. He has braved persecution but is convinced that no price is too great to pay for the joy of serving the One who gave everything for him.