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Even at the present time, religion remains the main way of communicating with God and shelter for the soul no matter what religion the person confesses: Islam or Christianity. Religion affects human lives; usually, under the pressure of the life situations and complicated events they begin to consider religion in another way than they did before. The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi reveals the challenges and opportunities of religion and understanding of its meaning. This book proves that the differences in religion are not crucial when it comes to the true believing in God.
The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi consists of two main parts referring to the questions of seeking Allah and finding Jesus. The author provides issues related to the interaction between the Islamic and Christian populations. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is an inspiring story that reflects the significant moments of Nabeel’s life. As a result, one can name it a biographical story. The book has a powerful climax of the eventual decision of following Christ. The humoristic tone of the book reinforces emotionality and significance of this book. This essay intends to prove that religion is chosen due to the desire and state of soul. Turning the character from Islamic to Christianity is possible because of the personal disappointment and desire to open something new.
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One can distinguish one of the main parts of the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus as seeking Allah. Young man Ahmadiyya is looking for the meaning of religion and its impact on his life. First of all, he tries to seek Allah as he belongs to the Muslim family. As there is a constant battle between the Christian and Islamic people, the question of the religion choice remains open and debatable. Seeking Allah by Ahmadiyya presupposes following the family traditions and being devoted to the native culture. However, the young man differs from the others. He is conscious and intelligent as he wants to understand the true meaning of his actions.
Nabeel Qureshi asserts, “Western society owes much to Islam. Science, medicine, mathematics, philosophy… Muslims a huge impact in all these fields” (2014:34). It means that Islam has brought a lot into the every aspect of human life. It seems like Islam influences other religion; therefore, for example, the Christians are hostile to the Muslims. According to Nabeel Qureshi, Islam communicates the message for humankind used by Allah. It differs from Christianity because it presupposes diversity and faithfulness to the national customs and traditions.
In this book, seeking Allah means searching for the approval that Islam is the religion suitable for Ahmadiyya. As a result, the young man deals with the challenges of analyzing, choosing, comparing, and contrasting. Nabeel Qureshi (2014) is convinced that Islam is based on the experience, background, and depth of beliefs. However, soon the main character gets to know the truth about Islam and begins looking for the other values that can make his life meaningful. One should mention that this pro-Islamic part of the book insists on the significance and importance of this religion.. “The religion of Islam is the acceptance of and obedience to the teachings of God which He revealed to His last prophet, Muhammad” (Qureshi, 2014:56).
However, Nabeel Qureshi does not accentuate his attention on such definition of Islam. He regards this religion in the aspects of a family, diversity, faithfulness, and culture. Soon, the author begins to alter his opinion about Islam. The hidden truths of Islam are related with imposing, criticizing other religions, and connection with the national and cultural peculiarities. Islam has a strong ideological element; therefore, it is so principle and imposing. From the very beginning of the book, the religious views of the main character are distinct; he is devoted to Islam. For him, this religion is full of meaning, satisfaction, and beauty. One should underline the fact that, while seeking Allah, the main character begins to understand it in a different way. Nabeel (2014:25) writes, “The mystical beauty of Islam that enchants billions cannot be grasped by merely sharing facts”.
The Islamic beliefs include the beliefs in God, angels, revealed books, prophets, and messengers of God, the Day of Judgment, and Al-Qadar. There are a lot of similarities between the Islamic and Christian doctrine, but Muslims do not want to admit this fact. In seeking Allah, the main character asks many questions about understanding of God. He is not afraid of his doubts as he is on the right way to finding the truth. One should say that the protagonist not only relies on own powers but also asks God for the help and support. It means that he believes in God, but he is confused with the religion (Bakar, 2009).
Consider such verses from the Qur’an, “Whosoever follows a religion other than Islam this will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.” (Qur’an 3:85, 2010:16). These verses demonstrate the complete discrimination of people of other religions. There is no tolerance here. The rituals of the Islam religion are supposed to be the only path to salvation. As a result, there is nothing strange that the main character faces the choice between the Christianity and Islam. Islam is supposed to be an exceptionally intolerant religion. The Muslims are intolerant of other cultures, religions, points of view, and ways of life. There is nothing strange that this intolerance is reflected in the Qur’an. The Muslims’ attitude to the modern civilization is critical, and they usually tend to be rather violent. It has been proved that it is difficult for the Muslims to live peacefully with the people of different views
In the Qur’an, the ideas of exclusivity and inclusivity define whether a non-Muslim can achieve heaven in the life after death. If people accept the possibility to achieve heaven after death, it means that they follow the inclusive religious beliefs. If people do not want to accept heaven after death, their religious beliefs are exclusive. The Bible also presupposes the life after the death.
Disappointment, doubts, and looking for the truth have brought the main character to Christianity. He desires to find Jesus despite it will be a greatest disobedience and betrayal to his parents. Qureshi compelled to become a Christian because he is disappointed and has many questions about the Islamic religion. The Qur’an reflects the principles of kindness, justice, mercy, and goodness. However, the book does not completely reveal these categories. For Qureshi, Jesus is compelling. He provides people with the fulfillment, beauty, meaning, and truth. Christianity teaches to love each other. At the end of his search, Nabeel finds God reaching out His people. “All suffering is worth it to follow Jesus. He is that amazing”. It means that the man has found what he wanted. The ramifications of his decisions are related to the lack of life meaning and religious entity. The talks about Jesus and Bible inspire Nabeel. As a result, he feels satisfaction and life fulfillment.
From the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi, it is evident that one cannot deny the significance of any religion. Religion is similar to the state of soul. As a result, Islam is not suitable for Nabeel as, while seeking Allah, he finds Jesus, who brings calmness and peace into his soul. The Qur’an does not explain the reasons for diversity; it does not give the rules and instructions about the relations between different nations and communities. In fact, the question of diversity is not completely developed in the Qur’an and Islamic religion. The Muslims assert, “Christianity is not true. Islam is the truth (Qureshi, 2014:35)”.
The choice of Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi is done through reading, church services, and discussions with other people. For him, Christianity has become a fundament for faith and tolerance as for millions of people all over the world. Believing in Jesus unites all Christians making them happier, more cheerful, and optimistic. Christ encourages people to develop the love, humanity, peace, and faith.
Nabeel decides to follow Jesus instead of Muhammad because he is disappointed with the Islamic studies; he is looking for another food for his soul. There is nothing strange in the search of the man as a person lives to become happy. He is not sure that Jesus is God, but he realizes that God is love, care, peace, and faith. Qureshi’s life differs from the one of a person who, for example, was raised in a Christian society because he is not supported by his family and friends. According to the Islamic tradition, he is a betrayer of the national culture and religious principles. The complicated path of Nabeel Qureshi to understanding God proves his courage and curiosity. He breaks the barriers of judgments and fear in order to reveal a better understanding of Christianity and Islam.
Implications for the Pastoral Counseling
The Pastoral counseling is essential in the life of every person. However, it should help understand the peculiarities of religious practices. The pastorals counseling should not impose any religion but support the moral spirit of people who are depressed and oppressed. The growing religious diversity created the necessity of pastoral counseling, which should teach to be tolerant and faithful. The implications of my pastoral counseling ministry should focus on helping and supporting other people. The pastors should not condemn the choice of religion and should be ready to cope with any challenges.
The pastoral counseling should provide traditional religious learning and trainings. The pastors should be open to any questions and suggestions. They should use all possible theological, psychological, and scientific resources. Theological resources should be based on the tolerance and respect for the diversity, cultural differences, and religious distinctions of people. Religious practices, beliefs, and rituals of any person should be respected. Such people as Nabeel Qureshi who face the choice between Islam and Christianity should not be condemned and should be provided with the pieces of advice.
The pastoral counseling should accept different people providing them with the special training programs that encourage cooperation and friendship between various religions. The spirituality should be above any debates and discussions. The tolerance and morality should be above any discrimination and condemnation. The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi has influenced my sensitiveness to various cultures. First of all, I have understood that religion cannot be imposed. It should be chosen willingly due to the soul’s necessity; only then the faith will bring happiness. The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus helps develop empathy and change the way of living. The main character is not afraid of the challenges caused by his family and culture values. As a result, his trying and choice make him happy. The cost of exclusion, fear, and judgments do not scare him. He wants to understand himself, and he has reached his objective as, while seeking Allah, he has found Jesus. He has opened new values to himself that include friendship, tolerance, care, and faith. One can recommend the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi to the pastoral counseling.
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In conclusion, one should admit that the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is an example of how a person can change his/her confession without taking into consideration the family traditions, but following the personal comfort and satisfaction. Religion is chosen due to the desire and state of soul. Turning from Islam to Christianity is possible because of the personal disappointment and desire to open something new. Nabeel Qureshi is not afraid of any challenges and follows his heart. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus proves about his courage, determinacy and non-conformism. His disobedience, curiosity and rebelling spirit have helped him to become Christians and find Jesus in his heart. As a result, no mater what religion a person follows, the main condition is to find religion that calm s the soul and inspires to the good actions. Qureshi compelled to become a Christian, but it dies not mean that he disrespect his family and culture. On the contrary, he is brave enough to admit his non-desire to follow Islam religion.