A Former Muslim's Testimony

I received the following testimony in my email. It is a lovely story. I cannot know whether the events really happened as the man described, or if they are but images created in hismemories by pious desire. However, I recognize that everything could have happened just as he wrote. After all, there are biblical records of angelic visits and ministrations to man, and the testimony doesn't have the ring of "magic."

When I expressed the above comments to my friend Bill Scudder, a 'classic' Pentecostal, he replied:

Have you heard about some Muslims that had visions of Jesus appearing to them and Jesus preached the gospel and they believed? I have heard of several. Sometimes I think that God will go to extreme measures to reach those that are in false religions and had not the chance as others to hear the Gospel. We know Biblically that Jesus would not come here in the flesh until the rapture but I believe the Holy Spirit can give visions of Him as God wills. I think your discernment of the story is accurate.

And now, here is Zana's Story.

It all started in late 1980s when I was detained by the Iranian police for no reason. They tought that I had some connections with Kurdish political parties that was opposing the Islamic Republic. I did not have any connection with any political party or anything of that sort. Months went by without even letting my family know where I was. Finally, the day came where I was brought into court. The Judge asked me three question that was asked to many people.

What is your name? -- I said Zana.

What is your ethnicity? -- I said I am a Kurd.

What is your religion? -- I said that I am a Sunni Muslim.

I was taken out of the court, thrown back into my cell and I was beaten all night. Next morning, they put me on a bus and we were headed back to Mahabad, my city in Kurdistan.

On the Bus I was sitting next to a man. He opened his bag and tooked out a sandwich which was wrapped in newspaper. I was very hungry since I had not eaten regular food in almost six months. I did not want to look at his food but I just couldn't stand the smell of the kababs. He turned around and asked me if I like one. Without hesitating as we usually do in Iranian culture, I asked for one. Instead of one he gave me two out of the three that he had with him. I asked for his name and he said that his name was Yacub. I had never heard that name before. So I asked, "What kind of name is this?" He said "Hebrew". "Ahh, so you are a Jew?", I asked back. "No, I am a Christian", he said.

I have heard lot of negative things about Christians in the Quran, so I did not want to get into a conversation about Christianity. But something inside me made me wonder why did he believe in it? I asked if he believed that Jesus was the son of God? The answer was yes. How God have a wife? How Could God have sex? He started explaining that to say that God had sex with Mary is a great sin. But rather Jesus is the Son of God in a spiritual way and not like the way we are born. And we never say that God ever had a wife, we believe in a holy God.

I wanted to stop the conversation and bring a different subject. I could not think of any, so I asked him why was he going to Kurdistan? He said that a friend needed some help with something. I asked for his name. He said Zana. That was my name. But I thought it was a different person. He opened his bag and very quietly gave me a Bible. He put it in my bag. He knew that if someone sees him with that book it could cost him his life. I asked what was it? He told me that I will find out later. We got to Mahabad and I came off the Bus before he did. I got my bag and was waiting outside for Yacub (Jacob) to come off, but the bus was empty and he still had not come out. I went to the driver and asked him where did the Man sitting next to me go to? To my astonishment and confusion he said, "There was no man sitting next to you".

Was I crazy or what? I said maybe I was dreaming. But I still had the taste of the sandwich in my mouth. I still had the book in my bag. What was Yacub? Who was he? Why didn't he go to his friend's house? Than I remembered that the friend's name was Zana and only then realized he meant me.

I went home and found my mom in the house crying. She was so surprised and happy to see me. I asked what had happened since I was gone? I found out that soldiers were looking for me and that she was raped by a Jash (Kurdish for "traitor"). When I heard that I felt like somebody was hitting me in the back with sticks. I went to my room and wept like a baby. I could not believe that this really happened.

That night when I asked for my older brother Hasan at dinner they all started crying. They told me that he was hanged. I felt like the food was was going through my back. I could not eat. I got up and went to my room for some more weeping. I felt like the whole world was on my shoulders and I felt like I carrying the rocks. I had nothing to do, so I took out the book and started reading. After reading the first chapters of the book of Genesis, I went to read the Injeel {Ron's note: Injeel is the Islamic name for the Gospels which, according to Mohammed, were given to isaiah and subsequently corrupted and lost.}. I started reading the book of Matthew. I was surprised, I never seen anything like this. I stopped at chapter ten and I just went to bed. I still could hear my Mom and sister crying and downstairs. The neighbors came to cheer them up and talking to them.

Next morning life was normal, so I went and visited my brothers grave. Life became normal again until one night in my dream Yacub appeared and told me that I must leave my country. I knew something was up so I went and hid at a friend's house. I did not want to leave the country; I loved it. Sometime after I sneaked back I to my house at night I found that soldiers had been in my house and they were looking for me. Now this time it was my sister that was raped by the soldiers for no reasons. My brother who was executed had some ties to the Kurdish political parties. But what have I done wrong, or what has my sister done wrong? Is this what they call an Islamic Republic?

All I could think of was suicide. But I am now gonna leave so many people behind. If if was not for my family I would have killed myself. I knew that Yacub was telling me something. But what? Help me Yacub, what do you want me to do? I went to my room and packed whatever I could because I was going to leave the country. I took the Bible with me and headed for the mountains crossing the boarders into Iraq. I stopped in the middle of nowhere for a rest. I took out my book and read in it. When I came to Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all who are heavy laden and weary and I will give you rest" I was shocked and did not knew what to think because the book kind of read my mind. It had what my heart longed for. I found what I was looking for. I found what met my personal needs.

Right there in the middle of the night I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I couldn't believe the changes that were happening inside of me. I felt a kind of peace that could not be expressed by words. I was relieved, I could feel all of the weight that I felt on my shoulders coming off. I now understood what was God and how he was like. It was a good thing that I did not commit suicide. The Lord had a plan for me. I now knew who Yacub was -- an angel. It was very hard to believe. I myself found it hard to believe. But an angel would be the best answer.

I now forgave all of those that done wrong to me. Instead of cursing I prayed for the salvation of the people who were beating me in prison. I am grateful for having such a wonderful experience. My sincere prayer is that God Almighty will show you the truth. I am willing to help you find the truth. I can be reached at the following address:

Masihim@yahoo.com

NOTE: I am not familiar with Middle East names, and had thought Zana to be a woman. I was wrong, as Zana himself informed me in an email I received from him on August 16, 2002. I have corrected the article to reflect the proper gender. In his communication, Zana assured me that he did not see Jesus, but that he is convinced that Jesus sent an angelic messenger to him. He added that he had no reason to make things up. He has returned to Iran, under an amnesty. As I indicated above, his testimony has the ring of truth. God is not limited in His action. I see no reason not to accept Zana's account just as he wrote it.

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