In August 2016 he announced that he had stage 4 stomach cancer. He was not given a good prognosis yet Nabeel never stopped praying or depending on the Lord. If anything his cancer helped the world see how a Christian lives for the Lord as well as the truth. He created a series of videos in which he talked about his doubts, fears, hopes, and scripture. Nabeel had a new vision as he studied scripture on a regular basis and talked about it often as he gave updates on his health.
For the first 22 years of his life Nabeel was not only a Muslim, he was extremely prepared to defend Islam. However, in 2001 he met a Christian in college that challenged his ideas of Jesus and Christianity. That friend helped Nabeel study the Bible from a historical view. They both went through the Bible together and studied biblical and non-biblical sources especially regarding Jesus’ resurrection.
The Qur’an states that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross but that it was just made to look like he died. So, Nabeel studied the evidence and ultimately arrived at the conclusion that Jesus really did die on the cross and was resurrected. Initially, even after seeing this evidence Nabeel did not convert to Christianity because he knew it would create a certain rift between him and his parents. Nabeel’s family were devout Muslims who believed that believing in anyone besides Allah is the worst sin imaginable. He knew he could not hold onto a faith that he did not believe was the truth. Instead, he knew he had to follow the truth that led him to Jesus.
Essentially, his family would think that Nabeel was committing the greatest sin imaginable by becoming a Christian. As Nabeel describes in his book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus he carefully weighed his options and the repercussions of each decision. He knew despite having extreme respect for his family and their Muslim faith, he had to follow where the evidence led him, no matter what the consequences were. And he chose Jesus because of the evidence he found in support of Christianity and a personal experience he had with God through prayer. However, his studies did not end there as Nabeel went on to earn an Apologetics degree from Biola University, a Religion degree from Duke University, and at the time of his death he was working on his doctorate from Oxford University in New Testament studies.
Nabeel is now more alive in heaven more than he ever has been. He has passed the torch to other Christians as we continue to spread the gospel to unbelievers as well as equipping other Christians to defend the faith. Nabeel’s conversion to Christianity had a profound effect on my research and writing. I was also blessed to read Answering Jihad and No God But One: Allah or Jesus? before they were released. One of the greatest lessons I learned from his teachings was how important it is to memorize scripture and the importance of building relationships. He will be dearly missed but now he is basking in the presence of the Lord, the same Lord that led him to the truth.
“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,” (1 Timothy 1:12 ESV).