A true blue Malaysian born Muslim
Warmest greetings to all readers! My name is Zackaria or Zack in short.I was born a son of Malaysian Muslim.Our family has a long prominent,religious and political tradition in Malaysia.As leading personalities in a country such as Malaysia islamic religion was omnipresent and central in our lives,both politically and traditionally.
A privileged Life and Opportunities to Learn more about God
I was raised according to Muslim tradition,was educated in Arabic language,the Koran,cleansing rituals,praying,fasting etc.But I had also the privilege to travel a lot as a young boy and live in different countries and learn a lot about different cultures and religions.I knew Buddhists,Hindus,Jews,Christians and I really wanted to find out,which religion is the right one.Obviously there couldn't be just one God and several religious ways to near him because the teachings and commandments of the several religions are often so contradictory,it couldn't be the same God who gave them to mankind.Look at creation! Study the law of Physics! we daily can experience a creator and unimaginable wisdom,knowledge and logic! And this creator can't be that confusing and chaotic like and some of the religions in this word reflect.
I remember an event when I was about six years old.Due to my father's position and role he often traveled around and sometimes I didn't see him for months.One day I really missed him so much and was very eager to meet him.It came in my mind to pray to Allah and ask hi to bring my father back.But at that moment I had a big problem! I knew how to pray in Arabic after the washing rituals(wudu') but I didn't know how to pray to Allah for a specific need.I was not able to speak to Allah in an appropriate way and with the right words,in the so-called correct formal order'.I encountered Allah as a God who was very distant,very far away and totally remote.A holy God only to be reached by an in depth knowledge of the Koran and its commandments,right cleansing rituals and the 'precise' Arabic language,and yet still unsure if he was even remotely interested in my concerns.
Learning more about Christianity in knowledge and Experience
On the other hand,I discovered that Christianity is a simple(yet Unsimplistic), religion founded on love,justice and forgiveness - and always ready to accept the weak and unworthy.I was deeply impressed when I watched the Christian Films as a small boy.In quo Vadis for example,the persecuted Christians were tortured by the Romans and they willingly forgave them for these cruel,wicked deeds committed against them.The Christians were then thrown to the hungry lions and other wild animals in the amphitheater.Facing death - they started to praise and worship God.I felt an indescribable strength spreading out from these Christians.They seemed weak,but even then they were incredibly strong.They were dying,but they were sure to live gloriously in eternity.I was impressed and also confused (by my previous Islamic teachings).I decided to pray in a neutral way and petitioned to God that my father should return the next day.
The following day someone knocked our door.Lo and Behold as I opened it I immediately recognised my father's face smiling at me.He told me that he wanted to surprise us with his coming!I was so happy and knew immediately that God answered my prayer.I was by that time convinced that God really exists.But it was on my heart to find the right one!
Struggling again with Islam
Back in Malaysia I experienced Islamic culture and its religious laws as very stifling to fulfill.During Ramadan when we were fasting I even wasn't allowed to swallow my saliva.When I farted after the cleansing ritual and before praying and before praying I had to go through the ritual once again the 'wudu' was cancelled!After yawning I had to pray a verse from the Koran so no demos would enter my body through my mouth.I wasn't allowed to touch dogs (specially black ones) and not even play with the pet dogs.I had a necklace with religious writing in Arabic.Before going to toilet I had to take it off.And there were 1000s of other rules,regulations and commandments I had to observe.I was so afraid to do something wrong to fail.I just couldn't find any inner peace or meaning through Islam.
Searching through the Injil (Gospel) and a divine encounter
At one occasion I requested a Bible and I started to read and study it.I read in the new testament and four Gospels (Mathew,Mark Luke and John). And every single word in them spoke clearly to my heart.I learned that before God we are all sinners who broke his law.even if we try hard we can not fulfill the laws.Because God as holier than what I could possibly conceive.Only one sin in our life is enough to disqualify us from entering heaven.I knew that I have committed atleast one sin in my life.But God also says in
Ephesians 2:8 NIV
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves (by trying to fulfill all those commandments),it is the gift of God."
One day my father and I were ill.We went to several doctors and they were not able to diagnose my illness.Even after taking lots of medicines I was was becoming very weak anl also lost 12 kgs of weight and even thought that I may die soon.Then I started to pray to God,Confessed all my sins.Eating,standing or doing anything physically was impossible.But can pray and prepared to face lord in eternity for the last judgement.My only wish was to enter Heaven.
After staying in the house for 4 or 5 weeks I was hospitalized.My father was already in ICU.Some days he died.
The official version of the cause of death was heart failure.Actually the doctors never knew the reason for death.Some said that we wer poisoned or some one did black magic.I believe that I survived according to the word in Mark 16:17,18 NIV
"17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
A Decisive Moment for me and the whole family
Few years later I had a nervous breakdown and also psychologists couldn't help me.T remember that God,who is able to help in hopeless situations.Who makes believers able to forgive their enemies,to worship him when facing death. Coincidentally my wife brought one American evangelist Bro Ray Jannings.There we as a whole family embraced Christianity wholeheartedly.He prayed ade I was healed instantly.
Dear Muslimin and Muslimahs,I have muslim friends who have performed the Huj and the Umrah and who have embraced Sayidina Isa al-Masih as their redeemer and guide for their lives.They did so even after being pilgrims at the very heart of Islam-Mecca!Today,we live with god's presence and his guidance and know that he is with us.I want you to know,dear Muslim reader,that the only true and living God of the Bible will also be with you and when you decide to follow the true way of Jesus Christ - Who is more than a mere prophet.