I Was an Ardent Muslim- Peter Iqbal
I was born in an orthodox Muslim family. I was first schooled in a kindergarten
school which I later had to leave on account of misconduct. The Principal then
advised my father to admit me into a boys school. Thus I found admission to
the Madras Christian College School.
As I moved with my friends in the community life of the hostel of this school, my evil nature used to exhibit itself in many vulgar ways. My peace was greatly disturbed by petty quarrels, and even fist-fights were not uncommon. On Sundays we would play cricket and take to our heels as soon as our warden returned from church. In my high school days, I became openly hostile to the evening prayers conducted by the management and I resented the school rules which required my attendance at Christian prayers. I obtained special permission from my warden to refrain from joining the prayers.
I was seemingly religious in my own way. I said the Kalma or the Islamic creed countless number of times in Arabic: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammed is the messenger of Allah." I was antagonistic to the teaching which used to come out in the school that Jesus was the only Saviour of the world. I had heated arguments with my friends, while discussing religious differences between Christianity and Islam.
Later I entered the Madras Christian College. There I was greatly challenged by the changed life of a boy of fifteen, whom I had known earlier at my school hostel. This made me to seriously re-think if my antagonism toward Christianity was at all reasonable. I began to attend the meetings of the Laymens Evangelical Fellowship and heard the late Mr. N. Daniel preach on several occasions.
Every Friday evening a meeting was held by young people from the Fellowship, out in the college grounds, to which the students were invited. I was convinced and convicted that I was one who was crucifying the Lord Jesus, by my many sinful actions and by my rebellion. I began to confess all my sins. I was moved to brokenness and tears of contrition. The Spirit of God led me to put things right with those whom I had wronged. Jesus spoke to me from Zechariah 3:4, "I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with change of raiment." The Lord breathed into my heart His sweet peace which passes human understanding. My life was changed. I could not think in terms of quarreling and fighting with others any more. My desire for the company of Gods children increased. The change in my life was noticed by my friends as well as by my relatives.
On one occasion when my Hindu friend was nudging me at the examination hall to copy his map, I refused to do so. I know then I was running the risk of failing my two-year course University Examination. However I firmly believed that preserving a clean conscience was more important than success in the examination. Later in my B.A. class, the Lord enabled me to even top the list. The Lord also enabled me to obtain a college award one year, for my proficiency in Scripture.
After my College education, I served a period of one year in my old school as a teacher and then the Lord called me into His service. Joy filled my heart at knowing that God had use for me in His Kingdom. In spite of a sense of incompetence, I felt I should obey and consecrate my life for the Lords work. God spoke to me through Isaiah 61:6, "But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God." I then made known my decision to my aged father. It was indeed a critical moment for him, a time when all his earthly ambitions for me were smashed. However my father was conscious that God was surely leading me and that it would be disastrous to oppose anybody, under such circumstances.
As I began to testify boldly to my Saviours uniqueness and power, one of my cousins, who was exceedingly zealous about Islam, was greatly enraged. He said that men like me ought to be killed. But the Living Saviour began to work in his own heart, notwithstanding his fanaticism. In a most marvellous manner he too was gloriously transformed and converted by the Saviour. He then became an effective witness and in process of time became the pastor of a Christian work.
From the time that I obeyed Him, God has given me joy and satisfaction in His
work. If I, who hated Christ could meet the Saviour who died for all men and find
this wonderful LIFE and peace, how much more should you, reader, turn to Him and find true
Rest and Joy.