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January 18, 2013

MOVING TOWARD MUSLIMS: A greeting of peace

Muslims often come to Christ in the context of friendship, and friendship can begin with a simple greeting:  

        "May peace be upon you."

11_2 Muslim WomenIt can be muttered in passing or proclaimed loudly. Accompanying this blessing of peace can be a glance, a head nod, or just a cautious smile. Then a light grip between my pale right hand and her darker one. That handshake can lead to a kiss where cheeks touch, where a veil is shifted to welcome me into her personal space.

In my years of relating with Muslim women, I have found that with some women, it stops there. Pleasantries are exchanged and we move on. It is run-of-the-mill politeness, and I have come to expect nothing less – and sometimes, nothing more.

But there are other women with whom the conversation moves on. Starting with, "What is your news?" it can deepen to "What is your faith?" They may open their homes and, after some time, even their hearts.

Amina was one such open woman I met at a park not long ago. With a quiet "Salaamu alaikum (peace be upon you)," she sat next to me under an awning covered with flowering vines.

We were past formalities when she shared, "I come here to pray, to recite verses from the Quran as I walk." She showed me a little book of surahs and the prayer beads she carried.

Then Amina startled me with her confession: "When I walked into the garden today, I saw you and a voice inside me said, She will be your friend. This is why I came over to talk with you."

My eyebrows raised. A voice inside you? Clearly, this was no chance meeting. This was what I call a divine appointment. And it all started with a simple greeting.

Jesus used a greeting similar to the Muslim "Salaamu alaikum" when appearing to his disciples after his resurrection. His words "Peace be with you," are recorded twice in John 20. His greeting made his friends aware of his presence, resulting in their joy and belief in Him (see John 20:19-29).

"Peace I leave with you," Jesus said (John 14:27). He encouraged his friends who believed in God to "believe also in Me" (John 14:1). With Jesus as our Lord, we can be ambassadors of peace to Muslims who may in turn believe in Him.

It is true that some Muslims persecute Christians. But it is also true that many, many Muslim individuals are peace-loving. Like Amina, they are curious about Jesus, and may even desire a Christian friend.

In the coming year, I hope to share a realistic picture of Muslims and explore ways God is working among them. One of the primary ways Muslims come to faith in Jesus is through the consistent witness of a Christian friend (source).

Although God alone orchestrates "divine encounters," I believe Christians must take the initiative to befriend and reach out to Muslims. That could mean shopping where they shop, sitting down beside someone new on the bus, or greeting your Muslim professor or classmate.

Muslims often come to Christ in the context of friendship, and friendship can begin with a simple greeting. What's more, when the children of God speak those peace-filled words, they are backed by the authority of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. May His peace be upon us all.

"Anna" blogs about friendship, culture, and Kingdom-living from her home in the Middle East. She loves Jesus and wants to see Him cherished by her neighbors and people everywhere. Anna will be posting on the Persecution Blog each month. Feel free to ask questions or suggest future topics in the comments section for this post. Anna is a pseudonym, and all names in her posts are changed for security reasons.

Join the Discussion:   Have you ever tried to befriend a Muslim? What are the obstacles to meeting Muslims in your city?

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Comments

God bless your life «Anna» and keep you safe, thank you for sharing that with us, you are a blessing for many with the things you are doing, thank you, and never give up because God will reward you.

I AM SO GLAD TO HEAR FROM A TRUSTED FRIEND AND SISTER IN CHRIST JESUS. I HAVE NEVER KNOWN HOW TO BEFRIEND A MUSLIM , I ALWAYS THOUGHT THEY NEVER WANTED ANYONE TO APPROACH THEM. LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE NEWS.

Thank you for sharing you are a blessing and may God protect you as you share HIS love.

"13whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:13-15. God Bless you Anna!

Anna says that "some" Muslims persecute Christians but "many, many" Muslims are peace-loving. Yet "Anna" can't use her real name in her blog. Why? Is it because she is afraid of "some" Muslims, or are the proportions actually reversed? Yes, the Lord has hidden jewels scattered here and there in the Muslim world, and we support the efforts of brave Christians to reach them. But at the same time, many, many Muslims approve of the actions of some Muslims in persecuting Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and even other Muslims, and are just as guilty of their crimes.

Thank you for the post, Anna, and looking forward to more from the "front lines"! :-D

Great story about Amina. I disagree with Jeff, since Anna might probably live or serve in a creative-access or hostile country to Christianity. Giving her real name out would be illogical and just plain dangerous and could be used against her by those wishing to do her harm. May God bless you and may God increase His kingdom through you, Anna.

I'd like to hear more about your interactions with muslims. There are several surahs that say muslims should not befriend christians. Muslim integration in western countries is a front to cover their true intentions to subvert the west. it's already happening in europe.

I had a muslim coworker and she was a very sweet person -- very considerate, conservative, and funny -- everything I could want in a Christian friend! She knew I was a Christian. I knew she had very strict rules to follow, and thought that topic would be a great way to start a conversation about our religious differences. Unfortunately she was transferred and we no longer have contact. I would think converting a muslim would be very hard, tho I know not impossible. I will look forward to hearing more about this. God bless you Anna!

May God bless and keep you Anna, I like your inspiring story, but I find it hard communicating with Muslims even though I live next door to their mosque ....some of them drive taxis where I live and they don't care about other people around them ...one of them tried to run me over shouting out words of abuse, saying I don't deserve to live. But I forgive him and them. Even though I haven't spoken to them yet, I do pray for them constantly. I pray that God will open a door for me to communicate with them and other people around my community. Keep up with God's work, snd God bless you ..

me and my sister were born into Catholicism...I no longer practice any of the Catholic traditions, my sister is now a muslim....unfortunatly, we no longer have a relationship...I'm a Christian and she no longer believes Jesus is God, just a prophat??? I pray she will find her way as I have...Jesus said to me, "Jeannette, the gate is narrow and only few enter" I will continue to pray for her~

I have a female Muslim neighbor whom I now love. I love her babies too . I am afraid to talk about Christianity because of her husband. I'm not sure about him and I don't want to lose communication with her. They have asked me to come in and have tea with them. She really is a sweetheart and gracious! P

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