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Muslim Trades Uncertainty for A Life of Peace

“Nobody knows: ‘Am I doing enough?’ There is no guarantee, there is no assurance. Limbo is always, always is in your mind as a Muslim.” Born in Iran, raised in a strict Shia family, Mohamad Faridi was taught he had one purpose in life. He says, “My goal as a Muslim was to satisfy a god that I didn't know. A god that I couldn't get to know. So, everything I did, everything I read, studied. It was about to fulfill that particular goal, to keep him satisfied with me. To have his approval.” From childhood he prayed and fasted and memorize the Quran. He says, “Because the belief is that if you memorize the Quran, you cannot be burnt in hell, because the verses of the Quran eternal and they are pure, when it's in your mind, the mind cannot be burnt in hell. I was always in constant fear.”

Then as a teenager he started ritual flagellations to earn Allah’s approval. He recalls, “We have chains, we have uh swords that we beat ourself with it. And to punish ourself in order to uh pay for our sins, to show how sorrowful we are.” But there was only one way he could secure his place in paradise. Mohamad says, “The only guarantee, according to Chapter 5 of the Quran is Jihad and being a slay – or slaying for the cause of Islam, that's the only guarantee you will find in the doctrine of Islam.”

Mohamad hoped to get his chance in battle when he served his two years of mandatory military service after high school. But war never broke out and when his army career came to an end, Mohamad grew frustrated and depressed. He recalls, “I knew as a Muslim if I commit suicide, I will definitely end up in Hell. At this time, I'm living in Hell, if I kill myself, I'm end up in Hell. So, I had this dilemma. I was a stuck. I really was a stuck.”

Then one day, he met up with a friend that he hadn’t seen since high school. Right away, Mohamad noticed something different about him. He recalls, “He was very mellow, very peaceful. And it bothered me to the point that I said, ‘What is going on with you today? There’s something very different with you today.’ And then he said that he became a Christian. And he started explaining about the goodness of God. He talked about the love of God. And how his relationship with God that is through Jesus Christ has changed their lives.”
 
Mohamad continues, “And I tried to defend myself. I tried to prove him wrong.  But after two hours of intense argument, I was an echo of what the Imam in the mosque told me. I had nothing that I could stand on as a Muslim. Because I didn't know God. But the way my friend was talking about Jesus, it was like talking about a friend of him, a personal God that he actually knew.  And out of desperation I fell on my knees and I asked him, ‘What do I need to do, to receive Him?’ Everything that I had to do on my own as a Muslim, to beat myself, to bruise myself, to shed my own blood, to become a sacrifice, he said, ‘It's already done in the person of Jesus Christ. And if you believe in Him, you will have eternal life.’ And it was simple, but it was the most amazing good news, the true good news, I've ever heard in my life.”

Finally, Mohamad discovered the personal relationship with God that he had always desired. He recalls, “Something within me that was always in war with me, always restless, it was like a cancer that always bothered me, never was satisfied. That moment when I made that commitment, when I prayed that prayer, it was like yanked out of me, and for the first time in my life I felt peace.”

Mohamad was excited, but worried about telling his family. According to Sharia law, they would have every right to kill him.  He says, “So, I had to choose between my family and my Heavenly family. And at that time I counted the cost and I said, "I will chose my Heavenly family, regardless of what's gonna happen." When he did eventually tell them, his family tried to persuade him back to Islam, but Mohamad was convinced that Jesus was the one true God. He says, “The more I read this New Testament, the Gospels, the more it connected to me. The more it spoke to me. And the Gospels show the hypocrisy of Islam to me.”

For the next two years he attended underground churches and grew in his faith. Eventually, he fled to Turkey fearing for his life. After three years of interviews and waiting, he was granted religious asylum in the United States. He says, “God is a good God, and what He has done through Jesus Christ for us will change our lives for good and for eternity to put us in the right standing with God in a relationship with our Heavenly Father.” Today, Mohamad never misses a chance to share the personal relationship he has with God. He says, “I was a very uncertain person as a Muslim. But when I came to the knowledge and understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for me, that love, that hope, you cannot find it in any other places. Especially in Islam.”

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