Isra Mi’raj and Your Supernatural Encounter

2 04 2019

HeavenHappy Isra Mi’raj to all my Muslim friends today!

For those Muslims who live as minorities, I pray for a peaceful day of celebrations. My heart was broken with all of yours by the tragic shootings in Christchurch, NZ. I’m thankful for the gracious response of the Anglican Christians who demonstrated the true heart of Christ by opening their doors for Muslims to come and pray while their mosque was closed, and the hundreds of volunteers who are providing food, transportation, free legal advice, and other demonstrations of practical love.

For my many Muslim friends who live as the majority in nations such as Indonesia where I live, I hope you’ll be ready to come alongside your suffering minorities with a similarly generous, peace-loving heart.

For my Christian friends who don’t know what the Isra Mi’raj holiday is about, it commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s supernatural journey in one night to visit both Jerusalem and heaven. It includes a symbolic purification of his heart by Gabriel, meeting several of the most famous prophets in heaven such as Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and meeting God.

Can ordinary seekers of God ask for supernatural encounters, such as meeting a prophet, or visiting heaven? Or are such encounters reserved only for the most holy?

I personally have never met a prophet face-to-face or been taken up to see heaven, but I know many people who have. A quiet housewife I’ve known for years suddenly encountered Jesus walking into her kitchen. Two junior high girls in our church were caught up into heaven for several hours and described to my pastor amazing things they would have had no other way of knowing. There’s an entire book of the Bible called “Revelation” that tells how Jesus’ close friend John visited heaven, and was told about the future of humanity. There are literally thousands of documented cases of ordinary people having supernatural experiences like these.

A 20-year-old Indonesian girl who was living with us saw a crowd on the street and stopped to find a young man having an epileptic-type seizure. She drew near and prayed for healing. The man stopped shaking and jumped up, asking, “Where did he go?”

“Who?” our friend answered.

“The man dressed in white. The man who touched me and healed me.”

No one in the crowd, including our friend, had seen this supernatural being, but the epileptic man saw him and received a healing touch. A supernatural encounter such as this might be only a prayer away.

Would you like to visit heaven? Talk directly to Jesus? Why not take this holiday of Isra Mi’raj as an opportunity to ask God for a supernatural encounter. Jesus taught us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

If you have already had such an encounter, or if you pray this prayer and receive one, please tell me about it in the comments section below!

Happy Isra Mi’raj! Happy supernatural encounters!





The Atheist Muslim

8 07 2017

The Atheist Muslim book“The left is wrong on Islam. The right is wrong on Muslims.”

This tweet by Ali Rizvi, author of the new book The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason, was followed up by an interview with Vox that was one of the most honest, objective, insightful discussions of modern Islam I’ve read in a long time. I’d love for you to read the whole interview!

Rizvi was born in Pakistan and raised in a “moderate to liberal Muslim family.” He now works as a doctor and author in Canada. He is a liberal who is critical of liberals; a Muslim who is critical of Islamic ideology; an honest intellectual that represents a large population of modern Muslims seldom heard.

In the interview, Rizvi discusses the difference between Islamic ideology and Muslim people living in an Islamic culture. He addresses Trump and the Travel Ban, ISIS and terrorism, the search for Muslim identity, and what a reformation within Islam might look like.

Now back to his tweet: “The left is wrong on Islam. The right is wrong on Muslims.” Rizvi explains—

“On the left, people were saying that if you have any criticism against Islam, then you were a bigot against all Muslims. On the right, it was like, there are a lot of problematic things in Islamic scripture, so everyone who is Muslim must be banned, or profiled, or demonized. Both sides weren’t making that distinction between challenging ideas, which has historically moved societies forward, and demonizing human beings, which only rips societies apart.”

Have you noticed this in your interactions about Islam or Muslims? I sure have. Actually, I’ve noticed it in conversations about Christians or homosexuals as well. Liberals tend to label any critical analysis of ideas as intolerant, while conservatives sterotyped or demonized people because of their association with such ideas. (Although when I talk with atheists about Christians, there’s somewhat of an ironic role reversal.)

Have you ever heard the term, “Islamophobo-phobia”? Rizvi continues—

“Several white Western liberals have confided to me that they agree with what I say, but won’t say it themselves because they’re afraid they’ll be labeled bigots or Islamophobes. I call that ‘Islamophobo-phobia,’ the fear of being called Islamophobic. It’s a great way to shut down the conversation and silence people with colonial or white guilt.”

One of the strengths of this interview, and no doubt the book, is that Rizvi enlightens us as to the ongoing conversation millions of Muslims around the world are having about these issues right now. They are wrestling with their own identity, culture, ideology, faith and the future of Islam. Rizvi concludes the interview like this—

“Today, this conversation and this movement is happening within the Muslim world. It doesn’t just include the hijab-wearing women and bearded men you see on your TV. It includes the beer-drinking Muslim colleague you work with; it includes the Muslim girl at college who had doubts about her religion’s views on women; it includes agnostics, atheists, and free thinkers like me who want the freedom to change our minds without literally having to lose our heads. There are many voices in this conversation, and you don’t have to choose. Just let it happen.”

What can we do? Be a sympathetic listener to your Muslim friend as he or she processes their own faith journey. Ask sincere questions without making assumptions or generalizations. And share your own journey of questioning within your own religion.

For those of you whose curiosity is piqued to read the interview, I’d love to read your comments!





The Right Response to Paris

22 11 2015
photo from usatoday.com

                        photo from usatoday.com

It’s been an interesting couple weeks, with Islam dominating the news. The horrific attacks in Paris stirred up a tremendous amount of sympathy, fear, and not always constructive reactions around the world. France’s president promised a “ruthless” response, and subsequent raids across France and bombings in the Middle East were evidence of his sincerity.

Meanwhile, many cities and nations questioned the wisdom of welcoming Muslim refugees inside their borders, turning them away to go…where exactly??

An altogether different response arrived in my email inbox this week—an Islamophobic letter warning me that “We Now Have a Muslim Government,” citing erroneously that leaders such as John Brennan, head of the CIA, and presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett were Muslims. The letter also falsely claimed President Obama is a “closet Muslim” and sounded this gloomy assessment of our future:

Obama and his minions are systematically destroying our nation, supporting radical Muslim groups worldwide, opening our southern border, and turning a blind eye to the genocide being perpetrated on Christians all over Africa and the Middle East. The more damage Obama does, the more arrogant he’s become! Our nation and our government has been infiltrated by people who want to destroy us.

These wild accusations of a conspiracy theorist couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you receive any similar bogus emails, please tell the sender to check his facts and instead of spreading fear, try becoming part of the solution.

So…the world’s responses are ruthless revenge, heartless rejection, or delusional fear. Surely there is a better option for us?

Lately I’ve been working on editing my manuscript for the sequel to my first novel, SOMEONE HAS TO DIE, hopefully to be published in summer 2016. In my new book, I’ll address the issue of ISIS and what a more godly, effective, transformational response could look like.

But while you wait for your summer reading, a group of leading Muslims around the world have got a jump on me by authoring an open letter to the self-appointed “Caliph” or leader of ISIS, Al Baghdadi. This 28-page letter presents beautifully how far from orthodox Islam ISIS has strayed. I especially recommend you check out the page explaining jihad and the page on the treatment of Christians (“People of the Book”) if you want to discover how the leading Muslims of our world truly feel about these issues. You can read the letter and who signed it here: http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/

The tragic loss of life in Paris should produce a righteous anger in our hearts. However, neither ruthless revenge nor finger-pointing fear will solve the problem or bring healing to our world. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Islam is not our enemy. Hatred, prejudice, violence and fear are our enemies.

And since these are common enemies to all mankind, let us join together as humans to overcome those evils with good.