Over the last few years I’ve had the privilege of getting to know some Muslim families. We’ve eaten in their homes and seen how they interact with their families and how their Islamic faith is lived out. In different contexts, I’ve also spent time discussing faith with Muslims which has helped me to be able to articulate my faith better, know how to defend my faith and how to graciously engage in debate. From my experience of devout Muslims, I think Christians can and should learn a thing or two from them. I don’t mean their faith, because Christianity and Islam are two very different beliefs, but the way that their faith interacts with their life. Here are three things that Christians can and should learn form devout Muslims.
1. Bringing their faith into their every day life
Look at the life of a Muslim, how they act, the things they eat, the words and phrases that they use (and don’t use), you’ll see a life that is very distinctly Muslim. Often Christians can go about their daily lives and they can seem very similar to the world around them. Devout Muslims set up their day around their faith (prayer times, meal time during Ramadan, etc.).
It must be noted that the Islamic view of salvation is very works based, which is one of the reasons for this. Christianity is not works based, we are not saved by what we do but solely because of what Jesus has already done on the cross. But our faith in Christ should lead us to want to follow Him. Our faith should produce in us the fruit of obedience.
For some church is seen as an optional extra, prayer is forgotten about, Bible reading is nonexistent and faith is merely a Sunday matter. Christians would do well to learn the importance and benefit of, godly routines put in place to further spiritual growth.
Even the way we speak, Christians can often make jokes about serious matters of doctrine. What does that communicate to those around us about how seriously we take our faith?
2. Having a genuine desire to engage with other religions and defend their faith
Devout Muslims love and take every opportunity they can to defend their faith and to argue against other faiths. You’ll find that many Muslims have Bible verses memorised so that they can argue against Christianity. In Nabeel Qureshi’s book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus he recalls asking his devout Muslim father if he would like to meet a Christian to debate their faiths, Nabeel’s father enthusiastically agrees. Devout Muslims will invest time in getting to know their own faith and the faith of others so that they can debate with them.
Engaging in apologetics for many Christians is a scary thing that they shy away from. Debating points of faith can be scary and it does require work. But Christians should not shy away from it. If we really believe that all people who do not follow Jesus are going to spend eternity under God’s judgment in hell then we need to seriously engage with people and call people to put their trust in Jesus.
Our love for the lost should spur us on in our efforts to defend our faith and to engage in debate as often as we can.
3. Involving their children in their faith and building that eagerness for faithfulness and devotion in their lives
Devout Muslims involve their children in their faith on a daily basis, involving them in discussions, in prayers, in the reading of the Quran, etc. One of the benefits of involving Children in your faith from an early age is it builds a desire in them to follow in your footsteps. Also, the importance that a parents puts on their faith in their day to day will rub off on the child. This doesn’t mean that every child who walks away from their parents faith does so because their parents weren’t devout enough, sometimes it just happens.
Maybe it’s the works based foundation of Islam that draws the children to follow in their parents faith.
As Christians our desire should be to show our children the beauty of the gospel, the wonder of reconciliation with God that is possible only through Jesus, the joy of gathering with the Lord’s people on a Sunday and the pleasure and fulfilment that comes from following God’s will and His plan for creation.