“So, you mean to tell me you left Islam for a dream?,” asked Jamal sarcastically. "Not just because of a dream, but it had something to do with it," I said.
Shaking his head in utter disbelief and disgust that a Muslim would abandon Islam for Christianity, Jamal replied, “May Allah have mercy on your soul, for you know Brother Mykhail, there are those with knowledge and those who lack knowledge, the latter you have now became a part of.”
I tried to explain to Jamal the evidences for the messianic prophecies, how the same Bible that Muhammad is asked to search to validate his prophethood in the Quran is the same Bible we have today, and how archeology has confirmed this to be true. There was no amount of evidence to convince Jamal why I decided to leave Islam. For him, I was now an apostate, or in Arabic, a murtad.
I have received from Muslims questions like the one Jamal asked me when I left Islam. But when I discuss the dream that had a profound impact on my decision, I am mocked, and at times scorned (especially from Muslims through social media.). I have been called a liar, a traitor, and sometimes much worse. However, I have stood the ground of faith in my decision to accept Jesus back into my heart again. It has been over six-years since I made that decision to leave Islam, and I am experiencing a peace and love that surpasses all understanding, something that Allah or Islam could never give me.
The Holy Spirit would prick my heart off and on over the years I was in Islam. This combined with apologetics, the loving character of Christians, and dreams from Jesus I truly embraced Jesus as my Lord and Savior. At one time, I felt such an intellectual rush and stimulation as a Muslim, because I believed that Muhammad was truly the last prophet of God. I also believed the Quran was flawless with utter poetic perfection. What I did not realize was that with my lack of understanding Quranic Arabic, was that it appeared to be angelic sounds transmitted through beautiful recitation with poetic verses of deceit. Many Muslims believe in the Quran without truly knowing any Quranic Arabic, but there are words from the Quran that even Arab linguistic scholars cannot discern their meaning.
I started really struggling after about four-years in Islam, especially as I was attending an online Islamic University. The more I read scholarly Islamic literature, the more I started to feel a deep struggle within my soul. Conflicts between my democratic values and Sharia Law were raging deep inside. I could not stop thinking if Jesus was more than a prophet as the Quran explained. What originally attracted me to Islam was eventually what caused me to interrogate Islam. I once believed that Muhammad was foretold in the Bible, that there were scientific proofs in the Quran that showed divine inspiration, and that the Apostle Paul was truly the founder of Christianity and the inventor of the Trinity. Muslims are experts at producing literature that demonstrates content masked in deceit, disguised in linguistic acrobatics. I was duped into believing many lies. I would battle these doubts daily using the Quran, speaking with Muslim friends, scholars, but to no avail.
From time to time I would hear a Christian sermon come on the radio, and I would feel a tug on my heart, especially when the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was preached. I remember listening to Ravi Zacharias, and his Indian accent would catch my attention, because the majority of my friends were Muslims from overseas. Listening to Ravi’s talks on morality had me question the origin of sin in Islam and within my own heart. I never felt like I was good enough in Islam. No amount of prayers (salat), fasting (sawm), or good deeds made me feel worthy. It was as if Ravi’s talks on morality made me truly question whether I had a savior in Islam, and what actually determines Allah’s mercy. It was during this time that I encountered Joe Carey from www.RadicalTruth.net after he refuted an article that I wrote defending Islam. Joe was the first Christian apologist whom I had met who was an expert on Islam. Joe had written hundreds of scholarly articles. Even to this day, his research is a rarity. Joe would listen to me as I spilled my guts and told him about my doubts and confusions between Christianity and Islam. Joe then introduced me to Christian apologist Abdu Murray of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). Abdu was an ex-Muslim like me, but was Arab, and had a command on Islam. He struggled for years to leave Islam and embrace Jesus. Being able to speak with a former Muslim, to discuss my doubts, concerns, and fears was soothing to my soul, and gave me hope that Jesus was the Son of God.
I spoke with Abdu a few times during that year. I had accepted Jesus several times that year in my mind, but it was never long-lasting. I told Abdu that I was going back into Islam. It was tough to tell him this, and my heart dropped. Even then, I felt in my soul I was making a mistake, but I had such an allegiance to Muhammad, something only a Muslim can understand. Abdu would tell me that he, if anyone, could relate to the connection I felt to Muhammad because he was of Arab descent. He asked to pray for me before we got off the phone, and out of respect for such a kind man, I accepted. Two-days after Abdu prayed for me, I had the most vivid dream, and at times I have wondered if it was a vision. I had just prayed my night prayer (isha) and fell asleep.
In my dream, I remember being in a deep sleep and thinking about the Levitical Law, the importance of Solomon’s Temple, and messianic prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament. I could hear my voice in my dream saying, “Why is Islam silent or does not go into detail on this? Surely if Allah is the God of the Bible as Muslims claim, since the Quran is from God it would mention or discuss these things? Why doesn’t the Quran explain what happened to Jesus on the cross?” I felt like I was questioning the validity of Islam in my heart. Islam claims to be the final religion of the God of Abraham, but never discusses the sacrificial system of the Jews in Solomon’s Temple, the messianic prophecies, and how they point to Jesus.
Then a man appeared in my dream. He had an olive complexion, and dark eyes; his eyes appeared to both joyful and sad, and I could feel He was piercing deep into my soul. The man appeared Middle Eastern. His hair was brown, and his beard was thick, I said aloud, “Jesus?” Instantly blood started to fill my dream! It was dark, crimson, and was coming from all different directions like a waterfall. The blood consumed me as I tried to escape it; I remember thinking about communicable diseases, HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis, etc. as I tried to evade it. Eventually I could see myself almost like a silhouette, and I was playing in the blood like a little child. I was laughing, throwing the blood in the air, and I remember thinking in my mind as I witnessed myself basking in this blood, “Wow!” It was unbelievable!
Joy! Peace! Love! Hope! Grace! Forgiveness! Anything you can visualize or feel to express the deep and rich unconditional love of Jesus I would say I felt in that dream. Then I woke up… and felt calmness and serenity. It hit me that I just had a dream about Jesus, and in my stupidity and ignorance, I said in Arabic, “Astagfir’Allah!” which translates, 'God forbid.' Yes, even then I rejected the beautiful dream from Jesus. Something unbelievable happened, when a few days later, Abdu told me that he met Josh McDowell (a well-known Christian apologist) in Orlando for an apologetics conference. Josh prayed that Jesus would appear to me in a dream, because this is one of the main ways Jesus had been appearing to Muslims in the Middle East—and even to this day He still is!
Although, this dream did not immediately drop me to my knees and have me accept Jesus again as my Lord and Savior, it did open my heart. I started to listen to the knock from the Holy Spirit, and truly look into the problem of sin and how Islam left me with a void in my heart that could not be filled. The dream, along with apologetics and the loving character of Christians would have me to walk out in faith on January 26th, 2013 and give my heart, mind, and life to Jesus Christ. I have never been the same ever since, because I have a peace and love as expressed by the Apostle Paul that surpasses all understanding, something Islam could never provide; something only God could give through His Son as He penetrates, heals, and resurrects our wicked hearts through the Holy Spirit.