Take Up Your Cross: The Inspiring Life of Nabeel Qureshi

For most North American believers, their decision to accept Jesus as Saviour was not a costly one. While they had to swallow their pride and humble themselves, they weren’t going to lose their friends and family over it. They probably began attending a church like our church in Sydney Mines. Although they might face mild teasing or exclusion from certain social activities, they were in no danger of being disowned or losing their lives. However, those who come to faith in Christ from a Muslim background pay an extremely high cost. Often, they must give up everything they love, including their family.

Here is the story of one such believer, Nabeel Qureshi.

Growing Up Muslim

Born in California, Nabeel grew up in a devout Muslim family. His family was part of the peaceful Ahmadi sect, which agreed with the main tenets of Islam but differed on a few minor points. In addition to learning Urdu and Arabic by age 4, Nabeel had read the entire Qur’an by age 5. From an early age, he was trained to defend his faith with Muslim apologetics. 


A Challenge to His Faith

By the time he was a college student, Nabeel was well versed in answering Christians who shared the gospel with him. He was confident that his faith could withstand any test and enjoyed “engaging Christians in religious discussions.” One day, Nabeel found a new friend in a fellow student named David Wood. Wood was a serious Christian, and he, too, was well equipped to defend his faith. Over the next few years, David and Nabeel became very close friends and constantly debated the truth about Jesus and the Bible. This drove Nabeel to search for the truth and explore the history of his own faith.


A Saviour Who Sought Him

In his search, Nabeel slowly began to realize that the claims of Christianity were not only valid, but also believable. Not only that, but he also found convincing proof for Jesus’ death and resurrection. At the same time, David asked Nabeel to re-examine the claims of Islam. As he researched primary documents and interviewed Muslim leaders, the foundations of his childhood faith were slowly crumbling. From December 2004 to April 2005, Jesus gave Nabeel three remarkable dreams. These dreams seemed to indicate that Jesus’ claims were true. At our church in Sydney Mines, we believe that Jesus is the only way to God and to Heaven.

At last, Nabeel reached the end of his rope. Heartsick, he took out the Qur’an and the Bible. Finding no comfort in the Qur’an, he opened the Bible and soon read, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Moments later, he read Matthew 10:37, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” 

He prayed, “But Jesus, accepting you would be like dying. I will have to give up everything.” Jesus answered him in the next verses, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:38-39) Kneeling at the foot of his bed, Nabeel gave up his life to Christ.


A Remarkable Ministry

Soon, Nabeel told his family about his decision to follow Christ. They were heartbroken and deeply grieved over his decision. Yet Nabeel was steadfast in his decision to follow Christ. He pursued advanced studies in Christian apologetics and religion, and he also graduated from medical school. Burdened for his fellow Muslims, he began to travel and speak about his faith with the Ravi Zacharias International Ministry. He also wrote three best-selling books about Islam and Christianity. 


An Unexpected Ending

In the summer of 2016, Nabeel was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. He wrote, “God in His infinite and sovereign wisdom has chosen me for this refining, and I pray He will be glorified through my body and my spirit.” He underwent radiation, but it was not successful, and the cancer spread to his chest. Leaving behind his wife Michelle and baby daughter Ayah, he stepped into the presence of Jesus on September 16, 2017. How great his joy must have been to see the One for whom he had given up everything.


Will you take up your cross to follow Jesus as Nabeel did? Join the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church on Sundays at 11:00 am. 

For more information, call 902-304-4707 or email northside1178@gmail.com