Some Thoughts On The Death Of Nabeel Qureshi

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1. Introduction

The diverse online community of Muslims and Christians, especially those involved in apologetics on the World Wide Web received the news of the death of Nabeel Qureshi at the age of 34 years old from a “rare and deadly form of stomach cancer”CBN News, Nabeel Qureshi’s Plea: ‘Please Pray For Me! Please Pray That God Will Heal My Whole Body’, 22 August 2017 on 16th September 2017 with mixed reactions. It is after all well-known to the Muslims that, having branded himself as an “ex-Muslim” with a strong appeal to family emotionalismAn example of this can be seen in: Faith It, The Most Painful Day of His Life? When His Parents Found Out He Gave Up Islam for Jesus…But It Was Worth It, March 12, 2014, Nabeel had gone on to become the author of three polemical booksHis books are entitled: “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity” (2014); “Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward” (2016) and “No God but One: Allah or Jesus?: A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity” (2016) dissing Islam and its tenets, developed an online money-making polemical video course aimed at an evangelical target audience, and allied himself with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) to go on various roadshows and seminars with the sole intention of vilifying Islam openly.

This article aims to provide context to Nabeel Qureshi’s polemical life, his forays into Christian missionary attacks against Islam and his hidden motives in doing so, insha’allah.

2. Was Nabeel Qureshi Raised As A “Muslim”?

It should be mentioned right from the onset that Nabeel was a Qadiani. He converted to Christianity under the influence of David Wood from the Ahmadiyya, a movement that has never been recognised by mainstream Islam as “Muslims”. The Ahmadiyya believe that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a prophet of God and the promised Messiah in the likeness of Jesus, two fundamental claims that run contrary to mainstream orthodox Islam which clearly says that there can be no Prophet of God after the passing of Muhammad(P) (Qur’an, 33:40) and that the Messiah was no other than Christ Jesus(P), the son of Mary.

Yet the Christian media, in the wake of Nabeel’s death, conveniently gloss over this small, inconvenient fact and consistently potrayed Nabeel Qureshi in their rabid, polemical frenzy as an “ex-Muslim”WND, “Ex-Muslim, author, evangelist Nabeel Qureshi dead at 34”, 20 September 2017 or as a “former Muslim”See for example PJ Media, “Nabeel Qureshi Shows Christians How to Die Well, With a Message of Love and Trust in Jesus Christ”, 16 September 2017.

It is interesting to note that some Christian apologists did question Nabeel Qureshi’s “Islamic upbringing”. One of them was Seth Dunn, in which he says (while commenting on Nabeel’s contradictory story on having been converted through a “dream”Todd Friel, a Christian TV host, questions whether dreams are a valid reason for Muslims converting to Christianity and gave Biblical evidence against this in Wretched, Episode 2025: “Is God converting Muslims through dreams?”):

Still, readers should recall that it was originally a Muslim apologist who exposed inconsistencies in Ergun Caner’s Islamic background story. While the inconsistencies in the dream stories cited above are slight, they are relevant given the vast evangelical fascination with stories of Muslim dreams and visions of Jesus. Furthermore, Qureshi’s very Islamic credentials are in question. Qureshi is a former Ahmadi. According to Snow, the Ahmadi sect is not considered Muslim by Muslims in the same way Mormons are not considered ChristiansSeth Dunn, “Resetting the Evangelical Mindset on Nabeel Qureshi” in Pulpit & Pen, 4 July 2016

In other words, Nabeel Qureshi’s so-called “Muslim upbringing” was a convenient “hammer” against the Muslims that the Christian missionaries utilised to the fullest.

3. How Influential Was Nabeel Qureshi, Really?

No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him! (Qur’an, 23:91)

At the onset of his reimaging as a Christian apologist in 2014, Nabeel wrote the following tweet:

As any Muslim who sincerely understands and believes in the message of Islam would know, that statement by Nabeel is totally untrue and without any real basis whatsoever. As it is, Islam does not solely hinge on the life of the Prophet Muhammad(P) to uphold the divine truth of the Qur’an as the direct Revelation from God Almighty. Hence, when the news of Nabeel’s death became known, the Muslim initial reaction was — on the whole — muted and dignified on the social media and blogs. It was only the Christian news media and Christian blogs that went with inflammatory headlines in order to drum up public sentiment about Nabeel’s death and sensationalise it for their target audience.

This brings us to the next question: how far did Nabeel’s successes really go? We find it odd that at the time of writing this article, no Christian had openly questioned the so-called “achievements” of Nabeel Qureshi in his attempts to bring Muslims to the worship of Christ; more its effectiveness. Where are those so-called “hundreds of Muslims” that were inspired by Nabeel’s message and converted? What are their names and which part of Nabeel’s message reached them to the point that they feel compelled to convert to Christianity? There has been no such data produced and we believe that there will be no such data anytime soon, simply because it does not exist. Nabeel Qureshi’s tired polemics on the issue of Allah (God), the personality of the Prophet Muhammad(P), the concept of jihad and anything else apart from this will not change the minds of Muslims to consider Christianity as a valid option.

The Christian scholar and thinker Hans Kung said as follows regarding Muhammad:

Whatever we Christians do with this fact, we must affirm that he acted as a prophet and that he was a prophet. I do not see how we can avoid the conclusion that on their way of salvation, Muslims follow a prophet who is decisive for them.See our article: Hans Küng On “Is Muhammad A Prophet”?

Certainly, the credentials of Hans Kung is much more impeccable than the highly polemical and disputed authority that Nabeel Qureshi represents!

Generally speaking, however, there was no polemical inquiry from Nabeel Qureshi on Islam that has not already been analysed, debated, answered and refuted already by the many Muslim apologists and the online Islamic da’wah movement in general. Indeed, the general opinion among Muslims regarding the Prophet(P) is one of being merciful, the total opposite of what Nabeel Qureshi represents:

When Muhammad came into a position of political power after decades of persecution, his first act was to forgive those who had persecuted him. His heart of mercy is also illustrated by this hadith: “A dying child was once brought to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). When, on seeing the child’s last breaths, the Prophet began to shed tears, one of his companions asked why he was crying. He replied: ‘It is a mercy that God has put in the hearts of God’s servants, and God is merciful only to those of God’s servants who are merciful to others’”. I hope that, in the midst of public debate between Muslims and non-Muslims, we all can be merciful to one another.Jonathan E. Brockopp (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad, Cambridge University Press (2010), pp. 280-281

Outside of the World Wide Web, Nabeel Qureshi was (and still is) an unknown entity to the Muslim world and never had any real influential presence. Elijah Reynolds in an online piece co-written with a Christian graduate student criticized Nabeel Qureshi by stating:

For Qureshi, the Qur’an is a bloody and violent text—a fact which learned interpreters of Islam today ignore, he implies, but somehow the unlearned Jihadists get right. Qureshi claims that as a young man, he was shielded from reading Qur’an and hadith on his own, and instead was taught a message of Islamic peace and love. This reading was subsequently shattered by his own independent investigation of the texts, bypassing centuries of the tradition and scholarly interpretations.

Qureshi claims to speak more authoritatively on Islam than the imams whose interpretation he explicitly ignores. He remembers as a child, “if I wanted to know about the traditions of Muhammad, I had to ask imams or elders in my tradition of Islam.” It was not until he bypassed “centuries of tradition and their imams’ interpretations” that he discovered real Islam—apparently on the internet, where young potential ISIS recruits easily find real Islam too.

Qureshi’s rejection of the learned scholars of his community in favor of the internet….is comparable to an atheist learning everything she knows about Christianity from Richard Dawkins.Jonathan Homrighausen and Elijah Reynolds, “Looking For Islam In All The Wrong Places: A Response to Nabeel Qureshi” in Religion Dispatches, USC (April 20, 2016)

The vast and copious material that he had produced from the time of his conversion to Christianity until a week before his death are mostly rehashes of Orientalists and Christian polemicists in the likes of Alphonse Mingana, Samuel Zwemer, Robert Spencer, David Wood and many others. There was nothing new or anything worth mentioning that he had introduced in his debates with the Muslims, apart from him consistently attempting to create a “dichotomy” between “Allah and Jesus” (as made apparent in his book titles and online speeches). Even that “honour” too has been taken away by the Christian missionaries Robert Morey and Sam Shamoun, the former being known for his “Allah is a moon-god” theory and the latter for his virulent, Islamophobic strawman against the conception of God in Islam. The image that was carefully planned and crafted of him having “questioned his Muslim faith”CBN (700 Club), “Why Nabeel Qureshi Questioned His Muslim Faith”, undated and “being called off the minaret”Christianity Today, “Christ Called Me Off the Minaret”, 8 January 2014. It is interesting to note that he made no mention that his family were from the Ahmadiyya, and portrayed his family background as being mainstream Islam. however, has made it a prominent feature among a gullible Western audience primed with Islamophobia and always willing to parade someone from “the enemy” as one of their own.

In spite of the meagre achievements of Nabeel Qureshi in the Muslim world, this had not stopped the Western Christian public — deluded by the mythical influence of their fallen hero — to donate money to his cause, even in death. Nabeel’s GoFundMe page reached up to USD700,000.00 after the news of his death was known to the public sphere, and the monthly amount he receives from Patreon had not wavered either. It seems obvious to us that those managing the crowdfunding pages of their fallen comrade are making a huge profit out of this sensationalism.

4. Why Did God Not Heal Nabeel Qureshi?

This was the question posed by the Christian polemicists, guised in the form of an op-ed by Frank Turek and another in a blog post. This must have been the question that had been playing in their minds when Nabeel Qureshi first announced that he had Stage IV cancer on August 31, 2016. We find the statement made by Frank Turek in reference to Muslims extremely polemical and was totally below the belt, as he wrote that:

    Is it because the Muslim God is the true God, and He punished Nabeel for leaving Him? No, there’s excellent evidence for the Christian view of God (see Nabeel’s book No God but One). Moreover, Muslims who suggest this should be asked, “Why did your God wait until Nabeel had written three best-selling books, made hundreds of hours of videos, and helped bring hundreds of Muslims to Christ? Is his timing off?” Not only that, Nabeel’s work will continue to bring people to Christ, probably in an accelerated manner after his passing.

We would like to address several things for this missionary to digest. First of all, Mr Turek, there has never been a “Muslim God” or a “Christian God” or any other god that the Muslims worship which is distinct from the God of Abraham, Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them all. It is very insulting to even suggest that the God of Islam is distinct from the God of Christianity because, in reality, they are not distinct — Muslims and Christians do worship the same God.

Regarding the second part of Turek’s rhetorical question, one may not have to look far to see why this may be the case. It has been reported by several Christian news portals that Nabeel himself “prayed for God to kill him after converting to Christianity”Reported in The Christian Post, “Former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi Prayed for God to Kill Him After Converting to Christianity”, July 19 2016; Christian Today, “Apologist and former Muslim Nabeel Querishi reveals he asked God to kill him after his conversion”, 23 July 2016; Faith It, “Muslim Begs God to Kill Him After Becoming a Christian—After 3 Dreams, His Bible Opens to This…”, 19 July 2016 and The Christian Times, “Former Muslim confesses he wanted to die after converting to Christianity”, 22 July 2016.

This may or may not have been true as we would like to keep an open mind on this, but we leave the interested reader to follow the trail and check out the evidence for themselves as to whether God may have indeed “killed” Nabeel Qureshi because He did answer what Nabeel had prayed for…and it has nothing to do with the Muslims.

5. Conclusions

Nabeel Qureshi was a Qadiani, or otherwise known as the Ahmadiyya, a deviant sect that only began in the late 19th century and have been consistently denounced by mainstream Islam as heterodox for their belief that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a Prophet and the promised Messiah. He was never a Muslim to begin with. This is akin to stating that a former Mormon who reverted to Islam was a “Christian”, even though Mormonism is rejected by mainstream Christianity because Mormons believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. The parallels between Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and Joseph Smith are so similar to one another that we wonder how was it possible for Western Christians to fall for this con.

    Google Trends graph for the search term “nabeel qureshi”. Note how his name only peaked around the time of his death in September 2017

It should be noted that Nabeel never once addressed the issue of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad when talking about his past — whether in his books or in his speeches — because he knew that to do so will lend little credence to his claims of being a “former Muslim” and totally remove any vestige of his credibility. He unabashedly capitalised on that label to the point of making a huge fortune from his various evangelical ventures, with the backing of the Christian establishment. It is worth mentioning that this was the same tactic employed by a Christian polemicist and Islamophobe extraordinaire by the name of Ergun Caner — a self-professed “former devout ex-Muslim” who never did practice any of the basic tenets of Islam during his early life and was in fact weaned into Christianity even before the age of puberty. Ergun Caner exploited his shenanigans to the hilt as a money-making enterprise until he was exposed as a fraud by Mohammad Khan, a British Muslim, for passing off gibberish as Arabic phrases and Qur’anic verses.

In turn, the Christian missionaries themselves used Nabeel Qureshi as a hammer against the Muslims — and their ideological weapon — to promote an agenda of extinguishing IslamWe are reminded of the following verse: “They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.” (Qur’an 61:8, which still remains the fastest-growing religion in the world. While we reserve our judgement on the final fate of Nabeel Qureshi who had clearly erred in the sight of Islam (as we do believe matters of his affairs have now come between him and God Almighty), we do find that the Christian missionary attempts at the hero-worship of Nabeel Qureshi in death and (mis)using it — to the point of making thinly-veiled attacks on Islam and the Muslims — shameful and disgusting, to say the least.

In the end, Muslims are reminded of the words of God Almighty in the Final Testament, the Qur’an, which says:

And they say, “None will enter Paradise except one who is a Jew or a Christian.” That is [merely] their wishful thinking, Say, “Produce your proof, if you should be truthful.” (Qur’an 2:111)

And verily, only God knows best!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Some Thoughts On The Death Of Nabeel Qureshi," in Bismika Allahuma, Thu 1 Muharram 1439AH 21-9-2017AD, last accessed Wed 9 Shaban 1439AH 25-4-2018AD, https://www.craftora.com/op-ed/nabeel-qureshi-death/

Appendix 1: “You Cannot See God And Live”By Ibn Anwar of Unveling Christianity

In a debate event entitled What is God Really Like: Tawhid or Trinity? that the late Nabeel Qureshi had with Dr Shabir Ally, a person asked in the Q&A Session how he would reconcile the apparent contradiction between saying that Abraham actually laid eyes on God and yet Exodus 33:20 has God telling Moses that seeing His face is an impossibility as seeing Him would cause the human being to die. In answering this question, Nabeel argued that it was Jesus that Abraham saw and not the Father. It is the Father, according to Nabeel and many other Christian apologists, that human being cannot lay eyes on and live, but if it was the Son, that is, Jesus then it would be totally all right for the human eyes to see.

Firstly, the verse in Exodus 33:20 does not categorise God into the Father and the Son and thereby argue, as Nabeel did, that only the Son can be seen but not the Father. The plain text simply shows God as One Being and One person explicitly declaring that nobody can see Him and live. Secondly, If indeed it was God that Abraham saw and his life was preserved despite Exodus 33:20 because — as Nabeel and co. reasoned — it was Jesus, but if it had been the Father then he would have been utterly destroyed, then the necessary implication of that claim is that the Father and Jesus are not co-equal as the Trinitarians claim. If they were, in fact, equal in power and glory, then seeing both would result in the same catastrophic end, i.e., death. But apparently, the Father has a far greater glory than the Son, that seeing Him and not the Son would have the viewer forfeit his life.

In conclusion, in an attempt to reconcile Genesis 18 with Exodus 33:20, Nabeel Qureshi inadvertently refutes the Trinity as he glorifies the Father and makes the Son inferior.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I followed quit a number of Nabeel’s debates but I really felt sad, because Nabeel was taking advantage of the West’s lack of knowledge in Islam and for me he knew nothing about Islam himself. When asked questions in debates, he almost always goes off tangent , taking advantage of the gullible western audience. knowing quiet well that there was no way he could be redirected to the question due to the nature of debates. His lack knowledge in Islam was very easy for any one with little islamic knowledge to know for example: In his debate “Tawhid” or “Trinity”, he falsely claims that Muslims warship the Qur’aan, He also falsely uses the word “BILAA KEIF” to explain why the Trinity cannot be explained even though he tries and fails miserably to explain the trinity himself and yet saying it was a shame Christians could not explain it. His own explanation was vague and begged for more questions and answers.
    And mind you, all these debates he involved in were no brainers, because it was nothing other “this person said and that person said or wrote”. The essence of debates is to talk only about what the Religious scriptures say and not what anybody else says.
    I personally I am not surprised at his ending anyway. It serves a warning to those who dare lie about The Creator, Islam, Mohammad and Jesus; Peace and blessings of The Almighty on the two mighty Prophets.

  2. islam is life from hell but you are showing your little kids on your chest to the public. you are really enjoying life, aren’t you ? you don’t need any cross to get to heaven. yhwh loved the world so much that he sent his only begotten guidance in the form of writing, that whoever shall do his will shall enter eternal life.

    “Jesus is the son of God, and God himself. ”

    your first statement is like this

    x is not g but son of g, then your next is like this :

    x is g.

    why didn’t you just say

    x is g and g himself ?

  3. “Mohammed was not God’s messenger. Why would God’s messenger attempt suicide ? ”

    lets just assume that muhammad attempted suicide. did he go THROUGH with it?

    now lets apply your standard on yhwh and solomon

    solomon used to get regular visits from yhwh and even after regular visits he committed idolatry.

    now since solomon went through with the act, solomon is not only an idol worshipper but cannot be true spokesperson of god.

    it gets worse. anything solomon told his scribes ,he could have been LYING about god. he could have been making up stories about god.

    will you reject solomon from the bible lijjy?

  4. The article has not touched on Christian doctrines one single bit. Yet you find it offensive because it exposed Nabeel Qureshi for what he was: a Qadiani with no connection to mainstream Islam and yet used his “former Muslim” status to solicit donations for monetary gain.

    “Muslims are lied to”? Wow, thanks a lot for that very sensitive comment /sarcasm Thank you also for proving our point that Western Christians are gullible enough to fall for the oldest con in the world. And no, we are not going to “rake”[SIC] it down either.

  5. What an unfortunate article. A true piece of Islamic ideology. It’s semi sick. He has passed. Let him be…. the article is truly incorrect as far as Christianity goes. Allah of the Quran is NOT the living God. Mohammed was not God’s messenger. Why would God’s messenger attempt suicide ? Jesus is the son of God, and God himself. You must go by way of the cross the enter heaven. Islam is a lie from hell. Muslims are lied to. My brother, Nabeel is in heaven. He supported his family on donation… he was not rich. Do your research. Furthermore , Christians believe in GIVING to one another. Have some respect, and rake this down.

  6. As a Christian I read this piece to gain insight into the Muslim point of view. Sadly this article is riddled with so many inaccuracies, biases, fallacies, and hostilities that I find it impossible to gain anything useful.

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