Crying Over Nabeel Qureshi

Screenshot taken from YouTube

I never thought I would cry over a complete stranger. But the death of a man whom I have never met had me tearing up a few times this week.

Last night, it happened again while I was watching the live stream of Christian apologist and author Nabeel Qureshi’s memorial service. Hearing two of his mentors, apologist Ravi Zacharias and Rice University chemistry professor Jim Tour, recount their time with the 34-year-old and his love for Jesus as well as his non-Christian family, had me welling up in tears.

Perhaps it was because the tributes were heartfelt and heart-breaking, or because it felt like I actually knew him personally. I bought Nabeel’s book two years ago, and have been following his progress since he first announced that he had advanced stomach cancer. Whichever reason it was, Nabeel has certainly made an impact on my life—as well as the lives of many others.

Here was a man who centered his entire life on Jesus and the gospel even though it meant turning his back on the people he loved most dearly—his family, who were staunch Muslims. Not only that, he went on to proclaim the good news of Christ, through talks and books—such as New York Times Bestseller Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus—despite threats to his safety and relentless criticism from those who considered him an apostate.

So many, including myself, were shocked that God would take him home so early on in his earthly life. Like most people, I couldn’t help but wonder, Why? Why now, when he was at the peak of his ministry? Why now, when he had just started a family? Why now, when the world needs gifted and passionate communicators like him to build bridges with the Muslim community?

Though none of the answers that have been circulating online can fully answer these questions, a post I stumbled on provides a deeply encouraging and helpful perspective. It was written by Nabeel’s colleague, the North American Director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). In a beautiful tribute to his dear friend, Abdu Murray wrote:

Ravi Zacharias, who loved Nabeel deeply, has written about him in a secular news source. Thousands who had never heard Nabeel or the gospel he loved to preach have now been exposed to Jesus’s life-changing message. People have seen Nabeel’s steely faith remain steelier yet in the face of death. They have seen the “peace that passes all understanding,” as the Bible calls it, in Nabeel’s voice. And they are encouraged to face difficulty with grace. A deaf world is roused through the megaphone of pain to hear the message that God has overcome the troubles of the world through Jesus. Nabeel was a megaphone for that message in his life and he is a megaphone for that message in his passing.

 If not for anything, Nabeel, who made a significant impact during his life, continues to make an impact in his death. Many have come to know of him, his books—and his God—after hearing about his life and death over the past week. I believe Nabeel’s legacy will continue in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

Of course, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Nabeel is no longer with us. We will miss him dearly. But while his passing may seem like a huge loss, let us not forget that he is in a far better place today. And let’s not mourn without hope—for we have the full confidence that God will continue to raise up men of great faith to continue His kingdom work. Just as God can raise up a devout Pharisee like the Apostle Paul and an ex-Muslim like Nabeel to become effective ambassadors for Him, He can—and He will—continue to convict the hearts of men in His own time and way.

7 replies
  1. Vee Lindolent
    Vee Lindolent says:

    I received a link to this book on Tuesday, 19 Sept 2017. Started reading it on Wednesday, 20th, finished it early hours of the 21st.
    Him being called back home at 34 iso really sad however within hours of reading this book, I posted it on fb, by the end of the day, someone in Australia had bought the book. I am from South Africa by the way.
    In death Nabeel Qureshi is going to continue to touch more lives. Before this I never knew who he was. Now I feel like I know him. I want to read all his books and watch all his videos. Such passion. If he worshipped God on Earth like that, I can only imagine how he must have been received in Heaven. He ran his race so well. I want to have that passion. Enjoy living Nabeel. Your legacy will live on. JESUS went back home at age 33.

    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Vee..actually all you have shared is EXACTLY how i feel. And everyday i thank my Lord for Nabeel. I am so close to Jesus now because of Nabeel. I miss Nabeel.i knew him for 5 days only but that is enough to last me a lifetime. I also love the songs sang at his funeral..they will be mine too especially IN CHRIST ALONE..i am 58 and cannot wait to meet Jesus n Nabeel. See how great our Lord is!!

  2. Rajan
    Rajan says:

    I completely agree with you Joanna, I was wondering why is happening to me. I realise that it’s the spirit of Christ within us which, who wept at Lazarus tomb. It’s He who grieves with us just like us. Amazing God we all serve, keep writing and keep witnessing just as our brother Nabeel did until there was breath in his nostrils.

  3. Ola
    Ola says:

    Dear Joanna, I came online this evening, searching for some hope/relieve as I grieve over Nabeel’s death. He was a complete stranger to me as well, but I have been greatly impacted by his ministry. I am reminding myself daily that as I grieve it is an opportunity to once again pray for Michelle and Ayah, his wife and daughter and also his family. Thank you for writing this encouraging message. It’s tough dealing with these wave of emotions.

  4. Connie A
    Connie A says:

    Yes, Joanna. I am so enjoying the book Seeking Allah Finding JESUS because of transforming power of Holy Spirit in life of Nabeel. He was sincerely seeking God as a young child but found Jesus in the end. I cried so much for first two weeks but I know that Romans 8:28 still stands for it says that for we know, that GOD causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I may not understand the whys but our God reigns. After all, He is the Sovereign God and someday we would see our Lord and Savior face to face and Nabeel would be cheering us too. God is good.

  5. mark reon
    mark reon says:

    I met Nabeel when he was still a muslim in college when David Wood brought him to church. Later on as a new believer, Nabeel became the youth pastor at the church I pastored. There he became a close friend and a member of our family. Very few peole know this but Nabeel turned down a 400,000 dollar a year job to be youth pastor to our teenagers. He loved Jesus more than anyone I ever knew and he loved people. He was the real deal.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *