Edward E. Dudek
A Summary of the Book
Bilquis Sheikh’s family was known throughout India and Pakistan as the Hayats of Wah. She had been a hostess to diplomats and industrialists from all over the world, and had also been accustomed to traveling and shopping in various parts of the world.
This is an interesting as well as intriguing account of Bilquis Sheikh. This prominent Muslim woman in South Asia faced the issues of surrendering herself completely to Christ and experienced the results of such surrender. A series of strange dreams turned her life upside down that caused her to seek after God.
Many years later she left Pakistan’s soil on a 747 airplane; not knowing what lay ahead, yet satisfied because she knew that the Lord was with her. After Bilquis moved to the United States in 1973, she spoke about her conversion all over North America, and later in different countries of the world. In 1989 she suffered a severe heart attack. The family persuaded her to return to Pakistan to live her remaining years. On April 9, 1997 Bilquis Sheikh went to be with her Lord. This was a woman who learned to live in God’s presence and was used by Him to share her powerful testimony in many parts of the world.
Significant Aspects: Reading the Bible
Whether witnessing to a Muslim or just considering an important aspect of this book, one must keep in mind that God is behind the scenes preparing and drawing the person to Himself.
One evening Bilquis had an eerie experience and strange feeling as she walked in her garden-the feeling of uneasiness stayed with her. At another time her grandson, Mahmud, became so listless that one of her friends wanted her to call the village mullah and ask him to pray for Mahmud. Yet she found no comfort in Allah and still continued to read the Quran. However, the idea of reading the Bible becomes more and more insistent to her. She finally asked for one; Bilquis opened the book blindly to Rom.9:25-26 and the words burned in her heart. She later read Rom.10:4, 8-9. She discovered contradictions between the Quran and the Bible. She questioned, “If they both represent the same God, then why this confusion?”
Life of Loyalty versus Inner Hunger
Bilquis still continued reading both the Quran and the Bible. She studied the Quran because of a life of loyalty, and delved into the Bible because of a strange inner hunger.
“In Which Book Do You See Me as Your Father?”
The day came when she asked God which book was His, the Quran or the Bible. Then something remarkable happened that had never happened to her before. A fresh, clear, kind and authoritative voice asked her: “In which book do you meet Me as your Father?” She found herself saying, “The Bible.”
Constant Seeking After Renewal: Depend Solely on Him!
Whenever she did not feel His nearness, she knew that she had grieved the Lord. She would then search backwards until she spotted the time when she last knew His presence. The she would review every act, every word or thought until she discovered where she had gone astray. At that point she would confess her sin and ask forgiveness.
In her own weakness she realized that she could call on His strength. It was during this time that she discovered that there was no such thing as an innocent white lie. Later she understood that her time was not her own, but belonged to the Lord. The Bible fed and guided her. She learned that all she had to worry about was obedience and seeking His presence, and that results are God’s problem, not hers. She was depending solely on Him.
Worry and Trust Do Not Go Together!
Another lesson she was learning was when she allowed herself to become anxious. She would run off from the Father’s presence. She learned that she could not worry and trust God at the same time.
This is both an interesting and fascinating story of a prominent Muslim woman who, through a series of events, came to Christ at great cost. I thought that the last chapter in the book, Enriched by the East by Synnove Mitchell, was particularly good and instructive since it drew comparisons and contrasts between the Eastern and Western cultures.
Witnessing to a Muslim: Be Ready When the Opportunity Arises
It is important to remember that God is working in a person’s life before he comes to us. We must be ready when the opportunity arises.
Where Bilquis hadn’t dreamed in years, she found herself with two vivid dreams in a row. She questioned if they were related to each other as well as to the supernatural world with which she had a recent brief encounter. Bilquis later met Rev. and Mrs. David Mitchell, Christian missionaries, who shared with her about the Lord. Mrs. Mitchell later told Bilquis that the perfume she smelled in the garden at home was Christ (I Cor.2:14).
A nun suggested to Bilquis that she pray to the God she was searching for, to ask Him to show her the way and to talk to Him as if He were her father.
Issues in Turning to Christ from Islam
As the Lord prepared Bilquis, the time came when she knew in her heart that she had to give herself totally to Jesus Christ, or else turn her back on Him completely. But she was worried what might happen to her grandson, Mahmud, if she came to Christ; she also feared the volatility of Mahmud’s Dad. Yet the Lord gave her a mild rebuke with Matt.10:37-38. She gave her life to the Lord. Bilquis later received the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Later on she began to experience dreams or visions. She started to attend meetings with other Christians. As she drew close to God she found herself hungering even more for His Word through the Bible. Later the Lord asked her to forgive and love her former Muslim husband.
Baptism: Would She Yield to the Fear of Being Treated as a Traitor?
The time later came when the Lord said she should be baptized. This was a difficult step for her. To the Muslim, baptism is one unmistakable sign that a convert has renounced his or her Islamic faith to become a Christian; to a Muslim this is apostasy. So here was the test: would she yield to the fear of being treated as an outcast or traitor, or would she obey the Lord? She obeyed God.
Now Bilquis wanted and needed the King’s help, safety and protection from her Muslim relatives since her close Muslim friends or family would not stand by her if something happened. Instead of having her windows barred, she decided to trust in the Lord’s protection as He told her to do.
Later the Lord wanted her to go to her aunt’s son, Karim’s funeral, which she did, first thinking that it would be in poor taste and would offend the people in mourning. There she experienced open anger towards her. Later Karim’s mother told Bilquis that Karim understood that Bilquis really wanted to share her sorrow.
At other funerals her caring presence was to be her witness. At the same time Bilquis was learning to live in His presence.
A “stretching” time came when Bilquis’ protective, influential friends, the Mitchells, left Pakistan for furlough. Bilquis would be alone in a Muslim town. There were reports of serious threats against her and family relationships were still strained. A friend counseled her that nothing could happen to her unless the Father allowed it, so one does not need to live a life of constant fear that something terrible will happen since nothing will happen until God’s moment has come.
That God is our Father is something Muslims do not agree with. This kernel truth was revealed to Bilquis and this had led her to believe in and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior.
Bilquis Sheikh with Richard H. Schneider. 2003. I Dared to Call Him Father: The Miraculous Story of a Muslim Woman’s Encounter with God. Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books.
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