The following is adapted from the November 2012 issue of “The Voice of the Martyrs” magazine.
Suleiman Abdulai is a Nigerian Christian who accepts the persecution promised by Christ. His Muslim family urged him to deny Jesus’ name and even tried to kill him, before finally disowning him. But, as Jesus promised in Matthew 10, the Holy Spirit gave him the words to speak before his accusers. Although faith in Christ has cost Suleiman his family, worldly possessions and reputation, he gained everything!
Suleiman was born into a wealthy northern Nigerian Muslim family. A smart young man, he used his sharp tongue and fierce intellect to debate publicly with Christians, trying to humiliate them. He thought frustrating the lives of Christians would help him earn enough favor to get to heaven.
His confidence in Islam began to weaken after he agreed to attend a Christian church service with a woman from work named Elizabeth.
The first church service caused Suleiman to question his Muslim faith. It seemed that the pastor was speaking directly to him that Sunday morning describing things he’d done. Suleiman was shaken. He angrily accused Elizabeth for tipping the pastor off. When she adamantly denied it, he decided he’d test the pastor. He snuck into the church the next week and sat in the back. Again, it was as if the pastor were speaking directly to him. “He said thing that I never told anyone before,” Suleiman said.
After attending only two Christian church services, he was persuaded that he had found the truth. He gave his life to Christ and began studying the Bible, telling anyone who would listen to him about his new Christian faith. When Suleiman’s family heard rumors that he had turned away from Islam, they confronted him. “Have you given your life to Christ?” they asked. Suleiman willingly admitted that he had describing what he had experienced in church.
In anger and disbelief, his family asked how much money the church had given him to convert. “There is no money,” Suleiman told them. “I received the gift of light.” His family gave him a few weeks to reconsider his decision and called every Muslim leader they knew to pray for their wayward son. After several weeks with no apparent change, Suleiman’s father demanded “Deny this religion!” But Suleiman replied, “No, it is impossible, because I have discovered the truth.”
Suleiman and Elizabeth got married. He then took her to meet his family but they remained furious about his conversion and his Christian wife. The entire family gathered around as his father insisted, “Deny this Christ or be killed!” His aunts cried and asked him, “Why can’t you deny him or at least pretend to deny the faith?”
Elizabeth shook with fear as she listened in the next room. She was certain he would be killed right then.
As the hours passed, Suleiman felt himself being worn down. “When the pressure was too much, I heard a voice,” he said. “I looked around but didn’t see a person. I heard him say, ‘If you deny me before man, I will deny you before my Father,’ This is when I knew Jesus was there.”
Confident that Christ was standing right beside him, Suleimand told his family, “I’m not going to deny who I serve. I am ready to die, because I know He is here.” Sensing that the Holy Spirit was urging him to leave, he walked to the next room, took his wife by the hand, and left his family’s house. “As soon as we got outside,” he said, “we started to run.”
He and his wife escaped that potentially deadly confrontation but his family came looking for him. Although he hadn’t told them where he lived, they managed to find his apartment. One day while Suleiman was away visiting with a friend, a mob armed with automatic weapons descended upon the building where he lived. Later, his neighbors told him that the men from his family said they would kill him when they found him. Suleiman said that realizing the Holy Spirit had led him away from his apartment that day gave the him the “strength and confidence to serve Him with all of my heart.”
“After I gave my life to Christ, I would lock myself in a room to cry, I was not sad because I was missing my family, but I was sad because they are not going to heaven.”
Suleiman is now an evangelist and public speaker who lectures on Islam and shares his testimony. When he is not busy speaking, he spends his time ministering to converts from Islam to Christianity.
Suleiman isn’t consumed by fear because he is convinced that Islam is false. “There is no peace in Islam,” he said. “Islam brings division, and the only way we can overcome Islam is by love-not by fighting, not by rioting. It is by love. If we can take the love of God and begin to share it with people, Islam will fall.”
He knows the Gospel is the answer. “We should not be scared. We have the power of God in us to reach a dying world.”
This year Suleimand intends to focus on sharing the gospel with Muslim leaders. “Anyone who kills me as a converted Muslim, his reward is double,” he said. “But we will not be afraid. We will still preach the Gospel to them.” He asks that we pray for his preservation, but said, “For me, to die is gain.”
To support persecuted Christians and learn more of their plight, check out: http://www.persecution.com/