By Mark Ellis
He grew up in Kuwait in a Sunni Muslim family, but when his brother came home from America a Christian – and after a dramatic visitation by a demon – he decided to consider the claims of Jesus.
“We fasted during the month of Ramadan and Friday prayers were normal,” says Naeem Fazal about his upbringing in the wealthy oil state at the tip of the Persian Gulf. “We weren’t radical or extreme by any means, but we were definitely conservative.
“I thought that since I was born and raised a Muslim, I would remain a Muslim,” he adds.
He heard about Jesus but wasn’t interested. Islam at the time went beyond religion to encompass one’s entire identity, he says.
His older brother Mahmood had an opportunity to study in the U.S. and when he returned home, it was evident something had changed. “He was different,” Naeem recounts. “I knew something was up. That’s when he actually told us he was a Christian. I remember that day because I threatened to kill him.”
Naeem did not carry out the threat against his brother and actually decided to visit him in the U.S. Three weeks into his stay, Mahmood invited him to a Christian movie about the rapture.
“I was confronted with a whole new concept, a whole new religion. In that movie I realized that maybe, there’s something else out there.
Filled with perplexity, he began to wrestle with his Muslim faith. In a conversation with his brother he was stunned when Mahmood told him that God would pursue him in order to have a personal relationship.
In a mocking tone he asked his brother, “Will he come down if I just ask him?”
“Yes, if you ask Him, He’ll come down.”
Naeem thought this was ridiculous, but he decided to pray to this unknown, personal God.
I don’t know if you’re real. I don’t really believe this garbage. But if you’re up there and you’re real, show me, he prayed.
Three nights later he had an extraordinary encounter in his bedroom close to midnight.
“I had just finished reading a novel and I stretched out on my bed. As I was stretching I noticed the room was getting dark, not physically dark, but weird and evil. There was an immense amount of terror and fear in the room. It seemed like the room was becoming alive,” in a supernatural sense.
Then the unimaginable happened. “As I was thinking these thoughts something grabbed me from my shoulders. It dragged me and pinned me to my pillow. My body reacted but it pinned my legs down as well. In a couple seconds I was paralyzed. The only thing I could move was my head so I started shouting and screaming.”
“Finally the door opened up and I thought it was my brother to rescue me, but it – I later found out – was a demon. This demon walked toward me, and somehow communicated that it was going to kill me.”
In his shocked condition he thought he made a mistake praying to the Christian God, that perhaps Allah was mad at him.
“I wondered if Allah could save me, but somehow I knew this was beyond him. Then I thought about Jesus.” Could he save me? he wondered.
As soon as his mind turned toward Jesus, the demon released him and disappeared.
Still in shock, he ran down the hall to his brother.
“Did you have a dream?” Mahmood asked.
“No, no, this was real. My shoulders are hurting and I have marks to show from whatever was holding me down. I really believe this thing is going to kill me. Help me out here.”
“There is only person I know who has power over angels and demons,” Mahmood said confidently.
“OK, I’m praying to him,” Naeem said.
That night at 3 am Naeem prayed: “Jesus, I don’t know who you are. I don’t know if I can call you Lord, but I need your help. I’m scared and afraid and I heard you’re the only one who can save me. If you will help me, I will give you my whole life.
I didn’t want to go back in the room, but my brother said if I trusted Jesus, I should go back in.”
With some trepidation, Naeem went back in his bedroom and turned on all the lights. He sat on the bed reading the Bible his brother gave me.
As he read The Book of John, his body began to shake uncontrollably.
Oh no, here we go again. Am I going to get pinned down again? he thought.
His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he noticed the corner of his room lit up by a glow.
“I believe this presence was the presence of Christ. I knew it was Jesus. His peace invaded every part of me. It was utter peace. I don’t think I’ve felt like that since.
Your life is not your own, Jesus impressed on his heart.
Filled with wonderment and the peace that surpasses all understanding, Naeem drifted off to sleep.
In the next month Naeem said the sinner’s prayer and accepted Jesus eight or nine times. “I wanted to make sure,” he says.
“This has radically changed my life. In the past, under Islam, God was far off, not really relational. Now I have an assurance of faith,” he adds
“It is amazing to know God and be intimate with him and have him give you a purpose. Since I found Christ I found what I’ve been created for. Now I want to get as many people to experience the love that he has.
“It makes sense now that God would come to us in the form of a man, to be able to relate to us and also to redeem us and to have a relationship with us.”
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