I remember that I used to be very fond of martyrdom. I never forgot what my parents and teachers taught me about martyrdom—they told me, that’s what Mohammed always wished for. Since I wanted to be like him in all respects, death was constantly on my mind. I wasn’t scared of it, rather, I wanted to embrace it.
Today, when I look back, I see that wish in a distant corner locked up in a box, because Christianity taught me how to ‘live’, not die. Through Christianity, I learned how to make the world around me better, and I forgot all about devising heroic plans to die. The difference between Christianity and Islam, to me, is the same as that between life and death and as clear as the difference between light and darkness. Islam always seemed to be a quick one-way trip to death—the answer to all the world’s problems was death in the name of Allah—but Christianity is a whole new hope for life.
But many around me here in Dubai, and on the internet, seem to be advocating death over life being the right way for me. From many others, even Christians, I seem to be getting the message that, until you’re persecuted and officially dead, you’re not a real Christian. Many around me would prefer to see me die in the name of Christ, than get freedom and live a life that I want to live.
This sounds all too familiar to me. When I decided to convert to Christianity, honestly, it wasn’t the persecution that I was so fond of, but the hope of life both here and the world hereafter. Death for religion and god is offered as the right path on every single page of Islamic literature. If that’s what I really wanted, I’d either be fighting somewhere in Kashmir or Afghanistan or Iraq right now, or long since dead. But instead I choose life—if that’s sinful of me, so be it. I’m not one of those people who believe that one cannot be a Christian without being physically persecuted.
Many have told me that I should speak up here—I should talk to my family and other people around me about Christianity in general and my conversion in particular and if I face persecution and, eventually, death, the good news is that I will be with Christ in heaven. Some have even told me that they dreamed that that was my destiny. I think no one has a right to make decisions about my life but myself—even God let me have that right and didn’t give it to anyone else. No one and I mean NO ONE is in the position to tell me to die or give up my life because it’s not something they own.
I realize that I won’t live forever, and I don’t want to either. But I also realize that I will never again come to this world—that I won’t ever be able to long for going to church like I do today and if/when I am able to do that, never will I feel that joy after I am dead.
I can die of some disease tomorrow, who knows—but I won’t regret that. What I will regret, though, is throwing my life away knowing that I could’ve lived for another day and given this life a chance—a chance to LIVE for Christ.