Book Review - Escape From the Fear of Allah
Reza F. Safa, today a Christian evangelist, was plagued by nightmares before he left Islam.
by Nancy Justice
Reza F. Safa grew up in a devout Muslim home in Tehran, Iran, and eventually became a practicing Shiite, the branch of Islam that is dominant in Iran. His mother and six sisters wore the traditional chador head coverings, which hid everything except their faces. The family observed all laws and regulations of Islam, fasting during the month of Ramadan and praying five times daily.
At one point, Safa says, his father turned briefly from the Islamic faith and began partying and drinking with some poet friends. When he re-embraced Islamic radicalism he became even more religious than he had been before and began attending meetings with Islamic scholars.
"But even with all of his religious activities, Dad was still the same man," Safa says. "The outside was changed, but not the inside."
Seeing these contradictions in his home caused Safa to question his faith. "I felt an emptiness nagging me," he writes in his book Inside Islam. In 1981 some American Christians shared the gospel with him. For the first time in his life, at age 19, he learned about Christianity.
But Safa was gripped by a fear that he must face Allah's wrath if he ever left Islam. He began having nightmares.
"To turn away from the Islamic faith means damnation from Allah," he told Charisma. "Islam has a strong spirit of fear, and it's that fear of the wrath of Allah that dominates Muslims."
The next year Safa moved to Sweden where he met believers who led him to Christ. "It was the love of God in them - and their purity - that touched my heart and opened my eyes to the truth," he says.
That was only the first miracle. He later married and American woman, and they began an evangelistic ministry that moved them to Tulsa, Oklahoma - where Safa pastors Fishermen's House Church and hosts a weekly TV program, Day of Salvation, seen on the Sky Angel network. Safa also directs an evangelistic ministry, Harvesters World Outreach, which has sent him to many nations to preach the gospel.
Safa encourages Christians who want to evangelize Muslims to do so by telling them how much God loves them - since Muslims have no concept of an intimate, loving God.
"And pray for miracles to take place in their lives," Safa adds. "The supernatural is the key because Muslims do not have that in their Islamic faith. Muhammad did not do any miracles. Muslims have to see the power of God. Otherwise it's your religion against theirs."
Reprinted with permission from Charisma, February 2002. ? Strang Communications Co., USA. All rights reserved. wwwcharismamag.com