By Sharon Mager
LEESBURG, Va.—S.D. Abraham is a soft-spoken, middle-aged man born in Baghdad, Iraq. He lives in a nice quiet northern Virginia neighborhood with his wife and children. And, he travels the world helping Muslims convert to Christianity.
Abraham has seen thousands of Muslims come to Christ. In fact, in his role as pastor of Salam Church, Abraham serves as a father figure to many who have lost everything as a result of following Jesus.
Abraham is quick to note that Salam Church isn’t and can’t be a typical church gathering. It is, however, a community. Congregants don’t meet in large groups; they network to find other believers for support. In many Muslim families, Christian converts are cast out, disowned, and sometimes even killed for their faith. It is a dangerous ministry but God is blessing and there is much fruit.
“We are a community of outcasts,” Abraham said sadly. “Outcasts reaching outcasts.”
He is considered a trusted resource for those new to the faith. Many have no one. Many stay in their Muslim communities without revealing their true belief. One man said he goes to the mosque and prays to Jesus while others are praying to Allah.
There are plenty of Muslims masquerading as new Christians in an effort to root out and target Muslim converts. That’s why people like Abraham, who are known to be trusted, are priceless.
While in Jordan, Abraham recalled a young woman in her 20’s who came to him wearing a veil. She was a believer in Jesus but had not told her family. “They found a good Muslim man for me to marry, what do I do?” the panic-stricken girl asked. Abraham introduced her to a former Muslim turned Christian who is now her husband.
That’s just one example of many. Men and women contact Abraham, frantic and in need of answers. Sometimes they’re desperate to just find other believers that they can trust.
People are searching for community, Abraham said. In the United States, many immigrants arrive lonely and lost. They desperately need help and direction. Muslims meet them and take them to the nearest mosque, get them in a community with the support system they need.
Abraham has been seeking to build a support system for Muslim to Christian converts.
It was while trying to convert non-Muslims that Abraham discovered truth. He explained that Islam is a works-based faith. The good and bad are weighed on the scales. During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980’s, Abraham was worried. What if a bomb fell and killed him? Where would he be? He decided to get some more “good” credits for the scales and work to convert non-Muslims. To be effective, he decided to get a Bible and read it to understand Christianity. When he began to read, his life changed.
According to the Quran, the Bible, Abraham had been taught, had been corrupted. But that didn’t make sense to him.
“As soon as I started reading [the Bible], it didn’t sync,” Abraham said.
There was much more information in the Bible about creation and about Abraham. “The Quran just gave glimpses,” Abraham said.
Abraham began to wonder, why would God preserve the Quran but not the Bible? Either Allah was weak, or he was strong enough to preserve the Bible like he did the Quran.
In the Bible Abraham found that the first Adam ate the fruit and died but the last Adam, “Jesus,” was sinless, and brought restoration. Abraham lost faith in the Quran.
It was the beginning of his faith journey. He grew, as he trusted the Bible. He became a believer in 1991. Later, as a refugee in Europe, God used him to minister to Muslim refugees, and he taught Bible studies to Christian and Muslim-born Arabs.
Later, Abraham became a webmaster for www.answering-islam.org, where he writes articles and interacts with curious Muslims and those being drawn to Jesus. It’s a huge opportunity.
Years ago, Abraham said, it was much harder to get the Word out. They used short-wave radios. Now, you can’t stop it, he said.
In 2004, he became the Islamic Ministries Specialist with Avant Ministries, through which he speaks at seminars, recruiting and training missionaries and other Christians how to minister to Muslims.
Abraham is available to work with churches to help them understand Islam, and as they prayerfully consider how to interact and minister to their Muslim neighbors.