I attended sixth form college in Luton, where roughly a third of the students were Muslims. It meant I made a lot of Muslim friends and had interesting debates with many of them. But since moving away from Luton I must confess that I have had very little contact with Muslims. However, recently an opportunity came up to debate some friends of a Muslim we know, and hear their objections to Christian beliefs. It made me realise that my own knowledge of Islam and its beliefs was fairly limited, so I looked around for a good introductory book. This one was suggested to me so I got the Kindle edition.
The first section simply aims to give you a basic introduction to the history and beliefs of Islam. It’s a good overview, although there were places where I wanted more information (for example, what were the prevailing religious beliefs at the time of Mohammed – were people Christians, or pagans?). One of the things he stresses is the diversity amongst Muslims, and gives some good questions you can ask to find out more about the views and culture of your own Muslim friends. He explains their view of Jesus, who they hold in high regard as a prophet, although obviously reject the Christian claim to his divinity.
The second section of the book is focused on helping you connect with Muslims. In particular, he wants to help Christians get over the “fear factor” and show welcome and acceptance towards your Muslim friends.
The third section of the book gives some suggestions for studies and talks you can use for sharing the gospel with Muslims. Some of these are essentially summaries of talks that Chatrath has given himself on different occasions. I don’t think I would attempt to reproduce these talks myself, but it is helpful to get some ideas of approaches that he has found effective. A number of the Bible studies start with characters that Islam also recognises as prophets, such as Adam and Moses.
The fourth section deals with some “hot potato” issues, such as whether Christians should call God “Allah” or eat halal meat. There is some helpful advice on when baptism should happen for converts from Islam.
Whilst this is a short book, it is an excellent starting point for those who have Muslim friends and want to understand how they can reach out to them with the gospel. Another useful feature of this book is that it has a good list of resources that you can read to go further, which is something I would like to do if time permits.