In the last few years, I have interacted with hundreds of Muslim converts from many nations around the world. As I heard many testimonies by Muslims of how they have come to Christ, I decided to conduct a formal research to try to understand the factors that led to their conversion. I prepared a questionnaire of 10 questions and asked 100 converts over a period of three years to fill it out. These converts had come to national conferences for Christians from Muslim Background held in Washington DC and New Jersey. The questionnaire included multiple choice questions.
Some checked more than one response which explains why the total is more than 100% sometimes.
This survey revealed much about the differences in experience for the believer between Islam and Christianity. It was clear from the responses that the two groups have entirely different experiences and feelings toward God and religious practices.
Here are the responses to the most important questions:
1. “Before I became a Christian, I was”
The people who responded to this survey represented a good cross-section of Muslim society:
40% were moderate.
40% had been nominal Muslims.
20% were self-described fanatic Muslims before their conversion. All of them said fear dominated their relationship with God.
2. “As a Muslim, did you feel that your relationship with God was based on fear, love, or duty/doing what is required?”
75% said it was based on fear.
40% included duty as a basis of their relationship with God.
5% said that as Muslims they felt that they had been worshiping God rather than duty.
Not one single respondent said that their relationship with God had been based on love when they were Muslim.
3. “What characteristic of God means most to you now?”
75% of the respondents mentioned the love of God.
25% mentioned God’s forgiveness.
4. “What was the major factor in drawing you to Christ?
85% of respondents cited the love of Christians as one major factor.
60% cited it as the exclusive factor.
30 % cited disappointment with Islam.
25% noted that there were other reasons not listed leading to their conversion.
25% experienced dreams and visions, most of Jesus but some various dreams.
15% mentioned the Christian concept of God.
5% cited the Bible as the sole factor in their conversion.
5. “What was the main change in your life after becoming a Christian?”
40% were attracted to the reality of having a personal relationship with God.
30% were drawn to the love of God and his fatherly nature.
25% of the responses talked about relief from fear.
Some of the comments added were:
“free at last”
“My mind has been transformed by Christ.”
“smile, love, tolerance,”
“joy and happiness,”
“My life! Everything! I am a different being!”
“180º = total change.”
6. “What was your view of Islam before your conversion?”
55% described it as a cultural system (65% of the formerly secular Muslims checked this.)
55% described it as a religion.
35% described Islam as a political system
20% indicated that all three aspects, political, cultural, and religious.
75% of the formerly fanatic Muslims described Islam as primarily a religious system.
65% of the formerly nominal Muslims described it as by-and-large cultural.
The formerly moderate Muslims were fairly evenly divided on that issue;
25% saw it as political,
20% saw it as cultural,
30% saw it as religious.
7. “Do you think that the God of the Bible is an entirely different God than the Allah of Islam?,”
65% wrote that the two are entirely different,
10% wrote that they are not entirely different
25% wrote that God of the Bible and the Quran are both different and similar.
8. “After becoming a Christian, did you feel that you were worshipping the same God?,”
90% wrote that they feel that they are worshipping a different God.
5% wrote both “yes” and “no,”
5% wrote that they felt they are now worshipping the same God.
9. “Did you have any dreams or visions”
60% responded that they had experienced a dream or vision or both.
15% did not respond to this question
10. “What characteristic of God means most to you now?”
75% wrote “Love of God.”
15% wrote “grace”
15% wrote “forgiveness”
5% did not answer.
This research clearly demonstrates that conversion to Christ is more driven by the positive aspects of Christianity than the negative aspects of Islam. Muslims are primarily drawn to Jesus because of his love and the love of his people. God is drawing Muslims to himself by appearing to them in dreams and visions.
It may not be obvious from this research so I would like to point out that 100% of the respondents were influenced by two major factors that were not directly addressed by the questions.
a. Scripture. Regardless of what factors drew Muslims to Christ, the Bible was always an important factor. Without a copy of the New Testament or the entire Bible, all the other factors would not have been enough.
b. Personal connection: In all situations all converts had a personal relationship with a Christian who was involved in helping them understand God’s plan of salvation.