Why are Millions of Muslims Turning to Jesus?
Can you believe that there have been more Muslims turning to Jesus in the past 15 years than the previous centuries combined? Why are Muslims more open to the gospel now compared to the past? To seek the answer to this question, many researchers have traveled the world to interview Muslim background believers (MBBs). They asked them how they came to turn from Islam and surrender their lives to Christ. Their answers revealed many factors that contributed to Muslims turning to Jesus. We will explore these factors in this article.
More Prayer for Muslims
As shocking as it sounds, God answers prayer! In the past, prayer for Muslims was unheard of. However, 23 years ago a small band of Christians began praying for Muslims during Ramadan (30 Days of Prayer). As a result, 87% of Muslim movements in the world have occurred in the past 23 years. God answers prayer!
Now there are hundreds of thousands of faithful Christian intercessors for Muslims. This Ramadan there are almost 100 prayer movements for Muslims happening all over the world. Christians are seeing what God is doing among Muslims and are praying more for the them. Islam has blinded Muslims their whole lives, but now God is leading His lost sheep to Himself. He is using the prayers and evangelism of faithful saints.
As more Christians have been praying for Muslims, they are also sharing the gospel with them after years of fighting with or ignoring them. Muslims are now hearing the gospel from a true believer who loves them. (Not someone who claims to follow Christ and forces them to convert to Christianity.) God is opening their hearts and they begin to live for Christ and trust in Him for the forgiveness of sins.
There are now thousands of organizations sending missionaries to every country. Frontiers and Pioneers are two of the largest ones who focus on reaching Muslims. Local believers are being trained to become church planters among their people. The glory of Jesus is spreading at an incredible rate. People are learning how to share with Muslims and flights are more accessible.
Exponential Increase in Bible Translations
There are now many tools available to help people translate the Bible. Wycliffe Bible Translators completed their first translation in 1951 and their 500th in 2000. Now they have a new goal to see a Bible translation project started in every language needing one by 2025! There are still 1,800 languages that do not have their own Bible.
YouVersion and illumiNations are translating the New Testament in every language by 2033. We have seen the fruit of these faithful brothers and sisters who have spent their lives translating the Bible. More and more people groups have the Bible in their heart language now. That has helped to spread the Word to many Muslims who didn’t have the opportunity to read the Bible before. Let’s pray with these ministries that every language would have a Bible in the next decade!
Another huge influence for Muslims turning to Jesus is technology. More and more ministries are now using technology and media to spread the gospel. There are radio and television programs sharing the gospel or Jesus Film. In recent years ministries are using social media in unique ways.
Media is a strategic way to spread the Word to many people at once. Ministries such as Media to Movements are using social media to spread the gospel to the least reached areas of the world. They use ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. to share about Christ to hundreds of thousands in a single week. Most people in the world now have smart phones and are able to access information they didn’t have before. Even if someone wanted to know more about Jesus, they could search online and find a plethora of answers.
Intertwining of Muslim and Christian Populations
It is more common now to have populations that consist of Muslims and Christians. In large cities, there are places of worship, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces that are not 100% Muslim anymore. Many Muslims can say they have friends, neighbors, family or co-workers that are followers of Jesus. They are exposed to Christianity and are able to hear the gospel from someone close to them.
But, there are still 7,414 unreached people groups (~3 billion people) who have very few to no Christians among them. These are people groups that are hard to get to or more resistant to the gospel. Many remote villages, islands, and mountain areas are among the unreached in Indonesia.
For centuries the Qur’an was only available in Arabic. The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic and says meaning would be lost and the verses wouldn’t be explained in detail if translated to another language. And if We had made it a non-Arabic Qur’an, they would have said, “Why are its verses not explained in detail [in our language]? Is it a foreign [recitation] and an Arab [messenger]?” (Quran 41:44) Many Muslims were taught how to read and recite the Qur’an in Arabic, but they could not understand it. They only learned about it from the Iman (Mosque leader).
In 1982, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia began the project to translate the Qur’an to all the languages of the world. Now the Qur’an is in many Muslim languages and for the first time Muslims are able to understand it. After reading the Qur’an themselves, they realized they were lost and demystified their holy book. Muslims began to search for the truth and ended up finding Jesus.
Trauma from Islamic Violence
David Garrison (author of A Wind in the House of Islam) interviewed MBBs all over the world. He found that the violence that plagued Islam’s religious history traumatized Muslims. Many left Islam after 9/11 (2001), the Iranian Revolution (1979), the Algerian Civil War (1990s), or the Bangladeshi War of Liberation (1971). They saw the true face of Islam by the extremists who were doing what the Qur’an said to do.
For some reason, God chooses to reveal himself to thousands of Muslims through dreams. There are countless of testimonies of people who dreamed of a man in white who they knew for sure was Jesus. Some dream that a person would come to them and give them the Holy Book. The next day a Christian gives them the Bible.
A Persian migrant who arrived at a refugee center at 6 a.m., told his story to a Persian pastor. During the night he saw someone dressed in white raise his hand and say, “Stand up and follow me.” The Persian man said, “Who are you?” The man in white replied, “I am the Alpha and the Omega. I’m the way to heaven. No one can go to the Father, except through me.”
He began to ask the Persian pastor: “Who is he? What am I going to do? Why did he ask me to follow him? How must I go? Tell me.”
In response, the pastor held out his Bible and asked, “Have you seen this before?”
“No,” he replied.
“Do you know what it is?”
The pastor then opened to the Book of Revelation: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” The man started crying and said, “How can I accept him? How can I follow him?” So the pastor led him in prayer and peace came over him. The pastor then gave the man a Bible and told him to hide it, since the Muslims in the camps could cause him trouble.
Communicating the Gospel in Non-Literate Means
At the end of 20th century, the West started disengaging their colonial empires. Missionaries then began turning their eyes to the Muslim world. They realized many Muslims were illiterate in their own language. This began the movement to communicate the gospel in non-literate means through the Jesus Film, storytelling, and audio Bibles. Laura and her team are one example of how missionaries communicate the gospel in non-literate means. They share through storytelling among Arab Nomads.
How can we respond?
As you can see there are many factors for why there are millions of Muslims turning to Jesus. God is doing an amazing work among Muslims and He is using us to be apart of it!
If you want to get involved in this movement, you can start today by praying for Muslims. Choose a Muslim country to pray for. Adopt an unreached people group. Pray fervently for Muslims to know Christ. Join the movement to pray for Muslims during Ramadan. Choose a 15 minute time slot to pray each day of Ramadan. Many Muslims are more spiritually open during this time so it is a crucial time to be praying for them!
Be intentional in the city you live in to reach out to refugees, Muslim communities and international students. Show the love of Christ to Muslims around you by inviting them to your home and developing a friendship with them.
If you would like to go on a short-term trip or become a missionary in a Muslim country, there are many organizations who have teams all over the world. There is still so much work to do. Only 10% of missionaries are actually working among an unreached people group. 3 billion people still have never heard about the love and grace of Jesus. Pray today and ask God how you can take part in the Great Commission – to make disciples of all nations, and see more Muslims turning to Jesus!