His Father brought Him to the Middle East to Deepen His Islamic Roots, But There He Met Christians “Raising Their Hands and Worshiping God, Singing to Someone They Knew Was Real”
“I literally wanted to jump, scream, shout … I was set free. My countenance changed completely. My life changed.” -Hazem Farraj
Jeri Ballard : Jan 22, 2019 : God Reports
[God Reports] His father brought American-born Hazem Farraj back to Jerusalem to teach him the ways of Islam. But the then-12-year-old stunned his parents by adopting a different path, one that would lead to his family’s rejection. (Screengrab imageg: Hazem Farraj/via Celebration Church)
Farraj committed himself to his father’s plan to rediscover his roots. But the more he prayed and practiced the rituals of Islam, the more his doubts grew.
“If you’re praying to Allah, and you don’t see any response from Allah, then you need to figure out who’s listening or who’s answering that prayer,” he says on a Road to Jesus video. “That’s what I had to do. Praying prayers to Heaven it was like Heaven was brass. They would fall back to me. I was searching.”
But in his quest to know Allah, he grew frustrated and angry. “It made me mad because here we came as a family halfway around the globe from America to the Middle East,” he says, “and the god I came to follow was not responding.”
It only made him angrier to meet upstairs neighbors in his building that were Christian. Why did they have joy and peace while Farraj had nothing? He describes the one and a half years quest for truth as “an identity crisis.”
“I was getting trained culturally as a Muslim, but the Islam I found shocked me,” he says. “Instead of running into the god of Islam, I found Jesus.”
The upstairs neighbors smiled a lot. They were nice. They showed love.
They projected the image of God in their faces, and it bothered Farraj. So one day he challenged the family’s father, who was legally blind. Why hadn’t Jesus, if He were real, healed him?
The man explained everything Jesus had done for him. They talked for four hours. Farraj was intrigued but not ready to relinquish the faith of his upbringing.
Some weeks later, the family invited him to McDonald’s—with a catch: first they were going to church. Would he come with them?
“I was observing all the happy Christians raising their hands and worshiping God, singing to Someone they knew was real. To see these people happy and so alive in Jesus was a shocker,” he says.
But then the grave warnings against abandoning Islam reared their monstrous memory in his mind. He was attracted to the Light but fighting it every step of the way.
Farraj left the church and went down to the first floor, where he knelt to Mecca and prayed his Islamic prayers. It was no good.
“When you taste something so sweet and then you taste something so bitter, the bitter became so bitter. So that’s what happened in this prayer,” Farraj says. “I went from this amazing, glorious presentation of a God who loves His people and the people who loved their God to praying and hearing crickets…
Click here to read what happened next.