After several months of ‘doctrinal’ type reading and discussions it has been a real refreshment of spirit and soul to read this testimony book. Bilquis Sheikh, a highborn Pakistani woman, came to know the Lord in a very ‘supernatural’ way in 1966. I know all conversions are supernatural, just as all are radical and life changing but her experience involving prophetic dreams particularly reflects the former. The early chapters of the book move fairly quickly through the series of events that brought Bilquis to a full knowledge of God. Significantly, she came first to a revelation that God is a Father – and ‘dared’ to address Him as such, feeling at first that it was a most peculiar thing to do. To refer to God as “Father” is so unlike the Muslim portrayal of Allah. She next came to an understanding of who Jesus really is – The Son of God. This also is in such stark contrast to Muslim beliefs and the declarations of the Quran. Finally, she crawled out of bed in the early hours one morning and asked God to fill her with His Holy Spirit. She had come to conclude that this was her need after reading through the Book of Acts. The following day she told a newfound Christian friend, “I am a Christian now! I have been baptised in the Holy Spirit!” (I liked her clear, instinctive testimony: she knew in her heart that it is only this that makes someone a ‘Christian’!)
The book rolls on to cover some of her experiences in her walk with Jesus during the next seven years. As you can imagine, becoming a Christian in a resolutely fundamental Muslim country can make life very precarious to say the least. The ostracising from family and talk in the village of “something having to be done” about this woman who had become an “infidel” were not easy to bear. However, there is always a compensating factor in God’s economy it seems. Although Bilquis had only a limited circle of people with whom she could fellowship, God continued to speak to her and instruct her heart quite directly in a number of ways. In particular, she quickly learnt that when we begin to either fear or put our trust in the ‘arm of the flesh’ (our old natural strengths) spiritual peace departs. Whenever she repented of these things and simply trusted and obeyed the guiding of the Holy Spirit in her heart she would find afresh that comfort and sense of God’s presence and protection. Maintaining the knowledge and sense of His presence was everything to her.
This book was a fast read for my wife and I; we eagerly completed it together over the weekend. It is a compelling story that leaves you wanting to know at the end of each chapter what is going to happen next. It became imperative to reach the end quickly and find out how things finally turned out. There is a short epilogue in this modern edition that I have which brings you up to date with events after – up to the day of her death in 1997.
This book would make a very suitable gift for a wide variety of people. I think women in particular, both Christian and many non-Christians, will find much to stimulate. (That’s not to say that it is not a book for men of course!) It is a potentially good tool for evangelism as well as Christian inspiration. I would say that it is very suitable to give to any Muslim ‘seeker’ who is open to investigating the Gospel of Jesus. It is not the right book if your wish is to gen up generally on Islam although it does give some sundry insights. What it does do though is paint a picture of what it is like to live as a Christian convert in a fundamentalist Muslim country, albeit Bilquis’ upper-class existence means that you see this more from this particular angle.
In a nutshell: This is a powerful, inspiring and authentic testimony to salvation and God’s ability to work in a soul with little reference to human agents. Highly recommended reading for all Christians and with a lot of potential to speak to the unsaved.