We were four young men sitting together on the mosque floor, a common place for discussions. My friend Mohammed is studying dawah islameyya at Cairo’s prestigious Al Azhar University, which means he is studying how to be a Muslim evangelist. He brought his friend Ahmed to be a part of the conversation with my colleague and me.
As we talked, my colleague looked up and saw decorations in the mosque in the shape of a star. He asked the young men if they knew the meaning of all the stars in the mosque. Mohammed said, “The stars represent the beauty in Islam.”
After a brief pause, Ahmed looked at me and drew in the air with his index finger. He made a straight line down and then across with a horizontal line. Drawing a cross, he asked, “Can you tell me what this symbol means?”
“I’d love to tell you the meaning of the cross,” I said. Starting from the Garden of Eden and the fall to Jesus’ death and resurrection, I unfolded the truth of sin and God’s requirement for a blood sacrifice. As I approached the subject of Jesus’ life, Mohammed tried to speak (maybe in disagreement) but he couldn’t.
He opened his mouth but only short stutters and mumblings left his lips. The group looked in amazement at Mohammed’s “silence.”
The Holy Spirit removed his speech! I waited a few moments for a response and then asked if I could continue. Mohammed gave a slight nod. “Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice, and His blood covers the sins of the world. That is the meaning of this symbol, that we can have life through Christ’s resurrection.”
My colleague and I walked away in awe of the Holy Spirit’s partnership in creating opportunities for gospel witness. We are grateful for hungry hearts that seek to know truth. We pray that Jesus would create more opportunities to be a witness in the lives of Muslims and that the Holy Spirit would intervene in the lives of our lost friends.