Zechariah. He was a good man. He was a worthy man. He was very smart. He was the only Christian in the entire school.
And I hated him. Because I thought that as a Muslim I should be better than him. But he was better than me. We started beating him every day when we came to school. And that evening we agreed that we must kill him.
It was dark, it was cold. And we walked ahead of him. There were five of us. We climbed a tree and waited there.
From afar, we saw an approaching torch. And the light grew brighter and brighter as it approached us. The minute he was under the tree, we jumped on him.
He cried. He shouted. He screamed. We broke his arm. We broke his leg. He started bleeding. And as he started screaming and begging for help, I covered his mouth with my hand so that he would not make such a noise. Just like cutting a sheep, you know, such a shivery sound. Others beat him.
I was very proud. In fact, you are doing something for the sake of allah. You see, you want to please him. And suddenly he could no longer breathe, and we could no longer hear his voice. We left him in the forest, between life and death.
We returned. You wash your hands and you pray. And Zechariah never returned. I never saw him again.
I was born and raised in a very, very fanatical Muslim family. When I was a child, my father brought me to a Quranic study school. I was only eight years old. And my father just left me there.
They shaved my head. We sat in a circle. The Sheikh was sitting in the middle of the circle and he had a very long whip. I was forced to learn the koran by heart. With every mistake you made, you were hit by this whip right in the head. You were not allowed to cry because in our culture they say that men never cry. I cried every night.
I was told that I belong to the Islamic community. And so you fight for it, you remain true to it. I began to hate people, I hated everyone who was not a Muslim. And I especially hated Jews. And I was preparing to go and fight for allah in jihad. But every night I went to bed, and when we turned off the light, I did not know what would happen to me if I died.
My cousin got very sick and the doctors said, “He’s going to die.” They only gave him a couple of days to live. And one day two people came – they were Coptic Christians. One of them wanted to shake my hand, and I saw that he had a cross tattoe on his hand. I pulled my hand away and said: “No, I will not touch the hand with the cross.” And he told me: “We heard that this child is sick. We would like to pray for him. ” And just out of politeness, I told them: “Good.” They began to speak to God the way a man speaks to his friend. They said, “God, please heal this child!”
The minute they said “Amen,” the boy opened his eyes for the first time in four weeks. He began to wiggle his hands. He began to speak. He sat up on the bed and began to walk. And one of those people who were praying sat down next to me and said to me: “You know what? The real miracle is that God wants to change your heart. Do you believe that Yeshua is alive? ” And I answered: “Yes,” because according to Islamic tradition, God took Him to heaven, He is alive and one day He will return. And he said to me, “Because He lives, you can talk to Him.”
It changed my whole life. And when I started reading Scripture, no one had to convince me to love the Jews. The only way Muslims can begin to love Jews is when they meet Yeshua.
I loved my family. I loved my father. I loved my mom and I loved my community. And when I decided to follow Yeshua, my grandfather and my father told me, “You are not one of us anymore.” They organized a funeral, they invited friends and family. They brought the coffin to the cemetery. And they said, “Our son is dead.”
After being pronounced dead and without a family, I said to God: “Where are You?” I heard a voice, and this voice said to me: “You know that the grave, on which your name is written is empty. And you know what? My grave is also empty. ”
I came to Egypt for the first time in many years, and I was at a pastor’s conference. One of the Sudanese pastors came up to me. He was an elderly man with gray hair. He started a conversation and asked me: “Where did you come from?” I told him my story. He started to cry. And I asked him: “Why are you crying?” And he said to me: “Do you remember me? My name is Zechariah. ”
And suddenly I remembered him. The last time I saw him, it was on a dark night. I suddenly heard him screaming, even though it’s been 25 years. And suddenly I noticed his broken arm and broken legs, I saw the scars that he had because of me. I felt very ashamed.
I was a bad person. Yes. A terrible person. Zechariah looked me straight in the eye and said:
“Yassir, because you hated me so much, I have always prayed for you.” He opened the Bible, and the moment he opened the Bible, I saw that my name was written on the first page.
I hated him, he prayed for me. God convicted me that day. He told me: “Even before you started thinking about Me, I was thinking about you.”
In order to love those who hate you, you need someone whose name is Yeshua.