“An hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God” (John 16:2).
I sometimes receive email reports from Heaven’s Family partners, such as Asad in Northern India, that break my heart. They remind me of the life-and-death struggles our brothers and sisters frequently face as former Muslims who are living in—and nearly forgotten in—Islamic countries. Let me tell you about one such family, concerning whom I just received one of those emails.
Hakeem’s life as a Muslim in Northern India was uneventful…until the day his father, Zaid, made the blasphemous decision to convert to Christianity after experiencing a miraculous healing.
Zaid had suffered for more than ten years with severe asthma, spending most of his family’s limited wealth on noneffective treatments. His neighbor, Musaid, a former mosque leader who converted to Christianity from Islam, offered to pray for him. (Because Christ is portrayed as a healer in the Qur’an, it is not uncommon for Muslims to allow, or even ask, Christians to pray for them.) Much to Zaid’s surprise and joy, Jesus healed him completely in answer to Musaid’s prayer! So when Musaid invited him to visit the house church he pastored, Zaid agreed.
Zaid didn’t make a hasty decision, however, to follow the One who had healed him. It took him two years of careful study and attending Musaid’s church before he and his wife embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior. Zaid’s son Hakeem attended the fellowship as well, but he did not follow his parents’ step of faith. He needed more time and more evidence that Jesus Christ was the one he should obey.
Once Zaid and his wife were baptized, persecution ensued, primarily from his wife’s side of the family. However, after witnessing Zaid’s consistent demonstrations of love towards them over the next couple years in spite of their ostracism and harsh treatment, the persecution finally stopped.
Eventually, Hakeem decided to follow Jesus, too, walking in his parents’ footsteps. At the news of his baptism in 2011, persecution resurged with a vengeance, not only from extended family members, but from others in the Muslim community as well. Their foul focus was squarely on Hakeem, his wife, and their two daughters, now ages three and five.
Hakeem and his family suffered cold-hearted intimidation while in the marketplace and during outings in their village. One night, the power line to their home was cut. On another night, their house was pelted with stones. Although Hakeem was even beaten on several occasions, he didn’t anticipate what was about to happen this year, on the night of April 20.
That evening, Hakeem left home to meet with someone he believed to be a potential business client. He never returned. The next morning police found his body in a ditch. He was so badly beaten that they had to use his cellphone, watch and clothing to confirm that the body was in fact his. Hakeem paid the ultimate price for his faith. He is now in the presence of His Lord.
We’ve sent funds to help Hakeem’s widow and her children with food and other necessities to see them through the next few months. As we wait for the happy ending to this story—when Hakeem and his family are reunited in heaven—we will continue to help in any way we can. If Hakeem’s widow and children need to be relocated for their own safety, we’ll provide what is needed. Your gifts to the Muslim-Background Believers Fund make this kind of assistance possible.