“When he learned that I had been reading a booklet about a boy who found forgiveness through Jesus Christ, my father tied me to a pillar of our house and beat me with a stick. The next morning he lovingly told me, ‘We Muslims should not read such books. They are haram [forbidden]. Because their books are so persuasive, we too will become Christians if we read them. What then will happen to our family? It will affect our whole life.’ “
Qississ’ father, a Muslim Mullah in southern India, didn’t realize how prophetic his words would prove to be as he lectured his eleven-year-old son.
Qississ tore up his tract and burned it. He could not, however, escape his feeling of sinfulness; nor could he ignore the Christian message of forgiveness. One day he and a friend secretly visited a nearby Christian mission hospital. Sensing their interest in spiritual matters, a missionary there invited them to attend Sunday school classes to learn more.
After secretly attending the classes for several weeks, a neighbor spotted Qississ and his friend exiting from church.
“The next evening, when I returned home from school, I saw my mother and little sister crying. They knew that my father had already prepared my punishment. As I entered the house, my father suddenly appeared, shouting. He caught me, tied me up, and beat me. Then he rubbed ground chili pepper in my eyes, all the while asking why I approached Christians and read Christian literature. My mother watched until she fainted.”
Still, his father’s abuse could not hold back Qississ’ interest in Jesus or his new love for his Christian friends. Qississ continued to meet with them. His father, exasperated with his failed attempts to force his son back to Islamic obedience, sought the boy’s uncles for advice. Two advised him to kill Qississ by cutting his throat, reciting Sura 5:33 from the Qur’an. Another suggested that he be starved to death. Qississ’ father decided that he would continue trying to persuade his apostate son. So he placed him in iron shackles, locked him in a room, and gave strict orders that he should only be fed once a day. Qississ remained in his confinement for nine weeks.
After his release, Qississ unsuccessfully struggled to find peace with family members. So one day he walked 10 miles to the railway station and caught a train for the nearest big city. There he wandered the streets and searched for work. He was just 12 years old.
Two years later, he returned to visit his Christian friends at the mission hospital. Through them, Qississ found work with Christian organizations and continued to build his faith through discipleship courses.
When Qississ was 25 years old, God showed him a vision in which multitudes of people from different religions passed by him, the last group being Muslims. Then Qississ saw Jesus, who, with tears in His eyes, looked away from the Muslim crowds into his eyes. Qississ received a burden that has never left him, and he soon began a ministry that in the past 34 years has reached countless Muslims for Christ in southern India. He has been fearless, even publishing his testimony in full-page newspaper ads that encourage Muslims to contact him to learn more about Christ. He has received tens of thousands of letters from interested Muslims. Today, after decades of persecution and trials, he is still going strong.