One of the joys of being a follower of Jesus is singing praises to the Lord. The book of Psalms has many references to praising Him with our whole heart. For example, the Psalmist declares, “As for me, I shall sing of Your strength; yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress” (Psalm 59:16). Throughout the Word of God, vocal praise and worship is a vital part of the life of a Christian.
Most every Christian worship service begins with songs of declaring who God is and expressing our love for Him. We may assume this is true in Islam, but it is not.
Dr. Mark A. Gabriel has a powerful testimony of his life growing up in Egypt. Memorizing the Qur’an at an early age, he holds a PH.D. in Islamic history and culture from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. In a July 2004 Charisma Magazine article, he shared that even with all his religious training in Islam, after the first reading the book of Matthew, he chose to follow the Lord and accepted Jesus as his God and Savior. When he renounced Islam, Muslims in Egypt attempted to assassinate him several times. The last attempt was by his own father, who tried to shoot him with his handgun to restore his honor and wash away his shame with his son’s blood. Mark fled Egypt, and after crossing mountains, deserts, jungles, and rivers, he arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Dr. Gabriel discussed experiencing worship of Jesus in his life. In Johannesburg, he began fellowshipping with an English-speaking congregation, despite the difficulty of not knowing the language. He said, “For me, the most beautiful part of the service was praising and singing before the Lord. One of the first songs that deeply touched me was ‘How Great Thou Art.’ Through it, I could appreciate this great God of ours who created the universe and then humbled Himself for me and everyone else.”
Thinking about the Islamic songs he learned in his youth, he shared they would sing “Muslims We Are” when they gathered to begin a day at school, declaring they were accepting death, refusing surrender, and by the sword, they defeated the enemy. He went on to say, “They don’t understand anything different because of sin.” Dr. Gabriel expressed that the problem for the Muslim people is sin (Romans 5:12) and because of that, “the way of peace they do not know” (Romans, chapter 3).
Many young Iranian Muslims go to schools in Europe for their education and, while there, learn about Jesus and receive Him as Lord. When they attend a church where their language, Farsi, is spoken, the worship begins. For the first time in their lives, they see the words of the songs of love for Jesus, and they begin to sing praises to Him. Imagine! They have never experienced anything like that before. It is incredible to see the expression of joy on their faces as they corporately worship their Savior, the One who has given them the true way of peace!
Our God is worthy of praise, and multitudes of Muslims will desire to praise Jesus if they have an understanding of His love for them. Pray they will receive a divine revelation of that love and respond with their whole hearts.