Daybreak in Islam

Daybreak in Islam—No. 2

In the preceding article, we stated that there were three great facts concerning the chal­lenge of Islam: The Mohammedan eclipse of Christianity, the dawn of a new day in Islam, and the wavering hope for final victory. We now come to the third and concluding part of our topic.

By SAMUEL W. ZWEMER, Editor of the Moslem World

In the preceding article, we stated that there were three great facts concerning the chal­lenge of Islam: The Mohammedan eclipse of Christianity, the dawn of a new day in Islam, and the wavering hope for final victory. We now come to the third and concluding part of our topic.

The old Islam is dying, and its adherents are responding to the gospel. Shall we give them the living hope of Jesus Christ? The door is no longer shut in Mohammedan lands. Doors once barred and bolted are now open. Nejef and Karbala and Meshed Ali and Al Azhar are examples of sections of the world that once were closed to the missionary, but that now welcome his coming. In Arabia, for instance, doctors of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Scottish Church can travel in the automobiles of Ibn Saud—at his expense, and carry on clinics in great centers like Medina, and even at Taif, close to Mecca. So the medical missionary finds a welcome every­where, and the circulation of the Scriptures is increasing. The desire for Christian educa­tion increases, and people crowd public meet­ings to hear the gospel as they never did be­fore. Better than that, God's Spirit is work­ing in those lands in a marvelous fashion. I would like to read you something to cor­roborate that, from a Persian missionary, Yahya Armajani, who wrote me recently:

"For one hundred years the Christian missionaries in Iran prayed for a time when there would be free­dom of worship, opportunities for direct evangelism, the breaking down of the barriers, and a great spir­itual awakening among the people of the country. All of this and much more have come to pass in the last five years. The National Christian Church of Iran has been recognized by the government, Chris­tian meetings are held openly in all parts of the country, and people come without molestation to hear the message of the love of God. Our Christian schools are overcrowded, so that we have to turn the students away. For the last six years the member­ship of the church in Teheran increased to such a degree that we had to change our place of worship three times to accommodate the people. God's hand is certainly at work among the Moslems, and we are now beginning to reap what was sown during the past century."

Once when I was in Afghanistan I went into a bookstore and saw a book in English—"Lights of Asia," by Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah.

I would not have bought the book because I have so many, but it was by a young Moham­medan graduate of London University who wrote on Buddhism, Hinduism, Islamism, and Christianity. So I thought I would see what this young Mohammedan had to say about Christianity. I was so surprised at his state­ments that I wrote him a letter, and had a reply. He maintained that he was sincere, and said:

"I am an Afghan Mohammedan nominally, but when I read about Christianity I really felt just what I wrote. The cross is the center of all revelation. Have you ever thought what the Bible would be like without the cross? Take the cross out of this Book and you won't be able to recognize it. If there be no promise of the cross in the Old Testament, then its laws distress me: it is a book of fatalism. If there is no cross in the New Testament, then it blazes with pitiless splendor. But put the cross back, and at once the Book becomes a Gospel."

Now, who said that? Spurgeon? Moody? No; an Afghan student. Christ is working be­hind closed doors. If Christ can work like that on the heart of a young Oriental, what could He not do with a few earnest disciples who would preach the message in Afghan­istan ?

And if you look back to the history of Hol­land, or Germany, or America, or any other country, you will see that the experiences of the nations were alike. First, darkness, and then God's Spirit began to brood, and the early missionaries came. The light came—a gleam here and a gleam there—and by and by we had revivals in England and revivals here in America. And that is the reason I believe that promise, even though it may seem al­most incredible, that Jesus Christ shall reign from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth. Let us believe in Arabia, pray for Arabia, evangelize Arabia, and along with Arabia the whole Mohammedan world, until the hardest task shall be the greatest glory, and the crescent shall bow before the cross.

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By SAMUEL W. ZWEMER, Editor of the Moslem World

December 1938

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