Ayaz’s Story – A Testimony of God’s Grace
As a second-generation immigrant from a Muslim family background, I was exposed to religion from a young age. Despite this, I was brought up in a relatively secular environment. Although my father had always professed to be a Muslim, he often bitterly criticised the hypocrisy of his Muslim family and people from his native homeland of Kashmir, a disputed political region between India and Pakistan within the Indian subcontinent. Naturally, I had the privilege of being taught about Islam by various Muslims. As I grew up, however, I became increasingly disillusioned with the sentiment being espoused from a significant number of adherent followers of Islam. I’ve always particularly been in dismay at the specific obsession in obeying ritualistic rules on food for consumption in stark contrast to the lack of decorum when discussing the personal affairs of others.
And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:10-11)
Consequently, I was becoming stubborn and set in my view that all faith was in vain and that God, quite simply, did not exist. But shortly into adulthood, some observations in life were becoming apparent to me. Ostensibly normal every day occurrences such as war, strife, hatred; all of these things prompted me to evaluate our very existence and what is wrong with our human condition. Not entirely satisfied with atheistic world view, I set off in the hopeful search for just some answers. It was not until I explored cosmology when I first seriously began to consider the existence of a deity. Is there a purposeful cause of the universe and all matter contained in it? The debate continues, but the atheist position was becoming an untenable one for me. Most extraordinary of all was not necessarily astronomy but quantum mechanics, a branch of physics dealing with physical phenomena at microscopic scales. I was recently asked why I believed in God instead of science; I replied stating that it was science which led me to believe in God.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)
But if God does exist, why does there appear to be a lack of accepted scientific data directly related to God’s omnipresence? Whilst I pondered at this question, I stumbled across a captivating mathematical insight into the Euclidean geometric theory of the fourth dimension (in contrast to space-time). With this I learned to appreciate the concept that perhaps God’s vastness and greatness simply cannot be observed by apparatus confined within our lower three dimensional realm no matter how far technology has advanced. By definition, a deity is not something that humans can capture and physically prove in any ordinary sense. God is in a higher realm. This short demonstration of a four dimensional object known as a ‘hyper-cube’ may help one to understand this field of mathematics and why it is impossible to observe God in any sort of laboratory experiment.
This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? (Isaiah 66: 1-2)
Still not content at the time with any of the world monotheistic or polytheistic religions, it was my childhood best friend’s conversion from Islam to Christianity which probably had the most profound influence on my journey. Born and brought up in a devout Muslim family, it was unfathomable that such a change could occur. I often heard the widely held misconception that the Bible was nothing but a book written by the Roman establishment in order to control the masses, but upon closer investigation I discovered that this theory simply did not stand up to scrutiny and facts about the history of the Bible which spanned hundreds of centuries before Christ. With exposure to Christianity through my friend and invitations to Christian groups, I slowly began to understand the significant difference between Christianity and Islam, namely that all have sinned have fallen short of the glory of God. But God has offered Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. After reading Philip Yancey’s book titled What’s So Amazing About Grace?, and having attended a Christian youth camp, I decided I had witnessed enough evidence of the peace that faith in Christ could bring to people’s hearts and for the first time in my life, I had a desire to attend church and join in Christian fellowship to praise God and discover more about the life of Jesus Christ.