BLOG: How do I start reaching my Muslim neighbour?

This article is part of our series, ‘Reaching Muslims Locally’, where we explore how you can get involved in mission to Muslims where you are.

By John*, a cross-cultural worker in the UK

Our neighbour died last year. Our short cul-de-sac was all a buzz to know who would buy the house. We didn’t have long to wait until an Asian family put in a successful offer and after several months of refurbishment, they moved in before Christmas. Immediately, my wife and I took over appropriate gifts to welcome them. Having established an annual tradition of giving all our neighbours a Christmas bag of goodies, including a Scripture calendar and “Divine” chocolate, we followed the pattern. We were soon exchanging names, chatting, and receiving delicious Asian food. Most recently, the family have asked us to keep an eye on their home while they are away.

Start with a simple hello

Using the greeting salaam alaikum (peace be upon you) will get you a long way in breaking the ice. Whether travelling by train, bus, coach, or plane, sauntering down the street, or saying hello to your neighbour, don’t hesitate to use this greeting. You will almost always get a smile, and some people will stop and perhaps ask you if you are a Muslim. When they ask say, “No, I am a follower of Isa al-Masih (Jesus the Messiah – a title used in the Qur’an), and I love Muslims very much.” Away you go.

Take opportunities as they arise

It is useful to have some basic replies to the most commonly posed objections to Christianity regarding the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the alleged corruption of the Scriptures. You can find these in any basic “How to reach” book. If you get stuck, the best reply is, “I will think about that.” Don’t underestimate the power of your testimony when sharing the gospel with Muslims.

“This is how I know and experience God in my life and in my Christian community.” “This is what God has done for me, for us, for you.”

Recently, my wife and I were out for a walk and a gentleman was sitting outside an end-of-terrace house where asylum seekers are housed. We greeted him in Arabic and walked on. He jumped up, leaned over the wall and motioned us to come back. He asked us if we were Muslims and invited us into the front yard where we had a 30 minute visit!

Share passages from the Bible. Carry a New Testament from which you can quote or give away. You will find connecting points for the gospel in the hearts and minds of Muslims as you multiply your contacts.

If an opportunity arises, invite them to church. A multicultural, all-age, fellowship of men and women worshipping God in Christ can be a powerful witness to the truths of the gospel. And don’t be afraid to accept their invitation to visit a mosque at prayer.

Build a relationship

You will never be able to follow up with everyone you meet, but God doesn’t expect that of you. Your one encounter may be a single event in a list of multiple providential happenstances, including dreams, visions, miracles, and the fruits of media inquisitiveness. And don’t forget to pray, seeking out likeminded people where you live.

Finally, if you enter a fruitful friendship, be prepared to take the long view, committed to your friends in the joys and sorrows of life for they assuredly will face both.

*Name changed to protect identities.

For some answers to questions frequently asked by Muslims, read our Hicham series here.

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