“Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice before everyone has
heard it once?”—Oswald J. Smith.
“I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light” — John Keith Falconer
The Punjab is the province known as the breadbasket of Pakistan. The word itself comes from two words, punj, meaning five and ab, meaning water or river. Therefore, we are talking about the land of the five rivers. Chiniot is on the eastern bank of the middle river, the Chenab.
This town was famous for its fish. Pakistani families by the carload would often come to Chiniot for the most delicious fish kabobs in the Punjab.
Once, traveling with a group of fellow missionaries to a retreat, we had just reached the outskirts of Chiniot, when one of the team said, “You know, there is not a single Christian in this town of twenty thousand people.”
Abruptly, I pulled the car into the shade of a giant banyan tree and said, “Let’s ask God to open a door for us to come here and do evangelism.” In the sweltering heat of that crowded van we prayed for God to do just that. And then we drove on to Sargodha for our meeting. All too quickly, the incident was forgotten, along with the prayers that were prayed. But God doesn’t forget so easily. This concern was close to His heart. He began to go to work.
Six months later, a dozen pastors from Faisalabad District came to us missionaries and presented a challenge. “We want to hold an evangelistic campaign in Chiniot.” Whoa! Suddenly I woke up. This is what we had prayed for.
Two pastors were sent on ahead to find accommodations for us. There was nothing suitable. So we got out our tents, loaded them onto a trailer and trusted God for a place to set them up on the edge of the city.
For the next three days, we moved through the city, distributed gospel portions and stopped at strategic street corners and preached. First we sang to attract the people. When the crowd had gathered, our best evangelist would preach. His name was Chaudhry Inayatullah Mujahid.
Chaudhry was a title of respect. Inayatullah meant “the blessing of God.” Mujahid was from the Arabic word jihad (holy war) and meant “warrior,” a holy warrior for God. So here we had “a respected blessing of God holy warrior,” in other words, an evangelist.
What was so fascinating to me, as a very young inexperienced missionary, was Inayatullah’s extraordinary ability to use the Quran and explain away the Muslim objections to Christian truth. He was quoting Arabic texts fluently and blowing away their objections and misunderstandings. And well he could, for he himself had been a former preacher of Islam of the Ahmadiya sect, the most effective group in propagating Islam. Was I glad he was on our side. It was awesome.
The problem for me was that Inayatullah’s method of preaching did not match any of my pre-conceived ideas or previous training on how to do evangelism. So, as a young know-it-all, I said, “I don’t think that is a very good approach. That’s not for me.”
Still, wonderful things happened on that trip. The head of the English department of the local Islamic college came to our tents at nighttime to ask more questions and to venture a comment on Islam. He said there is no love in Islam. He saw love in usand wanted it.
Then the roadside shoe repair man, the mochi who heard all of our preaching just opposite his little set-up shop, believed on the spot. Later, a student came from Chiniot into Faisalabad to find us so he could ask for a complete Bible and someone to study it with him. He too soon came to Christ.
Did I miss something? Was God trying to teach me something through this former Muslim preacher, now turned Christian evangelist? I thought so but I wasn’t ready. It was only later, much later, I regret to say, that I finally humbled myself before the Lord and asked Him to teach me how to work with Muslims. It was then that the extraordinary example of Chaudhry Inayatullah Mujahid came to mind.
Sweep away the misunderstandings by using the Quran; clear the rubble from the playing field so there can be a fair chance for our Muslim friends to actually hear the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Chiniot on the banks of the Chenab River was a fishing town, the town where you go to get the best fish. I watched an expert fisherman catch men. But I was too proud to learn a new way his way to fish. That came later. Thank God for Chaudhry Inayatul-lah Mujahid who, in the end, finally taught me how to fish among Muslims: how to catch Muslims for Christ.
First published on University Divina Gratiae Blog on 4 July 2019.
The views expressed in this blog post are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the GC network.