Nabeel Qureshi is a Pakistani American Christian apologist, author and speaker who converted from Islam. He is a speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and the author of three books, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (Zondervan, February 2014), Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward (Zondervan, March 2016), and No God But One—Allah or Jesus (Zondervan, August 2016). On August 30, 2016, Qureshi announced his retirement due to an advanced stomach cancer diagnosis.
Qureshi was born into a devout family of Ahmadi muslims; with his father in the US Navy, he moved around many times as a youth before settling in Virginia. Qureshi studied Islamic apologetics and engaged Christians in religious discussions. After one such discussion with a Christian at his university, David Wood, the two became friends and began a years-long debate on the historical claims of Christianity and Islam. Qureshi’s resulting conversion to Christianity was chronicled in his first book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. In addition to being a New York Times bestseller, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesuswas awarded the Christian Book Award for the categories of both “Best New Author” and “Best Non-Fiction” of 2015 – the first time in award history. Christianity Today heralded Qureshi as one of “33 Under 33” in its cover story on emerging religion leaders in July 2014.
Qureshi has lectured to students at more than 100 universities, including Oxford, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Hong Kong. He has participated in 18 moderated, public debates around North America, Europe, and Asia. In 2015, Qureshi debated at Wayne State University with Muslim scholar Shabir Ally.
Qureshi holds an M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an M.A. in Christian apologetics from Biola University, and an M.A. in religion from Duke University. He is currently studying Judaism and Christianity at Oxford University, pursuing his doctorate in New Testament Studies. He divides his time in Atlanta and Oxford with his wife and baby daughter.
Beginning in the late 2000s, Qureshi began attending the Dearborn Arab Festival in. In 2009, Qureshi and his group, Acts 17 Apologetics, was stopped from passing out Arabictranslations of the Gospel of John. That year the fair had modified the rules, barring distribution of literature unless a group had a registered booth. (Other Christian missionary groups had registered booths and were free to pass out tracts). Qureshi and his group were asked to leave and their literature was confiscated. Returning in 2010, Qureshi and his group resolved to not pass out gospel tracts, and not engage anyone in conversation unless it was initiated by someone else. Furthermore, the group decided to film the entirety of its interactions. During the 2010 Festival, Qureshi was shown being asked questions by a small crowd of Muslim teenagers. Police officers soon arrested the group and confiscated their video cameras, charging Qureshi with disturbing the peace and refusing a lawful order from a police officer. Qureshi and his group spent a night in jail for this arrest.
Soon after the arrest, mayor of Dearborn, John B. O’Reilly, Jr. released a statement indicating that the missionaries were engaged in hostile, angry shouts with the crowd, blocking access to the booths. The mayor stated that Qureshi was getting violent and confrontational with police officers attempting to peacefully calm the situation. After reviewing the video evidence, a jury found Qureshi not guilty on all counts. A separate civil suit found that Dearborn, Michigan had violated Qureshi’s constitutional rights, finding that there was no basis in law for his arrest. In 2013, the city then settled the suit. As part of the settlement, the city had to issue a formal apology and maintain that apology on their website for three years.
2016 Cancer Diagnosis
On 30 August 2016, Qureshi announced that he was in the advanced stages of stomach cancer. Qureshi took to his Facebook page to inform fans and followers of his illness saying the prognosis was “quite grim”.
“This is an announcement that I never expected to make, but God in His infinite and sovereign wisdom has chosen me for this refining, and I pray He will be glorified through my body and my spirit,” Qureshi wrote. “My family and I have received the news that I have advanced stomach cancer, and the clinical prognosis is quite grim. Nonetheless, we are going to pursue healing aggressively, both medical and miraculous, relying on God and the fact that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.