A well-known Kurdish leader, writer and historian recently became a Christian after working on the translation of the Kurdish New Testament. This is his testimony.
“I am from a Muslim family – my father was a well-known and powerful Islamic leader and we were raised as good Muslims. As a student I was a tireless searcher, reading Islamic theology, history, philosophy and mythology, but I was faithless in my heart.
“One day in 1993 I was approached by the Bible Society who asked me to participate in the translation of the new Kurdish New Testament. I accepted with joy and respect. ‘Now my people will be able to read something in their own language,’ I thought, ‘and that will strengthen our culture.’
Love his enemy?
“I started translating the Book of Matthew. When I came to Matthew 5:44, I was amazed at what I was reading – I could not understand how a man could love his enemy. In my tradition, ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’ contained the notion of justice. I had never read anything like this before and I was shaken.
Small and humble
“I closed my eyes and saw Jesus standing there in front of me. I felt so small and humble. I looked up at Jesus and accepted him as my saviour. My heart was rejoicing. For years I had been longing for something that I could not explain but now I felt I had found peace and belonged to God.
“I have travelled much in my life, in Syria, Iraq and other countries in the Orient. I do not want to get involved in politics but I have seen so much pain and suffering caused by hatred and evil. I want to pass God’s love on to others and to establish a Kurdish church for my people.
“I feel very fortunate to have discovered Christ. I still have many Muslim imam friends and many university professors are my personal friends. I miss no opportunity to explain my faith to them, and they respect me for what I stand for.
“I recently donated a large library of 4,000 books to a Kurdish academic foundation, comprising an important collection of Islamic theological books as well as Christian literature. I gave them on condition that the Christian books would never be separated from the rest.“I am most grateful to the Bible Society for their work in Turkey and for asking me to participate in the translation of the Kurdish New Testament.” (SR 27/14 - 11.01)