A Muslim extremist who dedicated his life to persecuting Christians embraced the religion he once despised after a man with nail-scarred hands appeared in his dreams.
As the dedicated leader of a mosque in a central African country, Ibn Yakoobi routinely targeted Christians, and even attempted to kill the pastor of a local church, according to a report from Bibles for Mideast, an underground Christian ministry that distributes Bibles and conducts evangelism in Asia, South Africa and the Middle East.
However, after witnessing an angel thwart his attempts to kill the pastor, Yakoobi was shaken and became increasingly curious about the Christian faith.
During Friday's Day of Assembly at the mosque, another religious leader warned Muslims not to believe the Christians nor attend their prayer meetings.The Imam shared how, during the time of the prophet Moses in Egypt, many black magicians performed miracles before King Pharaoh. But with power given to him from God, Moses destroyed such miracles.
"So don't believe and follow the black magic done by Christian followers," the Imam cautioned them. "Be on the alert."
Unable to refrain himself, Yakoobi stood up and said, "Why then, Imam, can't you do miracles as Prophet Moses did and destroy their black magic? If you can't, don't talk about it!"
Angered, the Imam ordered Yakoobi out of the mosque at once, and several other leaders dragged him to the road, pummeling him mercilessly until he fell into an open drainage ditch. The Muslims then left him there, wounded and bloodied.
As Yakoobi remained in the ditch, many of his bones broken, a cloud suddenly appeared before him. He then saw a bright and mighty man in the cloud, sitting on a throne, who showed his nail-scarred hands to Yakoobi. He could also see blood-stained marks on his legs, and on the side of his chest.
"I was brutally beaten, wounded, crucified and died on the cross of Calvary," the man said. "After death, they pierced my side with a spear. But I rose from the dead. You are healed by my wounds. You are purified by my blood. You have salvation by my death. And you have eternal life by my resurrection. Now I give you a new heart and new life. Be faithful."
Yakoobi, now utterly healed, knelt down before Jesus and said, "I believe in you Lord Jesus. You alone are my Lord and my Savior." Within seconds, the cloud vanished.
Astounded, Yakoobi went home rejoicing, and convinced his family about the truth of Jesus Christ. He met with his friends and shared his experience of salvation with them as well, and even asked the pastor he once attempted to kill for forgiveness.
While many have been skeptical of Muslims' claims that "Jesus dreams" have led them to Christianity, apologist Nabeel Qureshi told The Christian Post dreams are significant to Muslims:
"In Muslim cultures, generally speaking, people don't see themselves as being able to commune with God. Communion is a very Christian concept and the idea that Christ has torn down the veil - in a lot of cultures the veil is still up. In Islam, for example, people don't expect to have God talk back to them personally, as the Holy Spirit isn't living in them. They ask God for guidance through dreams; that's like the one way that Muslims expect to hear from God," Qureshi explained.
"For someone to reach out and ask, 'God, can you tell me about you?' Or, 'If you're Jesus, can you show me a dream?' That's not strange at all... That's kind of what Muslims do," he added.
Central African Republic is ranked 34th on the World Watch List of 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, according to Open Doors. The organization cites Islamic extremism as the primary source of persecution in CAR, even though Christians make up about 50% of the country's population.