Engaging with Muslims

We are increasingly likely to meet Muslims on our streets, on our campuses and in our workplaces. Between 2011 and 2021, the number of Muslims in the UK grew from 4.9% of the population to 6.5%.[1] It’s likely the number will continue to grow in the years to come. And yet, many of us don’t know where to start when it comes to befriending Muslims around us or sharing the gospel with them.

Maybe we think there are many others who need to hear the good news about Jesus who are more similar to us, however there is an opportunity to reach these people that God has placed on our doorstep and ‘we don’t see decisions for Jesus where we are not sharing the gospel’ (9). Engaging with Muslims by John Klaassen is an insightful, practical guide to help every individual and church community begin sharing the gospel with Muslims around them.

Engaging With Muslims CoverKlaassen begins by outlining some basic principles for interacting with Muslims and helps us to increase our awareness of the Muslims around us and the opportunity that we have. He then continues to explain The Pillars of Islam, which are the foundational beliefs and practices, and shares some ways that Christians may share understanding as well as areas to be aware of significant differences. The second half of the book is focussed on how we can share the good news of Jesus by using four Ps: prayer, presence, proclamation and persuasion (50).

This book is short, succinct and immensely practical. If you are looking for some quick tips on how to get started in engaging with Muslims, then this book is perfect for you. Although it doesn’t shy away from the long-term commitment that it is to share your faith with your Muslim neighbour: ‘It takes time, and often prolonged contact with a faithful, friendly, prayerful believe before most Muslims are impacted with the gospel message (59).’

This book is short, succinct and immensely practical

Each chapter also has reflection questions which help you personally apply what you’ve read, and they could work well if using this book for a discussion group. However, one of the downsides is how simple and introductory this book is. If you are already engaging with Muslims in some way, perhaps you have some close Muslim friends or have a cultural awareness of Islamic customs, then much of this book will feel like common sense and you are most likely doing it already.

Another thing I appreciated in this book, is that it also addresses some of our own heart attitudes and speaks into our fears and reasons we might hold back and encourages us to make the most of the opportunities in front of us.

Until you have asked questions and spent time with Muslims in your neighbourhood, until you have befriended them and had them in your home, please withhold judgment. Even those who are covered from head to toe are probably not what you think! In some cases they may be wide open to the gospel, and we miss sharing with them because of our fears and misunderstandings. (30)

Overall this book is a very helpful read, especially for those beginning to think about reaching out to Muslims around them.