About the author: Bilquis Sheikh
About the book: I Dared To Call Him Father
I enjoy reading autobiographies about conversions so that I can understand other religions (In this case Islam.); and I enjoy reading about the moments and decisions that lead to conversion. Bilquis experienced some spiritual oppression. This negative experience led her to the Koran and eventually the Bible. She began to read the Koran and Bible side-by-side. She had a dream about John the Baptist and perfume. She had never read about John the Baptist, yet the name was vivid and clear in her mind. I have read several books sharing the testimonies of converted Muslims. Many of the stories are the same, they experience dreams and visions. This is the earliest account that I have read; Bilquis had her dreams in 1966. Over time she became more persuaded by the Bible. Eventually she spoke with a Western missionary who shared the Gospel and prayed with her. She left without becoming a Christian. Soon later, while reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit led her to conversion. He used Revelation 3:20.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
Bilquis shares the struggles she faced as a young Christian. She shares the abandonment she felt when her family rejected her. But, she also shares about the friendships and relationships she gained when she became a Christian. I felt convicted as I read about her sensitivity to sin, the Holy Spirit, and His leading. Her friend Synnove Mitchell writes about Bilquis, “She was concerned not only to give her visitors truths about God, but to bring them into the presence of Jesus, the Truth.” P. 185 It is clear to me, Bilquis only wanted to be in continual fellowship with God, and constantly in His presence. I cannot find the words to describe how impressed I am with her testimony. She was so sorry and repentent about her sin: selfishness, pride, arrogance, and unwillingness to forgive. Such sorrow over sin has become rare. Rare in my life.
I am inspired. I nearly made it through the book without crying. I was fine till Synnove shared facts about the funeral, specifically how they sang Bilquis’ favorite hymns. As I read I was particularly moved by the lyrics of one,
I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing men of sin, revealing Jesus through the Word, creating faith in Him. But I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed uno Him against that day. “I Know Whom I have Believed”
I have sung this song many times without crying, but not today.
I Dared to Call Him Father includes an Epilogue and two appendixes written by Bilquis’ friend Synnove Mitchell. In the first appendix Synnove explains how she first met Bilquis. In the second, she compares and contrasts the culture and attitude of the East with the West. It was interesting to read Synnove’s testimony. She felt spiritually desperate, out of touch with God, and was ready to leave India. She prayed and asked God to revive her passion. Bilquis, unannounced and unexpectedly arrived at Synnove’s door. Both ladies were an answer to the other’s prayer.
You may wonder about the title. When faced with the challenge of knowing which book to follow, the Quran or the Bible, Bilquis asked God “Which one is your book?” She writes, “Then a remarkable thing happened. Nothing like it had ever occurred in my life in quite this way. For I heard a voice inside my being, a voice that spoke to me as clearly as if I was repeating words in my inner mind. they were fresh, full of kindness, yet at the same time full of authority.”
“In which book do you meet me as your Father?” P. 49
This may not seem as significant to Western Christians. To a Muslim, it’s blasphemous.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. I John 3:1