During his lifetime, Nabeel Qureshi was a Pakistani-American Christian evangelist, college tutor and a New York Times best-selling author. Qureshi converted from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to Christianity in 2005 after which he gained a reputation as a well-known Christian apologist. He was also a protégé of fellow Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias and was a regular speaker at the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).
Nabeel Qureshi Family, Parents
Nabeel Qureshi was born on April 13, 1983, in California, USA. His parents are Pakistani Muslims of the Ahmadiyya Islamic sect who fled their home country due to persecution from fellow Muslims. His father served in the United States Navy and thus the family moved around severally. They eventually settled in Virginia following his father’s retirement from service.
Theirs was a close-knit family built around Islam. Nabeel Qureshi was taught the Arabic language by his mother and by the age of 5, he had read the entire Qur’an in Arabic and also memorized several chapters. He was well-trained in Muslim apologetics by his parents which armed him with the requisite knowledge to defend his faith against other religions.
Over the years, Nabeel Qureshi became a well-versed Islamic apologist and regularly engaged in inter-religious debates with Christians. One of such discussions began in August 2001 between Qureshi and his then-college roommate, David Wood. The informal debate between the two lasted for several years and in addition to other occurrences, eventually culminated in the willing conversion of Nabeel Qureshi to Christianity on August 30, 2005. Qureshi’s conversion was devastating to his entire family who are devout Muslims, however, their relationship remained cordial in the years that followed.
Nabeel Qureshi had his college education at Old Dominion University located in Norfolk, Virginia. He bagged his Medical Degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. In addition, he also obtained a Master of Arts degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University graduating in 2008, and also completed an M.A. in religion from Duke University in 2012. The Christian apologist also had an M.Phil. degree in Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World from the University of Oxford. At the time he was diagnosed of terminal cancer, Qureshi was studying for a Ph.D. in New Testament studies at the University of Oxford.
In February 2014, Nabeel Qureshi published his first book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity which chronicled his conversion from Islam to Christianity. The book made it to The New York Times best-sellers list and also scored 2 Christian Book Awards in the categories of “Best New Author” and “Best Non-Fiction Book”. The book has sold well over 250,000 copies.
In July 2014, Nabeel Qureshi was listed among the “33 Under 33” emerging religion leaders by the Christianity Today magazine. The renowned Christian author released his second book Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward on March 8, 2016. This was followed in quick succession by his third book No God But One: Allah or Jesus? A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity which was released on August 16, 2016. The itinerant scholar is also known to have lectured students in over 100 colleges scattered across the globe including Oxford University and John Hopkins University.
Nabeel Qureshi was married to Michelle Qureshi. The two tied the knot in 2005. They had one child together, a daughter named Ayah Fatima Qureshi who was born in August 2015. Prior to their marriage, Michelle Qureshi served in the United States Coast Guard. She has continued the legacy and Christian ministry of her late husband following the latter’s death in 2017.
Nabeel Qureshi announced via social media that he had been diagnosed with an advanced form of stomach cancer in August 2013. With immense support from his family, Qureshi pursued all forms of healing for the deadly disease. He received medical care at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Unfortunately, he died on September 16, 2017, a year after the diagnosis. Nabeel Qureshi was 34 years old at the time of his death. Even though they differed largely in terms of religious beliefs, his family was by his side during these difficult last days. His funeral was held at Houston’s First Baptist Church on September 21, 2017.