Nabeel came like a streak of lightning, brightened the night sky, and has returned to the One who gave the power to do what he did.” –Ravi Zacharias
Nabeel Qureshi, apologist and author of “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,” ended his year-long battle with stomach cancer this past weekend. At just 34, he went to be with the Lord on Saturday.
A convert from Islam to Christianity, Nabeel had a profound desire to “cover the globe” with the good news of Jesus Christ. His testimony touches many of those wrestling with Islam, but his ministry has reached believers in all walks of life, all across the world. Many were captivated by his extraordinary heart—both for the gospel and for people—and for his incredible ability to communicate his convictions.
“I have seldom seen a man with such deep conviction and proportionate passion and gifting.” writes Ravi Zacharias, who served as Nabeel’s mentor and “uncle” for over four years. “When he spoke, he held audiences spellbound.”
Nabeel’s diagnosis was announced the same day as the release of his book, “No God But One.” Much to the shock of himself and those around him, it was an aggressive stage 4 diagnosis. He was moved to Houston for treatment (his home was one of those affected by Hurricane Harvey) but the cancer was relentless, and his health fiercely suffered a downward spiral.
For over a year Nabeel wrestled with his condition, working through questions of faith, healing, and God’s sovereignty. “Within a few months, the handwriting was on the wall.” shares Ravi. The famous apologist also stayed closed to him through this time, reflecting on how, despite the questions, Nabeel “remained firm that he was in God’s hands.”
The months preceding his death are just a window into the kind of passion Nabeel had. He spread the gospel relentlessly before cancer, but his work didn’t end there. Despite his worsening condition, Nabeel accompanied Ravi and flew to Malaysia. “His body was weak, his passion undiminished, his speaking, powerful, his messages reaping a harvest of followers of Jesus.” And as he spoke to the crowds, he never stopped engaging with people individually and praying with people one-on-one.
“As I write this, it’s hard to hold back the tears.” Ravi shares, “It’s hard to believe that Nabeel Qureshi has left us all too soon. I reminded him that he was the same age as our Lord whose mission was accomplished. In like manner, Nabeel came like a streak of lightning, brightened the night sky, and has returned to the One who gave the power to do what he did.”
We mourn the loss not just because he was young, or because his ministry was so profound. We mourn, perhaps, because his story feels unfinished—as though it was cut off. He departed when there was so much still to be done.
But the same can be said of our Savior.
For this reason, may our mourning be mingled with hope and anticipation. Jesus left before the work was complete, passing the torch to his Church. Nabeel left before the work was complete, passing the torch to us in the same way. May his life—and death—and the enduring hope of Christ be our motivator. And may we go out and spread the news of Jesus Christ with his same relentless love and passion that defined Nabeel Qureshi.
Nabeel leaves behind a beloved wife, Michelle, and 2 year old daughter, Ayah Fatima. You can give to the fund supporting them here. You can also read more of his testimony in his book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.