Editor’s note: The information from this story is provided by Bibles for Mideast, an underground ministry focusing on Bible distribution, evangelism and house-church planting in the Middle East, South Asia and parts of Africa.
A 46-year-old imam who had served faithfully at a Middle East mosque for years now is heading up a newly born Christian church after an incident in which he collapsed and later woke up to find his family preparing him for burial.
The stunning account comes from Bibles for Mideast, an underground ministry to the Muslim world that works in the Middle East, South Asia and parts of Africa.
The group described how Munaf Ali, whose name was changed due to security concerns, faithfully served as an imam.
It was in March 2016 when Bibles for Mideast founder Pastor Paul Ciniraj and a team visited him.
“As they chatted, the topic of Jesus and the Bible naturally came up. The imam heatedly denied both the divinity of Christ and the credibility of the Christian Bible. He angrily rejected Ciniraj’s offer of a sample gospel and proceeded to curse the missionaries,” the report said.
The imam then gathered a “mob of fanatics” and went to a site where he had heard the Christians were meeting. With shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “Allah is supreme,” they arrived at the planned meeting site.
“Fortunately, by God’s leading, the team had decided to meet elsewhere,” the group reported.
It was just days later, when the imam was returning from the Friday afternoon ritual prayers at the mosque, that he collapsed.
“Suddenly overcome by faintness, he fell to the ground. As he slipped into unconsciousness, he witnessed demons arriving on the scene – intent, he says, on taking his soul,” the report said.
The account from Bibles for Mideast:
“Get lost, you cursed demons of Allah!” he yelled at them as best he could. “You have no right to take my soul!”
“No,” they responded. “It is our right to take your life.” He says they then forcefully “took his soul.”
As the demons turned to leave, Jesus himself suddenly appeared, Munaf reports, flanked by a vast array of angels. The demons fled in terror.
“Listen, my son,” Jesus said to Munaf. “The first Adam disobeyed God and sinned against Him under the pressure of Satan. The gates of heaven were shut down because of his sin.
“I am the second Adam, the Word of God and Messiah Jesus, Son of the Most High. I was born of the Virgin Mary as a sinless Son of Man to redeem the first Adam and all of his descendants – including you – from sin and death. I was crucified and died as a ransom for all for your sins, to make you a child of God and citizen of heaven.”
“I rose from the dead and opened the gates of heaven to bring you to eternal glory. Have faith in me and be my witness. I give you your life back, for I have the authority to give life.”
The report said that when Munaf opened his eyes, he was aware his sons and other relatives were laying out his body on a table, “preparing to wash and cover it for burial.”
“All were absolutely astonished as he suddenly got up from the washing table,” the report said.
When he tried to explain to them his experience, most of those listening thought he had lost his sanity.
“Surely he’d hit his head on a stone while he’d fallen. Others wondered whether evil spirits now possessed him.”
His family members eventually came to believe his account but not his community, the report said.
“The community insisted he needed psychiatric help, and dismissed him from the mosque,” the report said. “As persecution against him and his family increased, they were forced to leave their home and country.”
He then began working with Bibles for Mideast, and just last week a new house church was established under his leadership, the report said.
WND reported earlier this year the ministry reported the case of a 14-year-old girl who was in a coma in an undisclosed North African country after being attacked and mutilated by Muslims upset with her conversion to Christianity.
At least two physicians had concluded she was dead, but she stunned doctors and hospital workers by getting up from her bed and going home.
Lydia, the daughter of Yoonis, had been hospitalized and diagnosed with a terminal coma. Both their names were changed for the purposes of the report to protect them from retaliation.
Ciniraj told WND the background: The girl was attacked by “fanatic Muslim men and woman” while walking home from school, dragged to a nearby home and subjected to “brutal female genital mutilation.”
She was left in a coma.
“Yoonus, originally from another part of Africa, had been a Muslim scholar. One day while teaching his Muslim students, he had a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ and soon accepted Him as Lord and Savior. His family followed him into the Kingdom. Due to severe persecution in their native village, however, the entire family had to flee to their current home,” Ciniraj said.
“Yoonus has labored hard to earn a livelihood, do underground evangelism among the locals, and to pray without ceasing. The local Muslim community recently learned he had left Islam and was now leading Muslims to Christ. The imam of the mosque, along with community leaders, urged him to return to Islam. They promised many gifts and services to his family should he renounce his new faith, but he stood fearlessly for Christ and refused.
“Lydia also boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God, the only Lord and Savior for the entire world. She loved to speak of how He died on the cross of Calvary and rose from the dead to save everyone from sin and death,” he reported.
Two doctors in the West African nation “confirmed the death of Lydia (14), the daughter of Yoonus, a Christian missionary with Bibles for Mideast.”
Ciniraj said she had been in a coma for six days “after being brutally subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) by Muslim radicals on her way home from school last week.
“Brother Yoonus immediately contacted Pastor Paul, the director of Bibles for Mideast and patron of the Assembly of Loving God,” Ciniraj reported.
But, an hour after Lydia’s death, workers went to remove her body from her hospital room.
“Her parents, brothers, sisters and other believers surrounded her, sobbing at the tragic loss of their beloved. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff arrived to have a last look at young Lydia’s lifeless body, now draped in a white cloth,” he told WND.
“Suddenly, someone noticed the fabric shaking. Could it be wind blowing in from outdoors? The trembling intensified, but now, clearly, the movement came from beneath the cloth.
“Then, just as suddenly, Lydia herself threw off the white covering and stood from the bed. ‘Mummy, our Lord Jesus, our Lord and God Jesus Christ!’ she exclaimed joyously.”
Lydia, according to the Bibles for Mideast report, explained: “My soul left my body and I was dead. Angels came to receive me to heaven. But Jesus appeared before me and said, ‘I cannot turn back from the prayers of my children. My eyes are upon my children and ears are open to their prayer. So I give you your life back, for the issues of death belong to me. You go, and be my witness.’ Then he put his face right against and right into mine. He breathed into my nostrils, and my soul went in. Then he moved his nail-scarred hands over my body and healed me completely!”
Ciniraj told WND that Lydia almost immediately left the hospital, spurning efforts by the doctors to insist on a “thorough checkup.”
He reported a group of militants approached the home where he was staying with steel bars and other weapons.
Suddenly, and “completely unexpectedly,” he reported, a lion “ran from the forest, leapt toward the militants, and seized one by the neck. When other combatants tried to attack the lion, two other lions bounded toward them. The terrified militants fled the site, and the lions left us completely alone.”