She believes that Muhammad was Allah's Messenger.
She believes the Qur'an is Allah's word, revealed to Muhammad.
She accepts the pillars of Islam as worship for Muslims.
She has started wearing hijaab even around non-Muslim friends and family.
And yet, she is not a Muslim. Why?
She cannot relinquish the idea that Jesus died for her sins.
Her story is not exceptional, and I think that many Muslims might not understand her position--in fact, I'm not sure I understand, though I might have been in her shoes myself. Until recently I didn't know how many women actually wear the hijaab before converting--in my case it was a while after, that I was ready to do so. But after talking to a number of women who have converted to Islam, I see that this belief of Christians, ingrained since birth, holds many back for a while before they overcome it.
Some of them can even logically refute it--but why does it hold such sway, such influence that it prevents them from embracing Islam? How does someone hold the idea that Muhammad is a Messenger of Allah (saws) and still believe that Jesus is their savior?
O Mankind! The Messenger hath come to you in truth from Allah: believe in him: It is best for you. But if ye reject Faith, to Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth: And Allah is All-knowing, All-wise. (An-Nisaa 170)O Mankind--Yaa Ayyuha An-Naas!! The Messenger has come to you. Not just to Arabs, not just to Muslims, not just to Gentiles, not just to non-Christians, but to all of mankind. He has come from Allah.
And then Allah says:
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! - Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. (An-Nisaa 171)To the "Christians" and the Jews, Allah says to avoid extremes, exaggerations, excesses in their religion, in their deen. And only say about Allah what is true. And then we see the extreme, the lie which has been uttered against Allah, and the correction of it. Christians are to say, we see here, what Jesus, Al-Maseeh, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was, and no more. Not divine, not a savior. And what about a Trinity? Allah says to not say it: laa taqooloo thalaathatun. Why? Because Allah is only one (waahid) ilaah. Why would Allah say that? Because saying "three" violates tawheed, doesn't it? Isn't this the most major sin in Islam?
So as long as Shaytaan can convince people that they should not reject this teaching regarding Jesus that his death saves them from sin, then he is keeping people from accepting the oneness of Allah. He makes them afraid to deny Jesus, but what does Allah say?
The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him, and whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all together to Himself. (An-Nisaa 172)I think it's fascinating to refer to Jesus in this ayah exclusively as Al-Maseeh, the Messiah, as Christ. This is his title of course, the words being similar in Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew (Maseeh, Messiah, Meshiach, respectively). Christians use this title thinking it means that Jesus is divine, or a redeemer, the son of God (which Allah corrects in the previous ayah), and other things--they use the title to afford Jesus a status higher than is fitting, so Allah bestows honor here on servitude, or maybe "honor" isn't the right word. We are all to be slaves of Allah, servants, and to do so we must obey. The righteous attributes here are submission and obedience, and humility. But pride and arrogance, as Allah explains in the following ayah, are deserving punishment. Anyway, Allah describes Jesus, the Messiah, as being a willing, submitting, obedient servant to Allah. And then Allah reminds:
But to those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, He will give their (due) rewards,- and more, out of His bounty: But those who are disdainful and arrogant, He will punish with a grievous penalty; Nor will they find, besides Allah, any to protect or help them. (An-Nisaa 173)Allaah will forgive and reward those who believe (in Allah and His Messengers, as mentioned in the ayah 171: fa'aaminoo billaahi warusulihi) and work righteousness. The Christian believes that forgiveness is for those who believe in the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus washing away sins, which Allah corrects here. And in the last phrase of the ayah--other than Allah there is no protector, or defender--also refutes the idea entertained by Christians that their salvation depends on Jesus.
The passage here is concluded with two more ayaat:
We see here that all of mankind is again being addressed, right? That there is proof, a light sent down... the Qur'an. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir for more on that.) But more importantly, all proof has come from Allah so there is no excuse for not accepting what one reads in the previous ayaat. What more proof is needed that the Christian claims about Jesus are wrong? Holding fast to Allah here is also holding to the Qur'an.
O mankind! verily there hath come to you a convincing proof from your Lord: For We have sent unto you a light (that is) manifest. (An-Nisaaa 174)
Then those who believe in Allah, and hold fast to Him,- soon will He admit them to mercy and grace from Himself, and guide them to Himself by a straight way. (An-Nisaa 175)
So not only is the claim of Christians refuted here, and the belief about Jesus which tends to block people from fully embracing Islam. But also, Allah is saying how to overcome it--that's what the last ayah is saying, isn't it? That people should believe in Allah and His proofs, and hold on to that. And doing so will result in mercy and grace from Allah, and says that Allah will guide these people to Him on a straight path. That's what we pray for in salaat, in Surat al-Fatihah, Ihdinaa as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem. Guide us to the straight path. So guidance results from believing and "holding fast" and this is guidance from Allah, guidance on a straight path, one without deviation. A path of Islam, a path that can lead the person to Paradise.
Any (and all) mistakes are from myself--please correct any errors you might find.