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Q & A with Father Zakaria, Part 2

August 25, 2011

When Father Zakaria Botros last visited our office, he took part in a question and answer session to teach the Frontiers staff from his vast knowledge of Islam. This is the second part in a series of posts sharing these insights with you. To read the first, click here.


"Father Z" teaches Muslims that corruption concerning marriage exists in Islam, and that there is a sanctity of marriage to be found in Christ Jesus.

Bob: Next I’d like to ask about the Shi’a doctrine of temporary marriage, al-mut’ah.

Fr. Z. Yes. Actually, this is a verse in the Qur’an. “Give them (women) their wages while you enjoy sex with them. And Mohammad applied this to himself and all of his followers. But the third caliph, Omar stopped this. But the Shi’a do not follow the Caliph Omar, so they did not abrogate the verse. “Who is the Caliph Omar, to cancel the word of God?” But in Sunna, there are about 17 kinds of marriage. Marriage a male writes a female privately a paper, “I give myself to you.” And she the same, that is a marriage that lasts for ten minutes or half an hour. And he agrees to pay a certain amount. And this is “urfi,” a paper marriage. Another kind of marriage: when you are on a holiday and you find a woman there, a man can marry her for a month, or a length of time, and marry her on paper. There is more about this on my website.

Bob: I wonder if you would rescue us from this.

Fr. Z. You know that there are many Christians who are nominal Christians, who do not experience Christ in their lives. They are worse than Muslims, because they know much more truth than Muslims, yet they do not believe. But the true Christian who will follow the law of the Bible and Christ, to him marriage is holy. It is like the marriage of Jesus Christ to His bride, the Church. So holy, that they become one. This is what I believe about Christians’ marriage.

Bob: Honor and shame are the most important principles in the Arab culture. Can you help us to understand “honor” and “shame” in the Arab culture?

Fr. Z. Honor is like “pride” in the Arab culture. It is like when a man has a daughter, when his daughter is unmarried and has sexual relations, her father is ready to kill to restore his honor. The society will allow the killing in order to restore his honor.

Bob: When you lost your brother, what helped you to honor Muslims instead of fearing and despising them?

Fr. Z. That is a good question. When I lost my brother, I was not a true believer; I was overcome with sadness in grief when Muslims tore out his tongue for preaching the gospel, But when I became a Christian, I discovered that these people are victims of the teachings of Mohammad, who told his followers to kill Christians. So I had pity on them, and I began to pray for them, that they be delivered from their satanic religion. And in time God gave me a ministry to rescue them from darkness and bring them to Christ.

Bob: In this office, our ministry is praying to God to send out laborers into His harvest. Our message is that Americans should sell their possessions and leave all that they know to make disciples in the Muslim world. What advice do you have for us to prepare us to go?

Bob and Father Zakaria

Father Zakaria Botros is a strong supporter of those who work to win Muslims for Christ.

Fr. Z. We have to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. When God wanted to save people, He came as a man to live among us, to feel what we feel, to share life with us. So, if any person wants to serve God and reach Muslims, he should “incarnate” as a Muslim. He should adopt his language, his culture, his way of thinking. He should learn the lifestyle. Speak Arabic to Arabs. Arabs have a stumbling block; they hate the foreigners, because it reminds them of the invasions of the West; the French into Syria and Lebanon, Italy into Libya, the British to Egypt and Jordan. Islam is not just a religion; this is a misunderstanding in the West. You think that Islam is like Judaism or Buddhism, so we give Islam lots of opportunities to grow in the West. No, Islam is a State, and religion is a factor to establish this state. It is a Kingdom, the Kingdom of Islam. Non-Muslims in their country are invaders. The invaders brought missionaries with them.

So, if you want to reach Muslims, it’s a very hard thing, but we are obliged to do that. We are obliged to learn their habits and adopt their culture, as God did, when He came as a man and spoke as a man, and behaved like them. So I think any missionary should know that he is not preaching his culture, but He is preaching Christ. Samuel Zwemer wrote a book analyzing why the West failed in its mission to succeed among Muslims. He said that we have too much preached our culture and too little preached Christ. St. Paul said, “I became like those who have no law in order to win those who have no law.” For this reason I learned to speak Arabic, the Arabic of the Qur’an, better than the Arabs themselves. We should prepare Arab Christians—native speakers—to be missionaries to the Muslim Arabs.

Bob: We look at Matthew 10 and Luke 10 where Jesus sent out His disciples, and sent them out to find the man of peace. We are trying to understand what Christ means to find the “man of peace” or the “woman of peace” is in the Muslim world, that is, to find the influential believer through whom many, many more Muslims will come to faith. Would you comment?

Fr. Z. This is Biblical teaching. It’s good.

Bob: We believe in starting churches of Muslim Background Believers. That is, we accept the cultural differences between historical churches and Muslims, and we promote the gathering of Muslims, when they believe and worship God through Jesus Christ, with like-minded people, based on the decision of the Jerusalem Council, “Let’s not make it difficult for the ethne/gentiles who are coming to faith.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2011 6:08 am

    Wow, Bob, this is so good to know…I am committed to praying for all the area under consideration here, and this enlightenment is totally appreciated. I am currently being challenged to take more authority in prayer, so these fine points of activity there are very helpful. Thanks for sharing it. Pat M.


  1. Father Zakaria- It’s about preaching Jesus, not Western culture to Muslims « Bob Blincoe
  2. Father Zakaria talks about Muslim-Background Believers « Bob Blincoe

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