During Jesus’s earthly ministry, he asked brilliant questions. Whenever Jesus asks a question, he makes a point or moves the discussion to another level. Sometimes he uses questions to begin a conversation, connect more with his audience, or solve a dilemma. His inquiries always propel people to think about their lives, beliefs, or practices. This method of raising and answering questions is central to Jesus’s teachings. I call it the Jesus method. It is an exceptionally helpful tool for evangelizing Muslims. When Muslims are asked a question, they do not feel threatened or attacked. Using questions will help them think critically about Islam’s claims and open the door for you to make a point.

The Jesus Method

Think about these questions asked by Jesus:

  • “And why are you anxious about clothing?” (Matt. 6:28).
  • “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3).
  • “Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matt. 7:16).
  • “What do you think?” (Matt. 18:12).
  • “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4).
  • “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
  • “For what can a man give in return for his soul?” (Mark 8:37).
  • “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Luke 12:25).
  • “Why do you call me good?” (Luke 18:19).
  • “Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss.” (Luke 22:48).
  • “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?” (John 3:10).
  • “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” John 6:5).
  • “Do you love me?” John 21:16).

Each question has a point and clearly develops the conversation. By raising questions (and only sometimes answering them), Jesus is able to initiate a friendship, make a theological proclamation, or settle a debate.

Jesus also uses questions cleverly. He sometimes answers a question by posing another. The chief priests come to challenge Jesus and his teaching by asking, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matt. 21:23). Jesus answers them with a question: “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” (Matt. 21:24-25). In this case, Jesus disperses a challenge by asking a question, which turns the tables. This method is helpful in evangelism, especially with kindly, gently, and calmly refuting Muslim misconceptions. When a Muslim tells you, “You Christians worship three gods,” you may simply respond, “What do you mean by that?” Instead of rejecting the accusation, you can use it to open a more thoughtful and gracious conversation that leads toward Jesus. When this same Muslim explains what these “three gods” are, you may ask, “Where did you find this information? How did you conclude this?” The goal of these questions is to direct the conversation to the Bible.[i] Again, the method of posing questions is very effective. When doing so, you do not come across as intimidating or attacking; rather, your calm spirit, driven by Chris’s love, propels you forward in Muslim evangelism.

Some Christians— naively, in my estimation— tend to come forcefully into their initial discussions with Muslims. They want to win.

Instead of asking questions, these Christians make huge statements about Islam and Muslims: “Muslims are lost sinners,” “Muslims cannot be accepted in heaven without Christ,” “Islam is a lie,” “Muhammad is a false prophet,” or “The Quran is a man-made book.” A variation of these statements can be even worse.

While these statements are truthful from a Christian and biblical standpoint, they cannot encourage a fruitful conversation with Muslims. Assertions such as these especially early in a discussion-may make Muslims feel attacked. They may also feel powerless because they may not know how to respond. In either case, Muslims will likely leave the discussion or simply listen with no desire to comprehend what you’re saying. Alternatively, if Christians begin with questions and lead Muslims to discover the truth behind these statements, the friendship can continue, allowing more time for gospel proclamation.

When you use questions in evangelism, one of the main goals is to bring the discussion to the matter of human lostness and the need for a Savior. This is an important step, and we should carefully choose our questions to lead the conversation toward the gospel.

Reflecting on Jesus’s encounters in the Gospels, we can be prepared with a helpful list of questions to ask Muslims. Think about these:

  • Why do Muslims wash their hands and feet before ritual prayers? Can water clean a heart? Do we need to wash our hands or our soul? Is one sin enough to send a person to hell?
  • How can a Muslim obtain forgiveness of sin? How many good things must a Muslim do to receive redemption? Can Muslims be certain that Allah forgave them? Are your sins forgiven? Does Allah love sinners?
  • Why do Muslims celebrate the Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorating Abraham’s attempt to sacrifice his son)? If this is considered the great feast, does sacrificing a lamb or cow make us pure and allow us admission into paradise? How did Allah actually redeem Abraham’s son in Islam? Does he help us in any way to be redeemed?
  • Is paradise guaranteed if we work hard enough to please God? [Muslims do not usually think of heaven as a destiny.
They tend to equate “paradise” for the most part with the garden of Eden, where trees and rivers exist and many marriages take place, especially for men.]
  • Why does Allah have only ninety-nine names? What is your favorite name of Allah? What name do you wish was included in the list? [The list does not explicitly include
”the loving one.”]
  • Will paradise be crowded? Who will be allowed in, and what will they do there?
  • What is the best way to reach paradise?
  • Why would a holy and mighty God let you into paradise?
  • Would you like to hear of my most favorite miracle? [That is, how God changed your heart-share your testimony.]
  • Do you have an answer for why there is suffering in the world?
  • Do you know what Jesus said about _________ [e.g., fasting, loving your enemy, forgiveness, healing the sick, demons?]
  • Would you like to see what the Bible teaches about ____________?
  • You say you know and love Jesus, but have you heard about the real Lord Jesus? [The Quranic portrayal of Jesus differs significantly from the biblical one.]
  • Have you ever seen Jesus in a dream? Have you ever prayed genuinely to know and meet God?

These questions are merely a sample. Their main goal is to open a conversation on matters of faith, particularly how humans are lost and need a Savior. Of course, these questions cannot be the first words in a conversation. They should be preceded by other general, introductory questions:

  • Where are you from?
  • Where is home for you?
  • When did you or your family come to the United States?
  • What do you do?
  • How many siblings do you have?
  • Have you ever had a Christian friend?

These questions open the door and encourage Muslims to talk about themselves, but they must eventually lead to deeper questions if the goal is evangelism. By now, you should be aware that Muslims do not usually avoid religious conversations. Even if, at times, they are reluctant to go in depth, they are usually keen to discuss religion and supernatural things. The best part about asking questions is that it creates a dialogue. When speaking with Muslims, allow them time to explain what they think and feel. Then you can ask the questions that will direct the conversation to the gospel. Moreover, it is important that you after explaining a specific Christian matter ask Muslims to repeat what they understood. This way, you can ensure that comprehended the information, or you can repeat something if they have misunderstood it.

Always ask the Holy Spirit to provide you the right question for the occasion. Do not ever waste an opportunity to speak with a Muslim you meet. Pray for opportunities. Seek and seize them.

Female evangelists have a wonderful advantage since they can spot Muslim women relatively easily in public. Most Muslim women welcome a conversation with a Western woman who approaches them with kindness and a cheerful smile. A female evangelist may see a Muslim woman standing in line at a store. After the introductory greeting and questions, the evangelist can ask, “Would you allow me the blessing of praying for you tonight? What can I pray for you about?” These simple questions might open a conversation about a specific need for this woman, which might then provide the opportunity to introduce Jesus as sovereign, healer, almighty, Savior.

These questions can open the door for more meetings with this woman, allowing time to read the Bible together: “Have you ever read the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman?” “Do you know of the Virgin Mary? Why was she so different from all other women on earth?” God can give female evangelists many other creative questions that are suitable for the occasion.

The same is true for male evangelists. When you go to the barber, ask God to open doors using good questions: “Have you heard of the Nazirite who had let the locks of hair on his head grow (Num. 6)?” “What jobs will there be in heaven?” “In your opinion, why was Jesus a carpenter?”

Similarly, if you are helping a Muslim fill out government paperwork, you could ask, “Have you heard of the names that cannot be erased from the book of life?” “How big will heaven be, to receive all the saved people?” These questions are merely a sampling to encourage Christians to raise questions and answer them. They serve as a bridge that can lead a Muslim to understand that humans are lost and need a Savior a step forward in presenting the gospel.

A reminder here is in order: Muslims do not comprehend the concept of a sinful heart or believe in original sin. In Chapters 6 and 7 of Reaching Your Muslim Neighbor with the Gospel, I explaine ways to overcome this barrier. Therefore, the questions you ask and the stories you tell should aim to help Muslims not only realize the lostness of humans but also discover the redeeming work of God to reconcile us to himself.

When you raise and answer questions, ask God to reflect the image of Christ in what you say. Ask God to make you more like Christ in your words, attitudes, and approaches. Sometimes all it takes to begin conversations with Muslims is a loving hug ora genuine question about their family. This can even bypass awkward questions and introductions. Remember, Muslims are people with similar needs to our own. It is hard to resist true and authentic love, presented freely as a reflection of Christ.



Taken from Reaching Your Muslim Neighbor with the Gospel by A.S. Ibrahim, © 2022, pp.117-124. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.