My Friend Lina

The first time Lina slept over, she asked if she could see my Bible. I told her it was in English but she wanted to see it anyway. Then she asked if we had a copy of the Qur'an.

Lina opened the Qur'an to al-Fatihah and began to chant the words. Then she asked how I read the Bible: if I also chant. I said the Bible could probably be chanted and that today we set some of the words to music. I opened to Psalm 46.

When Lina asked me to show her how I prayed, we did the sholat (ritual prayer) together.Then I shared about Jesus. She was open to talking about faith, but set in her own beliefs.

One night Lina and her boyfriend came to visit. Another friend was there, a girl with a unique laugh. Lina thought my friend was crazy and asked me to fetch the Qur'an so she could read a verse to expel the ghost. I insisted that there was no ghost.

Lina switched topics and asked if I could read the Qur'an yet. "Of course," I said, "I have an English translation."

"Not Arabic?" she asked.

"Where would I have learned Arabic?"

"I taught you one night."

"That was one verse, and it was months ago!"

We heard the call to prayer. Lina stopped talking and said, "It’s beautiful, isn't it?"

"Yes," I agreed. "What does it mean?"

She shrugged. "I don't know."

That really struck me. Lina recites memorized prayers in a language she doesn't understand. She can chant and pray and expel ghosts. But does she really know God?


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