The Stubborn Imam
On Saturday evening after the medical clinic, one of my colleagues invited me to go with him to greet the head imam (mosque leader) and give him Scripture. This missionary had felt a burden to greet the imam but had been unable to find him. We headed toward the mosque after the call to prayer. When we arrived, we entered the courtyard outside the mosque but found that the imam was not there. There are two mosques in the village, and the imam rotated between the two mosques. We asked one of the men in the courtyard if he could guide us to the imam’s home. He agreed and off we went, walking in the dark by the light of a flashlight.
Finally, after about a ten minute walk, we arrived at the imam’s home. At first he welcomed us warmly. We greeted him, and he brought chairs for us to sit on. We chatted for a few minutes. Then, we offered him a gift, the books of Genesis and Matthew in Pular Arabic script. When he saw what we were offering, his attitude turned cold. “I can’t read this,” he said. At first we were unsure if he was unable to read it (illiterate) or unwilling. After some more questions, it became apparent that he was unwilling. He refused to even accept it. We tried in vain to convince him he ought to accept it and read it, that it showed the path to eternal life in heaven. Before long, he rudely ushered us out of his home. Even though he didn’t want to, he guided us back to the main road himself because he didn’t want his grandson to guide us alone, fearing that we would speak to him about the Gospel.
As we arrived back at the clinic where we would be sleeping that night, we stopped and prayed for the stubborn imam. We also prayed that he would not succeed in leading his community astray or turning them against our message. You, too, can pray with us for the stubborn imam and his village.