Dense in theory and not an easy read. Even 30 years later it is still one of the foundational resources regarding religious conversion from Islam to Christianity. While the research is related to Pakistan, the findings are relevant to such research in other contexts as well, including the Arab world.
Key sections are the appendices with summaries of the various converts’ stories whom he interviewed, and the various places where he examines the difficulties related to identity-formation for converts. Of particular importance are the author’s observations regarding how much churches in Pakistan work against religious conversion in many cases. Also significant is the great diversity of reasons why Muslims in Pakistan became Christians–from reading Scripture to a dream to a healing to simply meeting ethical and kind Christians. The work shows how many paths there are to religious conversion, and also how complex and problematic religious conversion is in the Pakistani contexts.
Is it still the case that the churches in Pakistan are bound up in their ethnic-social identities and obstruct the socialization of new converts? This book begs for new research and an updated version.
Follow it up with Gaudeul’s book Called from Islam to Christ, an analysis of why Muslims convert to Christ.
It is unfortunate that the book is so hard to find these days. One would hope for a Kindle version some day.