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Hiding in the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus

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“After four years of hiding my faith from my family, I knew that it was time. I wrote with shaky hands, ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I refuse to deny him….’ There was no turning back now. I had to get out of that house if I wanted to live. Was this worth risking everything for? Yes.”   Rifqa Bary grew up in a devout Muslim home, obediently following her parents’ or “After four years of hiding my faith from my family, I knew that it was time. I wrote with shaky hands, ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I refuse to deny him….’ There was no turning back now. I had to get out of that house if I wanted to live. Was this worth risking everything for? Yes.”   Rifqa Bary grew up in a devout Muslim home, obediently following her parents’ orders to practice the rituals of Islam. But God was calling her to freedom and love. He was calling her to true faith. He was calling her to give up everything.   Leaving Islam for Christianity cost her more than she imagined but gave more than she could have dreamed.   Hiding in the Light is the story of Rifqa’s remarkable spiritual journey from Islam to Christianity. It is also the untold story of how she ran from her father’s threats to find refuge with strangers in Florida, only to face a controversial court case that reached national headlines. Most of all, it is the story of a young girl who made life-changing sacrifices to follow Jesus—and who inspires us to do the same.


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“After four years of hiding my faith from my family, I knew that it was time. I wrote with shaky hands, ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I refuse to deny him….’ There was no turning back now. I had to get out of that house if I wanted to live. Was this worth risking everything for? Yes.”   Rifqa Bary grew up in a devout Muslim home, obediently following her parents’ or “After four years of hiding my faith from my family, I knew that it was time. I wrote with shaky hands, ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I refuse to deny him….’ There was no turning back now. I had to get out of that house if I wanted to live. Was this worth risking everything for? Yes.”   Rifqa Bary grew up in a devout Muslim home, obediently following her parents’ orders to practice the rituals of Islam. But God was calling her to freedom and love. He was calling her to true faith. He was calling her to give up everything.   Leaving Islam for Christianity cost her more than she imagined but gave more than she could have dreamed.   Hiding in the Light is the story of Rifqa’s remarkable spiritual journey from Islam to Christianity. It is also the untold story of how she ran from her father’s threats to find refuge with strangers in Florida, only to face a controversial court case that reached national headlines. Most of all, it is the story of a young girl who made life-changing sacrifices to follow Jesus—and who inspires us to do the same.

30 review for Hiding in the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus

  1. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Bartley

    I wasn't sure if this book was going to be a devotional, or a bible study when I first got my hands on it. What I didn't realize was it was actually the incredible testimony of a girl only years older than myself. I was not only amazed, but shocked to learn about the hardships Rifqa went through as a teenager. She went through more in two years than most people go through in a lifetime. It was incredible to hear her inspirational story of how she was able to find God while living amidst the Musl I wasn't sure if this book was going to be a devotional, or a bible study when I first got my hands on it. What I didn't realize was it was actually the incredible testimony of a girl only years older than myself. I was not only amazed, but shocked to learn about the hardships Rifqa went through as a teenager. She went through more in two years than most people go through in a lifetime. It was incredible to hear her inspirational story of how she was able to find God while living amidst the Muslim traditions and cultures. I've never realized how blessed I've been to not have to hide my faith from my family. She went through so much, and handled everything by putting it in God's hands. Such faith to possess...especially for someone who seemed to have it so bad. This book has definitely inspired me to divulge more into the scriptures. Knowing the word of God got her though so much, I want to have the same faith she holds. This was an incredible book that I would recommend to anyone who needs a boost of encouragement during times of trial and pain.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tara Johnson

    In the course of a person’s life, there are a handful of books that leave an indelible impression on their heart, forever stamping them as changed. For me, these books consist of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Embracing Obscurity along with a small, elite group of others I’ll not mention here. Being a writer, I’ve read many books, most of them consisting of entertaining stories and sweet lessons learned. Good reads but not life-changing. That is, until I picked up a copy of Hiding in the L In the course of a person’s life, there are a handful of books that leave an indelible impression on their heart, forever stamping them as changed. For me, these books consist of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Embracing Obscurity along with a small, elite group of others I’ll not mention here. Being a writer, I’ve read many books, most of them consisting of entertaining stories and sweet lessons learned. Good reads but not life-changing. That is, until I picked up a copy of Hiding in the Light by Rafqa Bary. I happened to see a snippet of Rifqa’s story via a Youtube link a friend sent me. I was captivated by this young woman’s journey—a journey taken as a frightened adolescent, abused by her strict Muslim family. She said her early life seemed happy, joyful until one awful day when her brother threw a toy and damaged her eye. After losing large amounts of blood and after many hospital visits, it was confirmed: Rifqa would be blind in one eye. The brown iris turned into a milky blue. She distinctly remembered from that moment on her family treated her differently. Coldly, as if she were a nuisance. Combine that with being sexually violated by a family member and it became apparent that she had brought dishonor on her family. Never mind that she was just a child and was the victim in both situations. Being a Muslim meant honor, keeping up appearances. And her family told her in no uncertain terms that she had missed the mark. As she grew, Rifqa noticed the difference between other families and her own—especially the contrast between the loving atmosphere in her friends’ Christian homes and the dark oppression of her own. Everything changed when a friend invited her to church and she was introduced to Jesus. She gave her life, her hope, her dreams, everything to Him and, in return, He gave her a love unlike anything she’d ever known and an amazing outpouring of courage. She knew what would happen if she told her family. Her father’s violent temper had been proof enough of that so she kept it hidden…for awhile at least. She would sneak off to church whenever she could, even painstakingly arranging her baptism with a handful of close friends and her pastor, knowing that any slip up in discretion would mean her death. Muslims do not tolerate Christianity. If a Muslim converts, many in their mosques feel the appropriate punishment is an honor killing. When Rifqa’s secret came out, that’s exactly what her father threatened to do: kill her to retain the family honor. Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention…all this transpired while living in America. I was spellbound reading Rifqa’s story. When her secret came out, she determined to endure death for Jesus at the hands of her father but when friends discovered the grave danger she was in, they spirited her away. Two years of legal battles ensued as her parents tried to regain custody of her, along with a terrifying cancer diagnosis but God kept her safe, bringing valiant men and women into her life every time the journey took a twist for the worst. On her eighteenth birthday, Rifqa walked out of the courtroom free. She was no longer a minor and her parents lost any control over her. Sadly though, Rifqa must always and forever live in some amount of hiding. She can tell no one where she lives and has to take extra measures to ensure her privacy. Failure to do so would likely mean her death at the hand of ‘honor-seeking’ Muslims. When I finally closed Rifqa’s story at two a.m., I slipped between my cool sheets but I could not sleep. I felt spoiled, enjoying the luxury of a soft bed, cold air-conditioning and unparalleled freedom while an ocean away my Christian brothers and sisters were fleeing for their lives. Some of them, at that very moment, likely praying for the grace to die well…to not deny Jesus in the face of certain death. Just like Rifqa. Instead of falling into the comforting arms of sleep, I prayed. Prayed for Christians all over the world, suffering with the cold steel of a weapon pressed to their temple. I prayed for my lukewarm Christian friends to wake up and realize that though our freedoms are being stripped, we should cherish each and every one, making the most of every single opportunity to worship in public, to proclaim our Lord in public, to live for Him…not just in private but in public. And I prayed for those women and children trapped in hopeless cycle and dark oppression of Islam, desperate for even a snatch of freedom. Persecuted Christians an ocean away would give up everything for the opportunity to attend church openly yet our own services are filled with empty pews. Even the once faithful who would attend every time the doors were opened throw away those precious opportunities, making a dutiful Sunday morning appearance but little else. How many oppressed believers throughout the world are desperate for just a page or two of God’s written word, yet many of us have several Bibles, most of which are dusty? It’s a tragedy. It’s a privilege that Rifqa pursued with every fiber of her being, a freedom that almost took her life. Please, my brothers and sisters, let us not squander our freedoms. Thank you, Rifqa. You’ve taught me much and reminded me what is truly important in life: Jesus and Him alone. God bless you, my sister.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hayden

    A book like this is hard to review. Honestly, how can a person "critique" someone's very personal story? I wanted to read this book because I have a vague memory of seeing/reading Rifqa's story on the news back in 2009, and wished to know more. Hiding in the Light is not a long book, but the story inside of it is life-changing. The author's testimony is often hard to read, full of mistakes and God's grace, but ultimately a powerful one. It's also a book that can't help but affect the reader: if A book like this is hard to review. Honestly, how can a person "critique" someone's very personal story? I wanted to read this book because I have a vague memory of seeing/reading Rifqa's story on the news back in 2009, and wished to know more. Hiding in the Light is not a long book, but the story inside of it is life-changing. The author's testimony is often hard to read, full of mistakes and God's grace, but ultimately a powerful one. It's also a book that can't help but affect the reader: if Rifqa was willing to do so much to follow Christ, at the risk of losing her family and even her life, how petty our own fears about sharing our faith become! Overall, I highly recommend this book to any Christian for encouragement, and to any reader for a hard look at the inevitable clash between Islam and Christianity. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anja

    3.5 to 4 stars This quite a bit different from the themes I anticipated, but still a captivating and important story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda G. Stevens

    An important story and an absorbing read. Ms. Bary reminded me how often I don't pick up my Bible because I take for granted it will be where I left it (in plain view, no need to hide). Grateful she now lives in freedom. Convicted to pray for those who still don't and to persevere in my own walk with Jesus. Four stars for the story. The writing could stand to be more nuanced, but when I did some basic math and realized the author was 22 at the time the book was published, the style made more sens An important story and an absorbing read. Ms. Bary reminded me how often I don't pick up my Bible because I take for granted it will be where I left it (in plain view, no need to hide). Grateful she now lives in freedom. Convicted to pray for those who still don't and to persevere in my own walk with Jesus. Four stars for the story. The writing could stand to be more nuanced, but when I did some basic math and realized the author was 22 at the time the book was published, the style made more sense. Definitely a worthy read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    B.J. Richardson

    Wow. What a book. I really don't know how I am supposed to critique a book that is such a personal and moving autobiography. I am giving it five stars first and foremost because this is easily the most emotionally invested I have been in any book in a long time. At a certain point, I was reading this in public and simply could not hold back the tears. I have met and know other young women who are in a position not all too different than Rifqa Bary was in her high school days and so I can grasp t Wow. What a book. I really don't know how I am supposed to critique a book that is such a personal and moving autobiography. I am giving it five stars first and foremost because this is easily the most emotionally invested I have been in any book in a long time. At a certain point, I was reading this in public and simply could not hold back the tears. I have met and know other young women who are in a position not all too different than Rifqa Bary was in her high school days and so I can grasp the reality of what she is sharing perhaps a bit more than the average American. That said, what makes this book so real and intimate also opens it up to the possibility of criticism. There are points where her young age and maturity showed through. There are other points where I would really love to be able to hear the "other side of the story". But that is not the point of this book. This book is Rifqa's opportunity to share her perspective on an issue that for a good long while was drawing international attention as well as thousands of different opinions shared in ignorance. What is so beautiful is the fact that, outside the court case, cancer, and valedictorian, RB's story is the story of so many others who are still "hiding in the light".

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Dragina

    I don't know why it took me so long to finish this one..... It was so amazing and horrifying at the same time. The scenes and experiences Fatima had to go through was horrible, but the way the Lord worked through her was completely amazing!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Annelise

    This book was amazing. She is such an inspiration.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Beautiful story of how a young(age 15) Muslim woman defied her family to find faith in Jesus Christ. Threatened by her fundamentalist father she flees to friends in Florida where she is embroiled in a court fight to win her right to practice as she feels is right. Highly recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    Where to begin with this review? This book left me at a loss for words. To read the story of a young Muslim girl who, after accepting Jesus Christ as her savior and vowing to live for him, must flee her family in fear for her life, would render anyone speechless. This book was incredible. Hiding in the Light tells the story of Rifqa Bary, who was raised in Sri Lanka by devout Muslim parents. She was blinded in one eye as a young child and constantly abused and rejected by her family. After moving Where to begin with this review? This book left me at a loss for words. To read the story of a young Muslim girl who, after accepting Jesus Christ as her savior and vowing to live for him, must flee her family in fear for her life, would render anyone speechless. This book was incredible. Hiding in the Light tells the story of Rifqa Bary, who was raised in Sri Lanka by devout Muslim parents. She was blinded in one eye as a young child and constantly abused and rejected by her family. After moving to the US, her family still practiced their religion, but Rifqa became curious of her friends who would pray in a way that seemed so easy and genuine, and with a strange word, “amen.” Rifqa came to accept Christ as her savior but was forced to keep it a secret from her family. Eventually her father found out, and told her if she didn’t turn back to Islam from Christianity he would kill her. What came after that terrifying night is something so crazy and surreal that without the grace and mercy of Jesus, and the precious people he put in her life, Rifqa wouldn’t have survived. I really can’t write a review worthy of the emotions this book made me feel, so I can only tell you to read it. It will touch your heart, and remind you of the glory and unfailing love of Christ with each turn of the page. Thank you to NetGalley and WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for the opportunity to read this book. All opinions are my own. You can also read this on my blog:https://wordswisdomwhitney.wordpress....

  11. 4 out of 5

    Videl

    *Edit* I just finished this book and I am thoroughly confused as to what exactly happened. How in the world did this book get such rave reviews? I honestly could not understand some of the things Ms. Bary was talking about. I'll give a detailed review in a day because I have a lot of work to catch up on. I'm so disappointed for letting the reviews sway in my decision of purchasing this book. ----Original post---- Alright, just started this after getting rave reviews from my Christian friends. Seei *Edit* I just finished this book and I am thoroughly confused as to what exactly happened. How in the world did this book get such rave reviews? I honestly could not understand some of the things Ms. Bary was talking about. I'll give a detailed review in a day because I have a lot of work to catch up on. I'm so disappointed for letting the reviews sway in my decision of purchasing this book. ----Original post---- Alright, just started this after getting rave reviews from my Christian friends. Seeing as this book has no 1 stars, I bet it's pretty good.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    Hiding in the Light is about a teenage girl from a Sri Lankan Muslim family giving her heart to Jesus at age 12. She is able to hide this from her family for a number of years. When her conversion comes to light, her parents are furious. Rifqa's story is inspiring and suspenseful. Highly recommended!

  13. 4 out of 5

    LeeAnn

    Read in one day. enough said

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: A memoir of Bary’s turning from Islam to Christianity during her teens, her flight from her family when she feared for her life, and her subsequent struggles to prevent the courts from forcibly returning her to her family. Seven years ago, the story of Rifqa Bary was big news where I live. This teenager, from a Sri Lankan Muslim family had run away from her family after converting to Christian faith, and had taken shelter with a Florida family she met on Facebook. The news coverage showe Summary: A memoir of Bary’s turning from Islam to Christianity during her teens, her flight from her family when she feared for her life, and her subsequent struggles to prevent the courts from forcibly returning her to her family. Seven years ago, the story of Rifqa Bary was big news where I live. This teenager, from a Sri Lankan Muslim family had run away from her family after converting to Christian faith, and had taken shelter with a Florida family she met on Facebook. The news coverage showed caring and concerned parents trying to regain custody of their daughter, a diminutive teen age girl who felt her life was in danger, and court proceedings and actions in Florida and Ohio. This book tells Rifqa’s side of the story. It is the story of a child growing up with Sri Lanka who, even at an early age, had a sense of the warm loving presence of God, was raised with the strict observances of Islam and came to America after an incident of sexual abuse by a male kin, a shameful occurrence not for him but for her. They lived first in New York City, and then in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. She tells a tale of domestic violence where male rage had to be borne by women. She lost the sight in one eye when her older brother threw a toy at her. She claims she was slapped about by her father for the tiniest infractions. At one point, she cried out for God, whoever God was, to show herself to her. Through school friends, she began to learn about Christianity, started reading the Bible, and unbeknownst to her parents, attended a church. Eventually, she was baptized in a creek not far from, but hidden from her home. She continued to participate in Christian services and events, taking ever greater risks, while deceiving her parents as to her whereabouts until finally they became suspicious, began to threaten her, and limit her activity. Things came to a head while her father was on a business trip, cut short by warnings from her Islamic Center to the family, that she needed to be dealt with. Given her father’s temper and threats, she fled, with the help of friends, taking refuge with a Florida couple she knew from Facebook. When the couple realized their own legal situation of harboring a runaway, they notified the authorities, beginning a long battle in both Florida and Ohio to keep Rifqa out of the custody of her parents, marked by several attorneys who were zealous advocates for her, and ultimately succeeded in keeping her in state custody, first in Florida, then in Ohio, until she turned 18. Close to the time that she turned 18 she was discovered with a rare form of deadly uterine cancer. After surgery and beginning chemo, she decided to refuse further treatment and a hysterectomy. At this time, the cancer has not recurred and she is a college student studying philosophy and political science with the possible hope of becoming a lawyer. I had several responses to this book. Throughout, I was struck by the deep faith that sustained this young woman through prison, fear for her life, court proceedings, difficult foster care situations, and cancer. A recurring theme were passages from scriptures and an accompanying “witness of the Spirit” that brought peace and courage. There is an undeniable genuineness of Christian experience and wholehearted dedication to Christ evident in this story. I struggled with the deception of and flight from her parents. It troubled me that most of the Christians advising her before her flight were peers or just a few years older. It is clear to me that she made a free and un-coerced choice to embrace Christianity and had strong convictions about pursuing that faith. I don’t know if she would have listened to adult counsel had it been present. She goes against one pastor’s advice to wait until she was 18 to be baptized. I found myself wondering if both the threats from the family, the flight, getting others caught up in potential legal liabilities, and the protracted court fights might have been averted. There is also her portrait of her parents, in marked contrast to how they presented themselves publicly. Here, I’m inclined to believe her narrative, given how hard it must be growing up in her culture to speak against one’s family in any way. Were the threats and danger to her life real? I do not fully understand honor-shame cultures but sense she was on good grounds to have the fears she did and to do everything in her power, having fled, to avoid being returned to this situation. However, I would not want to see this one family’s unfinished story used in a Muslim versus Christian polemic. That said, as I argued a few days ago, I believe it is a universal human right to be able to change one’s beliefs and to follow the dictates of one’s conscience and that honor and shame needs to be re-framed within a commitment to such rights. Finally, I found troubling the descriptions of juvenile detention and foster care in both of the states where she sought shelter. I was thankful for the zealous advocates whose efforts prevailed against political and bureaucratic maneuverings that would have put her at risk of harm. I hope some of those who have oversight of these services will read this book and take a hard look at whether children really are being protected who need protection. Rifqa Bary lives in an undisclosed location. The book title represents her sense of continuing to live in hiding and yet to be in the light of Christ. I hope for the day when she need no longer hide and that she continue to walk in the light no matter what she faces. ________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This is the story of a young woman who was raised in a Muslim family and threatened with death for converting to Christianity. One thing I really enjoyed about this testimony was hearing about how God used young people. The author talks about several kids who invited her to church or otherwise encouraged her in her faith. It was so cool to see kids living out their faith (including the author herself). I'm also always fascinated by the things that were used by God to bring the author to faith in This is the story of a young woman who was raised in a Muslim family and threatened with death for converting to Christianity. One thing I really enjoyed about this testimony was hearing about how God used young people. The author talks about several kids who invited her to church or otherwise encouraged her in her faith. It was so cool to see kids living out their faith (including the author herself). I'm also always fascinated by the things that were used by God to bring the author to faith in Christ (even something like seeing a plaque on the wall). The first part of the book where she describes how she came to faith in Christ was the most interesting to me. I struggled with the second half of the book where she recounts fleeing from home to protect herself from the danger that had been threatened. I don't disbelieve that she was in danger. Honor killing is a well known practice and any hint of it should be taken incredibly seriously. What I struggled with was the author's reactions to what followed. The book was written I believe when she was in her early twenties and, to me, the narrative sounds very young and, in times, naive. I don't expect her, at the age of 16-17 when a lot of this was happening, to have the mindset/understanding of an adult. It is easy to see how she would have felt the way she did about her detainment and the legal proceedings. I think the value to this narrative is seeing how she felt at the time and to let her tell her story as she saw it, not necessarily to apply her experience to others like it. For example, it was natural that she felt compelled to leave her home and that she would want to be somewhere of her choosing. But, as an adult, I also understood why the authorities had to search for her and go through due process to try to determine if she should be returned to her parents. The courts deal with thousands of cases and it's unreasonable to think that they would treat her case differently on her word alone. She seemed to want protection and freedom without realizing that you have to sacrifice at some of one to have the other. At times she was uncharitable with her depictions of the people involved with her case and I'm not sure how much these people were really just doing their job and she didn't like it. Reading her story (and watching some of her interviews after), her personality comes off as sort of dramatic and it colored the book a little for me. She kept saying that she was in jail when referring to the week that she was in the juvenile detention center and saying that she was being held unjustly. Juvenile detention is not jail. Again, I think this is just a sign of her youth, but a 16-year-old can't just leave home and do whatever she wants. Our system isn't built that way (and for the most part, I think that is a good thing). I think she couldn't see that a lot of what felt like unjust treatment was the state's attempt (and duty) to give her the protection that she needed and wanted. She just didn't want it in that way. I'm not going to give other specific examples because my goal isn't to nit pick, but there were situations she related that just felt dramatized to me. It was hard to sort out actual mistreatment from a passionate youth's experience of a situation. I hate to say anything because it's not for me to believe or disbelieve her story. This book is her experience and she gets to tell it from her perspective. For me, it just had a lot of high highs and low lows and it sounded very youthful. I would have to say that I'm glad that the authorities were involved. They should be. It might not have gone as smoothly as possible and I grieve the fact that there are people working in "the system" who abuse their authority, but the fact that she was searched for and detained is a good sign. I couldn't help thinking of the missing girls who have been trafficked and how desperately they need to be found. When a child goes missing, it needs to be a big deal. They need to be found and there needs to be a process to determine where that child should end up. It's heartbreaking that any child should suffer (with their parents or with the system that is supposed to protect them as a last resort). This testimony is a reflection of the fact that suffering exists, but another thing that I appreciated about this book is that the author tries to keep bringing herself back to the truth of God's sovereignty and the worthiness of Christ. Thankfully she was able to live for Christ but she was also willing to die for him. Her passion for God is evident and I think God will use her life in a great way!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    This book grabbed me from the very beginning and kept me reading until the very end. I had to keep reading to find out what happened to Rifqa and her legal battles to be protected from her Islamic family. Her testimony and devotion to Jesus Christ was amazing and God has truly blessed her faith. This is a must read that I would definitely recommend.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Richard Knobloch

    An astonishing testament to Christ I flew through this book and loved every word. The author's devotion in her faith is an example to all. I know in the future when I am being challenged in life, I will think of this book and what she went through for Christ.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Nipper

    An amazing book about a woman's testimony as she turns to Jesus as her Lord and Savior! This is as powerful as Corrie ten Boom! I highly recommend for everyone! I bought and listened to the audiobook the same day! I just couldn't stop listing I was so drawn in!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chloe (aka Crystal)

    Previously published on Purely by Faith Reviews. My Review: Touching, inspiring, and encouraging. I had intended to post this yesterday, but the extra time gave me a chance to think about Hiding in the Light some more. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this book. Personally, I had never even heard of Rifqa Bary before a few days ago. When I first opened the book, it started off so happy and nice. I was like “she had a great childhood” etc, etc. Man, was I wrong. It went downhill suddenly an Previously published on Purely by Faith Reviews. My Review: Touching, inspiring, and encouraging. I had intended to post this yesterday, but the extra time gave me a chance to think about Hiding in the Light some more. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this book. Personally, I had never even heard of Rifqa Bary before a few days ago. When I first opened the book, it started off so happy and nice. I was like “she had a great childhood” etc, etc. Man, was I wrong. It went downhill suddenly and startled me. I quickly realized her life was not a “fairy-tale” and she had suffered so much throughout her life. Although this is supposed to be a biography, I was on the edge of my seat! I stayed up really late to finish the book. To be honest, I nearly cried. I would’ve if it wasn’t for me forcing myself not so since I was self-conscious of siblings or others watching. There were some great discussion questions at the end of the book. Overall, this book was simply amazing! No, Rifqa amazed me. Her faith in Jesus was strong and she would not be deterred, although she did have her moments of doubt (but don’t we all?). But Hiding in the Light certainly is a little scary and is not recommended for the younger reader. I think maybe someone 13 years old or older wouldn’t be as scared reading this book. The book does touch on abuse (includes physical hitting and a moment’s mention of sexual abuse), but it is still worth reading. Content warnings: Abuse, mention of Rifqa being sexually abused once, some bad words that only had the first and last letters visible. This review was written in my own words and opinions.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    A very inspiring story, both tragic and encouraging. When my daughter ordered this from the library she told me, 'you have to read this Mom!' It is quite eye-opening. Rifka Bary is brought up in an abusive, restrictive home (some situations described seem so harsh and difficult to take in!), but her life begins to change when she is introduced to Christianity through a classmate. When Rifka discovers the acceptance from a loving God and the person of Jesus becomes real to her, she must keep her n A very inspiring story, both tragic and encouraging. When my daughter ordered this from the library she told me, 'you have to read this Mom!' It is quite eye-opening. Rifka Bary is brought up in an abusive, restrictive home (some situations described seem so harsh and difficult to take in!), but her life begins to change when she is introduced to Christianity through a classmate. When Rifka discovers the acceptance from a loving God and the person of Jesus becomes real to her, she must keep her new faith secret. As time passes, Rifka realizes exposure is inevitable, and she decides to escape rather than risk further life-threatening abuse. "I tiptoed into the hallway, scanning for any signs of wakefulness or motion. With each hollow step through the living room, I was cognizant of all I was leaving behind: my culture, my family, my identity, my religious heritage, my memories, perhaps even my future. I quietly twisted the knob on the front door, opened it, then couldn't seem to prevent it from slamming noisily behind me. I didn't care. I had to leave." Thankfully, she is helped along the way but encounters several challenging and difficult situations. Since Rifka is underage, she is treated as a runaway and passed along to detention centers and not-always-nurturing foster homes. Her case becomes nationally known as various legal agencies enter the fray and the news media opens her plight up to the public. Today the author is a college graduate and there is a happy ending, although her biological family continues to be estranged and unrepentant. A very fast-paced book that keeps the reader involved and hoping for a good outcome.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    "Something inside me was crying out for the truth, demanding, Why am I here? Why do I breathe? Why does my heartbeat?" Rifqa Bary You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 Rifqa is searching, for truth, and God says, when a person searches, they will find Him, if they search with all their heart. This young lady's tale will capture your heart. Maybe you remember her story, I certainly don't but neither do I watch much news. I can imagine how many differe "Something inside me was crying out for the truth, demanding, Why am I here? Why do I breathe? Why does my heartbeat?" Rifqa Bary You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 Rifqa is searching, for truth, and God says, when a person searches, they will find Him, if they search with all their heart. This young lady's tale will capture your heart. Maybe you remember her story, I certainly don't but neither do I watch much news. I can imagine how many different stories are out there. She even refers to all the speculation and lies that were media coverage. In this heartfelt book, you will read her story. The story of her life in Sri Lanka and then in the US. The story of her conversion to Christ, and her secret service to Him until that was no longer possible. Then the flight for her life, her very safety, as well as how that did not turn out the way she expected. But what stood out to me above all was her faith. She is honest and open about her struggles with becoming the person God wanted her to be, peer pressure, the desire to fit in as a teenager, the anger and bitterness in her heart at her father's abuse and her mother's silence in light of it. Yet, God sustains her, from Him comes her strength, her ability to survive and not just to survive but to thrive. Read the rest of my review on my blog http://myseasonsofopportunities.blogs... I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Collins

    Praise Jesus! Thank you Rifqa, for sharing your story. Amazing book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Devon Tillotson

    What an inspiring, eye-opening, earth-shattering memoir! This is one of the few books I can honestly say has shaken (and probably truly changed- time will tell) my life. Rifqa's testimony reveals to a sleepy populace the untamed power of God and His beautiful, loving, glorious work through ordinary individuals. His great love, faithfulness, devotion, and miracles recorded in these pages are awe-inspiring and energizing. This has breathed in me an expectant hope, desire, and longing that I look f What an inspiring, eye-opening, earth-shattering memoir! This is one of the few books I can honestly say has shaken (and probably truly changed- time will tell) my life. Rifqa's testimony reveals to a sleepy populace the untamed power of God and His beautiful, loving, glorious work through ordinary individuals. His great love, faithfulness, devotion, and miracles recorded in these pages are awe-inspiring and energizing. This has breathed in me an expectant hope, desire, and longing that I look forward to cultivating and experiencing the rest of my days. This book has informed my prayers and my heart. I will read and re-read Rifqa's story in this book many times in the coming future, as I gulped it down in only three days and it has already begun to shift my focus to better things and renewed my hope. I am thankful to Rifqa and praising Jesus for this account! Hallelujah! May this book bring Light to all who read it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    The title of this book prompted me to read it. Rifqa Bary story how she came to know Jesus was very touching. I learned a lot about Muslims,practices and rituals. Some things I knew,but for the most part,I was surprised. I would have liked to see her journey explored more,in the eyes of her parents. I never really got to know what were their deepest thoughts. I knew that Rifqa ran away after telling them,but I still would have liked to see an impending reconciliation. Still was a solid read,love The title of this book prompted me to read it. Rifqa Bary story how she came to know Jesus was very touching. I learned a lot about Muslims,practices and rituals. Some things I knew,but for the most part,I was surprised. I would have liked to see her journey explored more,in the eyes of her parents. I never really got to know what were their deepest thoughts. I knew that Rifqa ran away after telling them,but I still would have liked to see an impending reconciliation. Still was a solid read,love how transparent and daring the book was.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is an amazing book detailing the grace of God In reaching a young Muslim girl in the midst of her tormented life. Ms.Bary uses occasionally melodramatic language, but effectively portrays both the terror of her decisions and the joy and peace that God's Word consistently brought to her. I was convicted about my own easy faith, and reminded of how much others have paid to worship as i so easily do. i highly recommend!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    It took me a while to warm up to this book as it is very simply written (no criticism). The narrative seemed a bit slow in the beginning, but by halfway in I found myself mesmerized by Rifqa's incredible and miraculous story. I also found her tales of our judicial system and foster care system appalling at times. What an amazing young woman with a very important story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    “The place for women was at home, close to their families, close to Allah. Close to suffocating.” Wow. The amazing story of a Moslem child who encounters a divine presence in Sri Lanka. She grows, is disfigured, rejected by her family, moves to America with them, only to encounter less love and support. She discovers that her encounter was with the Spirit of Jesus. When she covertly converts to Christianity, things get worse. “Kill me? I knew he couldn’t consider my life so meaningless. Could he? “The place for women was at home, close to their families, close to Allah. Close to suffocating.” Wow. The amazing story of a Moslem child who encounters a divine presence in Sri Lanka. She grows, is disfigured, rejected by her family, moves to America with them, only to encounter less love and support. She discovers that her encounter was with the Spirit of Jesus. When she covertly converts to Christianity, things get worse. “Kill me? I knew he couldn’t consider my life so meaningless. Could he? Yet a simple Muslim man who aims to follow his religion must sometimes do the unthinkable to maintain his honor.” Villains? Not her parents. They acted as they thought they must, given their religion and culture. Instead I nominate the politicians, bureaucrats and courts of Florida and Ohio, who callously treated an innocent child like a criminal, shuffled her around like a commodity, and exploited her for partisan politics. (Charlie Crist, then governor of Florida, comes off as a special hypocrite.) “But jail. Why? I had run away from home because my life was in danger for believing in Jesus Christ. My rights as a human being seemed to vanish.” “The most stunning part of this interrogation [by officers of Florida Department of Law Enforcement] was that it was done without the presence, knowledge, or even notification of my lawyer or even my guardian ad litem.” In the midst of endless hearings and fosterings, she develops two forms of cancer (rhabdomyosarcoma and adenocarcinoma) and finds her life threatened from within as well as without. “You know, Lord, the Bible says a woman’s hair is her glory. Well, I am laying down my glory tonight, all my strength and my beauty, for Yours.” How she acts, how her faith grows, and how she perseveres is an inspiring story, which of course isn’t finished as she must spend the rest of her life hiding--hiding in the light. “I knew it sounded crazy [to discontinue cancer treatment]. Was crazy. It didn’t make sense to me either. But I knew in my spirit that God was calling me to do this, and I decided I would rather die in obedience to Him and live in disobedience and possibly survive the treatment. My life was not my own anymore, and my spirit found a way to be at rest with that.” Well written. Her prose is clear and compelling. Hard to believe English is her second language. There is no indication of writing assistance. Read this if only to marvel at her ability to convey her inner emotions while all around her is threatening. “‘Honor Killings in America’ Nothing compared to my own renouncing of Islam and embracing Christianity, dishonoring both faith and family. Yet the blood of all these girls testified to the reality of my experience.” I lived in Saudi Arabia for most of three years. I’ve seen their people, their culture and their religion closer than most westerners. We don’t--we can’t understand the inner thoughts and motivations of Moslem men. We can’t imagine how women live and cope with that life, even those who whole-heartedly embrace it. “There may actually be times when making the right choice for yourself as an individual seems to put you at odds with the world…. Her home, her security, her serenity, and even her safety were thrown into madness…. However, this young woman did not succumb to the madness. She chose an attitude of love, despite the pain, an attitude of compassion despite the hate shown here, an attitude of perseverance…. At only seventeen years old, she found the strength to overcome and succeed.” School district director’s remarks at her high school graduation as class valedictorian.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Violet

    A face marred by an accident at six, a strict Muslim upbringing, and cruel treatment by her parents fed a deep longing within Rifqa Bary for love and acceptance. It was her seventh grade school friend Angela who answered her questions about Jesus and invited her to church that led to her conversion—the most profound experience in her life to that point. Though life as a secret Christian in a strict Muslim home in Ohio was anything but easy, it was after her baptism that things got dangerous. Fear A face marred by an accident at six, a strict Muslim upbringing, and cruel treatment by her parents fed a deep longing within Rifqa Bary for love and acceptance. It was her seventh grade school friend Angela who answered her questions about Jesus and invited her to church that led to her conversion—the most profound experience in her life to that point. Though life as a secret Christian in a strict Muslim home in Ohio was anything but easy, it was after her baptism that things got dangerous. Fearing for her life and sanity, she finally fled her home in July of 2009, one month shy of her 17th birthday and still a minor for another year. Hiding in the Light, Rifqa’s story told in first person, is a riveting read from start to finish. She is eventually on the run not only from her parents and their mosque but also from U.S. child welfare officials who, she fears, will send her back home unless they believe her life is actually in danger. What impressed me about this memoir is Rifqa’s love and loyalty to Jesus and the price she was willing to pay to be identified as one of His. In her most trying moments she feels His tangible presence. Here, for example, is her account of what happened one day when she was being held in a juvenile detention center in Florida: “ ... while sitting alone again in my cell, I sensed what had become for me an almost absolute assurance of His presence: a gentle whisper that resonated in my spirit ... Will you sing to Me, Rifqa? Sing to You? Here? Are You crazy?... Okay God. Give me a song and I’ll sing it. I softly rested the back of my head against the wall, exhaled a cleansing sigh, swallowed my last remnant of hindered self-conscious disobedience and began singing the opening lines to Matt Redman’s ‘The Heart of Worship’ “ Kindle Location 2231. This book gave me a new appreciation for my Christian upbringing. It also opened my eyes to God’s tender care of His own in the way He provided help in the nick of time for Rifqa in many tense situations. A compelling read that I found hard to put down, I think Hiding in the Light would be a valuable resource for all who love and work with Muslims. I received Hiding In The Light as a gift from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Colleen J

    This is an amazing true story of a girl called by Jesus got take Him as her Savior. She struggled much by it and Stoll is in danger. You will have to read "the rest of the story". The story is true. It is narrated by the young lady in question. I learned from it. Recommend to read

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    {About the Book} “After four years of hiding my faith from my family, I knew that it was time. I wrote with shaky hands, ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I refuse to deny him….’ There was no turning back now. I had to get out of that house if I wanted to live. Was this worth risking everything for? Yes.” Rifqa Bary grew up in a devout Muslim home, obediently following her parents’ orders to practice the rituals of Islam. But God was calling her to freedom and love. He was calling her to true {About the Book} “After four years of hiding my faith from my family, I knew that it was time. I wrote with shaky hands, ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I refuse to deny him….’ There was no turning back now. I had to get out of that house if I wanted to live. Was this worth risking everything for? Yes.” Rifqa Bary grew up in a devout Muslim home, obediently following her parents’ orders to practice the rituals of Islam. But God was calling her to freedom and love. He was calling her to true faith. He was calling her to give up everything. Leaving Islam for Christianity cost her more than she imagined but gave more than she could have dreamed. Hiding in the Light is the story of Rifqa’s remarkable spiritual journey from Islam to Christianity. It is also the untold story of how she ran from her father’s threats to find refuge with strangers in Florida, only to face a controversial court case that reached national headlines. Most of all, it is the story of a young girl who made life-changing sacrifices to follow Jesus—and who inspires us to do the same. {My Review} Hiding in the Light is a revealing memoir of a young girl raised in a devout Muslim household, who for a time was hiding her Christian faith from her family. Until she decided to come out to them and tell them of her newfound Christian faith. Eventually, Rifqa whi believed her life was in danger, fled from her family and their home to the home of a Christian couple. Due to Rifqa being underage she was eventaully returned to her family only to leave again and never return. Rifqa Bary is quite an extroidanary young woman who held fast to her faith despite the pressures and hard times. She very clearly states she very much so loves her family and hopes that they one day discover the love and grace of Jesus Christ. She even writes a letter to her brother. I applaud Rifqa in what she did and hope to see her story spred throught the United States and the world. Highly recommended.

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