Hiding in the Light

Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus

Hiding in the Light Discussion Guide

1. What were your expectations for Hiding in the Light before you began reading? What image did you have of the author, knowing only the basic idea of her story?

2. Rifqa felt oppressed by her parents both because she was a female and because she had a physical blemish (her damaged eye). She compared herself to a stray kitten: “Dirty. Devalued. Unclean” (page 11). Describe a time when you have felt oppressed or shut out.

3. During Rifqa’s early years, her family and culture affected her view of God in a profound way. How is that similar to or different from the way your family and culture have influenced your view of God?

4. Several Christians whom Rifqa met after moving to the United States, including her friends Aiden and Angela, attracted her to Jesus because of the way they treated others and the way they talked about God. Why do you think such words or actions are powerful? Do you think most Christians today believe they can have that kind of effect on a non-Christian? Why or why not?

5. With the encouragement of several Christians, Rifqa found herself “inching deeper and deeper into the ocean of God’s unconditional love and truth” (page 59). Which statement below comes closest to your view about evangelizing people of other faiths? Why?

  • I don’t think we should do it. As long as they believe in God in some form, they’re fine the way they are, and we might do more harm than good.
  • They’re lost without Jesus, so we need to share the gospel with them sensitively yet boldly.
  • We should pray for them and trust that we will be the aroma of Christ in their lives, but we don’t need to directly talk with them about God.

6. For three years after beginning to follow Jesus, Rifqa hid her new faith from her family and continued to practice the Islamic rituals when she was required to. Do you think Rifqa made a wise choice in hiding her faith or do you feel she was compromising her new beliefs? Why?

7. In a situation like Rifqa’s, how do you reconcile the fifth commandment to honor your mother and father with the biblical commandment to live out your faith?

8. Rifqa’s father threatened to kill her. Her mother said they were going to take her back to Sri Lanka and commit her to an asylum. Given the family dynamics, do you take these threats at face value or do you think Rifqa may have misinterpreted or overreacted to what was going on? Explain your opinion.

9. Imagine discovering that your child has converted to Islam or some other faith. How would you react in that situation?

10. Based on Rifqa’s story, what are some generalizations about Muslims you think are safe to make and some generalizations about Muslims that are not safe to make?

11. Rather than renounce Christ, Rifqa left her home in the middle of the night and never returned. What’s the boldest move you’ve made in an attempt to be faithful to Christ?

12. Brian, Beverly, and others aided the teenaged Rifqa in her plan to run away from her parents even though technically they might’ve been committing a crime by doing so. Did they make the right choices? What would you have done in their place?

13. Rifqa sensed a profound presence of God at certain key moments in her life’s journey, such as shortly after she ran away from home and when she was confined in a juvenile detention center in Florida. Describe a time when you felt the undeniable presence of God and what it meant to you.

14. The authorities in Florida eventually decided to send Rifqa back to Ohio on the condition that she not be returned to her family. Rifqa was placed in the foster care system until she turned eighteen. Do you believe the courts made the best decision? Why or why not?

15. Rifqa’s court case created debates all over the world. Some people said that it exposed the dangers of Islam. Others claimed that it revealed the unfounded hysteria Christians have about Muslims. What do you think are the lessons of Rifqa’s case?

16. In the midst of her hardships while trying to worship Christ in freedom, Rifqa faced another awful trial: a diagnosis of terminal cancer. What part do you think the experience with cancer played in her spiritual development?

17. At the end of the book, Rifqa says that she tells her story for three reasons:

  • To say to others who are oppressed under Islam that there is freedom and hope in Jesus.
  • To encourage those who are struggling against injustice of any sort that it’s possible to be victorious.
  • To remind readers of the men and women all around the world who are paying a high price for declaring Jesus as Lord.

How did her story change your views of those struggling against injustice? What can you do to help the oppressed and persecuted?

18. Describe what it means to you to have freedom through Christ.

19. If you could ask Rifqa anything, what would you ask her?

20. What do you think the phrase “hiding in the light” means in the context of this book?

21. What is one way you came to understand God more through reading Rifqa’s story?

22. We don’t have the luxury of choosing our own ending to Rifqa’s story. She is still in hiding and possibly still in danger. What does this lack of resolution suggest about how God works in our lives?