Fatima grew up in a Muslim family in Saudi Arabia. From a child her chief desire was to know and live for God. She belonged to a distinguished Bedouin tribe in the Province of Qassim. From her childhood she was a brilliant student who had the ability to learn off by heart all she heard at school. This led her mother to enrol her in a Koranic school which emphasised religious instruction. She soon became a devout Muslim who practised her faith meticulously. She dressed in the traditional black hijab and niquab, and she fasted every Monday and Thursday. She refused to join her family in watching television or listening to secular music. She isolated herself almost completely and had no friends her own age. She sought to find and serve God in this manner and to find satisfaction by it. Because of this her mother deeply regretted sending her to this school so placed her in a public school. As a result Fatima fell into a deep depression accompanied by headaches. Soon she returned to a normal life with her family and began to live life like other girls her own age but would still listen to strong Islamic teachings. She went through religious duties but found that her heart was far from God.
At 18 she entered university to study media and then began teaching at a nearby town. The Saudi government launched an essay contest on the theme of “Islam between fanaticism and moderation.” Fatima entered the competition with good hopes of winning. For research she went in search of a Muslim fundamentalist. While searching on the internet she came across a Saudi who had converted to Christianity. He shared his faith with her and pointed out the errors of Muhammad. Fatima reacted violently to such claims. She burned with religious zeal. She went in search of answers in order to challenge his many claims but the more she searched the Islamic scriptures and religious material the more she was disappointed with the contradictions. She said “The shock I felt when I studied Islam was enough to drive me to atheism and away from any other religion…I became an atheist, I no longer believed in anything.” She found her religion to be a deception. She again fell into depression and stopped eating for several days. She did however discover that the Koran testified of Christ, His death and His resurrection. With a desire to know more about Christianity she returned to communicate with her Christian friend on the internet. She began to cry out to the one true God to guide her to the truth. Under pseudonyms she entered many forums and talked with many Christians and Muslims.
Finally she found and read the Holy Gospels. She wept as she read. The Lord was speaking to her heart. She cried out, “But you are my God! It’s you I’m looking for since my childhood…Where are you Lord?” She later wrote, “I was searching the Bible for Jesus. When I started reading the Bible, Jesus attracted me. I saw a huge difference between what I knew about Mohammad and what I was reading about Jesus…While I was reading the Bible, I felt that God was very near, that there were no barriers between us and that I had no fears…What really attracted me to the Bible was Jesus’ story; in my view, this is the greatest story in human history.” She read Matthew’s Gospel four times and what impacted her most and led to her conversion was the Sermon on the Mount. She downloaded a copy of Matthew and kept it in her purse at all times. She saw for the first time that God was good and merciful, that He loved her and sent His Son to die for her on the Cross. Her Christian friend warned her that she was in danger of the death penalty if she declared her conversion to Christianity openly in Saudi Arabia. In 2007 she arranged to travel to France where she was baptized in water as a Christian. Upon her return she continued as a secret Christian. She maintained contact with a Christian ministry called “The Voice of Martyrs” and read Christian books online.
In July 2008, several days before her death, she found herself in a heated argument with her parents and two brothers who now were beginning to suspect something. Her brother called her to repent. After visiting her uncle’s house that night she returned home at one o’clock in the morning to find her room open and her laptop gone. She found it with her brother who had been reading her personal journal which revealed her journey from Islam to Christ. She took it off him, returned to her room, and emailed her friends concerning her fears. “Don’t worry as, the Lord is with me. He is my light and salvation so from whom do I fear?” This was her last communication. After this her brother tortured her and then beat her to death. It was several days before news got out of her martyrdom. She was only 26 years old but a faithful and fervent follower of Christ.
Shortly before her death she penned the following words in a poem in response to a militant Islamic poem written against Christians.
And enlighten your hearts that you might love others
The forum does not revile the Master of the prophets
It is for the display of truth, and for you it was revealed
This is the truth that you do not know
What we say are the words of the Master of the prophets
We do not worship the cross, and we are not possessed
We worship the Lord Jesus, the Light of the worlds
We left Mohammed, and we do not follow in his path
We followed Jesus Christ, the Clear Truth
Truly, we love our homeland, and we are not traitors
We take pride that we are Saudi citizens
How could we betray our homeland, our dear people?
How could we, when for death – for Saudi Arabia – we stand ready?
The homeland of my grandfathers, their glories, and paths – for it I am writing
And we say, “We are proud, proud to be Saudis”
We chose our way, the way of the rightly guided
And every man is free to choose any religion
Be content to leave us to ourselves to be believers in Jesus
Let us live in grace before our time comes
There are tears on my cheek, and Oh! The heart is sad
To those who become Christians, how you are so cruel!
And the Messiah says, “Blessed are the persecuted”
And we for the sake of Christ all things bear
What is to you that we are infidels?
You do not enter our graves, as if with us buried
Enough – your swords do not concern me, not evil or disgrace
Your threats do not trouble me, and we are not afraid
And by God, I am unto death a Christian – in truth
I cry for what passed by, of a sad life
I was far from the Lord Jesus for many years
O history record! And bear witness, O witnesses!
We are Christians – in the path of Christ we walk on
Take from me this word, and note it well
You see, Jesus is my Lord, and He is the best of protectors
I advise you to pity yourself, to clap your hands in mourning
See your look of ugly hatred
Man is brother to man, O learned ones
Where is the humanity, the love, and where are you?
As to my last words, I pray to the Lord of the worlds
Jesus the Messiah, the Light of Clear Guidance
That He change beliefs, and set the scales of justice rightly
And that He spread love among you, O Muslims.