The following post is written by a Field Worker serving among Muslims.
Every year during the month of Ramadan Muslims around the world attempt to move closer to Allah through acts of sacrifice. Most famously, they fast from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. They also abstain from many other pleasures during the daylight hours.
All of this is an attempt to draw a little closer to the unapproachable and absolutely holy and separated Allah.
The fasting hours are intended to be periods of reflection, confession, and purification.
The Qur’an helpfully has 30 marginal markings called juz’. By reading one juz’ per day, one can complete a full reading or recitation of the Qur’an within the month.
In some Muslim countries, Ramadan takes on a more festive and less reflective character. Family and friends gather together to break the daily fast through an iftar meal. Ironically, overeating during the month of fasting is common. Soap Opera-like shows nicknamed “Ramadan TV” are very popular among these more “secular” observances of Ramadan.
Whether spiritual and reflective or festive and relational, Ramadan is seen by many Muslims as a special time and one they hope will draw them closer to a distant deity.
In reality, few find lasting satisfaction in their efforts. Some cheat on the fast only to experience pervasive fear and anxiety around being caught. Often Muslims will seek acceptable reasons to skip or curtail the fast, some of which are listed in the Qur’an and Hadith.
Recently, more and more Muslims report having dreams and visions pointing them to Christ during Ramadan. Christians around the world should be aware and prepared for this time of decreased satisfaction with Islam and increased spiritual activity pointing people toward Christ. In open countries like the United States, free and friendly conversation about their beliefs and practices coupled with prayer and a bold willingness to share personal Christian faith can be very effective. In closed countries, more care and wisdom are required but fruitful sharing is still possible.
Muslims hope to approach the unapproachable Allah during Ramadan through sacrifice. Christians confidently approach God at all times through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” -Hebrews 4:16
Followers of Jesus are blessed with direct access to a personal God who not only tolerates us but truly loves us and seeks a relationship with us. In stark contrast, nearly two billion Muslims are striving for a small taste of this blessing.
You and I have a message for them that can change their hope into their reality. May we pray for and fellowship with our Muslim friends in a winsome way that points them to Jesus.