International (MNN) — Ramadan is currently in full-swing. The Muslim holiday started, in the United States at least, on May 26th and ends on June 24th.
(Photo courtesy of FMI)
For Muslims, Ramadan is a sacred month-long period, dates being determined by lunar patterns, where they fast during the day and celebrate at night. Muslims break their fast as soon as the sun sets.
In some Muslim-dominate countries, everything stops during the month of Ramadan. Stores and businesses close, and even peoples’ daily patterns change to accommodate fasting. By observing Ramadan, Muslims believe that through their work, they’re able to get closer to God.
“It’s also a time where Muslims feel like this is one of their five pillars of Islam, of observing Ramadan. They believe that by their works, they get closer to God. But there are many Muslims who really yearn to know, ‘Who is God? How can I have a connection with Him?’” FMI’s Bruce Allen explains.
Since Ramadan is a time when Muslims try to draw closer to God, it’s a great opportunity for Christians and FMI partners to intercede through prayer and a time for mature Christians to share the Gospel with their Muslim neighbors.
“Most Muslims would never think of having a personal relationship with God — that’s a very distinctively Christian concept. But, during this month, they’re very open to learning about how they can connect with God. So, if Christians are willing to engage in the conversation, it’s a great time to strike while the iron is hot, so-to -speak,” Allen says.
Potential For Rage
However, during Ramadan, there is a heightened sense of danger for non-Muslims in some countries. Some Muslims attack non-Muslims, believing they are doing the work of God. This is often referred to as Ramadan-rage.
Furthermore, when temperatures are soaring, people aren’t eating, and they’re not even allowed to drink water to stay hydrated, it’s a lot easier for negative situations to escalate. In fact, Christians and other non-Muslims in Muslim dominate countries often have to avoid eating or drinking in public to not spark outrage from local Muslims.
(Photo Courtesy FMI) Two men breaking fast after the sunset during Ramadan.
On top of this, the month of Ramadan can be a dangerous one for kids living in less fortunate families. Some families will choose to sell one of their children in order to have the money to take part in Ramadan festivities. For these parents, it’s often a win-win, being able to celebrate a religious holiday by bringing in extra money while also eliminating one extra mouth to feed. However, these kids are often sold into some form of human trafficking.
Despite the Ramadan-rage and other negative effects the holiday can have, Ramadan actually leads to a very important night, ‘The Night of Power’, which takes place in the United States on June 21st.
On this night, Muslims believe that God will hear their prayers. It’s also on this night when Muslims pray openly to God instead of reciting their regular prayers as they do throughout the rest of the year.
“What a great opportunity when people are asking…and pleading before God, ‘I want salvation. What does it take to be saved?’, for us to share with them the truth about salvation through the grace and mercy shown by Jesus Christ,” Allen shares.
Will You Pray?
So please, pray for Christians living in Muslim-dominate areas. Pray for FMI partners to be encouraged to share the Gospel with their Muslim neighbors, for their protection, and for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as well.
Furthermore, pray for Muslims to have their eyes opened to the truth of the Gospel and the hope in Jesus Christ. Pray also for Muslims to be open to hearing about Christ from other Christians and for lives to be transformed.
Finally, pray for the less fortunate families who sometimes choose to sell one of their children in order to afford taking part in Ramadan festivities. Pray for the parents to choose to keep their kids, and pray for protection over these kids who are at risk of being sold or who have been sold.
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