It’s about midway through the Islamic season of Ramadan, an annual period of fasting and reflection for Muslims. Around the world, millions of Muslims are fasting, praying, reading the Qur’an, and striving for purity in thought and deed. The post below was published last year during Ramadan, and contains some useful ideas for Christians to consider during Ramadan—so we’re re-posting it today.

The Dome of the Rock below is an important Islamic monument. © David Baum

As Ramadan is a specifically Muslim tradition, Christians do not observe it. (The most superficially similar Christian observance is the season of Lent, with its six-week emphasis on sacrifice and prayer; but whereas Lent is an optional practice not mandated by Scripture, Ramadan is a required observance for most Muslims.)

While Christians don’t observe Ramadan, it’s nevertheless helpful to be aware of it. Here are a few things you can do during Ramadan to grow closer to God and show Christ-like grace to our Muslim neighbors:

1. Read up on fasting. While fasting is not a religious obligation for Christians, the Bible includes many examples of people choosing to fast for specific reasons—Jesus himself fasted for 40 days and nights during his wilderness temptation. Bible Gateway’s topical index lists instances of fasting in the Bible, with links to the relevant Scripture passages.

2. Pray for Muslims. Muslims around the world are spending this month in prayer. Why not take the opportunity to pray for them? You can pray that the gospel of Jesus Christ will take root in the Muslim world. And given the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, there are plenty of specific prayer needs for Muslims living there. There are Christian ministries that can help you do this: for example, 30 Days of Prayer maintains an ongoing Ramadan prayer guide that highlights prayer needs in the Muslim world.

3. Learn more about Islam. How well do you understand what Muslims actually believe? Many misconceptions about Islam have circulated since September 2001. It’s hard to meaningfully relate to somebody—let alone share the Gospel with them—if you don’t understand what motivates them. The internet can be helpful in explaining the basics of Islam (and apologist Lee Strobel thoroughly examined some of the differences between Islam and Christianity in an essay last year), but your best bet might be to ask your pastor to recommend some good reading material on Islam. Or to ask a Muslim directly, which would require you to…

4. Meet the Muslims in your community. Do you know where the nearest mosque in your town is located? Have you ever interacted with members of the local Muslim community? Are you a “good neighbor” to them? How might your own church demonstrate Christ-like love to the Muslims in your community?

Ramadan is an excellent opportunity both to learn more about Islam and to show, through our prayers, words, and actions, that we love our Muslim neighbors and want them to know the peace of Jesus Christ.

Source: Bible Gateway