Day 2: Islam 101 – The Reason for Ramadan
By Jordan Rowley, spiritual coordinator, Climbing For Christ
Kurdish friends in eastern Turkey celebrate the end of a day during Ramadan with the “Iftar” meal. Only three members of the family were actually observing Ramadan during Climbing For Christ’s 2014 visit. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
According to Muslims, the story of the religion of Islam begins all the way back with the very first human beings. Adam, the first great prophet for Muslims, and Eve, known as Hawwa in the Qur’an, were tempted by the devil, Shatan, and sinned against Allah as they ate of the forbidden fruit (this is somewhat similar to the story as it’s told in the Bible).
They failed to follow the cardinal rule of what would become the world’s second largest religion. They failed to follow the rule that is implied in the very word “Islam.” They failed to submit.
The word Islam, in fact, means “submission” to god. Every area of life is to be in submission to Allah and his decreed will as it is taught in the Qur’an. This, of course, includes the Islamic observance of Ramadan.
Ramadan, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is an essential duty which all Muslims are expected to fulfill. However, just like any religious exercise, many participate in it for the simple sake of satisfying their duties; it’s an obligation. For others, it’s what their family has done for generations; it’s all they know, it holds precious memories, it’s tradition. And for others still, it’s a time to pursue more spiritually; to dig deeper into their faith and to reach for more of god.
No matter the reason, our belief is that God can reach many hearts through this time of heightened spiritual mindfulness. This is why we pray. And we’re glad to have you along for Project Prayer: Ramadan 2017.
Fasting: All Muslims are expected to fast from dawn until sunset during Ramadan, except those who are suffering from an illness, traveling, elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, chronically ill, diabetic, or have menstrual bleeding. Food and drinks are served before dawn (Suhoor) and after sunset (Iftar). Muslims also are expected to refrain from smoking, engaging in sexual relations, and sinful behavior, such as cursing, lying and fighting. Spiritual rewards for fasting are believed to be multiplied during Ramadan, a time in which prayer and recitation of the Qur’an – as well as good deeds and charitable acts – are supposed to increase.
Our hope is that God will use the coming days to give you a better idea of what some of the basic beliefs are in Islam, and how Climbing For Christ is building bridges and developing relationships in a number of areas today. And perhaps God will encourage you to share the love and truth about Jesus with your Muslim neighbors near and far.
Join us in lifting up the following Prayer Points.
- As Muslims living all over the globe fast from food and water during the daylight hours of Ramadan, may they hunger and thirst for truth – and find it revealed to them in Jesus Christ!
- Regardless of the reason they observe Ramadan, may many be drawn to the One Who wholly submitted Himself to the will of God – leading to His sacrificial death on the cross.
“The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” – 1 Corinthians 15:47-49