On Friday, July 20th, millions of Muslims around the globe will begin fasting by day and feasting by night. Ramadan has come and many will seek to earn favor with God by not eating or drinking during the long, hot summer days. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam that all Muslims are required to keep. Each evening as the sun sets, families come together and break the fast in a special meal. Once the sun rises, they must abstain from all food and water until it sets again. If they are unable to fast, they may give a monetary gift to the poor to try and balance the scales in their favor.
Besides fasting, Ramadan is also an opportunity to take a look at one’s own life and to focus on God through reading the Koran and praying special prayers. It is especially important to do good deeds and help the poor during this month. The goal of all of this is to gain God’s favor. As it says in the Hadith (Muslim traditions): (Allah says about the fasting person), ‘He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.” (Sahih Bukhari Book 31. Fasting)
This is the life of a Muslim—always seeking to earn God’s mercy by good works. All humans are tempted to seek God through their own merit. Even Christians, who have placed their hope in Christ are often tempted to turn away and seek to please God through their own efforts in things such as church attendance, Bible studies, or helping the poor. These are all good, but they cannot earn salvation.
Trying to earn God’s approval is a heavy load to bear. And it is unnecessary. This is the freedom that Christ brings to those who believe. He bore that heavy load. He has earned God’s favor on our behalf because we would never have been able to do so on our own. This is the message that all people, including the Kurds, need to hear above all other messages. Only in Christ will they ever find hope and rest for their souls.
Please join us in praying for the Kurds during Ramadan. In this month Muslims are often more conscious of spiritual issues, questions, and perhaps even need. Pray that they will realize salvation can never be earned. Pray that God would open their hearts to hear, understand, and receive His good news.
If you would like resources to help guide your prayers for Muslims during Ramadan, a number of downloadable materials are available at this link.