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What is Ramadan and why should I care?

It’s likely youmhave Muslim friends or neighbours, and for the next few weeks, as Muslims they will be observing Ramadan – a holy month of fasting and seeking God. But, Ramadan is also a month of heightened persecution for Christians in the Muslim world.

What Is Ramadan?

Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe this was the month that the first revelations of the Quran were made to Muhammad. Muslims fast, pray and gather together to draw nearer to Allah and earn forgiveness.

There are over 1.8 billion people around the world who identify as Muslim. The name ‘Islam’ means peace and submission, its followers dedicate themselves to the ‘five pillars of Islam’- Faith in Allah, praying five times a day, charity, pilgrimage to Mecca, and fasting during the month of Ramadan. Muslims believe in Jesus’ life and death. However, they argue against His resurrection and place as the Son of God.

Why are Christians impacted?

But this time of heightened religious activity can massively impact Christians.

Image: An Egyptian couple resting together in Cairo.

One Egyptian believer said, “As much excitement as the Islamic holy month brings to Muslims, it does carry a great deal of burdens and concerns to the Christian community.

“It is a very long 30 days during which Christians in schools, work or public spaces will receive harsh looks and verbal harassment because of their faith. There have even been some cases where Christians have faced physical violence because they were caught eating their lunch by their fasting Muslim co-workers or neighbours.”

Image: Men praying for one another in Kasr El Doubara Evangelical Church, Egypt.

Ramadan: Seeking truth, finding Jesus

But Ramadan is also an opportunity. During this month, many Muslims are actively seeking truth, wanting to know a real and living God. It’s a time when we can pray for our Muslim friends and neighbours to see the truth of Jesus. Check out this story to see how God can move during Ramadan.

Halida grew up in a Muslim family and was a committed Muslim. But she had deep depression. During Ramadan she was desperately seeking healing. “If God won’t answer me in this pure, holy Ramadan month, I will die. I had no strength to resist any more.”

God did meet her, but not as she expected. During the first week of Ramadan, a friend came to see  Halida  and told her about Jesus and invited her to a Christian home group. After a few weeks she went, was touched by what she heard at the meetings, and a few meetings later, she accepted Jesus into her heart. At last, her mind was at peace.

But her story doesn’t end there.

When  Halida’s  family discovered that she had become a Christian, they beat her and threw her out of the house, saying, “You are a shame for the family and relatives.”

Fortunately, other Christians helped her to find a house and a job. Today she works with women suffering from mental health problems, as well as being a secret home group leader.

“I know that the persecution I experienced was not in vain. I learned what my purpose is, my ministry in Him. I am going to serve women who experience violence and persecution in their families… God saved and changed my life with His love. Now I want to share it with other people.”

She continues, “It is strange – with the growth of persecution, we can see, at the same time, the growing need for the gospel and for growing the ministry, even though it is underground. Of course, they can arrest us, they can beat us and frighten us – and they do. But they can’t take away the love and hope.”

During Ramadan, commit to praying that for both secret Christians, and your Muslim friends. Ask that God would provide, that secret believers could still meet and worship despite increased scrutiny, and that all those seeking truth would find answers in Jesus!

Grow with God during the lockdown: Isolated Church…

To help you through this time of enforced social distancing and isolation, we’re releasing a series of new content every week. Were going to be looking at how the persecuted church can inspire us during this time of lockdown. Sign up for our weekly emails to get fresh videos, stories, reflections, prayers and actions – all of which you can do from home!

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imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.