Muslim Ramadancomment (0)
August 29, 2013
An article in the Aug. 8 issue describes Muslim Ramadan as a “meaningless spiritual exercise.” Although it is meaningless to many Christians, it is infinitely meaningful to faithful Muslims.
When Ramadan falls during summer months with 16 hours of daylight and one works outdoors in the sun without food or water and continues to observe the five calls to prayer, there is depth of meaning.
The article highlights some cultural or social practices which are seen as incongruent with the celebration of Ramadan and evidence of a “meaningless spiritual exercise.” We wonder if there are Muslims who observe cultural and social practices by Christians which are equally incongruent with the celebration of Christmas and conclude that it is a meaningless spiritual exercise. Where is the Christ in such a heavily commercialized Christmas celebrated by many with no reference to Christ?
There will be Muslims who will read the article. Will they be more kindly disposed toward Christianity, more willing to hear and more likely to be appealed to by the gospel? Not likely. Some will be sad to read that their sacred practice has been so characterized; some will be offended; some will be angry; but many will wonder where is the love in the Christian faith.
None of us — Christian or Muslim — wants to be characterized by the worst expressions of our religion and history. We can proclaim that Christ is the Savior for all people and still respect the sincerity and sensible practices of other religions. We hinder our proclamation of the gospel when we patronize others by telling them that their practices, which are very meaningful to them, are meaningless.
The article’s writer urges prayer for Christian workers to look for “creative ways to express their love for their Muslim friends and neighbors during the holiday.” A good beginning would have been to respect their faith and their meaningful observance of Ramadan and not express their love in unfortunate characterizations.
It is regrettable that the article bears the imprimatur of the International Mission Board and was published by The Alabama Baptist.
Bill and Audrey Cowley
and Fred and Denise Kelley
all former FMB/IMB missionaries in predominantly Muslim countries