Today is the first day of Ramadan for Muslims around the world.
I read an article about Ramadan … written for non-Muslims … the purpose of which was to explain Ramadan to those of us who know nothing about it.
That made me want to dig a little deeper, so I did. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have common roots, and understanding that could easily offer a lifetime of study itself.
But today I was interested in the Muslim practice of fasting for Ramadan.
It struck me as a practice that Christ-followers should do more often.
When fasting for Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, sex, violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, angry/sarcastic retorts, gossip, and impure thoughts. The idea is to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. It is also a time to re-commit to generosity toward those in need.
While I disagree with Islam in many ways, I found myself thinking Christ-followers really should fast more often. Jesus fasted, and taught how to fast in the Sermon on the Mount:
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.Matt 6:16-18
Many Christians engage in some form of – usually partial – fasting during Lent.
I have not done that, but this reminds me that fasting is Biblical, and Jesus did teach it.
Also … not sure how to say this … Islam is not “bad” and Muslims are not evil. They are people born into a sinful world who are seeking God, just like we are. We may disagree about how God wants us to do that, but we don’t need to see one another as enemies. And even if we do regard Muslims as enemies, Jesus tells us to love our enemies.
God doesn’t want us to hate. God wants us to love one another.
Happy Ramadan to those who observe it.