During my last visit to T-Village, the village in Bamako, Mali, we adopted 4 years ago, I sat down with Peter (not his real name) in the middle of our compound on the outskirts of the village. I had spent some time with Peter during the week and got to know him very well. He was a friendly Muslim and very devoted to his religion. Throughout the week, we were able to dialogue on a number of different social and religious topics, but on this day, I guided the conversation to the topic of prayer.
I asked Peter, “Peter, do you pray?” Knowing that the Muslim tradition is to pray to Allah five times a day, Peter said, “Yes, I do, five times a day.” I praised him for his dedication to daily prayer.
My next question to Peter was, “What do you say to Allah when you pray?” Peter went on to recite to me a small sample of his prayers to Allah. Obviously, I did not understand a word he was speaking, but, to my surprise, when I asked Peter what did he just say, he said to me, “I don’t know.” I was surprised by his answer so I asked him, “What do you mean, you do not know?” He replied, “The words are in Arabic and I do not speak Arabic.” I then asked Peter, “If you don’t know what you are saying, how do you know when Allah answers your prayers? How do you know there is someone listening to your prayers?”
These questions opened a door for a long conversation on prayer, in which I had a chance to explain how we, as those who walk “the Jesus way”, understand prayer.
It is estimated that, as of mid 2010, the Pew Forum reported there were 1.57 billion Muslims in the world. That is 22 % of the world’s population, making them the second largest religion in the world. Only Christianity is larger with 33% of the world’s population.
The majority of these Muslims will be celebrating Ramadan on July 20 – Aug 18. This is a time for us as Christians, to spend some time praying for the Muslims. Praying that God will remove the veil that is keeping them from seeing the truth of the gospel.
Join us in participating of 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World 2012. Copy and paste this link on your search engine to download a copy of the 30-day prayer calendar:
Below I have provided some basic information on Ramadan, use this information as you pray for the Muslims in the world. Or visit http://www.crescentproject.org to learn more about Islam.
Why is Ramadan important in the Islamic faith?
Ramadan celebrates the first revelations that Mohammad received. The purpose of the Ramadan season is to take Muslims away from their normal lifestyle and make them re- examine their life in the context of a higher ideal. For example, experiencing hunger makes you more aware of the poor; and going though real, but limited suffering, may prepare you for tougher ordeals. The feeling of community is very strong during Ramadan. (1)
What are Muslims expected to do during Ramadan?
All Muslims, except children under the age of 12, pregnant or nursing mothers, the frail, aged and ill, must abstain from eating food, smoking and drinking (even water), among other restrictions, during daylight hours.
The dates of Ramadan are established according to the Islamic lunar calendar, which has 354 days. The months are divided into lunar months, which have 29 to 30 days each. Each day begins at sunset (not midnight). The fasting period normally begins and ends with the sighting of the crescent moon, which is different each year. (2)