*This article was originally published in March 2022, and has been updated to include the most up-to-date information, links and resources for 2023
Muslims in Canada and around the world will begin fasting and praying on March 22, 2023, marking the beginning of Ramadan. For thirty days devout Muslims will fast from dawn to dusk and are required to abstain from food and water and all “earthly pleasures.” Ramadan will end on April 20th, 2023.
According to the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is the 9th month, and Muslims believe that it was the month that their holy book, the Koran, was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammad.
The Five Pillars of Islam
Muslims put their beliefs into practice by following the five pillars of Islam, Ramadan being one of them:
- The Profession of Faith—The Shahada
- There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.
- Daily Prayers—Salat
- 5 times a day
- Towards Mecca
- Before praying, purification ritual (wash their faces, hands, arms, and feet)
- at least 2.5% of their accumulated wealth
4. Fasting during Ramadan—Saum
- During the holy month of Ramadan
- Refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours
5. Pilgrimage to Mecca—Hajj
- at least once in their lives
- focuses on visiting the Kaaba and walking around it seven times
Why do we pray for Muslims during Ramadan?
During the month of Ramadan Muslims pray harder and fast, seeking Allah’s favor and the purification of their sins, though they are never sure if they have been forgiven or if what they have done is ever enough. Muslims everywhere are seeking God’s approval through a system of works, and yet, they don’t have assurance of their salvation and forgiveness.
Does that break your heart? It breaks mine, and it makes me cry out to our Father, who has made a way for us to come to Him, because our efforts are not and will never be enough to earn His love for us. Muslims need to know that their efforts are not enough indeed, and that because of that, Jesus came and did what had to be done on the cross, so that they too could be forgiven and given access to God.
Opportunities to Pray, Learn, Love and Engage with Muslims during Ramadan
“For 30 years, 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World has been producing inspirational, educational prayer guides that help Christians all over the world to pray for Muslims with love and insight during the month of Ramadan. And these last three decades have seen more churches planted in Muslim communities than in the three centuries before! “
- 30DaysofPrayer.com has also put together great prayer guide materials for praying for Muslims in the world during Ramadan that you can access online via web, pdf, app and print.
- Prayercast offers powerful videos featuring former Muslims leading you in prayer during Ramadan for specific and strategic needs within the Muslim world.
- Loving Muslims Together Events – here you can find information about Night of Power prayer meetings held online across Canada towards the end of Ramadan. Join one and pray with others for light to shine in the darkness.
- Pray for a Mosque Community - When Ramadan comes to an end, your prayers don’t have to. One of the opportunities that is available year-round is to pray for the mosque community nearest you. Wouldn’t it be amazing if God raised up people and churches to pray for every mosque in Canada? If you want to know more about this initiative check out Pray for a Mosque Community or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ramadan could mark the beginning of your journey to learn more about Islam and about your Muslim neighbours. Christians are called to “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (I Peter 3:15).
Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
- Read a book about Islam, a testimony of a former Muslim who found faith in Jesus, or a book that teaches you how to share your faith with Muslims
- Witnessing to Western Muslims - A Worldview Approach to Western Faith, by Richard Shumack
- Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity, by Nabeel Qureshi.
- Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God ?,by Andy Bannister
- Woman To Woman, Sharing Jesus With A Muslim Friend, by Joy Loewen
- Christian, Muslim, Friend - Twelve Paths to Real Relationship by David W. Shenk.
- Understanding Islam and Christianity: Beliefs That Separate Us and How to Talk About Them, by Josh McDowell & Jim Walker
- Listen to the Prayercast videos Muslims in Canada and Islam to be inspired by God’s heart for those of Muslim faith
- Take a course to learn about what Muslims believe and to be better equipped in sharing your faith with your Muslim neighbours: Bridges: Christians Connecting with Muslims
- Attend our monthly webinars and/or other events hosted by like-minded organizations: https://lovingmuslimstogether.outreach.ca/events
3. Love & Engage
- Look for the opportunity to share an iftar meal at a local mosque in your community. Muslims break their daily fast at the time of the call to prayer for the evening prayer and share a meal at sunset. I encourage you to contact a local mosque and ask if they welcome guests to share an iftar meal with them. If they do, put together a group from your church and go.
Here's a guide for Mosque Visit Purpose and Etiquette prepared by Crescent Project that I suggest you read and share with your friends before going to the mosque.
And if you don’t know where to find a mosque close to you, you can find it out by using this website.
- Share with your church about the opportunity we all have as Christians to pray for Muslims during Ramadan and invite them to love Muslims in their community by praying for them.
- Become a member of the LMT Network where you can:
Learn what you cannot learn anywhere else.
Connect with people and ministries with a shared passion.
Belong to a community like none other.
We have built a gathering space where you can interact with others in the Network, participate in group conversations, and access a repository of recommended resources. I encourage you to look at our membership page and sign up.
This Ramadan, why don't you start your journey of prayer, learning and engaging with the Muslims whom God is bringing into your life?
As the National Coordinator for Loving Muslims Together, Cristina serves as the administrative hub for the Canadian Leadership Team and the larger Canada-wide network. She has experience in office administration, newcomers settlement and international students admission. Cristina’s caring and enthusiastic personality, cross-cultural experiences and evangelistic heart for the unreached Muslims are great assets to the Outreach Canada team.