Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions.

This is episode 141 of Missions on Point. Thanks for being here with us. In this episode, I want to talk about sharing Jesus during Ramadan. Rarely do I produce episodes that are dated; however, this is an annual period of time in which Muslims are particularly sensitive to spiritual things, and I think it's a good time in this month of Ramadan to be able to just talk about a few things to help us relate to Muslim friends and to share Jesus during Ramadan.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan in the lunar Muslim calendar is one of the five main pillars of Islam. As such, it is expected of every professing Muslim that they observe the month of fasting. Because of the lunar calendar, the months of Ramadan moves forward 10 to 12 days a year and lasts for 28, 29 days depending on the lunar cycle that is prescribed very specifically. The basic practice is to not intake food, and many cultures not take even any drink, between dawn and dark. The definition of dawn and dark is also prescribed very specifically and ruled by whoever is the most prestigious Imam in the area in which you live. Pretty much every area has a signal for dark or dusk when it is okay to eat, and that evening meal is the breaking of the fast. It's called the iftar. It's a big family celebration. Sometimes Muslim families will invite non-Muslim families to join them, and sometimes Muslim families that are not connected or not near a lot of relatives may appreciate being invited over to your house to break the fast.

This year, the month of Ramadan is March 22nd to April 20th. There is a particular day and night that is considered to be especially spiritually powerful, and they call it the Night of Power. It's April 17th this year. At the end of the month of Ramadan, there's a special Eid al-Fitr, which is a festival at the end of fasting for Ramadan, and it includes a lot of special things, having new clothes, giving gifts to one another, celebrating the end of the fasting month.

Throughout the month of Ramadan, Muslims are especially keen to live moral and upright lives and to seek spiritual growth in some way, even forgiveness of sins. Because they believe that the Injil, which is technically the gospels, the stories of the life of Christ, but in a broader sense, the New Testament is one of their holy books, it is a great time to offer to give them a copy of the Injil. Most Muslims have been given in their tradition false ideas about the Bible, about Jesus, and especially the cross and resurrection and about Christians in general. They are groomed to have a disrespect for Christian beliefs and practices. However, they do value Jesus as a prophet, and the Injil is one of their holy books, so it's okay to bring up the subject.

So the first question you may ask is, who are the Muslims around me? Now if you live anywhere in the area of Detroit, you don't have any problem answering that question. However, most of us don't see many Muslims on a day-to-day basis. We probably have them in our workplace or in our employment in a major company. We may see them in the marketplace. That is, we see them when we go shopping, and we see women that have the Muslim scarf head covering. It's very likely that you know Muslims in your university or even in your neighborhood, people that are immigrants from Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and other places where Muslims are in great numbers. There are large numbers of Muslim immigrants in Western countries. In fact, Sweden has a very high percentage of immigrants that come from Muslim background, and if you travel to London or that area of England at all, you'll see a lot of Muslim descendants and Muslim immigrants around.

So how do you approach a Muslim friend or befriend someone who's a Muslim that you would like to befriend for the sake of Christ? Remember that you're actually crossing two barriers of prejudice, your own prejudice in your heart. Sometimes because of the news and all kinds of information about terrorists, we have a natural fear and we tend to paint everyone with a broad brush and not realize that most Muslims are actually peace-loving and they just want the same kinds of things for their family as you want for your family. So you've got to overcome that prejudice in your own heart. Pray about it, ask God to give you grace. Ask God to allow you to be a blessing to your Muslim friends.

And the other side of the prejudice is their own. Just think about it. If the rest of the world believes that the United States is a Christian country and yet produces the kind of junk that goes out on social media, in films and movie industry, in even music, and the behavior of people that are idolized in the general public, that's a horrible vision of what a Christian would be like. The immorality and excesses and substance abuse that exists all throughout our Western society are a great offense to Muslims, so it's going to take some sensitivity and some gracious spirit and some love for them for the sake of Christ to break through your own prejudices and their prejudices and get to the place where you can have a conversation about Jesus.

It's interesting from my own experience to learn that during the month of Ramadan, more Muslims seek to get a copy of the Injil, the New Testament, than any other time of the year. They are honed to be spiritually hungry and seeking spiritual truth. Therefore, they are more open during Ramadan than any other time of the year to a conversation about Jesus, about reading the Book of Luke together with them during the month of Ramadan, or giving them a very simple but very beautiful copy of God's Word. I say very beautiful copy of God's Word because they value the Koran as a special kind of inspiration through Mohamed. They revere the book in such a way that they would wrap it in a beautiful cloth or put it in a place of honor. They would certainly never put it on a low table or on the floor. If you want them to respect the copy of God's Word that you might give them, particularly the New Testament, make sure it is of good quality and handled with respect when you give it to them.

There are two things that the Bible tells us that God uses in special ways. One is His Word, so use the Word, quote the Word. It doesn't mean you have to give Bible verses' references. You don't have to say it exactly word for word, but use the Word of God in your conversation with them about Jesus. God blesses that and causes it to bring forth the purposes for which He sends it.

The second thing that the scripture instructs us about is prayer. Prayer is the instrumental means of God to accomplish His will, and He asks His people to pray lots of different kinds of prayers, and one of those prayers for us during Ramadan should be that our Muslim friends and people we come in contact, and even those Muslims across the world, would be open to hearing the gospel by the Word of God and come to saving repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.

There is a third thing that is very significant and that is your own personal testimony. If you share your testimony that is virtually irrefutable, they hear your story and they know that it's possible. They hear your story and understand the process by which the Lord used to bring you to faith in Christ. They can better identify with it just as a person because you are a real live, loving, caring person standing in front of them. I venture to say that most Muslims that you may come in contact with have never had a Christian talk to them with respect and care about their faith and practice. It is absolutely okay to remind them that they believe Jesus is a prophet and wouldn't they like to learn more about Him from the Injil, their own holy book.

One of the good results of making an approach to a Muslim person or a Muslim family during Ramadan is that that begins to break down the distrust and build bridges of trust so that you can continue to have conversations with them that are spiritual in nature and continue to point them to Christ. Most often, it takes multiple times for a Muslim to hear the gospel explained before it breaks through their own resistance to the place where they're able to consider it, and God opens their heart to believe.

Ramadan is a great time for gospel ministry to your Muslim friends and coworkers and fellow students. It's a great time to build relationships and begin to allow them the freedom to talk about their religion and ask questions about Christ. Approach them with compassion and genuine concern. Just imagine, they are fasting from before daylight to after dusk every day for a month. With patience and prayer, with the Word of God, and your own personal testimony, with warmth and acceptance, we would pray that many Muslims during the month of Ramadan would come to saving faith in Christ. You and I can be a part of that.

Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point. We trust that you'll find more help and resources on our websites and We are so thankful for those who support us, enabling us to produce this podcast. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.

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