Sunset tomorrow (August 21) marks the beginning of the observance of Ramadan, the month in which Muhammad received the Qur’an, according to Islamic faith. For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of fasting, as well as praying and reading the Qur’an more than would usually be done.
When I was in grad school, one of my friends also fasted throughout the month. As a Christian, his goal was not to become a Muslim, but rather to develop a level of respect for Muslims and an understanding of Islamic faith. And recently, I’ve read that Brian McLaren is also planning on fasting through this month.
This seemed good to me, as well, and so I’ve decided to fast throughout this month, also. This is my hope:
- I’m not going to call this a Ramadan fast, but rather a fast to coincide with the month of Ramadan. The difference may just be semantics, but my aim is two-fold: be true to my Christian faith, while not dishonoring Islamic faith.*
- Along those lines, I know that I won’t be able to observe this fast exactly as Muslims would. I will try to begin my fast at dawn, as Muslims do. However, I’ll break it earlier than Muslims would so that I can join my family for supper. And I might break my fast for the sake of accepting another person’s hopitality (for example, being invited to someone else’s home).
- Muslims view this as a time for seeking God in prayer, practicing kindness, learning humility, and so on. As a Christian, I also view these as worthy goals, and can do the same.
- Additionally, I believe that there is too little understanding of the Islamic faith by Christians. I will try to learn more this month.
* Brian McLaren intends to be in conversation with a Muslim friend during this month. As I understand it, this is partly to avoid doing things would be dishonoring. I realized that I don’t actually know any Muslims, so I can’t be in conversation. Maybe part of my goal should be actually meeting someone with whom I can converse.
I’ll try to report on my experience here.