Our Muslim neighbors and friends have just entered into the month of Ramadan, where they will be fasting (refraining from eating and drinking) from dawn until sunset and spending even more time in prayer.
The Southern Baptists have issued their prayer guide, and the folks at 30 Days of Prayer have published their prayer guide again, as well. Praying for Muslims is a good place to start. But prayer alone is not enough.
I want challenge my fellow missional Christians to take this opportunity to really get to know our Muslim neighbors during this next 30 days. There’s only so much we can learn by reading about Islam, we have to get into relationship and conversation with the Muslims in our community to know them, not just about them.
UPDATE: Christopher Heuertz offers this advice: Greet your Muslim neighbors during Ramadan with “Ramadan Mubarak” (which means “Have a happy and blessed Ramadan”) and, at the close of Ramadan, with “Eid ul-Fitr Mubarak” or simply “Eid Mubarak.”
Have you visited your local mosque and asked to join them for prayer sometime? How would you feel about praying to God alongside your Muslim neighbors in their place of worship? I really want to encourage you to do this, it will be very eye-opening and a good first step in moving toward relationship.
I truly believe that in our post-Christendom society, it is becoming more and more imperative for Christians to engage in interfaith dialogue and understanding, approaching our non-Christian neighbors as learners and friends. It’s why I’m so excited about Brian McLaren’s new book on Christian identity in a pluralistic world.
I’d also recommend reading some of the advice from missional practitioners who are doing wonderful work among Muslim peoples around the world. A few of the sites that I recommend reading are:
- Carl Medearis — especially this Islam 101 piece
- Bob Roberts Jr. — especially “From Fearing Islam to Loving Muslims“
- Abrahamic Alliance International
From a missiological perspective, I’d recommend getting really familiar with the C1-C6 models of contextualization and the debates on all sides of this issue from the global Christian missions community.
There’s also a whole Muslim channel here on Patheos with a number of fantastic Muslim bloggers writing about different aspects of the Islamic faith.
And now (just for fun) … Here’s an Internet TV program that reveals hip, young Muslims have fauxhawks too:
What will you be doing during Ramadan to show God’s love to your Muslim neighbors?