Short Answer: There are several spiritual lessons a Christian can gain from learning about and observing the practice of the Muslims in Ramadan, according to Yvonne R. Davis, President and CEO of DAVIS Communications. Ramadan is a time for humankind. It is a time for people to live, to become better human beings. It is a time to get closer to solidarity, giving, and feeling connected with others.
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Sincere fasting with no intention except the pleasure of God elevates the believers from the merely mundane level to a higher spiritual plane similar to that of angels, as Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed said:
Fasting elevates the person from the material life to a higher spiritual life and helps him or her to approach a spiritual level similar to that of angels who worship God day and night without tiredness.
Fasting builds important Islamic values, such as compassion, cooperation, diligence, firmness, affection, fear of God, trust in God, and many other qualities. Fasting establishes equality among the rich and the poor.
It is a compulsory experience of poverty in that it makes all people share an equality of feeling and to sympathize with one another through a collective sense of pain.
Fasting Muslims can really sympathize with the starving people everywhere in the world and see the hardship that they go through every day of their lives.
This compassion increases the practical aspect of the unity of Muslims and will reduce the idea of nationality and geographical identity that often divides people.
God is pleased with his servants and answers the supplications of the fasting person, when he supplicates to Him.” (Syed, Dr. Ibrahim B. “Reflections on Ramadan“.)
A fasting person controls his or her gaze, restrains his or her wandering mind and checks his or her tongue.
Fasting trains a person to avoid the obscenity and the indecency.
Through self-denial and the remembrance of God, through the night vigil prayers and the recitation of the Quran, Muslims nourish their souls.
Fasting prepares Muslims to confront the trials of life with calmness and fortitude.
It helps them to control their passions and desires. And it instills in them compassion for their fellow beings with regard to their concerns, problems, and needs.
Ramadan teaches the believers a spirit of sacrifice.
Today around the world over one billion Muslims are fasting during daytime. At the same time they perform their ritual prayer five times a day.
In the evening after sunset, Muslims take iftar (meal to break the fast) to end the day’s fast.
Later on, they thank God by praying the Tarawih (the optional night prayers performed during Ramadan).
Ramadan offers Muslims a time for sincere reflection on the condition of the poor and the unfortunate people.
Ramadan is a time of sacrifice and submission before God. It is a time for prayer and meditation, as well as helping the poor.
One may say that the spiritual lessons of Ramadan are among the best of the contributions of Muslims to the world at large.
Spiritual Lessons for Christians
According to Yvonne R. Davis, President and CEO of DAVIS Communications, there are several spiritual lessons a Christian can gain from learning about and observing the practice of the Muslims in Ramadan:
For Christians in the United States professing to know God and claim to hold our Christianity dear, Ramadan is a great time to think about how we treat and engage Muslims in our community […]
Ramadan is a time to check our prejudices and match our claims to love our neighbors as ourselves. On the first day of Ramadan I fasted with my Muslim brothers and sisters during my vacation in Sicily. I understand the burden my friends will carry fasting the rest of the 29 days is greater.
It was difficult for me, but I made it through appreciating sacrifice for someone who might be without food, shelter and clothing — later giving back to make sure that perhaps one less person goes hungry tonight in Sicily. (Davis, Yvonne R. “Can a Christian Learn from Ramadan?” Posted 24 Aug. 2009)
She quotes Dr. Abdelhamid Jaber, a prominent professor of Middle East studies and political science at Rutgers University:
Ramadan is a time for humankind. It is a time for people to live, to become better human beings. It is a time to get closer to solidarity, giving, and feeling connected with others.
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(From Ask About Islam archives)
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