This year, the month of Ramadan is from June 6– July 5, 2016.
What is it? Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims (those that identify with the religion of Islam). During this month, Muslims fast (one of the five pillars of Islam) from dawn until sunset every day. Each evening, the fast is broken with a huge meal often enjoyed by extended family and friends. Beyond fasting, it is a month of prayers and anticipation for Allah to work in powerful ways.
What do Muslims fast from? Ramadan is a total fast including: all food, liquids, sexual intercourse, and tobacco. A strict Muslim may not even swallow their own spit!
Who fasts? Ramadan is a total community event, including men, women, and some children. There are exceptions for illness, age, pregnancy, travel, and manual labor jobs.
Why does the month change every year? The month of Ramadan takes places during the 9th month every year, but it is based upon the lunar calendar.
When does it end? The month of Ramadan ends with one of the big celebrations within Islam, Eid al-Fitr (Feast of Breaking the Fast). The exact timing is determined on observance of the new moon, so often countries may begin the Eid with a day or two difference.
What about the Night of Power? This is a special night toward the end of Ramadan, when it is believed that the Qur’an was revealed or given to Muhammed. Nobody knows the exact timing of this night, but it is often celebrated around the 27th night. Many Muslims spend the entire night in prayer because this is a particularly powerful time in which Allah sends his angels to earth to hear prayers and move in powerful ways.
How should I pray? Here are 4 things to pray for during this month of Ramadan:
1. Pray that the true God would reveal Himself in powerful ways during this month through avenues like dreams, visions, and answered prayers.
2. Pray that missionaries throughout the Muslim world would have opportunities to break the fast with their Muslim friends and neighbors.
3. Pray, also, that missionaries would take advantage of this month to share often, boldly, and powerfully the Good News of Jesus.
4. Pray for opportunities within your own spheres of influence to personally pray for a Muslim friend, neighbor, or co-worker during this month.
For more information on Ramadan and how you and your church can pray, the IMB has a great resource here.