By Shaun*, Pioneers worker in Europe
In these unprecedented days of COVID-19, how have Muslims coped during Ramadan? How have their traditions been affected in the places where they live, from Europe, Asia and the Arab world? How can we pray with insight for them?
Lockdown has affected the Muslim world too
Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, has urged Muslims to pray at home during Ramadan unless required to be at the mosque, and to abstain from mass Eid prayers at the end of the month.
This last month would have been particularly challenging as observant Muslims would have maintained the day-long fasts during Ramadan but without the usual sense of family, community and belonging. Typically Muslims would meet up together in homes to break their fast each day and develop relationships. Instead, they are doing so online because of the lockdown.
A peace like no other
During Ramadan we can join Christians around the world, praying with love and respect for Muslims: Muslims we know personally, Muslims in our neighbourhood and city, Muslims in other countries. We can pray that Muslims will encounter the peace that only comes through Jesus.
A Pioneers worker wrote: “COVID-19 has not taken Jesus by surprise. When I walk in fear, Jesus is left out of my thinking and my planning. However, when I walk in the assurance that God is in this, and sovereign over it, I’m filled with His peace. And my friends and neighbours are in desperate need of such peace right now.”
New spiritual openings post-Ramadan
When everything in the world seems upside down, we can pray that God reveals what He is doing for His own glory. Will COVID-19 cause nominal Muslims to become more religious? Will it cause devout Muslims to truly seek God? How will God use it? How can we join God in what He is doing?
Through deepening friendships we can have more honest conversations with people – including Muslims friends – and get passed the usual exchanges or religious discussions. The empty cross and the empty tomb give us a sure hope that nothing can destroy, not even coronavirus. They compel us to get to know our Muslims friends and celebrate our shared humanity and some shared beliefs; to learn of needs and to help in practical ways; to share our own fears and the comfort of the Saviour.
A prayer for our Muslim friends
Joining God in His mission to Muslims starts with prayer.
In this final week of Ramadan, let us join with Christians around the world and pray:
Holy Father, we ask that You reveal Jesus the divine Son by the grace of Your comforting Spirit to our Muslim friends. May You bless each one with Your divine peace and stir them to seek You and Your heavenly Kingdom. In the name of Jesus. Amen