The month of Ramadan is a 30-day period of intentional fasting that will occur from May 15 to June 14 this year. During this time, followers of Islam abstain from food during daylight hours in fulfillment of one of Islam’s five central pillars of faith. Muslims do this in hope of meriting favor with Allah and experiencing renewed spiritual insight.
As the Muslim world prepares to celebrate Ramadan this month, Christians are presented with an incredible opportunity to engage our friends and neighbors in gospel conversations. Since this month places a heavy emphasis on spiritual matters, many believers have found it to be pivotal time to share the truth of Jesus with those who are currently far from God.
A great way to build bridges to the gospel during the season of Ramadan is by asking good questions. Here are three types of questions we can ask our Muslim friends over the coming weeks.
To begin, simply enter the conversation with a desire to learn. If this is an individual you have recently met or are just now getting to know, take the time to show interest in learning their personal story. You can start by asking cultural questions to learn more about their family and background, such as:
- Where is your family from?
- What brought you to this area?
- What is life like in your home country?
- Can you tell me more about your family?
These simple questions display how much you value your Muslim friends and can be an excellent representation of Christ-like love for your neighbors.
If you have a strong enough relationship, you might even consider asking if you can join them in breaking fast one evening. What an incredible opportunity this would be to continue learning culture, building relationships and finding more opportunities to share Christ.
Our hope is that we can eventually move beyond mere cultural questions and begin to ask questions that relate to the person’s spirituality. Here are a few examples of questions that can aid in this transition:
- Can you help me understand the spiritual importance of Ramadan?
- Why is this holiday significant for Muslims?
- What do you desire to gain from this month of fasting?
- Can you tell me more about what you believe?
Through asking these types of questions, you can gain a better understanding of this person’s actual beliefs and then discern what elements of the gospel narrative would best speak to them. Every Muslim is different, and each person who practices Ramadan has unique motivations for doing so. By focusing on someone’s personal beliefs, we can identify the barriers that are currently keeping them from Jesus.
In all of our conversations, we ultimately want to exalt Jesus – the One who fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, the One who was tempted and yet did not sin, the One who bore our guilt and shame on the cross, and the only way of salvation for all who call on His name.
Here are some questions that can help us move beyond a person’s current spiritual insight into a knowledge of biblical truth:
- Have you ever heard what the Bible teaches about fasting?
- You said ______ earlier; can I share a story from the Bible that addresses a similar situation?
- Can I share my story with you?
- How can I be praying for you this month?
This is a time of spiritual searching for the Muslim world. By being attentive to our neighbors this month, listening to their stories and sharing God’s story, we can point them to the only One who will satisfy their deepest needs.
May the God of grace and truth strengthen His church as we share our faith over the month of Ramadan with our friends, coworkers and neighbors. May He prepare the hearts of many who will place their trust in Him during these weeks of religious seeking.