Today we spoke with our friend, Dr. Victor, who was born and raised in Egypt. He regularly views Arabic TV by satellite and fully understands the Arabic language. As a result, he sees how Muslims are living and facing difficult challenges during these times. This year it is unlike any other.
Past history reveals that even during wars, natural disasters, and other disrupting events, no matter what was taking place around them, Muslims still gathered to fast and pray.
The first full day of Ramadan started on April 24, but it is much different than the 30-days of prayer in the past. There are no social gatherings as usual. Mosques are basically closed, and their prayers must remain in the privacy of their home. They normally can gather together, even in large gatherings, where they can encourage one another in their faith. But not this year, they are on their own.
One Muslim shared that he usually feels that a significant part of his own spirituality is praying at the mosque, side by side with his community. He said, “You are sharing the same ritual, the same actions, the same emotions with others.” But . . . not this year. If anything, they will be watching the mosque prayer online.
“Ramadan is the month when I can finally see my family for extended periods of time. It is a time when the family bonds are going to be strengthened, one Muslim expressed. “This year, it is going to be difficult and depressing.”
The al-Aqsa mosque is located on the Jewish temple mount in Jerusalem. Sheikh Omar al-Kiswami is the imam and director of the mosque. Now only guards and mosques employees are permitted to pray. He stated, “Our hearts are tortured from pain in the holy month of Ramadan. It is a very sad moment in the history of Islam.”
As Christians who can seek God, know Him and sense His presence, it is difficult to believe that those who pray five times a day do not. Their god, Allah, is “unknowable.” He never reveals himself, only his will. A Muslim man who prays 5 times a day has heard the call to prayer over 90,000 times by the time he is 50 years of age. Imagine doing this regularly and yet never knowing if your prayers are pleasing Allah. It is hopeless. It is lifeless.
Dr. Victor shared that he read on social media that many Muslims are questioning their faith and Islam in general. They are asking, “Is this (coronavirus) the wrath of Allah? What do we do to please this god? We fasted, we prayed, we fulfilled all the pillars of Islam, yet Allah is not pleased.” Many started to turn to the Bible to find answers to their confusion. Their hearts are open to God’s truth more than at any time in the 1400+ years of Islam.
- Pray their hearts will be softened to Christ during this time of spiritual sensitivity.
- Open their eyes to see the spiritual bankruptcy of seeking to earn God’s favor through ritual.
- Reveal to them how Christ’s righteousness, given by grace, is what their hearts are longing for.