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Sing “Jesus Loves Me”

Sing the song “Jesus Loves Me.” Substitute one of the sentences above for the English words.

Ramadan on the Muslim Calendar

A mosque in Brunei

The Muslim calendar has 12 months of 29 or 30 days. Ramadan is the ninth month on the calendar. The Gregorian calendar, a different calendar, is used for most purposes in the United States and around the world. According to the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan starts about 11 days earlier each year.

It is more difficult to fast from food and drink when Ramadan occurs during hot summer months. Some Muslims get cranky from not eating all day and from skipping sleep to eat at night before and after the fast. Students who fast sometimes have trouble thinking about school work.

As Muslims work at the hard task of fasting for a month, they often feel closer to other Muslims going through the same struggle. Ramadan can create unity among Muslims.

To Think About: How and why might the feelings of Muslims in Muslim countries change toward Christians during Ramadan?

Technology, Prayer, and Ramadan

Muslims can use special apps on their watches or phones to remind them of the exact times for their five daily prayers.

“Qibla” is an Arabic word that refers to the direction Muslims must face while praying. Muhammad taught that Muslims must pray toward Mecca. Some hotels that serve Muslim customers have qibla markers in their guest rooms to show the correct direction to face. TV screens on Saudi Arabia Airlines planes show qibla compasses for passengers.

In countries where many Muslims live, sunset and sunrise times may appear on TV during Ramadan or be announced by a siren.

Source: Learning About Islam, a 60-page book for readers ages 8 and up, available for free download on this site.

Ramadan and the Virus

During the month of Ramadan on the Muslim calendar, Muslims all over the world fast between sunrise and sunset. This year, Ramadan began on April 23 and ends on May 23. (Dates may vary from location to location.) In the central U.S., sunrise was at 6:40 a.m. and sunset was at 8:07 p.m. on April 23rd. How many hours did Muslims fast from food and drink on that day?

During Ramadan, many Muslims also participate in the following activities.

*They join with others in eating together before sunrise and after sunset.
*Groups of people attend mosques for prayers more often than usual.
*Families buy new clothes, give gifts, and visit friends and relatives at the end of the month.

But restrictions on activities because of the coronavirus have changed plans and activities.

*Men usually call out five daily prayer times from mosques, either live or on a recording. Now some calls have changed from “come to prayer” to “pray in your homes.
*Some worship services are streamed live for people to watch at home.
*Muslim hospital workers may need to eat and drink more often to keep up their strength.
*Many people no longer gather in homes and restaurants to break the daily fast.
*Some businesses where people shop for clothes and gifts may be closed.

In some countries, many Muslims have refused to stop gathering for prayer. In others, the government is lifting the restrictions on people getting together during Ramadan. Some Muslims believe that Muslims can’t get the virus, or that the virus is a punishment for non-Muslims.

Muslims are changing activities they have practiced throughout their lives. Pray that the changes will lead them to consider the truth of the good news that God loves them and sent Jesus to save people from their sins.

Explaining Ramadan

Heather Mercer was a prisoner in Afghanistan because of her Christian activities. During a visit to The Voice of the Martyrs, she talked about the meaning of Ramadan to Muslims, and about how Christians can pray for the Muslim world during Ramadan. Ramadan is a month on the Muslim calendar. Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset every day during the month.

This year, Ramadan occurs from late April through late May.

To read more about Heather and her time in prison, see Bold Believers in Afghanistan in the Downloads section.