from the perspective of a Christian with Muslim friends. Many thx to Dave for his permission to publish his Facebook post below.
My Reasons For Fasting As A Christian With Muslim Friends In Ramadan
I don’t know a lot, but let me tell you the little bit I have learnt about Ramadan over the last few years. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is a period of prayer, fasting, reflection, solidarity, accountability and charity.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars (religious duties) of Islam. It is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion Fasting occurs during daylight but meals can be eaten when the sun is down. It is common to have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before sunrise and an evening meal (iftar) after sunset during Ramadan. Groups of people, including the chronically ill, mentally challenged, and the elderly who cannot participate due to health reasons, are exempt from fasting.
Muslims are encouraged to read the Qur'an often during Ramadan. Some Muslims recite the entire Qur'an by the end of Ramadan through special prayers known as Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a section of the Qur'an is recited. I have one Muslim friend, MK, who knows the whole of the Qur’an by heart and can recite it all by himself.
Muhammad Nazreen says ‘Ramadan has created a stream consciousness for us to rethink the system. For instance, consumerism becomes a major hindrance for the development of the marginalised poor. Ramadan gives us chances to sober up on how the poor are mistreated by the inequalities of the economic system. During this fasting month, we are encouraged to give more and get less. Perhaps, this might be an implicit message that we can learn from Ramadan.’
Ramadan is a time for Muslims to remember the hungry as they go hungry and many Muslims donate to charity by participating in food drives for the poor, organizing a collection or charity event, and other voluntary activities. During Ramadan our friends from AMARAH (Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity) join us in our community meals with the ‘marginalised poor’.
The Oxford University Islamic academic, Tariq Ramadan, says: ‘Human beings must undertake the fast in a spirit of seeking nearness to the Unique, of equality and nobility among their fellows, women and men alike, and in solidarity with the downtrodden. The core of life thus rediscovered is this: to return to our hearts, to reform ourselves in the light of what is essential, and celebrate life in solidarity.’
I may not always fast during Ramadan, but I have wanted to fast and pray as a Christian with my Muslim friends during Ramadan in the last few years because it's a joy to fast and pray with friends, we remind ourselves once again of the priority of loving God and loving our neighbor, we demonstrate our solidarity as brothers and sisters in the Abrahamic families of faith, we reflect on the cruel limitations and contradictions of the consumerist capitalist system we inhabit and we remember the plight of the ‘marginalised poor’ being forced to go without food involuntarily whom we are called to serve.