That means Ramadan this year begins against the backdrop of increasing tensions.
Ramadan comes from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, meaning “intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground.”
According to WorldChristian’s explanation, from the same word there is ramdaa, meaning “sunbaked sand” and the famous proverb Kal Mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar – “to jump out of the frying pan into the fire.” Some say it’s because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.
To achieve a stronger relationshp with God, during Ramadan Muslims fast and pray from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the Muslim patience, modesty and spirituality.
Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs notes the fervor can reach a fever pitch. “This is a time where we typically see Islamic passion increase, and sometimes that can take the form of persecution against Christians. It’s definitely a time when they’re on the alert.”
However, disillusionment is growing, particularly in places like Iran. “When they see the corruption in their government, in their mind it’s Islam that is doing that. So they are dissatisfied with Islam at the same time they’re dissatisfied with their government, and that is a time when they’re asking questions and they’re saying, ‘What are the other options?'”
Statistics show that there are about 220 Muslim peoples around the world with over 100,000 members each, and these peoples have no local committed Christian witness. Ramadan can be a pivotal time for a concerted intercession on the behalf of the Muslim community.
Pray that believers will be bold. Nettleton says, “As they fast and as they pray and as they seek God, we can pray that Jesus will appear to them, that they will have contact with Christian people who can share the Gospel with them.”