This week will mark the end of the month of Ramadan. Since the last new moon, all of the Muslims here have been fasting from both food and drink each day from sunrise to sunset. This has marked some changes of daily life for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Rather than being able to go to the market at any time of day and get water, icy treats, bread or even fish, most items don't appear later in the day when people would begin preparing to end their fast. To go to the market in the evening however, the market comes alive and their is more food available than we would even find at any other time of year.
For those of us who have tried fasting in any form we know how difficult the discipline can be. However, here it is just that much more difficult. Just because they are fasting doesn't mean that the work stops. The women are still out in the fields working in the hot sun with no water all day. For me, this puts up some red flags when it comes to health. "You can't be out in the hot sun in 100% humidity and not drink any water!" is what my brain is yelling at me. Yet, since they don't typically drink enough water according to our American standards anyway, they do it and don't realize the effects that it has on their bodies. I was even told by a Christian friend that her Muslim friend who was pregnant was trying to fast, and thankfully after trying and finding it extremely difficult, she heeded the advice of our Christian friend and chose not to fast for the safety of herself and her baby.
Overall this is a challenging month for Muslims, yet they remain faithful to what they believe. This brings some questions to mind regarding faithfulness. If you think of what you believe to be truth and then imagine that it would require you to fast everyday from sunrise to sunset for a month while maintaining a vigorous work schedule, would you remain faithful? I am thankful that as a Christian I don't have this demand put on me and that I can choose if and when I want to fast, for how long and the activities that I do during that time, yet I have been challenged by the dedication of the Muslims here and I am challenged to think about my level of dedication and commitment to what I believe to be truth and the calling that I feel that God has placed on my life.
We ask for prayer for our Muslim friends as they finish this time of fasting, and we ask that they would remain healthy and strong.