Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Article excerpt

Ramadan seen through the eyes of devout Muslims

What a great article on Oct. 15, "Enough faith to fast." Though I also fast for my faith, for years I have been impressed with Muslim friends' commitment to fasting during Ramadan.

To read that Ramadan existed among Arabs before Muhammad was news to me and encouraged me to consider fasting with my friends. I'll pray for peace to come for the people of Iraq and for Arabs everywhere. Jenny UtechRedmond, Wash.

Your article on fasting left readers with a distorted view of a faith and a practice that is followed by more than 1 billion adherents:

* While it is true that the month of Ramadan does predate Islam, there was no specific obligation or tradition of people fasting for the whole month.

* Muhammad did not see himself as the founder of a new religion, nor do Muslims ever refer to Muhammad as the founder of the religion. The Koran refers to Abraham as the progenitor of all three monotheistic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), which teach submission to God - the meaning of the word "Islam."

* The purpose of Ramadan is not to be a perfect Muslim for one month. In fact, Muslims believe that only God is perfect. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are to pray and ask forgiveness for their sins. It is true that Muslims are taught that God's grace and mercy extends very far and many opportunities are given for one to redeem oneself from sinful behavior, but it is also necessary for the person to refrain from committing the act in order to receive forgiveness for past acts.

* There are other requirements in addition to fasting during Ramadan - additional prayers to be offered, giving alms, and the refraining from all prohibited activities. And one can do all this without knowing for certain if one's sins are forgiven.

* Islam specifically teaches against excess, but then again, whoever developed Lent probably never anticipated Mardi Gras. Dr. Miles K. Davis Leesburg, Va.

The Nov. 5 article, "Waging 'inner jihad' on an empty stomach," does not even come close to the real "inner jihad" a Muslim endures. …

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