“David, it is 43 degrees Celcius (approx 110 degrees Fahrenheit) here in Egypt!” Mahmoud exclaimed to me. I laughed and he laughed. I asked, “And you’re fasting too!!” He immediately said, “No! That’s impossible!” We laughed together as we talked. He is in Egypt, the land that I love and I am here in the States. Right now it is Ramadan for the Muslims so they are supposed to fast during this time. Egyptians are in dire straits and in difficulties, but they still love to laugh and have a great time. They love to joke even in times of pain. That is the most beautiful thing about Egypt, the people.
This month is very trying for the Muslims in NAfrica due to the extremely hot climate, but also because it is the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. This is a time where Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset. They cannot eat or drink any liquid, including water. They are not supposed to take pleasure in activities and you see many walking around with solemn faces advertising that they are fasting. As I drove down the streets of Maadi during Ramadan, I would see ahawas (outdoor coffee and sheesha shops) that were completely covered over. Everyone knew that there were men in there drinking tea, smoking sheesha and eating bean pitas. They were supposed to be fasting, but they thought, if you don’t see me, it’s okay. Of course, there are many that keep the fast and you even here about some that die fasting. The Muslim will say “Ilhumdllah, Praise be to God. He is now in Paradise.” There are crowded streets, shouting and fighting and grouchy passersby due to the lack of food and drink. On the metro, many chant the Quran and memorize each sura for approval from Allah and to be a better person.
We see some following the fast and others that will not and cannot. Both of them have issues because the one that does the fast, feels prideful about himself and believes he has earned more favor to go Paradise and the other feels condemned and feels he must make up for it some way.
This is just one law that the Quran and Hadith demands. There are laws and if they are broken, there is sure condemnation and less of a chance for Paradise where there are rewards of sensual pleasure that could not be experienced on the earth, but now can be experienced for eternity. It is a law that cannot be fulfilled because the heart of mankind is corrupt. It is a law that if partially fulfilled causes pride and arrogance or condemnation. It is a law that comes from corruption and reaps corruption. Can Muslims be forgiven by keeping laws? Can we be forgiven by keeping the OT law? Can we earn our way to heaven?
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:28
Man cannot fully keep the law of the holy God of heaven. Man cannot keep the laws of the god of the Quran. The law shows our insufficiency, but the mighty sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the answer to the deception of fasting for favor from God. He is the fulfiller of the law and He works in us to do His will. He is the one that is holy and just, yet full of grace. Is it okay to fast and to do good deeds? Of course!! These works are not a part of our justification and forgiveness of sins, but something we do out of love for the God that saves.
Those that think they can make it to heaven through laws and works are deceived. They need someone to save them from the curse of the law. They need someone to work in them to do according to His word. They need a book that shows the way to eternal life. It is all found in Christ.
He is the answer that is needed for true hope and joy. His word is pure and guides our way. He wants to answer their needs. He wants to show them they cannot earn their way to heaven, but He freely gives His all.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Romans 3:24
Pray for Muslims all over the world that seek favor and enlightenment during this time. We have the answer and His name is Jesus. Let Him answer their need through you. If they trust in Christ alone for salvation, He will save and give life and that more abundantly.