Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ramadan Slavery

"He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God." I Peter 1:19  (The Bible)

"No Muslim is free," Sakina remarked. Never is that more obvious than during Ramadan. Sakina believes she is a slave of Allah. A slave, of course, may yearn for freedom but can not be free unless that freedom is purchased and she is no longer a slave. How wonderful to know that Jesus has purchased my freedom and now I belong to Him as a beloved child. Spiritual slavery is over. Hallelujah! It saddens me to see the spirit of slavery in my Muslim friends.  

Amina feels guilty because she finds it almost impossible to stay awake until the last required nimaz and get up before dawn to say another required nimaz. It was proving to be too difficult to go to work and stay alert all day. I was reminded that my acceptance in and by Jesus Christ is not determined by keeping a fast or saying my prayers at certain hours, nor by any other effort to please Him.  God does not want me to suffer. The salvation of my sinful soul is a gift, not something I work for or suffer for. Fasting is not a prerequisite for me to feel close to God.  

Farideh was pregnant again. It was her fourth year in a row. The time was stacking up when she would have to make up the fasting she could not do for four years and she wondered how she would organize all that make up time. An overwhelming burden rested on her.  Other women know they will have to make up fasting for the days they have their periods during Ramadan. I am reminded how, in God’s sight, all of me - body and soul - have been purified and cleansed whether pregnant or having my period. Such female conditions do not stand in the way before God and me. I have access to God at all times. There is no make up time. He does not see any female condition as problematic, limiting, or restrictive to come into His presence. He does not see me as “unclean”, but cleansed by the blood of the Lamb of God. 

Henna’s relative died during Ramadan. She needed to grieve and decided it was too difficult to fast while grieving. Shahnaz, the ever vigilant religious monitor, said that was not a valid reason to not fast. I am reminded that God is not a harsh task master. He understands my frame and my needs. Jesus Christ gives me rest from burdens. He does not increase my burdens. I am not required  to fast at all - ever. I can if I so desire but it is not required of me.  

Amina, who is diabetic, asked Layla to fast for her by proxy and would pay her. Even though the diabetic patient did not realize she is exempt from fasting she connived this proxy way. She paid a price. It is a joyful reminder that Jesus Christ paid the price of releasing me from the penalty and punishment of sin and pronounced that I am forgiven. Free! He paid a high price for my redemption.

During Ramadan gratitude towards my Savior, Jesus Christ, is heightened and overflows. I revel in my freedom because I am a child of God and not a slave of God.

Dear heavenly Father, You offer us freedom, not bondage. I love you so much. Thank you. Thank you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.