Each year during Ramadan, I pray for Muslims around the world.
Ramadan is thirty-day period of intense fasting during the day, joined with prayer and alms-giving. It is a time for all observant Muslims to seek God and submit themselves to Him. This year, Ramadan begins on the 6th June and ends on the 5th July.
We shouldn’t be afraid to pray for the conversion of Muslims. It’s not politically correct and you won’t hear many priests or bishops exhorting us to prayer for the conversion of the Muslim world. But we need to — not because it makes us feel good — but because every Muslim was created to know and love the Triune God who reveals Himself in Jesus Christ.
We can easily fall into an “us-vs-them” mentality and desire the conversion of Muslims because it would be a “win” for us, rather than for the glory of Christ. Even worse, we can look at the seemingly intractable progress of Islam and think there’s no hope. As if the power of the Gospel could transform anyone, except if you’re Muslim.
If we truly believe that Jesus is the Incarnate Son of God, then we should want all Muslims to know and love Him too!
Muslims, responding to the general revelation of God’s immortal qualities in creation, worship the one God. As St Paul writes in Romans,
Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, [God’s] eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.
And what do Muslims worship but God’s power and deity? They follow, although imperfectly, the natural law, especially in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. You’d have to be idiot not to be impressed by the piety of so many Muslims. The Church affirms that Muslims worship the same God as Christians (although not completely, obviously!) The Second Vatican Council document, Nostra Aetate, states:
They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. (Nostra Aetate, 3)
But this is not enough.
Natural revelation, however it’s codified or packaged, can only get us so far.
In Jesus Christ, God reveals the mystery of His Love. It is precisely this understanding of the love of God which Muslims desperately need to know, just as we all do.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
Without Jesus, however, Muslims cannot know the mystery of the Holy Trinity who is Love Itself. They cannot the Word who, out of love, became flesh and dwelt amongst us, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) They cannot know the love of the Heart of Jesus crucified and of His Precious Blood which was ransomed us from sin and death. (1 Peter 1:18-19) They cannot know the outpouring the Holy Spirit, who fills our souls with divine charity. (Romans 5:1) They cannot know this love which surpasses all understanding. (Ephesians 3:19)
Without the revelation of Jesus, none of us can.
Will you pray with me during Ramadan for our Muslim sisters and brothers?
Each day in Ramadan, I’m going to offer up a small prayer for the conversion of Muslims around the world. I’ll be praying that their hearts would be opened to the truth of the Christian Gospel and that they would know the merciful love of God, Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
May the whole Muslim world would be filled with the call to prayer — the call to pray with faith in the name of Jesus!
Our Lady of Fátima and all you holy martyrs, pray for us!