In a little over a month, the Ramadan blessings will begin to flow, and I canâ€™t wait. Thereâ€™s an incredible feeling that arises in the community. Itâ€™s textured, tangible. You can feel the blessings flowing. Iftars at the masjid, taraweeh prayers, cute little hungry children fasting for the first time, peaceful believers eager to greet each other, eid celebration planning, and an overwhelming sense of love and warmth. What more could we ask for?
This holy month is a perfect time for dawah. The beauty of Ramadan is too great to keep to ourselves. We must share it with others, show the world the true nature of our religion. If non-Muslim donâ€™t see and interact with real Muslims, they are so much more likely to believe the distorted images they see in the mainstream media. Theyâ€™ll have less of a reason to question and critique, less of a reason to search for whatâ€™s real. This Ramadan, letâ€™s show them whatâ€™s real. Letâ€™s show them the unstoppable beauty of Islam.
Iâ€™ve had people say to me regarding fasting â€œWow, I couldnâ€™t do that. I love food too much.â€ To that I reply â€œYou could do it if you had the understanding I have.â€ I know fasting is about so much more than starving for the better half of the day, but they donâ€™t. I know the great reward of hunger pains, but they donâ€™t. I know the self restraint fasting promotes, but they donâ€™t. I have a spiritual connection to fasting that makes the discomfort well worthwhile. It truly is enlightening experience. Why not share that with the world?
We are often angered by the terrorism and oppression stories that dominate media coverage of Muslims. We canâ€™t sit back and wait for them to tire of the skewed images. We have to show ourselves and give the world a new face of Islam. We have to protect our own reputation. Itâ€™s our job to police the boundaries of what is and isnâ€™t considered a reflection of us. Ramadan is the perfect time to do that.
Tips for Sharing the Ramadan Spirit with non-Muslims
Give Ramadan cards- My non-Muslim grandparents used to send Christmas cards to my brothers and me every year. They knew we didnâ€™t celebrate Christmas, but they wanted to share the joy of their holiday with us. What a great idea! We often give beautifully-decorated cards to each other as kind gestures. Why not give them to your non-Muslim friends and family? In fact, why not give them to complete strangers?
Make yard signs- Most people only think to use yard signs for garage sales, political candidates and real estate promoting. A nice alternative is to use them to promote Islam. Imagine if all the Muslims houses across your neighborhood had signs saying â€œMuslims peacefully observing Ramadan.â€
Invite them to iftars- When non-Muslims think about Ramadan, they probably focus on the â€œno eatingâ€ part. It would be a fun and new experience for them to be exposed to the â€œeatingâ€ part.
Invite them to eid festivities- This is another way to help them abandon images of Muslims as mean, violent, abusive people. Letâ€™s show them that we are, in actuality, the exact opposite.
Nadirah Angail is a Kansas City-based blogger/author with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has recently published her first book, entitled â€œOn All the Things That Make Me Beautiful: Short Inspirational Essays on Life, Love & Self.â€ Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her website www.nadirahangail.com.