Three Ways Christians Can Benefit from a Ramadan Fast

Photo Credit: Alaiyo Kiasi Food Random

For the past two years, teacher, writer, and interfaith advocate Sarah Ager has curated the Interfaith Ramadan blog series. Sarah was born in the UK, raised as a Christian, and recently converted to Islam after a series of interactions with Muslim friends.

In 2013 and 2014, Interfaith Ramadan featured articles from writers of both faith and non-faith traditions who shared their perspectives on spirituality, theology, community, inclusion, and social issues.

I was honored when Sarah asked me to contribute to this year’s project.

As I brainstormed, it felt natural to consider the implications of Ramadan on an interfaith level, as my own Christian-Hindu household seeks to foster understanding and openness to spiritual practices not rooted in the faith with which I was raised.

When I first received Sarah’s email, I knew I had to write on Ekadasi. You’ve seen the term “Ekadasi” on the blog before, and it’s a practice that is both near to my heart, and one that I struggle with greatly.

My essay for Interfaith Ramadan unpacked some of the complexities of attempting, adopting, or living in solidarity with one another’s spiritual practices.

Here’s a sneak-peek:

“Though Baptists might be the last ones to (re) join the discipline of food restriction, modern day fasting offers us an opportunity emulate and learn from our global brothers and sisters in all traditions.”Three Ways Christians Can Benefit from a Ramadan Fast

Head over to Interfaith Ramadan to read more from my post and many others, and check out archives:

Interfaith Ramadan 2013

Interfaith Ramadan 2014

Enjoy reading this? Please share using the @InterfaithRam Twitter handle and hashtags #InterfaithRamadan and #IFRam2015

Share your thoughts:

Have you ever participated in Ramadan, fasting, or any spiritual practice that wasn’t tied to your own faith or non-faith tradition? Tell us about your experience!

6 comments

  1. Hi Dana,
    I love your contribution to Interfaith Ramadan! Sarah Ager’s idea is a wonderful one, and you are a perfect person to participate. 🙂
    I think that spiritual practices such as fasting, which may be outside of our own traditions, are challenging, yet meaningful ways to grow and strengthen our faith and connection with the Divine and/or each other.
    As you know, my new husband is Muslim. 🙂 I have very much enjoyed honoring his beliefs and learning more about Islam by praying and reading the Qur’an with him during these past few months of marriage. Specifically for Ramadan, I have set a goal of trying to read the entire Qur’an, which is something I have not done before, but have wanted to for some time.
    However, I must admit that fasting has been much more difficult for me to commit to doing. In no way is he expecting or pushing me to fast with him, but it is something that I would like to do if I can. I have attempted it, but have not managed to make it through a whole day yet. If I do, I’ll be sure to share the experience! 😉

    1. Sarah:

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts and experiences.

      Blessings on your new marriage, and yes, do keep us updated on your first Ramadan as a married couple! I love that you are reading the Qur’an and attempting a partial fast. I’ve found that engaging in those practices (or texts) outside Christianity doesn’t “derail” my faith, but rather strengthens it! Have you found that to be true?

      What are learning about/enjoy thus far from your Qur’an reading?

      Deep peace,
      Dana

      1. Thank you, Dana!
        Yes, I have definitely found that engaging with practices and texts outside Christianity strengthens my faith! Actually, the Qur’an itself reinforces and affirms Christianity and Biblical scriptures in so many ways. This is something I have been learning more, and gaining strength from, while reading it this month.

        Also, yesterday I completed my first day-long Ramadan fast, in conjunction with http://www.se7enfast.com/about

        It went surprisingly smoothly, and I didn’t even have a glass of water (which is what I have most struggled with during my previous fasting attempts)! My husband woke me up at 4 am, we had suhoor (pre-dawn meal before fasting begins) and prayed together. Then at 8:30 pm we broke our fast with a delicious iftar (evening meal after fasting) that he so kindly and expertly prepared for us. I’m actually fasting again today and, God willing, will complete this second day in just a few hours! I will admit that I’m definitely struggling a bit more today than yesterday. My husband has been so incredibly kind and encouraging, though, so that helps. 🙂

        1. Sarah:

          Thanks so much for reading and sharing your experience.

          I’m glad fasting went well the first day, though I can imagine an entire daylight fast of food and water is very, very difficult. You are in my prayers as you continue to discern how fasting may take shape in your own Christian practice. I love to hear interfaith couples “sharing” one another’s rituals, as I’m convinced it makes for a stronger, harmonious household. Plus, can we ever really have too many spiritual practices and holy days?! 🙂

          I also love your blog post. Please keep writing about your experiences. Your voice is needed, especially for those in America who believe that, in particular, a Christian-Muslim pairing could not work. You and your husband are a powerful example of placing God and love in the center.

          Grateful for you,
          Dana

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