from Shane's Muslim Connect
I once asked my young daughter, “Sweetheart, what is all over your face?” She paused, pondered, and asked in return, “Hmmm, I don’t know. What color is it?”
With the possible exception of her, and then only for a very short time in her early life, most of us want to be clean, don’t we? Not just our faces. Our lives, our very souls. We want to be forgiven, free of blame, we want to hear Jesus’ words to the paralytic spoken directly to our faces: “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
One way to be clean is to decide that nothing makes you dirty. If there are no rules to break, then there is no guilt to be carried. Alternatively, some religions have developed elaborate rituals, pilgrimages, even literal bathings in this pursuit. For instance, 3.5 million Hindu pilgrims participated in this year’s Khumb Mela pilgrimage. They gathered throughout the past month in spite of, and contributing to, the devastating second covid wave that is bringing India to its knees today. The purpose? A sin-cleansing dip in the Ganges.
In a Muslim worldview, the best chance for forgiveness comes on Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, which occurs next week toward the end of Ramadan. It commemorates the beginning of the quranic revelation from God to Muhammad. Many believe that the destiny of your coming year is determined on this night, that sins are forgiven and good deeds multiplied. (Read more here and determine what your contribution should be based on your net worth!)
My friend Isa challenged me to fast one day during this year’s Ramadan. Since Laylat al-Qadr is such a spiritually active night, I’m planning to fast next Saturday, May 8th. Would you care to join me? You could focus prayers on your Muslim friends, my friend Isa, or the Islamic world in general.
I’d like to tell Isa that 100 of my friends are fasting (even one meal would be cool) and praying for him and his brothers and sisters. If you’re willing, please count yourself in here.