Summary: Article published in The Mountaineer, Fort Carson, CO’s Army post newspaper
By Chaplain (Captain) Steve Satterfield
4BSTB, 4IBCT, 4ID
As a Christian Chaplain, I realize the importance of being aware of the major holidays in the largest religions of the world. Ramadan is the yearly month of fasting in Islam. This year it starts on 11 August. It changes, based on the moon.
The 4IBCT just returned from a year in Afghanistan, an almost 100% Muslim country, so I taught our Battalion the main points of Ramadan, so we were culturally aware. I will summarize them below. It is important for us to respect other religions. This can help us build a bridge so we have better relationships.
During this month, Muslims all around the world do not eat, drink or give in to other physical needs during the daylight hours. They do this at night. We encouraged our Warriors not to eat, drink or smoke around Muslims during the day. We did not have any major incidents about Ramadan because of our respect.
The Old Testament book of Isaiah 58: 5 ¡V 11 states
6 "Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? 7 "Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 "Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 "Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, `Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, 10 And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. 11 "And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. ¡§ (New American Standard Bible)
The Jewish and Christian traditions can learn from Muslims and the passage above. It implies that we declare spiritual warfare against evil when we fast, and we will see victory in the Lord. Please check with your doctor before doing this.
Fasting does not just have to be food, it can be of other things we enjoy. Since I have started school again, I have been fasting TV, since I am too busy studying at night when I come home! ƒº
Lord, help us all give up a little of our lives to You, so we can hear Your voice better and so that we can focus more on You!