Dear Friend …
Last week marked the beginning of Ramadan, a Holy month in Islam. Many Muslims are searching for truth… and if ever there was a time when Islam needed to experience the life changing message of Christ it’s now.
Just over a month ago Asma Yaqoob a 25-year-old Christian woman from Pakistan tragically died after being set on fire by a Muslim man. For two years Asma worked as a hair stylist fulfilling her life-long dream. She was proud of her job. Her younger brother Nabeel worked as a banner printer where he became a close friend of Rizwan, a Muslim.
Over the past few months Rizwan became a regular visitor at the Yaqoob home, and befriended Asma, and eventually fell in love with her. Overcome by his love for her he asked her to marry him and convert to Islam, but she refused both requests.
In order to avoid problems for her brother, she did not tell her family. But after the refusal, Rizwan become aggressive and violent towards her. She tried to avoid and ignore him whenever he visited her family.
Then on April 10th, Rizwan’s anger and frustration boiled over. He travelled to the town where Asma had gone to work in preparation for a wedding. Claiming to be her brother, Rizwan got Asma to come out of the house where he attacked her, dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire, before running away.
Her frantic, frightening screams shocked the people inside the house who found her in flames. Rushing her to the nearest hospital they discovered that she had burns over 90 per cent of her body. She died 2 weeks later!
Asma’s dreams for her life were destroyed. Yet, AsiaLink’s ministry to women living in a Muslim country like Pakistan is helping heal and empower women to rise above the challenges they constantly face.
Your financial support helps AsiaLink minister to women giving them hope and purpose whether through our women empowerment conferences, sewing and adult education projects etc., that help elevate them in a society where they are often treated as inferior and of lower status. Our women’s ministry team needs your support today!
(Rev.) Dale R. Hiscock
MONDAY / Islamic World - RAMADAN CONSIDERED THE HOLIEST MONTH OF THE YEAR
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is considered the holiest month of the year by millions of Muslims. This year, Ramadan started on Tuesday, May 15th and ends on Thursday, June 14th. During Ramadan Muslims fast during the day, observe daily prayers, give to the poor and refocus their attention on Allah. This time for fasting and prayers is intended to help Muslims to purify their soul and to rededicate their lives to Islam.
It is believed that the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. The historical records shows that first revelation was sent down on Laylat al-Qadr (The night of Power) which is one of the five odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. According to the Hadiths the entire Quran was ‘sent’ during Ramadan.
The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is ramdaa, meaning ‘sunbaked sand’ and the famous proverb Kal Mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar – to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.
As Muslims seek God, we can pray that they will encounter Jesus in their dreams and even when they read the Koran. Muslims don’t regard Jesus as God and only accept Him as a prophet.
Pray that Muslims around the world will encounter Jesus during this time and come to faith.
Pray for Christians sharing the Gospel with Muslims during this time.
TUESDAY / South East Asia - AL-QAEDA FIGHTER COMES TO FAITH IN CHRIST
I met Abdullah from South Asia who used to train suicide bombers for Al-Qaeda. As we drank tea, he told me about a dream he had had ten years earlier.
In the dream, he was flying in an airplane going on his own suicide mission. Suddenly Jesus appeared to him, stretched out His arms, and wrapped them around Abdullah, telling him, “No more killing. No more stealing. No more lying.” Next day, he asked friends about the dream’s meaning.
Every one told him the dream came from Satan. Abdullah wasn’t so sure. He quit working for Al-Qaeda. He sought out and started a Bible correspondence course. The first lesson was on the Ten Commandments — “Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Don’t lie.” Abdullah told me, “I figured I was on the right track.” He wanted to know more, so another friend directed him to a local missionary. After reading
scriptures for a few years he committed his life to Christ.
Today, he joyfully tells other Muslims about his hope in Jesus.
During this season of Ramadan pray that countless Muslims would experience dreams and occurrences
that would all point to Christ reaching out to them.
Pray for our AsiaLink Bible Correspondence Institute in Pakistan that has touched over 10,000 lives.
Pray for the security of all those who are taking the various courses as many are doing it without
wanting to draw attention to their search for truth.
Pray for our dedicated team who work and minister to the many who are taking the courses.
Pray for the special secret gatherings that take place where seekers can ask their questions face to face
with our team and learn more about God’s incredible purpose for their lives.
WEDNESDAY / China - The China miracle: Muslims dream of Jesus
One night during Ramadan, Halid experienced a life changing dream. He said, “In my dream a man came to me and took my hand. I didn’t know who this man was but I knew that he was good. He led me up a hill, but I got tired and pulled my hand away. He waited patiently until I had rested and then, taking my hand again, we continued up the hill. Upon reaching the top I again tried to pull my hand away from him since we had reached our destination. But he gently, yet firmly, held my hand so that I could not get away from him. At that point I woke up.”
Halid shared his dream with a friend, also a Muslim, hoping for help in understanding its meaning. His friend said, “Halid, the man in your dream was Jesus the Messiah.”
Halid remembers, “As soon as I heard this, I knew it was true and that God was telling me I must really follow Jesus. He was showing me that He is always waiting to take my hand, even when I pull away. I see now that I have always needed Him and even when I push Him away He stays right by my side. I don’t understand this kind of love but I know I need it and I like it.”
Halid started reading the Bible and is sharing this good news in his community.
Even though God is doing amazing things among the Hui people in China, many of the over 10 million Hui still live in a world that is unaware of the awesome love that Halid is now experiencing. Many still live in fear and though they have a real desire to know and obey God, they don’t know how to do it.
Ask that Jesus would reveal Himself to the Hui in supernatural ways.
Pray that the fear the Chinese Christians feel towards the Hui would be replaced with love and a desire to reach out to the Hui.
THURSDAY / Islamic World - MUSLIM IMAN COMES TO FAITH
One Muslim Iman was quite respected for his faith. He formerly had been a committed communist and intellectual, yet he found himself not wanting to live without a spiritual hope. So he became an Islamic imam and teacher, and was appreciated and respected in many parts of his country. After the collapse of the USSR, his children and then his wife came in contact with a newly-formed Christian community. For him that was no problem, since he also advocated religious freedom.
After a short time he was confronted with the power of the gospel. Before his eyes, a woman was healed — he could not heal the sick, let alone really help people who were suffering. Without hesitation he gave his life to Jesus. As he began to study the Bible, his conviction became even stronger and he became a “formidable” apologist. The police placed him under house arrest for six months. This gave him the time and peace to write his story and have it printed, so that many would pay attention to Jesus through his life and the testimony of how he came to faith.
Pray that Islamic spiritual leaders will have their eyes opened to the truth of Christ!
Ask God to reveal himself to other Muslim leaders so that they might use their influence to impact their congregations for Christ.
FRIDAY / Islamic World - Preparations for Prayer
On Fridays, Muslims worldwide will be preparing themselves for Friday prayer. Practising Muslims doritual washings in order to be pure for prayer. Ritual cleansing is very important to Muslims, as well as the specific times of praying. This differs significantly from Christian teaching about prayer.
In Islam it is impossible to pray correctly without the ritual cleansing with water, or in the absence of water, with sand. This ritual of washing prescribes the worshiper to clean the following, in order: hands, nose, face, forearms, hair, ears, back of the neck, toes, and feet. Just before they intend to pray, Muslims say bismillah, “in the name of God.”
Islamic instruction about prayer is filled with long passages on exactly how to go about the cleansing process. None of the steps can be sidestepped or done in an improper way otherwise Islamic prayer loses its merit and validity.
Unfortunately, no one can be saved or sanctified by ritual cleansing. While some aspects of the ritual washing may be helpful as a reminder about how sinful we are as human beings, ultimately the ritual cleansing does not lead Muslims to true righteousness or holiness.
Pray for Muslims to discover the depths of sin and God’s holiness so that they may forever be freed of the idea that water can ever make them fit to meet God.
SATURDAY / Islamic World - The Call of the Muezzin
Each day across the entire Islamic world, the ‘muezzin’ call people to prayer five times per day over a loudspeaker located on a minaret (tower) attached to the mosque: at dawn (fajr), noon (dhuhr), in the afternoon (asr), at sunset (maghrib) and nightfall (isha’a).
On Fridays all male Muslims are supposed to attend the noontime prayers which are usually accompanied by a sermon. In Western and non-Islamic countries muezzin often cannot make the call to prayer except on the radio or in the courtyards of local mosques because of laws restricting loud and intrusive sounds.
Pray for the muezzin in your own country and around the world today to have a personal encounter with the living God, through Jesus Christ.