“The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months” [Sura 97:3]. Muslims believe that on the night of power, Laylat-al-Qadr, the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is celebrated on one of the last ten days of Ramadan. Muslims often stay up all night praying as they believe prayers on that night are more powerful and the blessings from Allah are more abundant. Pray for Muslims in the East and Southeast Asian regions to have opportunities to learn more about Isa (Jesus) who is honoured in the Qu’ran.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
— Isaiah 43:19
Eid al-Fitr’ is the festival marking the end of Ramadan. Many people will buy new clothes or put on their best clothes for the festival, but for some this can be a challenge. Pray for those who may feel left on the edges of these festivals at the end of Ramadan, either because of their social position or financial circumstances.
Islam was carried into East and Southeast Asia by Muslim traders in the seventh century. Today there are many business people in Muslim communities around East Asia. While some businesses may open for reduced hours during Ramadan, there is still work to be done which may seem harder to those who are fasting. Employers may need an extra measure of patience in the fasting month. Pray for fasting workers and employers to be patient with one another in Ramadan.
It’s a strong test of discipline to keep the fast during Ramadan. This is now the final week of Ramadan and Muslims all over East and Southeast Asia are looking forward to celebrating the end of the fast. The workload of preparing food in Ramadan is considered a privilege. Those who prepare it often rise very early to get the pre-dawn meal ready, before their normal working day and then later creating the special evening meal, Iftar. Ask God to help you pray for those who prepare food as they serve their families and communities in these final days of the fast.
The month of Ramadan is time for Zakat giving, pray that those who do so do it cheerfully and generously. As we come towards the end of Ramadan pray that as Muslims receive their allocation that it would be a help to their families.
About East Asia’s Muslims
Of East Asia’s 2.2 billion people, over 12% or more than 260 million people are Muslim. There are more than 220 different ethnic groups in East Asia that are majority Muslim, and one can find Muslims from Mongolia to Indonesia, Myanmar to Japan. By some estimates, 60% of those following Islam around the world live in Asia. Their cultures are different from their Middle-Eastern counterparts, and their Islamic practices are quite diverse.
Helping Muslims learn more about Jesus has been part of OMF International’s history for more than 100 years. In 1906, George W. Hunter of the China Inland Mission (CIM) set up base in Urumqi and served among the Uyghur, Kazak and other Muslim people groups in China. Many other CIM workers served Chinese Muslim groups such as the Hui in the early 20th Century.
OMF Work Today
Today, we engage and serve East Asia’s Muslims in different locations in a variety of ways. We teach, serve as professionals, run businesses, empower poor communities and contribute to nation building in the countries where we serve. We make friends with our neighbours, build bridges and explore the Scriptures with them; we explain what it means to follow Jesus. We also work with like-minded followers of Jesus in loving and serving our Muslim neighbors with the love of Jesus.
- Millions of people in many people groups spread throughout Southeast Asia and East Asia.
Father, we pray for you to bless the Muslim peoples throughout East Asia. We want to see poor village people, men at the tea shops, fishermen at the beach, women in the markets, students and busy influential people in towns learn more about the love of Jesus. Lord, please bring harmony and trust to people of different faiths living together in community.