Share Jesus with Muslims around Eid
“This Sunday my whole family is celebrating the big feast, Eid Al-Adha. Will you pray that the Lord would open their eyes to the only sacrificial Lamb who can take away their sins,” asks Nina, a former Muslim.
Muslims mark Eid and the final days of Hajj
Like Nina, how can you look for opportunities to share Jesus with Muslims around Eid al-Adha?
Let’s start by unpacking what Eid is. Eid Al-Adha just means “the Sacrifice Holiday,” and it’s considered the second most holy day of the Islamic calendar. It’s celebrated near the end of hajj. To Muslims, like Nina’s family, it commemorates the story in the Quran of how God appeared to Abraham in a dream. God commanded him to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, as an act of obedience. Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, an angel stopped him and gave him a ram as a substitute sacrifice for his son.
Now that Nina is a follower of Jesus, her heart breaks as she observes her Muslim family joyfully celebrating the ritual sacrifice of Eid Al-Adha. On this day, Muslims world-wide gather together to pray, seek God’s mercy, share a big feast, and exchange gifts.
Now Nina believes that blood is required to cleanse sin. Yet unlike her Muslim family, she knows that cleansing won’t come by sacrificing a ram. She has discovered that Jesus’ blood was the perfect sacrifice. He is the Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world. Nina is the first in her family to accept the substitute sacrifice of Jesus Christ. She has accepted him as her Lord and Savior. Now Nina prays her loved one’s eyes would also be opened to the Truth.
Eid and the final days of Hajj
Muslims like Nina’s family commemorate the end of hajj with Eid celebrations. Hajj is one of the largest religious gatherings on earth. 2.5 million of the 1.8 billion Muslims world-wide, attended hajj in Saudi Arabia this year.
Hajj means to “attend a journey,” and it is the fifth pillar of Islam, a duty that each Muslim is required to do at least once in their lives, if health and finances allow. Dates for hajj change from year-to-year, based on the Islamic lunar calendar. This year hajj is from Friday night, August 9th to Wednesday night, August 14that sunset.
Hajj Day One
Before she became a follower of Christ, Nina journeyed to hajj with her family. She and over 2 million other Muslim pilgrims like her began hajj at Kaaba, a building at the center of Islam’s most important mosque, the Great Mosque of Mecca. Muslims go around the Kaaba in a counterclockwise direction, meant to express the devotion of Muslims praying to Allah. They re-enact Hagar’s journey for water, and trek to Mina, where they recite prayers. Then, they spend the night in a valley where it is believed Abraham “stoned the devil” as he tried to lead him astray.
Hajj Day Two
After the morning prayer in Mina, pilgrims make the journey up to Mount Arafat. Standing and praying there is considered the peak of the journey, as Muslims believe that Muhammad gave his final sermon there.
Next, pilgrims like Nina collect pebbles while traveling south to perform the last steps of hajj, which takes place after midnight.
Hajj Day Three
Muslims believe they must stone the place where the devil appeared before Abraham. They mimic Abraham and throw seven pebbles, one after the other, saying “Allahu Akbar”(God is the greatest) after each throw. Following this, Eid Al-Adha festivities begin worldwide.
Hajj Days Four Through Six
Muslims stay in Mina up to three more days to stone three sites of the devil each day. This leg of hajj is mean to cement intentions, in hopes that God will accept their hajj. (Two days are mandatory, the third is optional.)
Once hajj is complete, Muslims replace their white or black robes with their best, most colorful clothes and go around the Kaaba one last time. After taking this final step, Muslims are referred to as Hajjis.
Nina, the Hajji
Our friend Nina trekked to Saudi Arabia as a devout Muslim so that God would accept her hajj. Afterward, she had no guarantee that she would enter Paradise. Then a Christian family befriended and loved her, shared the gospel with her, prayed with her, and invited her to study the Bible. This family pointed her to Jesus, the sacrificial lamb of God, as the way to heaven. She believed, and this Truth set her free.
Today, her fervent prayer is that every Muslim would know this truth. And so she prays that Christian would be inspired and empowered to share Jesus with Muslims near them, Muslims just like her mother and sister. Would you be willing to cross religious and cultural divides to be an authentic Christian witness to share Jesus with a Muslim who lives near you?
How to share Jesus with Muslims around Eid
Here are three ways to share Jesus with Muslims around you during holidays like Eid and hajj:
- Ask a curious question to open up a conversation about Eid Al-Adha or hajj like this: “I heard it was Eid Al-Adha recently. Tell me more about this holiday.”
- Listen and ask more curious questions, like this: “What’s your favorite part about this holiday? How does your family celebrate?” As you build on your relationship, pray and look for natural opportunities to share your favorite Christian holiday.
- At the Holy Spirit’s leading, offer to do a Bible/Quran study on your favorite holidays. Should your Muslim friend accept, consider that you may have found a “Person of Peace.”
For more on how to share Jesus with Muslims around you, take iHOPE’s free online video training course.
Note: Nina’s name has been changed to protect her identify.