In August, Saudi Arabia will host anywhere from 1 to 3 million Muslims from around the world for the five- or six-day event called the Hajj. This pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam, and all able-bodied Muslims must complete the Hajj at least once in their lifetime.
There are a number of prescribed things that each Muslim on pilgrimage must perform, and one of these is the sacrificing of a sheep or goat. This commemorates Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son (don’t get into the discussion of whether it was Isaac or Ishmael), but God intervening at the last moment and providing an animal instead. While this event takes place during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, Muslims around the world who aren’t on pilgrimage also remember and celebrate. In fact, this celebration—called Eid al-Adha, meaning Celebration of the Sacrifice—is the biggest of the Muslim calendar. This year, the Hajj will be August 9-14 (or 15), with Eid taking place between the 10th and the 13th, depending on where you live.
While there are many things you could talk to your Muslim friends about this coming month concerning the Hajj, I would especially encourage you to engage in conversation with them on two questions:
- Why must all Muslims on the Hajj change their clothes and put on white garments?
- What is the meaning of the sacrifice?
For the first question, I suspect you will hear comments like, “We put on clean white clothes to show our hearts are clean,” or, “to reflect that we have confessed our sins and sought the forgiveness of our sins.” (The very fact that they put off their old clothes and put on new white clothes should show their understanding of their need to be cleansed.) Whatever their explanation, you can follow up by asking how long their hearts stay clean or their sins stay forgiven. Do they need to perform the Hajj again, or is once entirely enough to cleanse them of their sins forever? In your discussions, where possible, use Scripture and point them to Jesus; don’t argue, be patient. Pray a lot.
For the second question, perhaps you could follow up with them by asking why a sacrifice was necessary in the first place? Pray for wisdom and take the opportunity to share about the gravity of how God looks at sin, and that all sin is rebellion against a Holy God and is punishable by death. And then ask them to consider the one true sacrifice made by the only perfect person who ever lived, Jesus. The Quran says and Muslims believe that Jesus was sinless, they just don’t fully grasp the significance of his willingness to go to the cross for them and to be their perfect sacrifice once and for all. This could be their opportunity to hear this for the first time ever!
As part of the 10/10 Prayer Initiative, 180 agencies have come together to ask God to draw to himself 10 percent of the world’s Muslims in the next 10 years. 10/10. Easy to remember, yet such an amazingly big task that only God can do it. Will you join us?
- Pray for opportunities to talk to Muslims during this important month of August. This month, of all months, is the easiest time to talk about spiritual things.
- Pray for open and tender hearts to hear what God puts on your heart to share with your Muslim friends.
- When you meet with or see a Muslim neighbor or friend, or if you just happen to meet a Muslim for the first time this month, ask if there is something for which they need prayer. Take the time right then to pray for them in Jesus’ name. Pray for that request until you meet them again, and then ask them how God has answered your prayers.
- Pray that SEND workers living in Muslim countries and communities will have intentional conversations that would have eternal significance this month.
- Not many people like to be told about the gravity of their sin. Pray for the Holy Spirit to go ahead of each conversation and prepare hearts to hear and respond to his leading.
- Pray for the millions of Muslims performing the Hajj, that on their spiritual journey they would encounter the True and Living God!
- Continue to pray for 10% of the Muslim world to come to Christ in the next 10 years. This prayer initiative is being carried forward by many people, churches, and mission agencies throughout the world. Join in and be a part of seeing God awaken the Muslim world to their need for a Savior. This is a month where there is more spiritual sensitivity than normal because of the significant events taking place throughout the Muslim world. Pray for God’s grace to reign supreme.
To help guide your prayers, check out the Prayercast page about the Hajj. A new video launches August 4.