Over Half…

What if the majority of the world’s 8 billion people could share in a season of spiritual grounding?  What if over half of humanity would focus, all at the same time, on the practices that lead to harmony within oneself and justice in society? 


The Muslim month of Ramadan began on Sunday.  Because the Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, Ramadan slowly migrates within our solar calendar, appearing a little earlier each year.  We’re in a window of years when it overlaps with our Christian observation of Lent.  Both Ramadan and Lent contain calls for searching one’s heart, doing good deeds, and recalling the core narrative and principles of one’s faith. 

There are nearly two billion Muslims in the world, and about 2.4 billion Christians. 

Faith in Public Life, which has developed a strong interfaith network in Central Ohio, recently shared these words from Azka Mahmood, an Islamic leader in Georgia:  

The values of empathy, compassion, and inclusivity promoted during this month build the foundation for a more harmonious and equitable world and guard against extremism. The month of Ramadan is almost like a giant, month-long listening session with our community. The more we are connected to a loving, supportive community, the more attuned we are to each other – to what is good.

Similar words could be written about Lent.

I’m under no illusion that everyone who calls themselves a Muslim or Christian centers these values.  But I still find this a beautiful thought: In these two traditions alone, the majority of the world has access to a set of communal practices that ground us in love rather than fear, in justice rather than violence, in hope rather than despair.

Azka ends her message with this invitation:

This Ramadan, whether you are Muslim or not, join me. Join me in praying – praying for the multifaith, multiracial democracy we are working to build. Join me in listening – listening to our brothers and sisters and learning empathy, patience and kindness.

Invitation accepted.