It is not often that, as an adult, you get to see Ramaḍān through the eyes of a first-timer. Unfortunately we tend to become so accustomed to all of the blessings of this holy month that we forget to truly appreciate them. This Ramaḍān a Methodist Pastor in Dallas decided to observe the fast for the entire month, and to blog about it. Reading his blogs has been refreshing for so many. His readership has spread from the Dallas area to as far as Indonesia!

By describing his experience, he has helped practicing Muslims appreciate the true meaning of fasting and Ramaḍān. He has put into words what so many of us take for granted every day! It has given non-Muslims the opportunity to see Ramaḍān in a different light, and it has been a renewal of faith for Muslims who may have forgotten just how miraculous and beneficial this month is. Instead of writing more about what he has done, I will let Reverend Dr. Wes Magruder's eloquent words do the talking:

Day 1: That's what appeals to me in my current spiritual tepidity. I feel as if I need a jolt to my senses. And I know that observing Ramaḍān will deliver a burst of hungering and thirsting for God – a God whom Muslims call “Allāh,” and whom Christians call “Father.”

Day 2: When I fast, I am making the statement – to myself and to the world around me – that I am more than my appetites, more than my desires and urges. I am spirit and I am soul; I am loved and forgiven by a God who cannot be seen, but whose reign of peace and justice is slowly and inevitably coming into being.

In a sense, it is truly a bold, revolutionary kind of statement, because it requires faith in things which cannot be seen.

Day 12: But Muslim prayers are an exciting blend of mind, spirit, AND body. Every move, bow, prostration is itself a prayer – a prayer of muscles, nerves, ligaments, joints. The cumulative effect is that one is wholly immersed in the event. There is no way you can compartmentalize your prayer, or try to multitask while praying – it is what you are doing with your whole self. You have to be completely absorbed in the moment.

And when my forehead touched the carpet on the ground, I found myself deeply awed. I was struck by my vulnerability. I was kneeling forward, head down, neck bared. There is no more vulnerable position than that.

I encourage all of you to read this blog from day 1. Reverend Wes has so much insight that just makes you say, “He gets it!” over and over again. It is a pleasure to read, it will make you smile and cry.

Read “The New Methofesto” here.

 

2 Responses

  1. Miles Kheder

    I have read much of the Reverend’s blog in trying out Ramadan. I originally assumed that the New MethoFesto blog was badly hyperlinked so navigating through it from Ramadan day 1 to the last day was far from easy and I almost felt like I was digging deeply for buried journal entries. Until that is I realised as a natural programmer the blog was automatically loading the entries in descending chronological order without having to navigate other than scroll downwards. I think this is why no body has of yet been able to comment on the pastor’s insights.
    Pastor Wes speaks like someone diving himself into an entirely new world of spiritual experience when commenting on his fasting journey through the entire month of Ramadan. He certainly makes a big deal about fasting that we Muslims, at least many of us, take for granted. Hence, I want to mention the conclusion before commenting further that despite my personal commitment and serious devotion to Islam (regardless of my imperfections and flaws of course) that I never understood the meaning of Ramadan like he has!
    I found something surprising and quite unexpected in the Day 15 entry, however, that I cannot brush over. Pastor Wes engaged in an emotional telephone conversation in response to the brief media coverage of the dialogue between Imam Yaseen and Pastor Wes, who introduced the latter to the regulations of fasting in Ramadan. I want to take this interesting conversation out into the spotlight, but for brevity’s sake I will only quote the Pastor’s conclusion of the phone call:
    “I know I didn’t make much headway with that woman, but it didn’t sound like she was interested in opening her heart to a different way of thinking anyway. She was only concerned with making a point with me, with expressing her anger at me. She only views Islam as a threat, as a danger to her own freedom and her own system of belief. I am afraid that there are many Americans just like her, who think the same way. But engaging with such people and arguing on their terms doesn’t really seem to make much of a difference. They have made up their minds and closed their hearts.”
    The Pastor is highly aware of the enmity and misinformation that exists surrounding Muslims in the West, and he realises that these factors are usually there because of pre-conceived, pre-conditioned stereotypes that are deliberately maintained by the antagonists who continue to re-misrepresent Islam despite the overwhelming testimony of reality that Muslims worldwide are pretty much normal people like you and I.
    However the rest of the entries are inspirational and adds new dimension of meaning to Ramadan from someone who is completely new to the Sacred Month. I would love to comment further, but because of time constraints I have to summarize my feedback.
    I ask the Most High to guide Pastor Wes to Islam and many others who find tranquility, enlightenment and rich meaning in Islam. I also ask the Most Gracious to guide us and increase us all in knowledge as well as in spirituality, i.e. increased realization of the needs of our souls independently of our worldly bodies.

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