It was a simple invitation to an event called “Sharing Ramadan” at the Dar Ul Salam Masjid Mosque near St. Louis, and something urged me to accept. As a result, three of us Ursulines had a wonderful opportunity to share an evening of welcome, encounter and learning. Ramadan, the month-long fast observed by Muslims around the world (in celebration of the gift of the Koran to Muhammad), is scheduled according to the lunar Islamic calendar, so this year’s fast will end tomorrow. The fast is from dawn to sunset, and for people in this part of the world, that means close to 16 hours of no food, no water.
We were given a tour of the mosque, school and other facilities. We heard the call to prayer–Listen here-–and the beautiful chant that proclaims: “God is great. . . I bear witness that there is no God except the one God.” Encouraged to ask questions about the practices and beliefs of Islam, we learned much while always receiving respect for our own religious beliefs. As the meal together to break the day’s fast would not happen until well after 8:00 p.m., we were treated to having our names written in Islamic calligraphy, receiving a henna tattoo, or learning more about Muslim dress. At every moment, there were friendly conversations with brothers and sisters, so different and yet so much the same.
I was impressed by the effort made by our Muslim community for this lovely evening, and the crowd that attended clearly showed a desire to build inter-religious harmony. Yes, truly our God is great, and we are all one!