Ramazan is a time of fasting, prayer and celebration. This year it is celebrated from June 6-July 5, 2016. Fasting means letting nothing pass the lips: no food, drink, chewing gum, tobacco smoke or, for the strictly observant, not even licking an envelope or postage stamp from sunrise to sunset. Most Muslims, whether strictly observant or not, use the holy month and the stricture of fasting to help them examine their lives, to remind themselves of virtues like charity, compassion and forgiveness, and to avoid vices like cupidity, selfishness and dishonesty.
Many Turks fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.
Ramazan is also a time of celebration. After sunset, the feasting begins with a ceremonial “break-fast,” light meal called Iftar. It always includes freshly-baked, flat pide bread, and usually soup, pickled vegetables, olives and other easily-prepared edibles. Elaborate dinners are held later in the evening. Strings of colored lights festoon trees and buildings, mosques are illuminated and crowded with worshippers. A carnival atmosphere prevails with temporary booths selling religious books and paraphernalia, traditional snacks and stuff for the kids. In the middle of the night drummers circulate through towns and villages to wake sleepers so they can prepare Sahur, the big early-morning meal to be eaten before the fast begins again at sunrise. They tend to make their noise around 2:30 and 3:00 am, and they make sure everyone hears them.
The Turkish people celebrate this holiday to try to get themselves closer to Allah. They abstain from everything to also help make themselves better people. The truth is, though they try to do things themselves to get them to God. But all that they do will never get them to God. All the fasting they do will never get them to heaven. All they do will never make them better or get them to God. But we have the truth that can get them to God. The truth of the gospel will not only get them to God it will permanently change their lives! Will you pray we can get to Turkey quickly and take the truth of the gospel to these needy people!