This site was desiged for standard modern browsers. Please upgrade your internet browser to Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Muslim Worldview

Lorna Johnston /Thursday, April 6, 2023


If you look through the wrong end of a telescope, rather than enlarging your view, the telescope actually shrinks and distorts what you see. If the viewer didn’t know better, it would be possible to believe that what was being seen from the wrong end of the telescope is the correct view. But viewing from the other end, a whole new understanding opens up and is enlarged. What has been hidden becomes clear.

The juxtaposition of the Muslim observance of the month of Ramadan, with the Christian celebration of Easter, provides a contrast of perspectives not unlike the two perspectives possible from the two ends of a telescope.

The month of Ramadan is a period of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community interaction. It occurs during the ninth month of the lunar year, the month in which Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to Muhammad. Since the Gregorian calendar, rather than a lunar one, is in common use around the world the dates for Ramadan change each year—this year from March 23 to April 20; next year it will start about 13 days earlier, on March 10, 2024.

5 Pillars of Islam

The observance of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam that devout Muslims attempt to observe throughout their lives, as an expression of devotion and submission to Allah. The five pillars are:

1. Shahada – (profession of faith)

“There is no god but Allah” and “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” are the two halves of the Shahada, which is uttered five times every day during prayer. It is the first thing said to a newborn and the last to a dying person. Uttering this statement with the intent to convert is all that is required to become a Muslim.

2. Salat – (prayers)

Five times daily—dawn, noon, afternoon, evening, and night—Muslims are called to pray. After washing hands, face, and feet, they repeat the ritual of prayer, which includes prostrating themselves towards Mecca, affirming that Allah is merciful and compassionate, asking for guidance, and reciting the first chapter of the Quran.

3. Zakat – (alms)

Muslims are instructed to give 2.5% of their income to support their local mosque or to care for the poor and needy. They believe this act of giving purifies the rest of the giver’s wealth.

4. Sawm – (fasting)

The month of fasting, Ramadan, is marked by the prohibition from dawn to dusk of food, drink, sexual intercourse, and smoking. Muslims strive for spiritual renewal by seeking God’s forgiveness, acknowledging their dependence on him, thanking him, and increasing their generosity to the needy. During Ramadan, Muslims exert greater effort to follow Islamic teachings, refraining from anger, envy, greed, lust, gossip, etc.

5. Hajj – (pilgrimage)

A pilgrimage to Mecca during the 12th month of the lunar calendar is prescribed once in their lifetime for all adult Muslims who are healthy enough and can afford it. Pilgrims wear a simple white cloth and complete a series of rituals, including walking seven times around the Kaaba, touching the Black Stone, travelling seven times between two mountains, and symbolically stoning the Devil. Those who participate in the Hajj hope to be enlightened.

The Why? Behind Religious Practices

While these activities bear some similarity to Christian practices such as praying, tithing, fasting, professing faith, etc. the perspective from which they are observed is strikingly opposite to that of a Christian worldview. The word ‘Islam’ means submission; Muslims are submitting to these practices in an attempt to earn favor with God. Their hope is that by being faithfully observant to these religious duties they will increase the potential of reaching paradise when they stand before Allah on the day of judgement. Their efforts on earth are done as a means of earning potential eternal rewards.

By contrast, the Christian celebration of Easter is a season of remembrance and celebration. Some begin the observance forty days before Easter on Ash Wednesday, a day of prayer and repentance that marks the start of Lent. (Lent is a forty-day period of preparation, modelled after Jesus’ forty days of temptation in the wilderness. It is a time for prayer, fasting, repentance, preparation.) But the purpose of the season of remembrance is to celebrate what has already been completed in Jesus’ finished work on the cross—his death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. We remember with sorrow what he suffered for our sake, taking the penalty of our sin—a load too heavy for us to carry—and we receive the gift of a restored relationship with God through his sacrificial work. We celebrate with hope and confidence that we are already made right with God, and we live lives of sacrifice and service as a demonstration of our gratitude and alignment with God’s Kingdom priorities. We know that we cannot earn a right relationship with God—we have been gifted one through Jesus’ blood shed for us.

A Clear Lens

If you were an astronomer observing someone looking at the stars through the wrong end of a telescope, could you resist telling them the right way to truly see the fullness of God’s beautiful celestial canopy?  

If you are a lover of Jesus Christ, forgiven and cleansed from your sins, and made right with God, can you resist telling your Muslim friends and neighbours of the fullness of all that God has already accomplished for them, and the freedom and hope they can enjoy in walking with Jesus?

My prayer is that we all have opportunity to help Muslims see Jesus Christ through a clear lens.

Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams--Loving Muslims Together (LMT) and Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.


Show All Blogs

Digital Bibles: A Key Discipleship Tool for Multilingual Speakers

There are more opportunities today in Canada than ever before to reach out as a local church and welcome people of different language communities around us!  From sponsoring a refugee family, to hosting a neighbourhood celebration, to simply getting to know our friends and neighbours who speak different languages and letting them know they are welcome here – and welcome in our churches.  

With over 450 individual languages identified in the 2021 census there may be more languages spoken by people already in your church than you realize. Deb & Ramón share how you can find and use digital Bibles and digital Bible-Based discipleship tools in different languages...

Conversations as Hospitality

Conversations. We have them all the time! After all, how could we offer hospitality without one? But, have you ever thought of conversation itself as an act of hospitality? 

God Speaks

God speaks through Scripture. It is  a core means by which God makes himself known to us—a communication initiative of God toward us. Have you ever just stopped and said thank you to God for the gift of Scripture? For the gift of speaking to us?

But of course, one of the challenges we must face for God to speak to us through Scripture is that we are confined to the languages we know. The original texts of Scripture were given in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. I speak none of those languages. You may not either. But Scripture, when translated into the languages of the people of the world, has proved to be a powerful conduit through which God speaks and draws people to himself.

Bible translators have recognized 8 conditions that, when they are all met, greatly increase the likelihood that deep spiritual impact will result from interacting with God’s Word. 

We hope this new blog series will equip you and give you courage to introduce your neighbours to the God who speaks.

Loving a Mosque Community Together

Explore the inspiring journey of Loving Muslims Together in their mission that every Muslim in Canada would have a Christian friend who was companioning them in a journey of exploration and discovery about Jesus Christ—whether Jesus is a prophet (as claimed in Islam) or whether he is the Son of God, the Saviour of the world (as claimed by Christians).

This article recounts a pivotal moment at a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the author's search for nearby mosques sparked a realization of the need to re-evaluate their approach. Discover how LMT's vision evolved, aiming for every mosque community to have at least one church community praying for it…

Introducing Loving Muslims Together

God is giving us an opportunity. The nations of the world have come to our neighbourhood.

The Loving Muslims Together Network encourages, mobilizes, equips, and supports the Canadian Church in helping Muslims in Canada to become disciples of Jesus. 

Here is a short (4 minute) video introduction to Loving Muslims Together....

Unexpected Hospitality

A story of unexpected hospitality! A broken fence that led to neighbours showing mutual hospitality to one another... ...

The Journey of Discovery

I don’t like to run. My experience of running is that I’m short of breath, sweaty & hot, and there’s a voice in my head telling me to STOP!!!!

Recently, while praying for Muslims in Canada during Ramadan, an image popped into my mind, (a not-infrequent experience when I’m praying).

The image was of a person running along a road that stretched into the distance. They were running in a long-distance race that was called ‘Journey of Discovery’. Actually, there were quite a few runners, but they each were running alone.

I noticed that at some points in the race there were people cheering the runners on, encouraging them and spurring them to keep going. At other points in the race there were refreshment stations where the runners could receive nourishment for the next leg of the race. Sometimes people would run alongside the racers, keeping pace with them, encouraging them to keep running.

Some runners kept running strong. Some runners who were faltering were encouraged by the cheering, and the nourishment, and the companionship they received. Some runners slowed to a walk. Some stopped altogether and left the race...