Salam alaikum, peace be upon you. I hope everyone is well who is reading this post, may Allah ﷻ bless you and your families.
We are currently in the holy month of Rajab, one of 3 holy months in the Muslim calendar that follow each other. Rajab is followed by Shaban, which opens the way to Ramadan. During these 3 holy months Muslims prepare; keeping themselves, as much as possible, away from lower traits, bad manners and sins. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Rajab is the month of God, Shaban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my community.” God gave us 12 months in the year, 11 of which are ours and one of which belongs to God. What rewards God will give his servants in His month, no one knows, not even the Prophet ﷺ.
Lent is special time in the Christian calendar, beginning on ‘Ash Wednesday’ and ending about 6 weeks later on the night before Easter Sunday. Similarly to Rajab, Shaban, and Ramadan within Islam, Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, repentance, charity, and personal reflection to prepare Christians for Easter. There are therefore some amazing connections between these two sacred seasons within Islam and Christianity. We should see the conjunction of these two seasons this year, as a beautiful opportunity to build bridges of understanding between people of both faith traditions, that form 2 great branches on the Abrahamic tree of religions.
This opportunity for shared reflections couldn’t come at a more fitting time, as we start to exit the COVID-19 pandemic God-willing , preparing and rebuilding for the future. How should we proceed? What have we learned? People of faith tend to believe nothing happens for no reason, there must be a reason for everything we’ve experienced, and opportunities for good to come out of this – now is the time to reflect, plan, and begin to build our futures together.
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong – Muslim Chaplain
Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, University of Birmingham