Loving The Muslim Woman Like Jesus Loved the Samaritan Woman
Ramadan is the holiest month of the Muslim calendar involving ritual fasting and doing extra deeds to earn favor from Allah. This year, it began on May 15th and ends June 14th. During this month, Muslims will give extra to the poor, serve their family more, refrain from slander, stay away from inappropriate entertainment to keep their minds and hearts pure, read the entire Quran, pray more than the required five times a day, and most importantly, fast from sunrise to sunset. Even with all this effort, Muslims can never be sure that they will 100% gain the favor they seek. As Christians, we know that salvation comes by faith and not works (Eph 2:8-9).
During the month of Ramadan, Muslim women prepare meals every night so that when the sun sets their families can gather together and break their fast. Will you pray for and share the Gospel of faith with Muslim women?
Muslim women are not very different than you and me. They have struggles, hopes, and dreams. They are single, married, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and friends. They take care of their kids, serve their husbands, and spend time with their friends. They go to the grocery store and pick up their children from school. They go to college and cram for exams the night before like every other student. They work through tough times in marriage and grieve over deaths of loved ones. They also go shopping, enjoy good food, and go to the movies on a Friday night.
A Muslim woman is a woman. More so, a Muslim woman is a woman lost without Christ. A Muslim woman is a woman that Christ has called us to love.
If Jesus can love the Samaritan woman, then we can love the Muslim woman.
We see in the Bible that Samaritans were detested by the Jews. For the Jews, Samaritans were their enemies. They broke the law of God, and were seen as pagans and outcasts of society. People did not even travel through Samaria, but instead went around it as to avoid the Samaritans all together. This is why Jesus’s disciples were so surprised that He was talking with a Samaritan woman (Jn 4).
The Samaritan woman was like other women. She had struggles, she needed help, and she desired a real relationship. She also needed water. Women were the ones that went to get the water each day for their families. The Samaritan woman did the same. When Jesus was at the well and saw the Samaritan women, instead of dismissing the woman for her religious background, ethnicity, or sinful reputation, he spoke to her and offered her living water, the gospel.
We know who Muslims are, but are we willing to go to them or are we just going around them? We often see Muslim women through the lens of the paganism and prejudice we associate Muslim people with, as the Jewish people saw Samaritans. What do you think would happen if you just smiled and said hello to a Muslim woman in the store? She might just say hello back. Just like that, she becomes just another woman and not a Muslim woman to you. Are we willing to have a conversation with her, like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman?
What barriers hold you back from approaching a Muslim woman? If you believe the power of the Holy Spirit can save, what keeps you from loving these women and sharing the gospel with them? It is okay to admit that we might have apprehensions. Sharing the gospel with anyone can be overwhelming, but what does Jesus promise us in Acts 1:8? “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Who is your Samaritan woman? Are you willing to be a witness to her through the power of the Holy Spirit? Let us break down the barriers together and learn how to better love these woman God has brought to us.
There are five basic barriers we associate with when sharing with Muslim women and they can be broken through with encouragement and truth!
Some people around the world are angry at Muslims for different reasons and subconsciously consider all of them to be the enemy. But we must strive to have the perspective of God. Muslims are not the enemy, sin and lostness are the enemy.
What should we, as Christian women, do? Love the Muslim woman!
These women need be shown the love of God and it begins with prayer. Jesus says in Matthew 5:46: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” First, pray that your heart would be changed toward Muslims and ask God to help you see the Muslim woman how He sees her. She was created in the image of God as you were. Second, pray that a Muslim woman would see the love of Christ in you, and allow you an opportunity to share the gospel. As Jesus had a conversation with the Samaritan woman, you can have a conversation with the Muslim woman. To truly love someone is to care about them enough to offer them that which can save their life. Once you learn about the Muslim woman’s life, her struggles, and her needs, simply offer to pray for her. She will recognize it as love for her. After praying, look for an opportunity to share the gospel.
Muslims tend to hold tightly to what they believe. Some people believe that Muslims cannot come to faith in Jesus Christ and turn away from Islam. A Muslim woman’s defiance to the gospel and strong hold onto Islam comes from her responsibility to raise her children in the ways of Islam. This doesn’t mean she can’t be saved! Is God’s arm too short to save? Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman. His arm was not too short to save her. His arms reach out to the Muslim woman as well. The same power that saved you out of sin and death into life is the same power that can and will save Muslim women.
Do you believe that with me? We can step out in this power and pray for Muslim women to come to a saving knowledge in Jesus Christ. By praying this, God might use you to answer that prayer by speaking to and loving a Muslim woman that He brings in your path. Do not avoid the Muslim woman as people avoided Samaria, but do as Jesus did and be intentional in your daily routine.
When looking at a Muslim woman, many times all you can see are her eyes. For some reason this brings about fear of the unknown or maybe fears of what or who is behind the veil. But remember, she is a woman with scars that we might not understand, fears of her own, a longing for relationships, and she sees when others look at her with fear.
Jesus looked at the Samaritan woman with compassion. He saw her for who she truly was, a sinner in need of a Savior. Yes, Jesus knew she was an adulterous woman and an outcast, yet He did not see her that way. The Samaritan woman saw Jesus’s compassion because He spoke to her and offered her life. Let us see the Muslim woman as a sinner in need of a Savior and look at her with love and compassion, not with fear. The love of Christ is true love that casts out fear (1 Jn 4:18).
Often language is a barrier, because Muslims are from different countries that speak different languages. Just as within the context of Christianity, within the Islamic population you will find a variety of languages and dialects. It might help to learn their greeting “As-Salaam-Alaikum”, meaning “Peace be unto you,” and they would respond “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam.” That simple greeting would show you cared about a Muslim woman enough to learn how to greet her.
Also, remember a smile translates in any language! If you were willing to smile and say hi to her, she might just invite you over for tea. Muslim women speak the language of hospitality. Speak that language back to her with love. Invite her over for tea or a meal. If you meet Muslim women that do not know your language, or you don’t know theirs, pray that a believer who knows their language would share the Gospel with them.
Sometimes people do not know what tools to use to share with Muslims. The most important thing we could share with them is the gospel. That is the main tool you need, because that is what they need. One way Muslims best understand the gospel is by emphasizing the different sacrifice stories in the Bible, from creation to Christ. Building relationships with Muslim women is vital for having opportunities to share the gospel with them.
Muslim women, like all women, desire long-lasting friendships. Every woman has friendships that they love and cherish. They would selflessly gives themselves to help their friends. Be ready to give of yourself to her for the sake of leading her to Christ. Jesus loved the Samaritan Woman that way. Muslim women need the Good News of Jesus and to be shown the love of Christ.
Who is your Samaritan woman? If Jesus could love the Samaritan woman, then we can love the Muslim woman! If we, women of God, do not step out with the true love of Christ towards the Muslim woman, who will?
Nik Ripken, Gregg Lewis, The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected. (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 119.