Not so many years ago most Christians and Jews never heard of Ramadan. Now with a growing Muslim presence in the West observance of Ramadan has come front and center. It is not unusual for non-Muslims to be invited to the Iftar meal during Ramadan when Muslims break the fast at sunset each evening. When Ramadan concludes the same is true for the three day observance of Eid al-Fitr. Before answering the initial question let’s explore the origin of Ramadan.
The Qur’an often speaks of a tribe known as the Sabians. They migrated to Arabia from southern Iraq in the second century although there is no natural border just desert. A clan of the Sabians from Harran in northern Syria, located on the border between Syria, Iraq and Asia Minor, worshipped Sin, the moon-god. Another clan of Sabians called Mandaeans were polytheists who worshiped various categories of gods. The Hanifs from lower Arabia travelled to Harran where they met the Sabians. Subsequently the Hanifs adopted some of the Sabians rituals and practices. There is no evidence the Hanifs worshipped Sin, the moon-god. The Hanifs were identified with worshiping the God of Abraham. Prior to Muhammad the Sabians from Harran observed an annual ritual called Ramadan. The thirty day fast observed from sun-up to sun-down to honor the moon-god Sin was initially introduced by the Babylonian King Nambonidus in 552 B.C. Since they worshipped the moon they longed to see its reappearance as a crescent. After the 30 days concluded they celebrated al-Feter. They prayed to the moon-god five times per day and introduced ablution [ritual washing of hands and feet] before prayer. During the pre-Islamic period known as Jahiliyah the pagan Arabs observed the fast. In Yathrib in northern Arabia the Arabs prayed in the direction of Mecca and observed a Friday religious feast. In Mecca Muhammad identified with the Hanifs who were influenced by the Sabians. After the Hegira, Muhammad lived in Yathrib/Medina and adopted the practices of the Sabians into his Islamic religion.
Muslims are commanded to observe Ramadan in the Qur’an.
Qur’an Sura 2:185 The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.
This was revealed to Muhammad the first year after he arrived in Medina. So we have the history of Ramadan and Allah’s decree to observe it. The same year what other issues did Allah enact through his Prophet?
Qur’an Sura 2:10: “In their [People of the Book] hearts is a disease, so Allah increased their disease, and for them is a painful chastisement because they lie.”
Verse 10- Jews have a diseased heart and will be punished.
Qur’an Sura 2:61: “[…] And abasement and humiliation were stamped upon them [the Jews], and they incurred Allah’s wrath. That was so because they disbelieved in the messages of Allah and would kill the prophets unjustly. That was so they disobeyed and exceeded the limits.”
Verse 61- Jews will be humiliated, subject to wrath for their disobedience.
Qur’an Sura 2:62: “Surely those who believe [Muslims], and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah [as well as Jews, Christians, and Sabians who turn to Islam] and the Last Day [Day of Judgment] and does good, they have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.”
Verse 62- Sabians are grouped with Jews and Christians if they would believe in Islam.
Qur’an Sura 2:65: “And indeed you know [of] those among you who violated [broke] the Sabbath [the Jews], so We said to them: Be as apes, despised and hated.”
Verse 65- Jews are apes, despised and hated by Allah for violating the Sabbath. The Torah also states that Sabbath breakers should be “cut off from their people” for violating the second commandment. The Torah does not denigrate these Jews for the Tenakh also calls the Jewish people “my Chosen and the Apple of my eye”.
Qur’an Sura 2:75, 77, 79: “[…] a party from among them [Jews and Christians] indeed used to hear the word of Allah, then altered it [the Bible] after they had understood it, and they know this. […] Allah knows what they keep secret and what they make known […] Woe then to those who write the Book [Bible] with their hands then say, This is from Allah; so that they may take for it a small price. So woe to them for what their hands write and woe to them for what they earn.”
Verses 75, 77, 79- Jews and Christians purposely corrupted the Bible
Qur’an Sura 2:89: “And when there came to them [Jews] a Book [Qur’an] from Allah verifying that which they have, and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved — but when there came to them that which they recognized [Islam, Abraham’s religion] they disbelieved in it; so Allah’s curse is on the disbelievers [Jews].”
Verse 89- Jews are cursed for not recognizing Islam as the “corrected version of the Torah” and rejecting Islam.
Qur’an Sura 2:90: “Evil is that for which they [Jews] sell their souls — that they should deny that which Allah has revealed [Qur’an], out of envy that Allah should send down of His grace on whomsoever of His servants He pleases [Muhammad]; so they incur wrath upon wrath. And there is an abasing chastisement for the disbelievers [Jews].”
Verse 90- Jews are evil, envious, incur wrath and will be punished
Qur’an Sura 2:96: “And thou wilt certainly find them [Jews] the greediest of men for life, greedier even than those [Christians] who set up gods with God [Allah]. One of them [Christians] loves to be granted a life for thousand years and his being granted a long life will in no way remove him further off from the chastisement [being punished]. And Allah is Seer [sees] of what they do.”
Verse 96- Jews are greedy as are Christians. Christians will not have eternal life to look forward to but punishment.
Qur’an Sura 2:100-101: “Is it that whenever they [Jews] make a covenant, a party [some] of them cast it aside? Nay, most of them [Jews] have no faith. And when there came to them a messenger from Allah, verifying that which they have, a party [some] of those who were given the Book threw the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they knew nothing.”
Verses 100-101- Most Jews are faithless, and when offered the Qur’an, rejected it in ignorance.
Qur’an Sura 2:154: “And speak not of those who are slain in Allah’s way [Jihad] as dead. Nay, they are alive, but you perceive not.”
Verse 154- Muslims slain in Jihad live
Qur’an Sura 2:161: “Those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers, these it is on whom is the curse of Allah and the angels and men.”
Verse 161- Those who die rejecting Islam are cursed by Allah, angels and Muslims.
Qur’an Sura 2:190: “And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but be not aggressive [do not initiate hostilities]. Surely Allah loves not the aggressors.”
Verse 190- Allah granted permission for Muslims to wage war, but only in defense [to protect or reclaim that which belongs to Muslims].
Qur’an Sura 2:191: “And kill [slay] them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, and [because] persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Sacred Mosque [place of worship] until they fight with you [unless they attack first] in it [the place of worship]; so if they fight with you in it, slay them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.”
Verse 191- Slay non-Muslims. Once attacked, Muslims are encouraged to defend but then shift to offense and kill all non-Muslims associated with the original attack. Persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter. This is payment for non-Muslims.
Qur’an Sura 2:193-194: “And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion is only for Allah. But if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors. […], and retaliation is allowed in sacred things. Whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you and keep your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty.”
Verse 193-194- Continue to fight until Islam is the only religion and inflict injury for injury caused by non-Muslims. Implicitly, the only way to eliminate persecution of Muslims is to convert or eliminate all non-Muslims.
Qur’an Sura 2:216: “Fighting is enjoined on you [warfare is ordained for you], though it is disliked by you; and it may be [happen] that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil [bad] for you; and Allah knows, while you know not.”
Verse 216- Warfare is ordained for Muslims and good for Muslims
Qur’an Sura 2:217: “They ask thy about fighting in the sacred month. Say: Fighting in it is a grave offence. And hindering men from Allah’s way [Jihad] and denying Him and the Sacred Mosque and turning [forcing] its people out of it, are still graver with Allah; and persecution is graver than slaughter. And they will not cease fighting you until they turn you from your religion, if they can. And whoever of you turns back from his religion [leave Islam], then he dies while an unbeliever — these it is whose works go for nothing in this world and the Hereafter. And they are the companions of Fire: therein they will abide.”
Verse 217- Ramadan is the sacred month. Fighting in it is an offense but denying Jihad is worse since the unbelievers will continue to fight. Thus, Muslims can offer peace or cease-fire during Ramadan, but if non-believers don’t accept it, Muslims may fight in Ramadan. Muslims who leave Islam will abide in hellfire.
Qur’an Sura 2:256: “There is no compulsion in religion — the right way is indeed clearly distinct from error. So whoever disbelieves in the devil and believes in Allah, he indeed lays hold on the firmest handle which shall never break. And Allah is Hearing, Knowing.”
Verse 256- Since verses 193-194 state that Islam is to be the only religion this verse means that non-Muslims will not be allowed to persuade Muslims to leave Islam.
Conclusion: For Christians and Jews Ramadan has its origins in the worship of a moon god. Other Muslim practices and rituals also appear to have been borrowed from the Sabians and Hanifs. In the same chapter (sura) where the observance of Ramadan must be obeyed Allah also curses Jews in the harshest terms, accuses Jews and Christians of distorting the Bible, promotes Muslim martyrdom, commands fighting, war and slaughter against non-believers, permit warfare during Ramadan and not permit Jews and Christians to influence Muslims away from Islam. Given these facts why would a Christian or Jew want to participate in the Iftar meal or Eid al Fitr? It is an absolute certainty that neither Moses, the Biblical Prophets, Jesus and his Disciples ever participated or practiced any of these rituals.