The original inhabitants of Jordan are the nomadic Bedouin people, and many of their traditions still shape the culture, such as in the provision of hospitality. For example, a Bedouin rule is that a stranger must be welcomed for at least three days and provided with food and a place to sleep. In a time when prices for food and gas increase constantly—with salaries remaining at the same level—this is a particular challenge. Poverty is on the rise. Although most of the Jordanian population of almost 8 million is Muslim, there is a small percentage of Christians (estimated between 2.5 and 4 percent). However, Jordanian Christians often live in isolation from Muslims.
When a Muslim becomes a follower of Christ they experience strong pressure from family and society and are considered a traitor. Honor killings for becoming a follower of Christ are not uncommon.
During Ramadan in Jordan, we were invited to dinner with Muslim friends with a buffet loaded with food. “Fatma, why is hospitality so important to you?” I asked my friend.
She replied: “For cultural and religious reasons. For one thing, it would be a cultural shame not to be generous to my guest. Also, I want to be generous to please God. Especially during Ramadan there is a great chance that God will forgive us our sins and our good deeds will be multiplied before him. I expect nothing back from the guests—I don’t want to get a worldly reward for my hospitality. I expect my reward from God!”
WAYS TO PRAY:
- The government needs wisdom to deal with economic challenges and the many refugees who are living in Jordan.
- James 2:14–26 discusses the role of faith and deeds in the Christian faith. Pray for those in Jordan to be made complete, as James describes it.
- Muslim-background believers in Jordan need courage and wisdom to live and share their faith.