Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land
in cooperation with the Beit Sahur Cultural
“Fasting in Christianity and Islam”
Thursday, 22 March 2007
Al-Liqa’ Center, in cooperation with the Beit Sahur Cultural Diwan, held in Beit Sahur a symposium entitled “Fasting in Christianity and Islam.” Prof. Thiab Ayyoush, Vice President of Al-Liqa’ Center’s Board of Trustees, and Dr. Geries S. Khoury, Director of Al-Liqa’ Center, presented both Christian and Muslim views of “fasting”. Prof. Qustandi Shomali of the Beit Sahur Cultural Diwan moderated the symposium. Dr. Khoury gave a historical view of “fasting” in Christianity, beginning with the practices of Jesus Christ, the Church Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils, beginning with First Council of Nicea, the Christian Arab heritage until the present. He explained the meaning of “Fasting” such as repentance, forgiveness, love and help for the poor and the needy as well as commitment to prayers and the word of God. Also he mentioned the different kinds of “fasting” such as the one of Ninawa, and those of the Aposteles and the Virgin Mary.
Prof. Ayyoush stressed that “fasting” is one of the Five Pillars of Practice in the Islamic dogma. It is incumbent on all Muslims, with several exceptions like sickness, travel etc…, to abide by this Pillar which is a duty toward God. He focused as well on conditions for fasting and the advantages of fasting stressing that fasting is not denying oneself food and drink only but making good deeds and helping the poor and the needy. He added that Ramadan Fasting is a month of repentance and the return to God and the full commitment to the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunna.