Understanding folk Muslim rituals help us to understand the worldview of ordinary Muslims in South Asia. Understanding the worldview of ordinary Muslims helps us more effectively make disciples of folk Muslims. However, not all folk Muslims adhere to the same folk rituals. Therefore, these readings on folk Islamic rituals should act as a guide toContinue reading “Folk Islamic Ritual #4: Urs Festivals“
Islamic folk practices reveal the worldview of folk Muslims. Understanding the worldview of folk Muslims empowers us to make disciples among them. I want to begin this discussion with my first experience of Eid Milad-un-Nabi (also known as Mawlid). My wife and I had recently moved to South Asia and lived across the street fromContinue reading “Folk Islamic Ritual #3: Eid Milad-un-Nabi (Muhammad’s Birthday)“
Understanding folk Muslim rituals help us understand the worldview of folk Muslims. Understanding the worldview of folk Muslims aids us in making disciples among them. In the previous blog on folk Muslim rituals, we discussed devotional singing, called na’at, and how na’at shows us that folk Muslims in South Asia approach God through mediators. Folk Muslims understand the gospelContinue reading “Folk Islamic Ritual #2: Veneration of Pirs at Dargahs“
The No Cousins Left Vision
“After this, I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Revelation 7:9 (CSB)
South Asia is home to the greatest concentration of Muslim lostness on the planet. In 2021, there are about 600 million Muslims living in the subcontinent. Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have the second, third, and fourth largest Muslim populations in the world.
There are also relatively few laborers serving among South Asian Muslims. While there are believers across South Asia and God is bringing many to Himself, very few of these believers have the desire and capacity to share the gospel with their Muslim neighbors. The result is that in the midst of multitudes of Hindus coming to Christ in South Asia, there are 600 million Muslims who are largely unaffected by the gospel.
Our “No Place Left” Vision
In South Asia, we are praying for “No Place Left” based on Romans 15:23. In 57 AD, when Paul wrote to the Romans, he declared that he filled up the gospel from Jerusalem to Illyricum. Desiring to proclaim the gospel where Christ had not been named, Paul asked the church at Rome to partner with him by sending him to unengaged Spain (Rom 15:19-29). At that time, Paul declared his work complete from Jerusalem to Illyricum (Rom 15:23). Paul did not say that all gospel ministry in these areas had been completed. Instead, his missionary task of pioneering the ministry had been fulfilled. Paul left behind sufficient churches and leaders (both pastors and missionaries) to complete the work in these areas.
We define our “No Place Left” vision as local ownership of the core missionary task in every people and place. “Local ownership” means indigenous churches and leaders (both pastors and missionaries) who are continuing the work locally. The “core missionary task” (CMT) is our biblical conviction of what missionary activity entails and will be covered in a future blog. The CMT involves six parts: entry, evangelism, disciple-making, church formation, leadership development, and entrusting the task locally. “In every people and place” means the fulfillment of Revelation 7:9, where every South Asian tongue, tribe, people, and nation stands before the throne and before the Lamb in worship. Therefore, we continue to labor in bringing the gospel to peoples and places who have never heard.
“No Place Left” to “No Cousins Left”
Paul’s “No Place Left” vision caused him to constantly look to pioneer areas to share the gospel. He looked for gaps of where peoples had never heard the name of Christ and made it his goal to proclaim the gospel in those places among unreached peoples.
As we look to the gaps in South Asia, the greatest gap is the Muslim community. South Asia is home to the greatest concentration of Muslim lostness on the planet! In 2020, there are almost 600 million Muslims in South Asia. Therefore, our “No Place Left” vision demands that we seek to work among the Muslim communities across South Asia. It is possible that we could see churches planted in every corner of South Asia, while leaving the Muslim community virtually unengaged with the gospel. May it never be!
Therefore, our “No Place Left” vision demands a “No Cousins Left” response. Unless we see churches and leaders rise up from every South Asian Muslim people group, our vision is incomplete. We need you to join us in this vision to make No Cousins Left in South Asia! One great way to join in is to take our training course, Engaging South Asian Muslims. Click here for more information on this course.
 In Muslim ministry, we often use the term “cousins” to refer to Muslims to show a familial closeness with Muslim peoples. In addition, Muslims generally identify as children of Abraham through Ishmael, meaning that we are in a sense related.