As a Christian woman, how can I develop friendships with Muslim women?
Meeting Muslim Women
Pray that God will bring Muslim women into your life—especially women He is drawing to Himself.
Remember, most Muslim visitors to America or other nations away from home are lonely. They want friends.
The best way to meet Muslim women is to be introduced to them by someone else. This way they will trust you more quickly because you are their friend's friend. People who might be able to introduce you to Muslims are: former missionaries in your town, TESOL teachers, international student offices on university campuses, campus Christian workers (such as International Students, Inc., Navigators, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, etc.)
Visiting & Hospitality
A lot of women from other countries keep a different schedule than Americans—staying up late at night and sleeping late in the morning. It's better not to call or visit before 10AM. You needn't call before you visit, but it's alright if you do.
Never refuse coffee, tea or food especially if she has already prepared it and brought it to you. It's easier to talk if you're drinking tea together, and it can be quite an offense if you refuse to “eat” with her.
It is not unusual for the television to be turned on and kept on while you are visiting. Your friend may consider this as part of her hospitality to you—ensuring that you don't get bored.
Invite her to your home. Many Muslim women never get inside the home of Western Christians.
Observe her forms of hospitality and be sure to extend the same kindness to her when she visits you in your home.
Meet her practical needs such as taking her shopping, going to the park, getting to an appointment.
Go out on your own and seek Muslim women. You might try ethnic (Middle Eastern, etc.) restaurants and delis, ethnic bookstores, parks or ethnic festivals in your community. You might also find them shopping in common places like grocery stores and malls.
You usually get to meet a person only once unless you get her phone number and find a reason to get together at another time. Some reasons to get together might be:
You want to learn to cook some dishes from her country.
You are interested in learning her language.
You want to ask her some questions about a knitting or sewing project.
You would like to find some playmates for your children.
You have something from her country you would like her to tell you about.
You would like to get to know her better because you find her country and culture very interesting.
VERY IMPORTANT: You must genuinely want to be her friend and must not see her as a “ministry project.” Like any potential friend, she will be able to sense your sincerity or lack thereof. Be patient. It will take time to cultivate a solid friendship.
Take opportunities to share about your relationship with Jesus—your own testimony and experience. Be sure to extend an invitation to know Jesus personally.
Feel free to pray for her and her family when they are sick, as she probably already knows of Jesus as the prophet who heals.
Avoid arguing over theology; emphasize the relationship you have with God instead. And don't drop your friendship just because she seems closed to the Gospel.
You may want to use a ministry tool such as the Jesus film or God's Story: From Creation to Eternity. They are both excellent resources and are most effective when viewed with you (even if you don't understand the language). Both can be ordered from our online catalog. Be sure to try to get a copy in her language if available.
If your children or women's group would like to learn more about reaching Muslim women, please contact Frontiers Women's Ministries Department for information about our seminars, dramas and other resources.
Women in other cultures typically expect more from a friendship than an American woman does, so be sure to be consistent in calling and visiting your friend. For various reason of logistics and culture, however, she may not reciprocate by visiting you in your home. If you say you are going to visit her, or even imply this, be sure you do.
Be very careful to dress modestly. Wear a long skirt (at least knee-length) or loose pants. It's also best to wear a blouse that covers your hips and arms. Be careful not to be too friendly toward her husband, as he may think you are romantically interested in him. Muslim cultures are very circumspect about interaction between the genders.
Learn more about the religion of Islam by asking her questions and reading books. Search the Internet to learn from Muslim women about their devotion to Islam.
Author: Frontiers. Edited and supplied by Films for Christ. Copyright © 2001, Frontiers, All Rights Reserved—except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.
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