إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا۟ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَقَـٰتِلُوا۟ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةً كَمَا يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمْ كَآفَّةً وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ

I may be wrong but I think If you read the existing english translations of this verse (and this is true of so so many other verses…perhaps even all the verses) and if you come to this verse with assumptions about who you are and aren’t, and why you are reading the verse, and if you read the verse without asking if what it says is true, and how it is so, and if you dont ask why your maker is telling you this..and if you dont ask “how is this a message or sign or a truthful guidance for me from the maker of the universe, how can it change my life and what problem of mine does it identify and solve, what grief it saves me from etc., then you will not receive any useful guidance for your life when you read this verse..i could not.

so i share with you how this verse speaks to me as someone who is looking for his maker to reveal the truth about his life and about the world to him..to see how it addresses my soul..how it wants me to read/see things….i try to share what it helps me with and how…and how might i witness the truth in it (if any) and why i might find in it a reminder worth remembering.

it is no news to me that there are 12 months in a year..seems familiar enough…its good to know god and i are on the same page about this….:) but what is new in the claim i.e. what i dont think about generally when i think about months is that they are 12 and that this is in something the verse calls the book of God..(well i dont think much about months being 12 so the verse is odd at first)…and then saying that this is the case from the moment God created the heavens and the earth..

okay so heavens and earth are created…they couldnt make themselves..and how their existence would be sustained (which is where time comes in i suppose) is ordered into units..days, years etc..here the unit mentioned is months..ok. some period of time. 30 days. 31 days…i couldn’t care less..but i do know that heaven and earth are changing…there is day and then night and then day and there is night and the earth and the heavens are being sustained in existence…and there is order to their changing existence so that i can break it up into months…and God says 12 is the right measure for months…okay..i mean i don’t have a better idea really..i am not going to say No! it must be 11!..i mean..whatever….and then something really big happens suddenly….the verse claims 4 months are sacred!..and then further says…’this is the established or decidedly right way/din!..and these claims can become a stumbling block for me if dont also get serious with the verse…and dont reflect…so lets reflect..

for me, the claim that 4 months are the forbidden/sacred months is a challenge..what does it mean they are sacred/forbidden? if i dont panic and dont run to history for help and stay with my maker, he actually immediately tells me…they seem to be forbidden/sacred because i should not wrong myself in them..not oppress myself in them…and so i ask two things: what? is it ok for me wrong myself in the other 8 months? and what does wronging myself mean? what do you mean by oppressing myself? [i have my own ideas about it before reflecting on revelation….for instance if i dont eat chocolate when i want to eat chocolate then i feel i am wronging myself…but i am curious to see what god’s idea of me wronging myself might be and if it helps me anymore than what i already think]

and then the verse tells me to kill those who make partners unto God or who give a share of divinity to othern-than-God in addition to giving it to God altogether just as they kill me altogether..and ends by saying that God is with those who are aware/afraid of Him…

as someone who agrees with the claim of the world’s creation by God and the order needed for its smooth sustenance day and night, i start to think that saying “everything is sacred”, which is the same as “all months are sacred” makes sense and is meaningful and is sufficient for me..that this will solve my problems as a human being…but the verses seem to be saying to me: no. saying all times are sacred does not make sense to you because you don’t understand what makes any period of time sacred for you…as if the verse is telling me that saying “god created the heavens and the earth” is not meaningful…it does not help me understand the meaning or truth of what is going on in my life and what the world is. and so the verse takes aside 4 months…some period of time lesser than the whole…and describes to me what would make those months sacred..and it claims that any period of time (such as a 4 months period) is sacred when, in that period of time, i am killing the associators who are killing me and i am thereby not wronging myself and i thereby find God with me and find myself with God..

again, i need to reflect about who these folks are and what is relevant for me about them?…again, i can either run to history or i can stay with my reality and its maker…

if i stay with my reality, i can understand that the association my God is revealing to me is between the act of associating something with him and wronging myself…it is me who kills myself when i associate..indeed, all my many acts of associating partners with God (altogether) are killing me (the verse claims) and it says i should altogether (i.e. in each case of such self-wrong), i should kill this act in return…

what is really important is to understand ‘associating partners’ not in some legal sense or identitarian or sociological sense (as if there are people who are to be identified as ‘the polytheists” and they are nothing but that and i am already not one of them)…i have to be okay with the idea that revelation describes to me both the condition (shirk) that i may find myself in (and thats okay) SO THAT i can understand why/how it is not the attitude worth having for a human being like me and SO THAT i can verify and embrace the alternative (killing shirk) as true and worth doing..

the verse is asking me to look at myself and see that at any given time, i tend to think that things are, as they are, on their own, by themselves..they do what they do by themselves…they exist, they have this or that quality or ability, this or that relation with something else, on their own..this is how things appear to me. this is how they are supposed to appear to me, the verses seem to be saying…but in so doing i.e. in appearing to me that things are as they are ‘just like that’ they are killing me…they are passing and insofar as i am attached to them and they make up my life, as they change and disappear and die and lose their beauty, so does my life perish and i perish. the verse is claiming: if you look past your simple and general claim that everything is created by god and everything is sacred (all 12 months are sacred) and actually take a small slice of time/space and see how you interact with things in that actual time, you will see that you, for instance, look at a living thing (your friend, your mother, your child) and you just feel that they are alive with “their” life…yes God created them and created life in general but this year or this day, they are alive and their life is theirs to have and sustain and you hope that they dont lose “their” life…so while i may claim all life belongs to god, i can (at any given time or period) see a quality like life to be the quality of the created being itself (in addition to being God’s quality). i may say God is the Living One and he creates life while i also see myself and other beings living their life…this is indeed a problem for me. i constantly grieve and worry about losing what i have and when others lose what they have, i grieve and feel the pain…and so the verse claims that while everything in general may be attributed to god by someone, they may actually not see god in this or that particular thing or quality..they experience things and their qualities as not the eternal, sacred qualities of their maker and sustainer but as the qualities of the things upon which they appear..the verse claims this is a wronging of myself…the shirk i commit, because of the way the maker has made the world, kills me and revelation is needed to remind me to recognize this “natural-seeming” attitude as the wrongful, self-injuring lie that it is…revelation reminds me to kill this shirk..to reject that this thing right here right now is not exhibiting its own qualities but the qualities of another, its maker and sustainer…and so when i interact with that quality, i find myself with the maker..and the maker is with me..the owner of that quality is with me…with the lens of revelation i see the compassion of the owner of compassion in the compassionate action of a person, for instance. but this will be done by me in particular times and places, not through a general “all 12 months are sacred” attitude where i do not bother to question how i see/read the things around me and what meaning i get from them- sacred or lowly (dunya)..it is the lowly meaning (from a shirki perspective so to speak) that makes things dunya for me..the same can be sacred if i can kill the shirk and i can only kill it if i notice it in particular cases, not in some general sense…

so i can thank my maker for reminding me and teaching me how i can find him…if i can find him in the 4 months, i can get to 5 and more…while i am attributing to things what is not theirs but their sustainer’s, there is no respite for me from the pain and loss that i will experience…that is just how reality is structured by the maker as per the Quran’s claims…(that is what is mean by the verse that talks about god forgiving everything but not shirk..i mention quickly here so people aren’t left wondering about that in relation to what i have said…more needs to be said about that verse but some other time perhaps)…

Published by Faraz Sheikh

Faraz Sheikh

%d bloggers like this: