Meeting the Qur’an through a Feminine voice
Source: Unveiling the Qur’an
The Qur’an is like a bride. Although you pull aside her veil, she will not show you her face. The reason you have no pleasure or discovery in all your study of it is that it rejects your attempt to pull off its veil. It tricks you and shows itself to you as ugly, as if to say, “I am not that beauty.” It is capable of showing any face it wants.*
He goes on to say that you must not ‘tug at the veil’ but be patient and do ‘service from afar’, and ‘without pulling at its veil, it will show you its face’. I find it fascinating that Mevlana uses the imagery of a bride to describe the Qur’an.
And he concludes with a verse from the Qur’an to illustrate his point:
Seek the people of God, enter among my servants; and enter my paradise [89:29-30].
I definitely felt that I had met people of God at that first retreat and my study of the Qur’an grew through reading Shaikha Camille’s translations. She was one of the first western women to render a significant portion of the Qur’an into English in The Light of Dawn, A Daybook of Verses from the Holy Qur’an. This volume collects some of the most essential verses from the Qur’an and continues to shake preconceived understandings with its gender-inclusive language that forces a fresh evaluation of the holy message.
I hope to continue these reflections in my next post, but in the meantime I would like to leave you with the heart-quaking verse that radically altered my connection to God:
In the name of God, the Infinitely Compassionate, the Infinitely Merciful.
God – there is no deity but Hu,
the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsisting Source of All Being.
No slumber can seize Her nor sleep.
All things in heaven and on earth belong to Her.
Who could intercede in Her presence without Her permission?
She knows all that lies open before human beings and all that is hidden from them,
nor can they encompass any knowledge of Her except what She wills.
Her throne extends over the heavens and the earth,
and She feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them,
for She is the Highest and Most Exalted.
* Fihi ma Fihi: Discourse 65, The Rumi Daybook, translated by Kabir & Camille Helminski