Saturday, April 05, 2003

I was doing some reading for my religious studies class (Islamic Scriptures) and came across this passage from a commentary by Neal Robinson, called Discovering the Qur’an: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text.

Subhan’Allah this is sooo beautiful. I hope y’all enjoy it too, and maybe juxtapose it with your personal experience as a means of perfecting your own approach to the Qur’an:

What I have said about the respect which ordinary Muslims show for the Qur’an, and about the dynamic appearance of the written text, is epitomized by this extract from a meditation by Hasan Aksari. He was moved to write it when a young friend of his told him about his mother. The mother had never been taught how to read, yet before dawn she would rise and kindle a lamp, unfurl her prayer mat and remove her Qur’an from its green silk wrapping.

For a long time she would allow her eyes to rest on the two open pages before her. The letters in green ink from right to left, row beneath row, each shape mysteriously captivating, each dot above or below a letter an epitome of the entire scripture, each assembly of letters a group of dervishes raising their hands in zikr, each gap between two enigmatic shapes a leap from this world into the next, and each ending the advent of the day of Resurrection.

She would thus see a thousand images in the procession of that script and would move from vision to vision.

After spending much time in just looking at the open book, she would then, with strange light glowing on her face, lift her right hand and with the right finger start touching the letters of each line, then another line, to the end of the page. What transpired between the book and that touch, and what knowledge passed, without any mediation of conscious thought, directly into her soul, only the Qur’an and the strange reciter could know. The entire world stood still at this amazing recital without words, without meaning, without knowledge. With that touch a unity was established between her and the Qur’an. At that moment she had passed into a state of total identity with the word of God. Her inability to read the scripture was her ability to hear once again: Read! Read, in the name of thy Lord.