The ninth month

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah — Leonard Cohen

As soon as the cres­cent of the new moon, announc­ing the ninth month, can be seen, the month Ramadan starts; the time of fast­ing for Mus­lims. These weeks, a small table has appeared in the news­pa­per, with sun posi­tions for the may­or cities in Kenya. Accord­ing to tra­di­tion, in this month the Quran was first revealed to Muhammed, while he was med­i­tat­ing in a cave.

Even when this book does not have reli­gious val­ue for us, we can enjoy the poet­ry. That is one of the rea­sons why Kad­er Abdolah wrote his onortho­dox trans­la­tion of the Quran in Dutch. So in this blog no world prob­lems or dai­ly rou­tines; a taste of the Ramadan.
An inter­view in Trouw news­pa­per (2008) with Kad­er Abdolah:

Is Allah ‘lief’ [Dutch word, trans­lates with ‘sweet’ but stems from the word ‘love’]? Kad­er Abdolah shrugs some­what timid­ly „Yes, that is what it says. Bis­mil­lah, ar-Rah­man ar-Rahim. It is most­ly trans­lat­ed as: In the name of Allah, the Entire­ly Mer­ci­ful, the Espe­cial­ly Mer­ci­ful. But those are out­dat­ed, mean­ing­less words. They do not express the core of the per­son­al­i­ty. The core of Allah is: He is lief. He gives. He for­gives. And here it is Kad­er Abdolah who trans­lates the Quran. This is my poet­ry. Mind you: I am not say­ing myself that Allah is lief. But that is what it says in the Quran.

tulpThere are 114 Suras. They all have titles like ‘The Cow’, ‘The Spi­der’, The ‘Wind-Curved Sand­hills’, ‘The Plead­ing Woman’. The Quran starts with Al-Fati­hah (The Opener):

In the name of Allah , the Entire­ly Mer­ci­ful, the Espe­cial­ly Merciful.
[All] praise is [due] to Allah , Lord of the worlds -
The Entire­ly Mer­ci­ful, the Espe­cial­ly Merciful,
Sov­er­eign of the Day of Recompense.
It is You we wor­ship and You we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path -
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

tulpAgain Kad­er Abdolah:

As a child I lived in the house of the mosque. The Quran was the book of the house. It was read every day. My uncle Aga Djan, now 94 years old, whom I have always con­sid­ered my father, has read the Quran per­haps sev­en hun­dred times, in the morn­ing, the after­noon, the evening, every day. He hummed the text aloud. The Quran flowed like a riv­er through the house, the whole day long. When I was six, sev­en, eight years old, I could read the book myself. But I did not under­stand it. One of my favorite suras is about the pen. ‘By the pen, and by that which you write with it”. Allah swears by the pen. Those oath of Allah, oh they are bril­liant. He swears by hon­ey, he swears by the olive, he swears by all the good food. Wonderful.

tulpThe Sura that was revealed the first is Al-Alaq (The Cloth):

Recite in the name of your Lord who created -
Cre­at­ed man from a cling­ing substance.
Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous -
Who taught by the pen -
Taught man that which he knew not.

tulpFinal­ly these sen­tences from an inter­view with Islam-reformer Abdolka­rim Soroush:

In our mod­ern age we can under­stand rev­e­la­tion by using the metaphor of poet­ry. As one Mus­lim philoso­pher has put it: rev­e­la­tion is high­er poet­ry. Poet­ry is a means of knowl­edge that works dif­fer­ent­ly from sci­ence or phi­los­o­phy. The poet feels that he is informed by a source exter­nal to him; that he receives some­thing. And poet­ry, just like rev­e­la­tion, is a tal­ent: A poet can open new hori­zons for peo­ple; he can make them view the world in a dif­fer­ent way.