Sunday, October 22, 2006
  The feminine Divine
A friend on a yahoo group recently wrote some of the most profoundly moving thoughts about the feminine Divine, and I thought I'd paraphrase them here as they so thoroughly touched me.

"Rahman” and “Rahim” are the two most common names of Allah. 113 of 114 Surahs in the Quran open in the name of Allah, ArRahman, Ar-Rahim. Rahman has been explained to me as an overarching compassion, while Rahim is personal and intimate.

My friend point out that they come from the same root in Arabic: RHM -- a root whose basic meaning refers to the womb. That creative life generating force which only mothers have. It's rather stunning to me that the most common names for god and the word for my womb have the same root. Can you imagine if Deus meant god and Deusat meant womb! The link between the feminine creative force and the Divine one would then be unmistakeable. In a book where God is often referred to as "He" the consistent reference to a feminine divine is particularly important.

My friend went to mention that though this is the one phrase most recited in the Quran, its meaning is substantially denied by scholars. "It is as if the whole discussion of mammals were about their intelligence and the root meaning of mammal were denied. The single most essential most fundamental feature that defines mammals is milk. That is what mammalian means. So in Arabic we have an even more fundamental root referring to female creativity as the single most significant quality of God and it is denied. It is to that extent that the Quran we read today has been denied by the scholars of our faith because of its political, spiritual, psychological, and ethical implications. It is far far deeper than male dominance. It is outright male jealousy and hatred of the female."

Powerful stuff that I'm still absorbing.
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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