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.