Ramadan’s revelation begins with the Angelic command — iqraa! — to read, to recite. To read the signs correctly. To recite the signs of Allah.
To live through their Prophetic alignment, their Prophetic unlocking. All signs indicate Divinity’s Love, but their misreading prevents us from comprehending this. Their correct reading allows us to recite their full worth in Truth, as the Angel commands.
Why does the Angel instruct us to read? Because God’s Mercy is unbounded Pleasure, and God Loves us to know unbounded Pleasure. To read the signs correctly, to recite by this command, is to be seized by the spirit of God, the ruh of Love that runs through all souls, that binds the cosmos and humanity, and to speak God’s tongue, God’s language. No longer an “I” (or a “they” because the ego is always a nation, a multiplicity) speaking their own/”owned” words and intended meanings, their owned means to power (because individual language games are always power games that construct selfhoods). To recite, to read by this command is to enter into an event that is monumental, fearfully awesome in its implication: no longer an “I” (or a “they”) assembling power structures of finite significance, but God speaking through us, reciting His Truth through us, reciting His Qur’an through us.
And this seizure, this recitation — reading correctly — is the unbounded Pleasure of Allah’s Mercy, Loving to be Known through recitation reciting. That’s why the Angel commands.
“I”/”They” disappear. They are slain by this Angelic command. It’s momentarily painful when it happens, fearful in the utter oblivion that strikes falsity’s wink, but Celestially Beautiful in consequent awakening to eternal Reality, the experience of her smile of Joy. To read is to recite, is to speak, is to act, is to throw the dust of the earth of ayat, a fractal cloud of shimmering, sparkling sand, each grain an ayat of Truth: to read is to cast this dust, in test, against the “they”. And this act of throwing is called the Gracious Test of Tafsir, the test of living and the struggle of reciting correctly, nobly. A Test of a Tafsir that is “of Himself” ultimately, a Tafsir that Loves to be Known: the full realisation of this fact is its individual achievement, when spoken correctly, when speech corrects.
And self-reflexively, our Angelic recitation commands us to recite the very nature of correction as recitation in marvelous mantra:
It is not you who slew them; it was Allah: when you threw, it was not your act, but Allah’s: in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself: for Allah is He Who hears and knows. (8:17)
And all correct reading comes to us as a Mercy from God, because our tongues are tied. And all misunderstanding, all misreading is from “them”, from the lower nation of the “I”: it is “their” stasis, their sealed heart. This Mercy runs through the habitations of the hearts, purifying them, ennobling these abodes in traces Glorious and Joyful: this Mercy running through us is called Guidance, the Recitation. It is called the Book of Love. It is called Qur’an. There is no better Guidance, if the people could understand.
Oh Allah, grant Ramadan’s command upon your loving beloved, in eternal cycles of reading. Grant this slave’s lips a reading that traces the beauty upon beauty of your Book. Let me speak your words of Love once again.