Two perspectives on God, karma and skin flaying

Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (4:56)

View 1 (from last year’s Ramadan Reading)

This is a description of the process of denial. To deny is to “live through” a configuration of signs, a self-inscription of ayat, that fails to unlock its potential light in realisation and understanding of what its meaning is (its meaning is submission). This self-inscription, lived autobiography constitutes a “life” and is called a Robe of Days or a “skin”. When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree and fell into this space of Judgement, they became naked and God equipped them with garments of “skin”. Before this they occupied a plane where such skin (of differentiation) did not have any meaning. The went from unity to fragmented lives of garmenting, of weaving garments, of growing skin.

The best skin, the best garment is one that believes in the signs — that has trust, security, belief — in the signs all around us: this belief is self-awareness of what the signs refer to, as we individually configure them to form the skin itself.

In contrast, denial is a particular archetype that runs throughout Time, throughout the Differentiation of Fiery Judgement and “lives through” multiple skins that burn away. They are robes that are tattered and faulty, so fall away. The skins of deniers thus act as shells for denial to pass through.

View 2 (from an email I wrote today)

That which I wrote last year, I still affirm: the verses concern the wheel of karma, and the skins are skins of reincarnation, gilgul. And gilgul, skin shedding, life = dukkha.

While gilgul leads every soul out of the fire and into the gardens of jannah — it is, nevertheless, painful. Painful: these signs of the Qur’an we read — they are a pained life.

My God is pure Love. These verses are painful, and my God of Love doesn’t happily recite these verses to me, because He bestows Love, not fear.

My God’s Only Word is crucified by these verses, so that we might all be saved from the hellfire!


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