It’s been another month. Yesterday I went out to look for the new crescent moon of Rabi’ Al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic year, the month in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God Upon him) was born. It is a good time. Unfortunately however, the moon was not seen yesterday. The clouds in the sky were thick and only a small window through the clouds was visible for us to look into. Nonetheless, the month has come to an end and today with clearer skies the new crescent moon was easily visible and I had the good fortune to spend about an hour with it as it slowly sank into the western sky.
Rabi Al-Awwal Crescent
When I photograph the moon I always think to myself, these photos will not be very interesting. The sky looks plain, the moon too thin and I think to myself how great it would be if the sky suddenly erupted in a blush of color. But after I return home and start working with the images, I am utterly amazed at how beautiful the moon is with all its subtleties.
Subtleties of the Moon
And then when the color does appear, it makes the moon stand out even more. One of the beautiful aspects of the moon is that it cycles. It always returns to this moment, like clockwork every month. It’s dependable, even if we can’t see it due to clouds or weather or some other reason, it always returns. It’s a promise that you can bank on. At the same time, it, just like everything else in creation is in a state of evanescence. It will vanish just like everything else. Here today and gone tomorrow.
Crescent in a blush of pink
Just like the light that lights the sky vanishes, so to will the moon and everything else for that matter, everything.
However, its only in the absence of something do we realize how important that thing was to us and what a blessing it was. And just when you think that you can’t do with out that blessing, you find that in its absence you can see things that you were never able to see when its brilliance was blinding you. You realize that even though all you can see is a small sliver of its light, its true nature is hidden by the make-up that covers it and in the shadows its true nature is revealed.
The Moon Revealed in Earth Shine
As the day came to a close and the final photo taken, I realized that no one is an island. Even though the moon tonight was the most brilliant object in the sky, it was not alone and could never be our moon if it was alone. For sharing the sky with the moon was Venus, our closest neighboring planet. Everything in nature has its counterpart – night and day, sun and moon, husband and wife, right and wrong.
The Moon and Venus
One cannot exist without the other. Everything in creation exhibits this quality. And it is only with this very quality can anything be perpetuated. If one side of the balance is upset it will upset the other side as well and send everything into an out of control chaotic spiral downward into destruction – May God protect us from that.