Of God and god

A couple of months ago, I wrote a Facebook post in which I mentioned the expression of “god’s gifts.” A while later, a message popped into my inbox from a well-meaning stranger, appreciating the post but also admonishing me to write “God” instead of “god.”

I usually do make sure to capitalize the G in “God” but this time, deeply immersed in writing, I hadn’t paid much thought.

The message, however, left me amused. What a strange thing to be pointed out. Had I committed an affront by not capitalizing “god”? How much did it really matter?

I pondered, only to be reminded of my own relationship with my Creator; Keeper of my soul and its secrets, my Rabb but also, closer to me than my jugular, my closest friend, confidante and companion; the only and eternal Mehram of my haal; the One to whom I have cried, wept, pleaded in the day and in the dark; the One to whom I take the most trivial of my tensions and wishes to, the One with whom I have shikway and often even narazgi; the One whose mercy outstrips His wrath, the One who wants me to invoke His name and turn to Him even when I am only in need of the lace of a shoe or a spoonful of salt (and I do).

I worship Him, I remember Him, I thank Him, but even as He reigns, in His Endless Might and Magnificence, I candidly converse with Him, I pose questions to Him, I pester Him, I seek His Benevolence.

My image of God is much like the Pashtun poet Ghani Khan’s conception of Him:

“Ghani Khan’s relationship with God, which is itself another significant theme in his poetry, is one of love, depth, and devotion. It is full of a kind of humility that allows him to talk to God in his poetry, not just of Him. The God invoked in his poetry is a janan, a beloved. This understanding of God is rare in many Muslim societies, but is popular in the Sufi tradition. The wrath of God is emphasized to such an extent that many then become obsessed with fear from God, constantly wondering if what they are doing is haraam or halaal, forbidden or permissible, merely so that they can avoid hell. Prayer becomes a mundane ritual, an oppressive obligation, a dreaded moment; it is not a precious moment between humans and God in which humans humble themselves, submitting themselves utterly to God, overcome with God’s power and awe, and creates a sacred, intimate bond with God.”

I will, of course, continue to write God with a capital G. But I don’t think the God I know will mind if I don’t, because I have, for the longest time, considered the Divine to be much greater than the many limits of our imagination, our fears, and the confines we inhabit, establish and seek to constrict everything in, especially in His name. Khuda nahi, banday ki soch choti hai. Khuda bara hai, hamari soch ki sarhad’on aur had’ood se, aur aik nuktay aur harf se tau kaheen ziada.



-Hafsa Khawaja

6 comments on “Of God and god

  1. ahmed . says:

    take it easy,may be he/she is some English teacher who is trying to improve your grammar skills(which are amazing and dont need any improvement in my humble opinion but oh well may be be my own grammar is not so good,hhh)

  2. “Khudaa nahi banday ki soch choti hai”, you just summed up the reason behind the fiasco or whatever we are supposed to call it, that happened last week.

    Either way your blogs are like deep conversations with an old friend.
    Lots of love to you!!!

    • Hi Maha,

      I hadn’t thought of it in light of the terrible events that occurred recently but truly, much of the madness we witness today, is merely a consequence of people projecting their limited visions onto the Mighty and Magnificent.

      Thank you so much for reading, and the appreciation! ❤

  3. Mohammad Ali says:

    I have been living abroad since childhood, always wanted to return home, but nothing scares me more than this. The mind set of people, the hypocrisy.

    Well written.

  4. Numéro2107 says:

    “God is so powerful that, when imagination shoots its arrows to comprehend the extent of God’s power, when the mind tries to reach God in the depths of God’s realm, when the hearts long to grasp the realities of Almighty’s attributes, and when intellect attempts to secure knowledge about God’s Being, crossing the pitfalls of the unknown, they would all be turned back. They would return defeated, acknowledging that the reality of God’s essence cannot be grasped.” – Sermons & Letters of Ali Ibn Abi Talib – The Peak Of Eloquence (نهج البلاغة‎ Nahj-ul Balāghah).

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