Tafsir of al-Qur'an Surah 2 Ayah 189
Regarding the New Moons

What follows is part of the Tafsir (exegesis) of Surah 2 Ayah 189 of the Holy Qur'an from The Light of the Qur-an by Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah Al-Azhari (Rahmatullahi `alayh) translated by Iftikhar Ahmad Bajwa. It has been reproduced below with permission from Zia-Ul-Quran Publications, Lahore, Pakistan.

They question you concerning the new moons (as to how these wax and wane). Say you: "These are but measures of time for mankind and for the season of Pilgrimage". And it is no virtue that you enter houses from the back. Of course, real virtue lies in one's following the course of righteousness. And enter houses by the (front) doors thereof. And keep fearing Allah in the hope that you may be successful. (al-Qur'an 2:189)

Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah Al-Azhari (Rahmatullahi `alayh) writes,

N.230 "On the one hand the phenomena of nature have been made so beautiful that man's heart is inexorably attracted to them, and on the other they are invested with such mystery as is unfathomable by human intellect. Then to complicate the matter, man has been given insatiable desire to search for causes and the reality behind the visible. Why so? The reason is simple: If the reality of the universe were not concealed in successive veils of mystery, it would not have challenged man to exercise his faculties and realise the many-dimensional potential built in the very core of his being. There was a time when man --- unable to penetrate even the lesser mysteries of the mysterious universe, bewildered by its fascinating beauty and terrified by its terrible majesty --- began to worship the phenomena of nature. The light of reason and insight, of intellect and intuition failed to dispel the darkness of apathy and ignorance; and the hand that was given the power to control and restructure the universe withered to the point of paralysis. Then Allah, the Creator and Lord of the universe, sent His Last Prophet to guide mankind on to the straight path. Prophet Muhammad removed the blindfold of ignorance man had tied over his eyes, and gave him the courage to see the reality of the physical phenomena and reflect on his own position in the scheme of the universe. He declared that the sun and the moon, the earth and the sky, the valleys and the mountains, the rivers and the deserts were not his masters but his slaves, created for his benefit and made subservient to him.

Prophet Muhammad , it should be clearly understood, enunciated the fundamental reality that man is superior to nature and that he had been given the physical, intellectual and spiritual faculties to understand nature, use it for his profit, and transcend it to reach the ultimate reality behind it. He did not take upon himself the task of solving the mysteries of the physical universe, for his was a higher mission --- the prophetic mission of declaring and propagating the eternal truth, and urging and encouraging man to use his faculties and penetrate the mysteries of the universe. When his followers asked him abut the waxing and waning of the moons, Allah told him to tell what benefit the passing of this celestial sphere through phases brings to them by serving as a measure of time, a very visible calendar for both the literate and the illiterate; but left it to them to use their intellect and search the causes behind its monthly changes. If man had been provided ready-made answers to all questions relating to the universe he was to live in, it would have atrophied his faculties.

Some people assert that the Prophet was ignorant of the causes behind such physical phenomena, and therefore could not answer such questions. It is rather hard to believe that Prophet receiving knowledge directly from the Creator of the universe did not possess even as much knowledge of the physical phenomena as a high-school student of our day has . . . "