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They ask thee concerning the New Moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in (the affairs of) men, and for Pilgrimage. It is no virtue if ye enter your houses from the back: It is virtue if ye fear Allah. Enter houses through the proper doors: And fear Allah: That ye may prosper.

The following excerpt is taken from “The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary” by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:

Note 202:

They ask thee concerning the new moons.
C202. There were many superstitions connected with
the New Moon, as there are to the present day. We are
told to disregard such superstitions.

As a measure of time, where the lunar calendar is used,
the New Moon is one great sign, for which people watch
with eagerness. Muslim festivals, including the
Pilgrimage, are fixed by the appearance of the New
Moon.
The Arabs, among other superstitions, had one which
made them enter their houses by the back door during
or after the Pilgrimage. This is disapproved, for there is
no virtue in any such artificial restrictions. All virtue
proceeds from the love and fear of Allah.

Note 203:

This is a Muslim proverb now, and much might be
written about its manifold meanings. A few may be noted
here.

  • If you enter a society, respect its manners and
    customs.
  • If you want to achieve an object honorably, go about
    it openly and not “by a backdoor”.
  • Do not beat about the bush. If you wish success in
    an undertaking, provide all the necessary
    instruments for it.
    The subject of the New Moon provides a good transition
    between the Ramadan fast, which begins and ends with
    the New Moon, the Pilgrimage, whose ten days
    commence with the New Moon, and the War which Islam
    had to wage in self-defence against the Pagans, who
    wanted to exclude them from the Pilgrimage after they
    had driven them out of the house and home.

References:

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (Surah 2 verse 189). Microsoft Word – 002 Baqarah.doc (quran4u.com)

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