Here in this article, I seek to examine what light means to us in Islam. I will begin by discussing An-Nur, Allah and his light, which is demonstrated by Allah of created objects which demonstrate his light, such as the Sun and Moon and Stars and Lightning, Previous messengers as bearing light , the Qur’an as a light , the Prophet Muhammad as a light, angels which are made of light , and believers light of worship and understanding and ability to interact with light as part of their faith. I will then discuss the most famous dua’ (prayer) that can be made to secure light for a believer before concluding with some observations on light as a preaching right and blessing in particular for women.
We begin with Surat An Nur. Here Allah mentions;
“Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. A likeness of his light is as a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp is in a glass, and the glass is if it were a brightly shining star, lit from a blessed olive tree, neither eastern nor western, the oil therefore almost gives light though the fire touch it not , light upon light , Allah guides to his light whom he pleases, and Allah sets forth parables for men, and Allah is cognizant of all things.”
Here Allah is mentioning the likeness of his name An Nur the God of Light. Hence, he has an all-prevailing ability to preach light in its many manifest forms. The preaching examined here all fall within the scope of the Qur’an and the Sunnatic prayer mentioned at the end is as if it were the epitome of someone seeking the blessing from An Nur.
Allah’s attribute, the light
There are several factors to note here. Firstly, Allah establishes his name on the throne An-Nur, hence he is the God of light in all its manifest forms. His light extends to the heavens and earth, Allah expounds light upon light, a term used to interpret the tafseer of the Qur’an, by examining each verse in the likeness of another whereby we gain a deeper understanding of the Qur’an, hence the verse’s on thunder are to be interpreted alongside each other to demonstrate better understanding for the believer. Hence we see three Verse’s that interrelate the subject matter, that of lightning.
At verse 2.20 Allah reveals;
“The lighting almost takes away their sight; wherever it shines on them they walk in it, and when it becomes dark to them they stand still; and if Allah had pleased he would certainly have taken away their hearing and sight; surely Allah has power over all things.”
Also, at verse 13.12;
“He it is who shows you the lightning causing fear and hope and who brings up the heavy cloud.”
And at verse 30.24 Allah reveals;
“And one of his signs is that he shows you the lightning for fear and for hope and sends down water from the clouds then gives life therewith to the earth after its death; most surely there are signs in this for a people who understand.”
In considering Tafseer of the holy Qur’an then we sometimes need to consider verses together from separate parts of the Qur’an to gain a deeper understanding of the revelation, its meaning and purpose.
One sign for example is that women are sometime mentioned separately from men, sometimes together and sometimes within the definition of mankind. Hence, we can see that one of the methodologies of the interpretations of the Qur’an is to thoroughly research the area of interest as it may have revelation that links in from elsewhere. In the above example we can see that the definition of light pertaining to lightning is used by Allah to make mankind fear his creation, realize that there is bounty and blessing in the lightning reviving the earth into producing more growth, the fact that it is a sign of Allah’s light, that it should provoke fear and hope and thereby worship of Allah under which the lighting is under the control of. Signs are mentioned frequently throughout the Qur’an and the point is for man to understand his relationship with Allah which should be one in awe of the Lord of Light.
Next it is made clear that Allah guides to his light whom he pleases, this is a great flavor from our Lord indeed. To be guided to faith is an immense blessing. Finally, it is important to note that Allah provides parables for mankind in order to teach and educate him upon the faith.
There are other verses that relate to Allah and his light. Here we can discuss verses 2.257, 5.16, 6.1, 9.32, 13.16, 28.71, 31.20, all being examples of his light, for example Verse 5.16,
“With it Allah guides him who will follow his pleasure into the ways of safety and bring them out of utter darkness into light by his will and guides them to a right path.”
Also at verse 31.20,
“Do you not see that Allah has made what is in the heaven’s and what is in the earth subservient to you, and made complete to you his favours outwardly and inwardly? And amongst men is he who disputes in respect of Allah though having no knowledge nor guidance nor a book giving light.”
Here Allah discusses the situation of belief that he has created and that holy books that give light are not present in some of mankind who disputes with Allah.
Next, we can discuss those aspect of Allah’s creation and his demonstrable power over all the creations that appertain to light. Hence the Day, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, Lighting, all fall within his creative blessing upon mankind, to provide him with light in various ways. Hence verses that merit discussion are 10.5, 10.67, 13.12, 13.16, 24.40, 24.43, 30.24, 35.20, 71.16, 77.8, 79.29. These verses all mention the created aspects of light that Allah has made for us, to benefit form.
Here at verse 71.16
“And he made the moon therein a light and made the sun a lamp.”
And at verse 10.67,
“He it is who made for you the night that you might rest in it, and the day giving light; most surely there are signs in it for a people who would hear.”
Thereafter we can discuss the Prophets that came with a light. Here we come across several messengers that demonstrated a light, meaning the strong light of faith that was imbued inside them. We see mention of Musa and Harun, and Isa and Muhammad pbuh, at verses 14.5 and 21.48, 5.44, 6.91, 5.46, 7.157, 42.52, 64.8, 65.11, all presenting this issue.
For instance, at verse 21.48,
“And certainly, we gave Musa and Harun the Furqan and a light and a reminder for those who would guard against evil.”
Then the example of the Prophet Isa is mentioned in high regard, at verse 5.46,
“And we sent after them in their footsteps Isa, son of Myriam, verifying what was before him of the Taurat and we gave him the Injeel in which was guidance and light, and verifying what was before it of Taurat and a guidance and an admonition for those who guard against evil.”
Prophet Muhammad and the light of Faith
Finally in this section we see the Prophet Muhammad also brought with him the strong light of faith, at verse 7.157
“Those who follow the apostle , the Ummi, whom they find written down with them and in the Taurat and Injeel, who enjoined them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them the good things and make unlawful to them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them, so as of those who believe in him and honour him and help him, and follow the light which has been sent down with him, these it is that are the successful.”
Hence, we see the Prophets are blessed with a light. This is to preach to the people the benefit of the light of faith versus the darkness of disbelief and all that entails mainly the punishment of hell. To illustrate this, consider the following Verse at 14.1,
“Alif Raam La this is a book which we have revealed to you that you may bring forth the men, by their Lord’s permission from the darkness into light – to the way of the Mighty the Praised One.”
Hence, we can see that the next issue to be discussed is that of the Qur’an being a light. Here verses mentioned include, 4.174, 5.15, 5.16, 5.44, 14.1, 42.52, 57.9, 73.5.
An example of this section we can see the following Verse at 42.52 whereby it states,
“And thus, we did reveal to you an inspired book by our command. You did not know what the book was, nor what the faith was, but we made it a light, guiding thereby who we please of our servants, and most surely you show the way to the right path.”
Then we can look at some other issues. Angels are made of light, and they interact with human beings. The two recording angles sit at either side and are recording everything that you do on both sides being, good and bad, and this record will be made available on judgment day, and at verse, 39.69, 33.43 where the angels are discussed as bringing down blessings upon mankind. Hence, we interact with angles who are made from light and demonstrate Allah’s praise and glory permanently. To Illustrate this, consider the following verse 33.43,
“He it is who sends his blessings on you, and so do his angels, that he may bring you forth out of utter darkness into light, and he is merciful to the believer’s.”
The virtues of light in the Qur’an
Next, we discuss the virtues of light in the Qur’an. Here we find at Verse 40.15.
“Possessor of the highest rank, Lord of Power, he makes the inspiration to light by his command upon whom he pleases of his servants, that he may warn men of the day of meeting.”
Hence, we see how inspiration is a form of light also. Such is holy Spirit, light and blessings as are all evidences or signs of light.
Finally, we will look at the example of the believers who interact with light and how to do this in a favourable manner. Here we see verses such as 2.265, 5.15, 7.157, 7.189, 39.22,57.13, 57.19, 57.328, 64.8.
Examples meriting further discussion include the following verse 7.189,
“He it is who created you from a single being, and of the same kind did he make his mate, that he may incline to her, so when he covers her she bears a light burden, then moves about with it, but when it grows heavy they both call upon Allah, their Lord. If thou give us a good one, we will certainly be of the grateful ones.”
Here we can see the revelation blessing the Muslim women. Her husband is inclined towards her, that is, love and beauty in the attraction of them towards each other is placed between them, and discussion of the pregnancy and devout wishes of the parents to have a holy child, by praying to Allah to bless her womb.
Also, we see at 57.28 the following verse.
“O you who believe, be careful of your duty to Allah, and believe in his apostle, he will give you two portions of his mercy, and make for you a light, with which you will walk, and forgive you, and Allah is forgiving, Merciful.”
Also, it is who noting the following revelation at Verse 39.22;
“What! is he whose heart Allah has opened for Islam so that he is in a light from his Lord like the heard hearted? Nay, woe to those whose heart are heard against the remembrance of Allah, those are in clear error.”
Also, Allah directs the believers to the truth in Verse 4.174;
“O People! surely there has come to you manifest proof from your Lord and we have sent to you a clear light.”
Allah then addresses the people of the book to follow Islam as the true religion at Verse 5.15;
“O followers of the book! Indeed our Apostle has come to you making clear to you much of what you concealed of the book and passing over much; indeed, there has come to you a light and a clear book from Allah .”
The prayer of seeking light
Mention must be made of the dua’ to seek light form your Lord. It is related to pray the following dua;
“O Allah, pour your light into my heart, my eyes, my ears, and shed it on my right, my left, behind me, before me, beneath me, and above.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
In another example three women had virtues. Mariam who guarded her chastity, received Holy Spirit and Musa’s mother who received Inspiration whilst being married to Musa’s father. Thirdly, Amina, the Prophets mother also had a series of true dreams relating to her child before he was born, and there are various account of faithful believers receiving true guidance in dreams, based on revelation that dreams can constitute revelation. e.g., examples of the Prophets Ibrahim and Yusuf. The book of Serah The Sealed Nectar contains a saying reported by Ibn Sa’d that Amina said, “When he was born, there was a light that issued out of my pudendum and lit the palaces of Syria.”
Hence subsequent female favors could well be blessed with the preaching right of light by Allah SWT in heaven and also in the world.
The Prophet Isa Is also an example who has holy spirit, as found in Surat Mariam and Surat Al Imran, Inspiration in Surat Consultation and Surat An-Nisa, he is Blessed where ever he may be in Surat Myriam and he is blessed and sent with a light to the children of Bani Israel, as found in Surat The Dinner Table.
Subsequently, upon lawful return, he will preach the Qur’an, and Qur’anic virtues as at 16.102. Hence his family are in a favoured position to preach these virtues. Also, a “Be” command and determination can create other prophets with virtues such as light if Allah wills it.
The gift of light
The deeper understanding of the virtues of light removes from us the darkness of disbelief and allows us to guard our worship to overcome the shaitan in our dealings in the world, as well as protecting our future in heaven.
Here we can discuss the outcome for the believer in heaven in verse 57.12 which reveals;
“On that day you will see the faithful men and the faithful women their light running before them and on their right-hand good news for you today; garden beneath which rivers flow, to abide therein that is the grand achievement.”
Again, it is noted here that women are addressed alongside men in receiving an equal reward for their faith. Also, we see the reward of the believer being such as in Verse 57.19;
“And as for those who believe in Allah and his apostles, these it is that are the truthful and the faithful ones in the sight of their Lord; they shall have their reward and their light, and as for those who disbelieve and reject our communications, these are the inmates of hell.”
Finally we can conclude that light is a almighty blessing held in Allah’s gift to the Muslim believer and that a thorough understanding of it is something that one should aspire to .
By Nabela K M Ahmad