النور

Al-Noor (read as An-Noor) (The Light)

Allah said in the surah Al-Noor (An-Nur) verse 35 (its translation is):


35. Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.
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Another translation of the same verse with some exp. notes is here:


(24:35) Allah61 is the Light of the heavens and the earth.62 His Light (in the Universe) may be likened to a niche wherein is a lamp, and the lamp is in the crystal which shines in star-like brilliance. It is lit from (the oil) of a blessed olive tree63 that is neither eastern nor western.64 Its oil well nigh glows forth (of itself) though no fire touched it: Light upon Light.65 Allah guides to His Light whom He wills.66 Allah sets forth parables to make people understand. Allah knows everything.67
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Exp. note 62:

  1. The phrase heavens and the earth in the Quran is generally used for the universe. Thus the verse would also mean: Allah is the light of the whole universe.

Light is something which makes things visible; which is itself manifest and helps make other things manifest. The human mind conceives light in this very sense. Absence of light is termed darkness, invisibility and obscurity. On the other hand, when there is visibility and things become exposed to view, man says there is light. Allah has been called Light’ in this basic sense, and not in the sense of a beam of light which travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second and stimulates the optic nerve through the retina. This conception of light has nothing to do with the reality of the meaning for which human mind has coined this word; rather the word light is used for all those lights which we experience in this physical world. All human words used for Allah are used in their basic sense and meaning, and not with reference to their physical connotation. For instance, when, the word sight is used with respect to Allah, it does not mean that Allah has an eye like men and animals with which He sees. Similarly when we say that Allah hears or grips or grasps, it does not mean that He hears through ears, or grips or grasps with the hand like us. These words are used in a metaphorical sense and only a man of very poor intelligence would have the misconception that hearing or seeing or grasping is not possible except in the limited and specific sense in which we experience it. Similarly it will be shortsightedness to interpret the word light in the sense of physical light rays emanating from a luminous body and affecting the retina. This word is not applicable to Allah in its limited sense, but in its absolute sense. That is, He alone in this universe is the real and prime cause of manifestation, otherwise there is nothing but darkness here. Everything which gives light and illuminates other things has received its light from Him; it has no light of its own.
The word light is also used for knowledge, and ignorance is termed as darkness. Allah is the Light of the universe in this sense too, because the knowledge of reality and of right guidance can be obtained from Him alone; without having recourse to His Light, there will be nothing but darkness of ignorance and the resultant vice and wickedness in the world.


Exp. note 65:

65. In this parable, Allah has been likened to the Lamp and the universe to the Niche. The glass shade is the veil behind which Allah has concealed Himself from His creation. This veil is not a physical veil for concealment, but a veil caused by the intensity of divine manifestation. The human eye is unable to see Him not because of the intervening darkness but because of the intensity of the all-pervading, all-embracing Light radiating through the transparent veil. The human vision which is limited in nature cannot comprehend it. It can only comprehend and perceive limited physical lights which vary in brightness, which disappear and reappear, and Which can be perceived only by contrast to existing darkness. But the Absolute Light has no confronting darkness. It does not vanish, it shines forth and pervades all around with ever existing glory; it is beyond human perception and comprehension.

The sentence: His light may be likened, dispels the possible misunderstanding that one could have from the words: Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. This shows that the use of the word light for Allah does not at all mean that the essence of His Being is nothing but light. In essence, He is a Perfect Being, Who is All-Knowing, All- Powerful, All-Wise etc. and also possessing all Light has been called Light itself because of His Perfection as a source of Light, just as somebody may be called Grace on account of his being highly gracious and beneficent, and Beauty because of his being highly beautiful and attractive.
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Exp. note 66:

66. That is, although Allah’s Light is illuminating the whole world, everybody does not and cannot perceive it. It is Allah alone Who blesses whomsoever He wills with the capacity for perceiving His Light and benefiting by it. Just as the day and night are alike to a blind man, so is the case of a man without the gift of inner perception. He may see the electric light, the sunlight, the moonlight and the light from stars, but he cannot perceive the Light of Allah. For him there is nothing but darkness in the universe. Just as a blind man cannot see the stone in his way unless he stumbles over it, so is the man without the gift of inner perception, who cannot perceive even those realities around him which may be all brilliance and shining by Allah’s Light. He will perceive them only when he is overtaken by the consequences of his own misdeeds.
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This verse 35 of the surah Al-Noor is from the mutashabihaat. The meaning of the mutashabhaat is known only to Allah Ta’aala.

But I pasted only important portions from the exp. notes.

Allah’s Light of Guidance is extremely vast but everyone doesn’t have the ability to perceive it. So an unbeliever is in darkness. He/she doesn’t know the purpose of their life and death. They don’t know about the life after death. So they will just waste this precious life without making any good for the Hereafter. His example is given in the verses 39 and 40 of the surah Al-Noor in Allah’s Book as:


(24:39) But for those who deny the Truth,70 their deeds are like a mirage in the desert, which the thirsty supposes to be water until he comes to it only to find that it was nothing; he found instead that Allah was with Him and He paid his account in full. Allah is swift in settling the account.71

(24:40) Or its similitude is that of depths of darkness upon an abysmal sea, covered by a billow, above which is a billow, above which is cloud, creating darkness piled one upon another; when he puts forth his hand, he would scarcely see it.72 He to whom Allah assigns no light, he will have no light.73
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Exp. note 72:

  1. This parable describes the condition of all the disbelievers and the hypocrites including those who perform good deeds for ostentation. It is being stated that such people are passing their life in a state of absolute and complete ignorance, whether they are the most learned people in the world and leaders in their respective fields of learning. They are like the man who is lost in complete darkness where no ray of light can reach him. They think that knowledge merely consists in producing atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, supersonic planes and moon rockets, or in attaining excellence in economics and finance and law and philosophy. But they little understand that real knowledge is something entirely different and they have no idea of it. Thus considered they are just ignorant, and an illiterate peasant who has gained some acquaintance of the divine truth is wiser than them.


    Exp. note 73:

    73. Here is stated the real object of the discourse which began with: Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. When in fact there is no light in the universe except the Light of Allah and all manifestation of reality is due to that Light, where from can the one whom Allah does not give light have light? There exists no other source of light from where he can receive a ray.
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    “Allah is also “The Munawwir-ussamawaati wal-ardi”.That is Allah is the One Who has given light to the heavens and the earth. Allah Azza wa Jall has beautified the world /the universe with the Sun, Moon and stars.

    Allah said in surah Al-Hadeed verse 28 (translation):


    (57:28) Believers, have fear of Allah and believe in His Messenger,55 and He will grant you a two-fold portion of His Mercy, and will appoint for you a light whereby you shall walk;56 and He will forgive you.57 Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate.
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    One Mercy and light is for this life, the light of the Faith of Islam and all guidance to pass life in accordance with the Quraan and Sunnah.

    The second Mercy and light will be given in the Hereafter when there will be no light except that given to the practicing believers. They will go in that light to cross the narrow difficult path passing over Hell. The hypocrites will not have the light, so they will fall into Hell.

This light of the Hereafter is mentioned in the verse 12 of surah al-Hadeed. Its translation is:


(57:12) On that Day you will see believing men and women that their light will be running before them and on their right hands.17 (They will be told): “A good tiding to you today.” There shall be Gardens beneath which rivers flow; therein they shall abide. That indeed is the great triumph.
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A part of the exp. note 17:

17. This and the following verses show that the light on the Day of Judgment will be specifically meant for the righteous believers only. As for the disbelievers and the hypocrites and the wicked people, they will be wandering about in the darkness as they had been in the world. The light there will be the light of righteous deeds. The sincerity of the faith and the piety of the character and conduct will turn into light that will lend brightness to the personality of the virtuous. The brighter the deed the more luminous will be his person, and when he will walk towards Paradise, his light will be running forward before him. The best explanation of it is Qatadah’s mursal tradition in which he says;

 

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘The light of some one will be so strong and sharp that it will be running on before him equal to the distance between Al-Madinah and Aden, of another equal to the distance between Madinah and Sana, and of another even less than that; so much so that there will be a believer whose light will just extend beyond his steps. (Ibn Jarir). In other words, the intensity of the light of a person will be proportionate to the extent of the good done and spread by him in the world, and the beams of his light will be running on before him in the Hereafter extending as far as his good will have extended in the world.
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So we must pray for the light of Eemaan and guidance here and in the hereafter as Muhammad salla Allaho alaihi wa sallam used to pray:


((اللهم اجعل في قلبي نورا, و في سمعي نورا, و في بصري نورا, و عن يميني نورا, و عن شمالي نورا, و من فوقي نورا, و من تحتي نورا, اللهم اجعلني نورا))

(Unanimous)

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