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Who is Light?

By

Dr. Arafat K. El-Ashi

Muslim World League - Canada Office


The term "noor" or light and its derivatives are mentioned 49 times in the Holy Qur'an. There is one verse called the verse of light, which says:

 

"Allah is the Light of Heavens and earth. The similitude of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp, the lamp is in glass, and the glass is as it were a shinning star. (This lamp) is kindled from a blessed tree. Light upon light, Allah guides to His light whomsoever He wills.

(24:35).

 

According to this verse Allah (S.W.T) is the source of all light in Heaven and earth. If we trace the occurrence of this term "noor" meaning light in the Qur'an and the Sunnah we will indeed learn a lot. Let us start with the Qur'an first. In some verses light means guidance to Islam. In chapter two we read:

 

"Allah is the patron of those who believe, from the depths of darkness He leads them into light. As for disbelievers their patrons are the Evil ones who lead them out of light into depths of darkness."

(2-257).

 

The Torah and the Gospel are described in the Qur'an as sources of light too. Islam is the light also. The Qur'an says:

 

"They want to extinguish Allah's light with their mouths. Allah, however, will make His light prevail even though disbelievers detest this."

(9-32).

 

The Qur'an is the road to light:

 

"ALR.A book which we revealed to you so that you bring out people from the depths of darkness into light."

(14-1)

 

Moses was sent with light (Ibrahim-5) like all other Messengers of God.

 

"Is he whose bosom Allah has expanded for Islam so that he follows a light from His Lord (as he who disbelieves)? A believer walks in light."

(39-22).

 

The Messenger, Muhammad, is a source of light:

 

"O Prophet! We sent you as a witness, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner, and a caller to Allah by His leave and a shinning lamp."

(33-46)

 

The Qur'an is light:

 

"So believe in Allah and His Messenger and the light He revealed."

(64-8)

 
 

"O Mankind! There has come to you a proof from your Lord and We revealed to you a clear light."

(4-174)

 

Most scholars affirm that light here refers to the Qur'an. Some scholars are, however, of the opinion that it is a reference to Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. which is however proved to be wrong by the same verse that refers to both the proof and the light as one thing.

On the other hand the Qur'an confirms the absolute humanity of the Prophet. In chapter 42 Allah says in the Qur'an:

 

"You never knew what is the scripture nor what is faith; We, however, made it a light by which We guide whomsoever We wish of our slaves."

(42-52).

 

Light is guidance to the straight path according to the Qur'an. It is God who grants guidance or light to whom He wills. Martyrs and honest slaves of God have their own light; and naturally messengers of God are sources of light.

This is in brief a review of how the Qur'an refers to light. One remark is necessary here namely that in one place only, the word light is said to refer to Prophet Muhammad as a shinning lamp. The rest of the 48 verses refer to God as the source of light, to the Qur'an, to the believers, and to Islam. This is supported by the traditions of Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. who always stressed his mortality and human capacity. Here are some examples:

Zayed Ibn Arqam reported the Messenger of God who said: "As to what follows. O people! I am only a mortal about to respond to the call from the Messenger of my Lord. I am leaving with you, two trusts: First is the Book of Allah in which there is guidance and light. Whoever abides by it and follows it will be on guidance; and whoever misses it will be led astray. So be committed to the Book of Allah and hold fast to it; and my household I remind you of Allah in dealing with them."

Ibn Amr q_quoted that the Messenger of God as saying: "Allah had created His creation in darkness. He then granted them with His Light. He who got part of that light on that day will be guided and he who missed the light will be misled."

Abu Moosa reported the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. to have said: "Allah does not sleep; nor is it becoming of Him to sleep. He lowers the measure and raises it, to Him are raised the deeds of the day before the deeds of night. His veil is light; should He uncover it the effect of his complexion would burn every thing to which His sight reaches."

Ibn Umer q_quoted the Messenger of God as saying: "On the Day of Judgement the just ones will be on the pulpits of light on the right hand of the Beneficent and all his hands are right. Those who are just in their rulings, their families and what they control."

Amr Ibn Anbasah said the Messenger of God said: "Any man whose hair becomes grey in the way of Allah then this will be a light for him."

In a weak Hadith q_quoted by Irbad Ibn Sariya we are told by the Prophet p.b.u.h.: "I was with Allah written in the mother of the Book as the last seal of prophets. That was when Adam was still in his mud stage. I shall tell about the meaning of this: I am my Father Ibrahim's call, the glad tiding of Isa and the vision of my mother who saw as she gave birth to me, as though a light has gushed out of her by which Syria's palaces were lit. This is also seen by mothers of Prophets." But in an authentic Hadith reported by Abi Omama Prophet Mohamad p.b.u.h. said: "My mother saw as though a light came out of her which lit palaces of Syria."

In a very weak saying Abu Thar said: "Keep on remembering the Qur'an and remembering Allah as this will be a remembrance for you in Heaven and a light for you on earth." But in an authentic Hadith reported by Burayda and Sahl ibn Saad the Messenger of Allah said: "Give glad tidings to the walkers across darkness to mosques with complete light on the Day of Judgement." Aisha reported that the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. to have said Allah created angels from light.

In another Hadith reported by Ibn Amr the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. said: "Grey hair is the light of the believer, No Man acquires a grey hair in Islam but will get for every single hair one reward and will be promoted for it one degree." Abu Malek Al-Ashaari q_quoted the Messenger of God p.b.u.h. who said: "Cleanliness is one half of faith, "Praise be to Allah" fills the balance, and "Glory to Allah and Praise be to Allah" fill the space between Heaven and Earth, prayer is light, charity is a proof, patience is a brilliance, the Qur'an is a testimony for you or against you. All people strive, they however, vary. Some sell their souls, others emancipate them or destroy them." (Authentic).

Muath reported the following sacred Hadith where the Prophet p.b.u.h. q_quoted Allah as saying: "Those who love each other in my majesty will have pulpits of light, for which prophets and martyrs would envy them."

Ubadah Ibn Al-Sanet said: that the Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. said: "Allah Glory be to him says, My love is sure for those who love each other for my sake; my love is sure for those who exchange advice for my sake; my love is sure for those who exchange visits for my sake. Those who exchange love for my sake will be on pulpits of light due to which prophets, honest slaves and martyrs would vie them." (Authentic).

Abu Moosa q_quoted the Prophet p.b.u.h. as saying: "The parable of Muslims, Jews, and Christians is like a man who hired some people to perform a job for him at night. They started work till midday. Then they said: We don't need either your payment that you have decided for us or our job for you. He replied: don't do this but complete the rest of your work and receive your payment in full. They refused and left. He then hired other employees after them. They did exactly the same thing as the first group and left before completing their job, neither did they get their payment, but left empty handed. Then a third group took over; they completed the job and received the whole payment. This is the example of the light they expected. " (Authentic).

Abu Saeed reported the messenger of God p.b.u.h. to have said;: "whoever recites Al-Kahf chapter on Friday will have light from then until the next Friday." (Authentic).

Once we have read the above Qur'anic verses as well as the Prophet's traditions we understand that God Almighty is the source of all material as well as spiritual light. He grants His light to Prophets including Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. Believers in the message as well as the Qur'an and Mosques are also sources of light as long as they convey the light of Allah (S.W.T) and his guidance.

 

This Page Last Updated 25/11/2009 3:58:10 p.m.