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tonnyj

Surah 24:35

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Salem Walaykum

 

It's been awhile since I have posted but I ran across a question that is bugging me. It has to do with the Ayah that talks about Allah as 'Nur' (borrowed or reflected light) - here is the verse:

 

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as (if there were) a niche and within it a lamp, the lamp is in glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east (i.e. neither it gets sun-rays only in the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allah guides to His Light whom He wills. And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything. (Surah 24:35)

 

Now I hear in Arabic, Allah is mentioned as 'Nur', and somewhere else in the Quran Prophet Muhammad is referred to as Siraj (source of light)

 

How is possible that Allah can be mentioned as 'Nur' in this verse?

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Assalamu Alaikum

 

I'm no expert in the matter and I don't speak Arabic but I'll do my best.

 

An internet search specified that Al-Nur (Arabic) means "the light."

 

The specific words "source of light" has been search through 4 different English translations of the Quran and that specific phrase never showed up except for the annotation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali on verse 40 of Surah Al-Nur (24:40):

 

24:40 Or (the Unbelievers´ state) is like the depths of

darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with

billow topped by billow, topped by (dark)

clouds:(3013) depths of darkness, one(3014) above

another: if a man stretches out his hands, he can

hardly see it! for any to whom Allah giveth not light,

there is no light!(3015)

 

3013 What a graphic picture of darkness is the depths of the Ocean, wave upon

wave, and on top of all, dense dark clouds! There is so little light even in ordinary

depths of the Ocean that fishes which live there lose their eyes as useless organs.

For lines 4-5, I am indebted to Gardiner's Translation of Ghazari's Mishkat

3014 A contrast to "Light upon Light" in 24:35 above.

3015 The true source of Light in the world of Reality is Allah, and anyone who

cuts himself off from the Light is in utter darkness indeed, for it is the negation of

the only true Light, and not merely relative darkness, like that which we see, say,

in the shadows of moonlight.

 

For good measure here's Abdullah Yusuf Ali annotation on 24:35:

 

Allah is the Light(2996) of the heavens and the

earth.(2997) The Parable of His Light is as if there

were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed

in Glass:(2998) the glass as it were a brilliant

star:(2999) Lit from a blessed Tree,(3000) an Olive,

neither of the east nor of the West,(3001) whose oil is

well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched

it:(3002) Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He

will to His Light:(3003) Allah doth set forth Parables

for men: and Allah doth know all things.

 

2996 Embedded within certain directions concerning a refined domestic and

social life, comes this glorious parable of Light, which contains layer upon layer of

transcendental truth about spiritual mysteries. No notes can do adequate justice to

its full meaning. Volumes have been written on this subject, the most notable

being al Ghazali's Mishkat al Anwar. In these notes I propose to explain the

simplest meaning of this passage. ®.

2997 The physical light is but a reflection of the true Light in the world of Reality,

and that true Light is Allah. We can only think of Allah in terms of our

phenomenal experience, and in the phenomenal world, light is the purest thing we

know, but physical light has drawbacks incidental to its physical nature: e.g., (1) it

is dependent on some source external to itself: (2) it is a passing phenomenon: if

we take it to be a form of motion or energy it is unstable, like all physical

phenomena; (3) it is dependent on space and time; its speed is 186,000 miles per

second, and there are stars whose light takes thousands (or millions or billions) of

years before it reaches the earth. The perfect Light of Allah is free from any such

defects. ®.

2998 The first three points in the Parable centre round the symbols of the Niche,

the Lamp, and the Glass. (1) The Niche (Mishkah) is the little shallow recess in

the wall of an Eastern house, fairly high from the ground, in which a light (before

the days of electricity) was usually placed. Its height enabled it to diffuse the light

in the room and minimised the shadows. The background of the wall and the

sides of the niche helped throw the light well into the room, and if the wall was

white-washed, it also acted as a reflector: the opening in front made the way for the

light. So with the spiritual Light: it is placed high above worldly things: it has a

niche or habitation of its own, in Revelation and other Signs of Allah; its access to

men is by a special Way, open to all, yet closed to those who refuse its rays. (2)

The Lamp is the core of the spiritual Truth, which is the real illumination; the

Niche is nothing without it; the Niche is actually made for it. (3) The Glass is the

transparent medium through which the Light passes. On the one hand, it protects

the light from moths and other forms of low life (lower motives in man) and from

gusts of wind (passions), and on the other, it transmits the light through a medium

which is made up of and akin to the grosser substances of the earth (such as sand,

soda, potash, etc.), so arranged as to admit the subtle to the gross by its

transparency. So the spiritual Truth has to be filtered through human language or

human intelligence to make it intelligible to mankind.

2999 The glass by itself does not shine. But when the light comes into it, it shines

like a brilliant star. So men of God, who preach Allah's Truth, are themselves

illuminated by Allah's Light and become like illuminating media through which

that Light spreads and permeates human life.

3000 The olive tree is not a very impressive tree in its outward appearance. Its

leaves have a dull greenish-brown colour, and in size it is inconspicuous. But its oil

is used in sacred ceremonies and forms a wholesome ingredient of food. The fruit

has a specially fine flavour. Cf. n. 2880 to 23:20. For the illuminating quality of its

oil, see n. 3002 below.

3001 This mystic Olive is not localised. It is neither of the East nor the West. It is

universal, for such is Allah's Light. As applied to the olive, there is also a more

literal meaning, which can be allegorised in a different way. An olive tree with an

eastern aspect gets only the rays of the morning sun; one with a western aspect,

only the rays of the western sun. In the northern hemisphere the south aspect will

give the sun's rays a great part of the day, while a north aspect will shut them out

altogether, and vice versa in the southern hemisphere. But a tree in the open plain

or on a hill will get perpetual sunshine by day: it will be more mature, and the fruit

and oil will be of superior quality. So Allah's light is not localised or immature: it is

perfect and universal.

3002 Pure olive oil is beautiful in colour, consistency, and illuminating power.

The world has tried all kinds of illuminants, and for economic reasons or

convenience, one replaces another. But for coolness, comfort to the eyes, and

steadiness, vegetable oils are superior to electricity, mineral oils, and animal oils.

And among vegetable oils, olive oil takes a high place and deserves its sacred

associations. Its purity is almost like light itself: you may suppose it to be almost

light before it is lit. So with spiritual Truth: it illuminates the mind and

understanding imperceptibly, almost before the human mind and heart have been

consciously touched by it

3003 Glorious, illimitable Light, which cannot be described or measured. And

there are grades and grades of it, passing transcendently into regions of spiritual

height, which man's imagination can scarcely conceive of. The topmost pinnacle is

the true prototypal Light, the real Light, of which all others were reflections; the

Light of Allah. Hence the saying of the Holy Prophet about Allah's "Seventy

thousand veils of Light".

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetpdfquran.tk/"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetpdfquran.tk/[/url]

Edited by A-H

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Salam alaikum

 

Think of it as a light, then its reflected on clean and pure mirror.. Allah is indeed the light of the heaven and earth.

Do your self a favor, pick up a mirror and then look at then sun in that mirror.. The source is indeed the sun, but yet it seems like the mirror is the source..

 

 

The answer to your question is in the nature, look at the sun and moon.

The true source of everything is Allah.. But Allah can create whatever He wills.... Example a human that gives light (like sun) and also a human on which heart light is reflected (like moon)...

To conclude we can say the source of light during the day is sun.. But the standalone independent source of the sources is Allah..

Allah gives light to whatever He wills for as long as He wills...

Edited by Mercyonmankind

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Right so isn't the word 'Nur' also mentioned as the moon? Since the moon reflects or borrows light from the sun (Siraj). Isn't the same word 'Nur' to describe the moon the same word that is used to describe Allah in this case?

Edited by tonnyj

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Right so isn't the word 'Nur' also mentioned as the moon? Since the moon reflects or borrows light from the sun (Siraj). Isn't the same word 'Nur' to describe the moon the same word that is used to describe Allah in this case?

 

As-salamu alaikum

 

The Sun is called a Diya' which means a very intense light that can burn. Siraj means a torch. Yes, the same word that is used to describe the Moon is used to describe God in this case. I think this might due to the fact that Nur means a gentle light that doesn't burn as compared to Diya. God knows best.

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Temple symbolism

 

While I had known of the 'Light Verse' in the Quran, I was fascinated to read it again!!

 

With other people I have been studying the ancient traditions and legends of Solomon's Temple, and have found the Arabic traditions very interesting. I can't place a link yet as I have posted less than 7 posts (i.e. I am still in diapers!).

 

However, the high priests of the temple were anointed with olive oil, which was kept in the Holy of Holies, in front of which was the seven branched Menorah.

 

So in Surah 24:35 we can see that: The parable of His Light is as

 

a niche: according to a Jewish legends, the anointing oil was kept on a small ledge in the Holy of Holies, "a niche" (though I'll need to check this)

 

and within it a lamp: the symbolism of an oil lamp burning

 

the lamp is in glass: the legends actually state that it was a golden jug, but glass could easily be used to describe a vision

 

the glass as it were a brilliant star: an ancient Jewish text, "the appearance of that oil is greater than the greatest light"

 

lit from a blessed tree, an olive: The Bible (Zechariah 4:12) describes olive oil dripping into the tree

 

neither of the east nor of the west: Solomon's temple was orientated East-West, but it was not outside the doors (in the east) nor in the Holy of Holies (in the west), but just in front of it, as Surah 53:14 says, "Near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass": the Menorah was a symbol of what you call the Lote tree and "beyond which none may pass" refers to the Menorah being in front of the curtain separating the Holy of Holies wherein was the ark, a symbol of the heavenly Throne

 

"whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light!" It is therefore very clear to me that what the Quran describes is exactly the same as what the Biblical prophets themselves describe, and using the same symbolism.

 

Just thought I'd share this with you, although there is much more left also. However, could someone help me with Arabic please? In Surah 53:16 we read that the the Lote-tree was "shrouded": What does the Arabic word translated "shrouded" mean? Could this refer to some material being placed on the tree?

 

Blessing of Allah,

 

Richard

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The verse is a "similitude" or a "parable". There is no lamp, there is no glass, there is no tree, and there is no bright star. It's all metaphorical.

 

Here's a more Islamic interpretation, so that you can understand the purity of Allah's light.

 

"God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of his light is as if there is a niche, in which there is a lamp, the lamp in a glass; the glass looks as if it is a bright star. It [the lamp] is kindled from a blessed olive tree that is neither of the east nor of the west, one whose oil all but lights up, even though no fire has touched it. Light upon light! God guides to His light whomever He likes. God strikes similitudes for people, and God has knowledge of all things.

 

The niche is the heart of the good man, and in that niche is a lamp that burns with the light of his innate goodness. The high degree of the purity and brightness of the light is emphasized. First, the lamp is enclosed in a glass, so that it has a steady and bright flame and is not put out by the wind. Second, the glass is not dirty but clear and shiny. It is like 'a bright star' so that it reflects the light well. Third, the lamp is fed with olive oil that has been extracted from a tree that was planted not on the fringe of the garden - 'neither of the east nor of the west' - but right in the middle of it, so that, being secure against the fury of the elements, it has yielded the purest kind of oil. The oil, in fact, is so pure that it would catch fire before coming into contact with fire. And when the oil, or the inner goodness of a man, does come into contact with fire or divine guidance, the result is 'light upon light'. Possessing this 'double light', one sees the heavens and the earth lit up, acquiring the master key to all knowledge and understanding, for, as the opening part of the verse says, 'God is the light of the heavens and the earth.'"

 

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So you see, this is a parable that Allah created to explain the brightness of His light. Just as he used this parable to explain the darkness of disbelief in verse 35:

 

or [their situation is] like layers of darkness out on a deep sea [the surface of] which is covered by a wave, on top of which there is another wave, on top of which there are clouds; layers of darkness piled one upon the other; when he [the disbeliever] puts out his hand he can hardly see it. And one who is not furnished with light by God has no light.

 

Disbelievers aren't in actual waves or actual visual darkness. It is metaphorical as well.

 

Salam.

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The verse is a "similitude" or a "parable". There is no lamp, there is no glass, there is no tree, and there is no bright star. It's all metaphorical.

...

So you see, this is a parable that Allah created to explain the brightness of His light. Just as he used this parable to explain the darkness of disbelief in verse 35:

...

Salam.

 

Dear Salam,

 

Thank you for your long post! However, it appears that we are talking past each other, so to speak.

 

Of course such heavenly things are metaphorical: how could Allah's Light be like anything physical? Even the appearance of angels is not actually according to how they are. They may appear in a bodily form, perhaps with wings, but in themselves they are beyond our comprehension, merely taking such an appearance for our weakness. If angels are not according to a physical appearance, how much less Allah who both fills and is above both heaven and earth!

 

What I am getting at is almost the opposite from how you read my post. It is not that Allah's Light is in the form of oil or glass etc, but that the parable of Allah's Light uses the hidden terminology of Solomon's Temple.

 

What I am saying is this: to me, because through study I recognise the symbolism, this verse of the Quran is in the same mystical tradition of the Biblical prophets.

 

Due to realising this, I am now reading through the Quran (well, actually the Tafsīr al-Jalālayn) and I am largely finding it absolutely fascinating!

 

Blessings,

 

Richard

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[at]RICHARD...so "Allah guides to His Light whosoever He wishes,and expresses similitudes for people"...is the experience you are going through..

lucky you..alhamdulillah

about biblical prophets...they are quranic prophets alaihum assalaat vassalaam..

when you get to the point where you will understand how your heart's pacemaking is being regulated...is when you will COMPLETELY understand the "Allah is the light of the skies and the earth"...

i am trying to get there too..

salaam

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Salem Walaykum

 

It's been awhile since I have posted but I ran across a question that is bugging me. It has to do with the Ayah that talks about Allah as 'Nur' (borrowed or reflected light) - here is the verse:

 

 

 

How is possible that Allah can be mentioned as 'Nur' in this verse?

[at]tony j...you are reading into the aayah/verse wrongly...

the aayah/verse is, "Allah nur ussamvaat val arz"

which translates as, "the borrowed light of the skies and the earth, is Allah's...

i hope this also shows you how 'hidden' the Quranic gist truly is...as Allah Himself Calls it the 'covered/hidden/protected writing'..

writing in arabic means the "engraved law"..

salaam

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In Surah 53:16 we read that the the Lote-tree was "shrouded": What does the Arabic word translated "shrouded" mean?

I know that my question above is not directly likened to the title of this thread, but I have tried looking into Arabic lexicons and I'm afraid that I get nowhere. What does the word 'shrouded' mean in 53:16 - or is it just as the English word?

 

Thank you,

Richard

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I know that my question above is not directly likened to the title of this thread, but I have tried looking into Arabic lexicons and I'm afraid that I get nowhere. What does the word 'shrouded' mean in 53:16 - or is it just as the English word?

 

Hello,

 

The word used in the verse is "covered" for which "shrouded" is a synonym in English. For example, in the same chapter, verse 54: it says that the cities of Lot (pbuh) were covered. The cities were covered with baked stone that God rained on them from the sky.

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