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Allah Is the Light

  • Date Submitted: 12/15/2012 05:34 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 72.1 
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“Allah is the Light”
“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.” (The Noble Qur’an, Al-Nur 24:35)  

This parable in Al nur is one of the most poetical verses in the Quran. Its ambiguous and mystical descriptions have drawn many scholars to interpret the meaning of this text in myriad ways. The metaphors in the passage are complex and divine and can be difficult to interpret. However, in consultation with Sahiko Murata and William C. Chittick’s   The Vision of Islam and Karen Armstrong’s biography Muhammad: a prophet of our time, the parable can be understood by dividing the verse into three sections: the meaning of light, the imagery of the lamp within a niche, and Allah’s motivation. A close examination of the Sura suggests that the fundamental message of the verse is as follows: Allah has given people light through prophets to enlighten them.
The parable begins with the sentence , “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” This sentence states God as light, which is the recurring theme of the whole verse. Light in many ways resembles Allah. Chittick and Murata describe that when light is too bright it is unseen and “invisible” (88). It cannot be interpreted in “physical terms” (Chittick and Murata 87). This explains how God never reveals himself to the people; he is out of sight. In Islam, God is the “Lord of the world” (The Noble Qur’an, 1:2) and the one who is “entirely merciful” (The Noble Qur’an, 1:1). Thus, there can be nothing that can stand against him; he is incomparable. The characteristic’s of light greatly exemplifies this....

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