In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allâh’s Beautiful Name: An-Nour:
In this lecture, we will be explaining the thirty-fourth of Allah’s Beautiful Divine Names, “An-Nour” (The Light), which is mentioned in some authentic true Prophetic Hadiths.
Linguistically speaking, the Arabic word “An-Nour” means “Light” in the general sense of the word. Of course, we are not going to indulge in the scientific analysis of the word, which briefly refers to the rays that come off an atom as a result of certain reactions inside it; and we shall not be talking about scientific facts with this respect, such as the fact that if any moving body went at the speed of light, its mass would become zero but its volume infinite. Such topics belong to physics and are, therefore, not part of our concern in this lecture.
Anyway, in Arabic the word “Nour” means: “Light” in the general sense of the word, i.e. whatever its kind, rays, illumination, brightness, …etc, might be. There are certain kinds, or waves, of light that are invisible to the human eye. In short, the word “Nour” (light) will be taken here to mean: “that which makes things visible”. In other words, no matter how sound and healthy the human eye might be, it cannot see things without light, i.e. our eyes are valueless and unable to see anything without light.
From the religious point of view, light is of two kinds: light that belongs to this present world, and light that belongs to the Hereafter. The light that belongs to this present world is also of two kinds: light perceived by the human eye, and light conceived by the human mind.
Light conceived by the human mind:
Sometimes, an idea that is clear in one’s mind, or the way of thinking that one follows to solve problems, is metaphorically considered as “light”. Sometimes a person uses his mind in a way that enables him to solve a certain problem or mend a certain machine: this kind of mental ability, which is sometimes called expertise, can be metaphorically called “light”.
Therefore, worldly light is of two kinds: ordinary perceptual light, which can be perceived by the human eye, and metaphorical light, which can be conceived by the human mind. A person may sometimes face a problem that seems to be unsolvable. In this case, the person is, as it were, in darkness as regards such problem. But then, all of a sudden, an idea flashes in his mind and enables him to solve the problem. It is, as it were, the light that helps man see with his mind how to do a certain thing or solve a certain problem. Therefore, it is metaphorically called “light”. That is why people usually say, “Knowledge is Light.” By the way, people also say, “Knowledge guards you, while you guard wealth; and wealth is diminished by expenditure, but knowledge is increased by expenditure (i.e. the more you use your knowledge, the more knowledgeable you become).”
The mind is “light”, and Allah’s Book; the Holy Quran, is also “light”. To make things clear, I would like to give the following example: When you see a bottle full of a chemical substance that you do not know what it is, you begin to wonder, “Is it inflammable? Does it explode? Is it poisonous? Is it harmful? Is it useful? Is it an anesthetic? Is it cancerous? …Etc?” If it is labeled NACL, for example, the label is, as it were, “light” that shows you what is inside the bottle.
An example of ordinary perceptual light that is perceived by the human eye is that of the Sun or Moon. An example of the conceptual light that is conceived by the human mind is Allah’s Words
“O people of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad) explaining to you much of that which you used to hide of the Scripture and to pass over (leave without explaining) much. Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a Light and a plain Book (the Quran).”
“Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a Light.”
Man has been made to dwell on earth; but why has man been created? What is he supposed to do? Should he only eat, drink and sleep, just like brute animals? Or does he have a certain mission that he does not know? When will he pass away? Why does he pass away? Why does he live? Should he be a good-doer or a wrongdoer? Should he speak the truth, or should he tell lies? Should he be honest and trustworthy, or dishonest and untrustworthy? A Book comes to man from his Maker, Allah, All Mighty, telling him: You have been created for Paradise, whose vastness is as great as the heavens and the earth. You have been created to do good righteous deeds that enable you to enter Paradise. You shall never be happy unless you are connected with your Lord, Allah, All Mighty. You shall never be safe and secure unless you obey your Lord, Allah, All Mighty. You shall never be happy except when you are near to your Lord, Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth and Lord of all words. He is an All-Great God and a Most Generous Lord. He is All-Hearing and All-Seeing. He is All Powerful and All Mighty. And if you beseech Him, He answers you.
In fact, Allah’s Book, the Holy Quran, helps you know your Lord Allah, All Mighty; it helps you know the universe; it helps you know the reality of life; and it helps you know the reality of your own self. The Holy Quran tells you what you should do and what you should not do. It makes clear to you things that are lawful or unlawful, things that are good or evil. It helps you distinguish between the truth and falsehood. It teaches you what to do and what not to do. It tells you about the beginning and end of this world. It relates to you history of the previous peoples and nations. It tells you stories of the holy Prophets and Messengers. It depicts to you scenes from the Day of Resurrection and Judgment. In this sense, it is “light” that provides true believers with comfort that is known only to those who are like them. It is “light” that makes all things crystal clear to true believers. It helps them know that the universe has a Maker and Creator, a Guardian and Disposer. It helps them know that their Lord, Allah, All Mighty, is Pre-Existent, One and Only, Perfect and Absolute. It helps them know that Allah’s Divine Names and Attributes are all Most Beautiful. It reassures them that the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, is Near, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate, Most Friendly, and He answers those who beseech Him. It tells them that this present world is, as it were, a farm wherein we grow things for the Hereafter. It tells them that man is happy when he obeys Allah and miserable when he disobeys Him. In short, Allah’s Book, the Holy Quran, provides us with unmatched and indescribable comfort, security and balance. Undoubtedly, vagueness and obscurity breed worry and anxiety, while light and clarity breed comfort and security. That is why Allah, All Mighty, says
“Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a Light and a plain Book (the Quran).”
Yes, indeed! Allah’s Book, the Holy Quran, is light. When you buy a machine, its catalogue provides you with the necessary information and instructions that ensure the proper function and use of the machine. The catalogue is, as it were, light that helps you see things properly. The Holy Quran is also light that helps you see things properly.
Once again, the Holy Quran is light in the sense that it provides you with mental guidance. The light that the Holy Quran gives is mental, while the light that the Sun or the Moon gives is perceptual, i.e. perceived by the human eye. An example of perceptual light is Allah’s Words:
“It is He (Allah) Who has made the Sun a shining thing and the Moon a light and measured out for it (the moon) stages that you might know the number of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create this except in truth. He elaborates the Signs for people who have knowledge.”
“It is He (Allah) Who has made the Sun a shining thing and the Moon a light.”
We should contemplate the Sun for some time. Astronomers estimate that the age of the Sun is not less that 5,000 billion years, and that it will not extinguish before 5,000 billion years are up. They also say that it sends off incredible amounts of light and heat energy. Also, the Sun is 156 million km’s away from the Earth, and we can hardly bear its heat in the summer so how hot is it at its center? Flames shooting out of the Sun are more than a million km’s long. Its surface temperature is 6,000 degrees Celsius, while its central temperature is 20 million degrees. It is one million three hundred thousand (1, 300,000) times bigger than the Earth. In the Scorpio Constellation there is a star that is as big as the Sun and the Earth as well as the distance between them: Yes, indeed:
“It is He (Allah) Who has made the Sun a shining thing and the Moon a light.”
Now, who created light? It is Allah, All Mighty. Light is produced by a kind of chemical reaction inside the atom. This chemical reaction produces light waves that spread in the universe. But does light have weight? No, it doesn’t. Its volume is infinite but its mass is zero. Scientists say that if any object traveled as fast as light does, i.e. 300,000 km/second, it would turn into light. The volume of light is infinite while its mass is zero. However, the subject of light and its properties needs special scientific study and research, which is not part of our concern in this lecture.
Anyway, the Sun’s, or Moon’s, perceptual light is to be perceived by the eye, while the light that the Holy Quran gives is mental and provides guidance to the human mind. Similarly, Theoretical information is a kind of light, explanation is a kind of light, proofs and evidences are kinds of light, elaboration is a kind of light, and directives are kinds of light. One of the knowledgeable religious scholars has a deep explanation of light. He defines light with respect to Allah, All Mighty, as the Evident. Sometimes, a very small source of light is evident in total darkness. Light in this sense is something that is evident. The thing that does send out rays is dark and, hence, not evident. When someone drives his car in the dark, he uses its headlights that send out light before the car. He also sees spots of light coming from the eyes of some animals. Once again, light is something that is evident. That is why it has been said: “Allah is the One Who is Self-Evident and with Whom is all Evidence. He is the One Who makes things evident.” Light that is too weak may be evident itself, but it does not make things evident. Sometimes, a piece of burning coal is evident but it does not light a whole room. But an electric lamp lights a whole room.
It has also been said: Light is something that is evident and makes other things evident. For example, if you place a lamp on a wall, you can see all things in the room: the carpet, the chairs, the pen, the paper, the inkpot, the cassette player, …etc. In other words, the light that comes from the lamp makes other things evident. The scholar goes on to say: “Non-existence is dark, while existence is light because it is evident.” This is a more delicate point.
An existing thing must necessarily be evident, while a non-existing thing must be non-evident. Evidence is the token of existence, while non-evidence is the mark of non-existence. He also said: “No darkness is darker than non-existence; and the thing that is free from the darkness of non-existence and that makes all things evident by bringing them from the darkness of non-existence to the light of existence is called “light”; and this applies only to Allah, All Mighty, Alone, simply because none but Allah is Free from the darkness of non-existence, and even from the possibility of non-existence, and because He is Self-Evident and makes things evident by bringing them from darkness of non-existence to the light of existence. That is why one of His Most Beautiful Divine Names is “An-Nour” (The Light). To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, says
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The likeness of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp; the lamp is in a glass; the glass is, as it were, a glittering star kindled from a Blessed Tree, an olive that is neither of the East nor of the West; whose oil would almost shine (of itself) even if no fire touched it; Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whomsoever He wills; and Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of all things.”
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth”
mean that Allah, All Mighty, is Self-Evident and makes things evident. He is Self-Evident and Free from darkness of non-existence or even the possibility of non-existence. He brings things from the darkness of non-existence to the light of existence. In other words, the Self that is Self-Evident and makes things evident is the Light, Which is Allah, All Mighty. Also, existence is light that makes all existing things evident and is derived from the Light of Allah’s Divine Self. Therefore, Allah, All Mighty, is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
Imam Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah have mercy on him, says: “Light is Allah, the Guider, Who guides with His Divine Guidance whomsoever He wills by showing him the truth and inspiring him to follow it.” Religious scholars consider the great creative ideas that suddenly flash in the minds of genius inventors as Divine Inspirations from the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, because Allah, the Light, casts such creative ideas or glimpses in the minds of inventors and makes them evident to them. Hence, according to religious scholars, an invention is but a sudden glimpse that is cast into the inventor’s mind by the Lord, Allah, All Mighty.
A friend of mine told me about how a scientist invented a way for tooth implant. As you know the human body repels alien objects. But a scientist once unintentionally left a pair of pincers, made of a certain metal, on a piece of bone. After some time, he noticed that the bone tissue grew round the pincers, and knew that the metal from which the pincers were made could be implanted into the bones of the human jaw. That discovery was only a glimpse cast into the scientist’s mind by the Lord, Allah, All Mighty. That is why people usually say: An invention is but a jump into the unknown. It is just a glimpse cast into the human mind by the Lord, Allah, All Mighty. To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, says
“And We have not taught him (Muhammad) poetry, nor is it suitable for him. This is only a Reminder and a plain Quran.”
This verse shows clearly that it is Allah, All Mighty, Who inspires those who invent poetry. In other words, each and every invention is but a glimpse of inspiration from the Lord, Allah, All Mighty. However, such glimpse of inspiration is by no means gratis, it rather has a cost, namely hard earnest study and research. That is why scientists say that genius is 99% labor and 1% inspiration. The price of such glimpse of inspiration, or such great invention or discovery, requires hard work and lots of study and research.
This takes us to another topic, namely the meaning of “truthfulness”. Allah, All Mighty, does not deal with people in accordance with their desires and wishes, but rather in accordance with their truthfulness and sincerity. In this context, some scholars say, “The Light is the Guider.” To make this point clear, let us have this example: If you lose a pin in a dark place, where there is no light, you will not find it. But in the day, you will see it because the Sun’s light guides you, i.e. helps you, to see it. If you are guided to the reality of man, the secret behind his existence, and the ultimate goal of his existence, who has guided you? Undoubtedly, it is Allah, All Mighty, Who has. Therefore, Allah is the Light and the Guider. Human beings know nothing except that which Allah, All Mighty, teaches them, nor do they understand anything except that which Allah, All Mighty, makes it easy for them to understand. In short, Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He, Glory to Him, is the Evident whereby all things become evident, i.e. He is Self-Evident and makes things evident.
Some knowledgeable religious scholars said: “The Light is He (Allah), Who enlightens qualities and brings them into existence from non-existence.” Bringing something from non-existence into existence is light, and so is giving it its qualities and properties. Everything has its own properties and qualities. Every plant, every animal, every solid, every metal, every living or non-living thing has its own qualities and properties. It is Allah, All Mighty, Who creates all things from nothing and brings them into existence, i.e. makes them evident, and gives them their qualities and properties. In this context, the Quranic Verse goes:
“He (Pharaoh) said: ‘Who then is the Lord of you two, o Moses? He (Moses) said: ‘Our Lord is He (Allah) Who gave each thing its creation and then guided it aright.”
Gold, for example, is a metal that is not affected by natural agents, such as water, salt, moisture, or oxidants. I have read an article about a ship that sank some 120 years ago with 5 tons of gold blocks on board. Experts have been recently able to reclaim the gold totally unaffected by any sea agents. Allah, All Mighty, has given gold, diamond, silver, lead, iron, …etc, their own properties. Therefore, Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He makes things evident and gives them their own properties. Iron, for example, melts at 1500 degrees Celsius, while lead at 100 degrees. Each metal has been made evident and given its properties i.e. has been brought from non-existence into existence and given its own properties. Also, Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He enlightens the entire universe with the Sun and other stars and heavenly objects. He also enlightens the spiritual world with His Messenger Muhammad, (PBUH). In this context, people rightly say, “There is much light, delight and spiritual enhancement in this meeting.” Sometimes, when you sit with a righteous holy person that is conscious of Allah, All Mighty, you feel comfortable and peaceful, and you feel a lot of spiritual enhancement in his presence. This is Allah’s Divine Light, because Allah, All Mighty, has created perceptual light, such as that of the Sun or the Moon, and spiritual light, such as that which is to be found in the hearts of true believers. In this context, Allah, All Mighty, says
“O you who believe! If you obey and fear Allah, He will grant you a Criterion (whereby you judge between right and wrong), He will expiate your sins for you, and He will forgive you. And Allah is the Owner of the Great Bounty.”
Allah, Glory to Him, also says
“O you who believe! Fear and obey Allah and believe in His Messenger (Muhammad), and He will give you a double portion of His Mercy, He will give you a Light whereby you shall walk, and He will forgive you. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
If you ask me to sum up the whole religion into one simple sentence, I would say, “A true believer has light whereby he sees things, while a disbeliever is blind” To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, describes true believers, saying “
Their Light runs forward before them and in their right hands. They will say: ‘Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us and grant us forgiveness. Verily, You are Able to do all things.’”
Disbelievers are in total darkness: layers of darkness, one above another: if they stretch out their hands, they can hardly see them. To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, says
“But whosoever turns away from My Reminder, verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind.”
He is not physically blind in this present world, but his heart certainly is. This is because Allah, All Mighty, lights the hearts of true believers with His Messenger and his Prophetic Guidance. In this context, Allah, All Mighty bids His Messenger, Muhammad, (PBUH):
“Take from their wealth alms whereby you purify and sanctify them, and invoke Allah for them. Verily, your invocation is a source of security for them; and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.”
The good feelings that the Prophet’s venerable Companions enjoyed while being with him were incredible. Once they sat with him, they felt most comfortable and peaceful as if they were in Paradise. Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, once saw the venerable Companion, Hanthalah, may Allah be pleases with him, weeping. Abu Bkr asked, “O Hanthalah! Why are you weeping?” The latter answered, “When we are with Allah’s Messenger, we feel as if we were in Paradise, but when we go back to our families and children, we lose such incredible spiritual enhancement.” When Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), heard what Hanthalah had said, he (PBUH) said
“We, Prophets: our eyes sleep, but our hearts do not sleep.”
Narrated Abu Uthman that Hanthalah said: “We were with Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), and we spoke about both Paradise and Hell-Fire as if we saw them with our own eyes. Then, I left for my family, with whom I had fun: with my wife and children. But suddenly, I remembered what we had done while being with Allah’s Messenger, so I went out and met Aba Bakr. I worriedly told him, ‘O Abu Bakr! Hanthalah is a mere hypocrite!’ ‘What?!’ Asked Abu Bakr. I said, ‘We were with Allah’s Messenger and we spoke about Paradise and Hell-Fire as if we saw them with our own eyes; but then I went back to my family with whom I had fun.’ Abu Bakr said, ‘All of us do that.” Later on, I went to Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), and told him about that. He (PBUH) said, ‘O Hanthalah! If you remained in your homes in the same condition that you are in when being with me, Angels would shake hands with you on your beds and on roads! O Hanthalah! It is one hour (like this) and another hour (like that)!’”
Allah, All Mighty, is Light, so if you get connected with Him, you derive from His Divine Spiritual Light spiritual comfort and peacefulness, your vision of things and matters is rightly guided. In fact, we can sum up the entire issue as the difference between a true believer who has a faultless rightly guided vision of things and matters and a disbeliever who is in total blindness and darkness. A true believer moves by special Divine Enlightenment and Guidance from his Lord, Allah, All Mighty, while a disbeliever is easy prey to troubles and blind confusion.
Some religious scholars said: Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He enlightens the spiritual world with His Messenger, (PBUH); He enlightens the hearts with the light of knowledge; He enlightens the minds of knowledgeable holy righteous people with His Divine Manifestations; He enlightens the hearts of true believers with the spiritual light of Monotheism; and He enlightens the hearts of His beloved ones with His Divine Light.
Other religious scholars said: Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He enlightens, i.e. makes evident, human beings with special evident shapes with His Divine Creativity; and He brings to light cosmic secrets by His Divine Enlightenment, i.e. by making them evident.
Other religious scholars also said: Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He revives the hearts of knowledgeable believers with the Light of knowledge; and He revives the souls of true worshippers with the Light of worship.
Others said: Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He guides the hearts to the truth and helps them opt for it; and he guides His righteous slaves to Him and helps them pray to Him. In this context, Allah, All Mighty, says
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The likeness of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp; the lamp is in a glass; the glass is, as it were, a glittering star kindled from a Blessed Tree: an olive that is neither of the East nor of the West; whose oil would almost shine (of itself) even if 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 all things.”
In this Verse, the niche symbolizes patience, and the lamp symbolizes the heart, not the material heart but rather the spiritual one, as in Allah’s Words:
“Have they not traveled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts, which are in the breasts, that grow blind.”
“The lamp is in a glass; the glass is, as it were, a glittering star.”
I pray to Allah, All Mighty, to enlighten our hearts with His Divine Light! Once again: A true believer has a crystal clear vision hereby he sees things as they really are. He knows well what to do, and he has full control over all matters, simply because Allah, All Mighty, provides him with bright light that enables him to see most accurately, to take the proper stance towards all situations and to do the proper things. He is comfortable and makes other fellow humans comfortable, too. A disbeliever is in total darkness and blindness. He does not know what to do or how to move. He is in great confusion and loss. This is quite clear.
Some knowledgeable religious scholars said: “Allah is the Light in the sense that He is Self-Evident and Pre-Existent. He brings things from the darkness of non-existence into the light of existence and makes them evident. His Existence is the Light that overwhelms all things; and it is He Who provides all creatures with both perceptual and spiritual light. Your eye needs perceptual light, while your heart needs spiritual light.”
Dear readers! We have got now to the point that I consider most serious: You have an eye whereby you see things, and you have a mind whereby you perceive things. When someone tells you that solids and liquids expand as the temperature rises, and when you see that mercury rises up the thermometer as the temperature rises, this is different from when you say, “I see that knowledge is useful.” In other words, you see with your own eyes that solids and liquids expand, but you cannot see knowledge. You see knowledge with your mind’s eye, i.e. when you see that those who are knowledgeable are well behaved and highly respected. You see that an educated person is usually well balanced and has great wisdom: at home, he knows how to treat his wife and children, he knows how to earn money honestly, he knows how to deal well with people, his income is lawful, and he is honest and straightforward, he is highly respected and greatly loved, only because he has good knowledge and is well educated, because he has good religious knowledge, and because he knows the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, and is dutiful to Him. When you see that, you see with your mind’s eye that knowledge is a useful thing. Seeing mercury rising up the scale is a kind of physical perception, while seeing that knowledge is useful is a kind of mental conception. Sensual perception needs material physical light, while mental conception needs mental enlightenment; and both of them derive enlightenment from the Lord, Allah, All Mighty:
I have complained to Wakee’ my bad memory,
So he advised me to shun sinful deeds;
And he told me that knowledge is Light,
And Allah’s Light is never given to the sinful.
Therefore, you need Allah’s physical perceptual Light, such as sunlight, for instance, in order to see things, but you need Allah’s mental conceptual Light that enables you to see facts as they really are. In other words, no matter how intelligent, genius, or brilliant your mind might be, it is in total darkness and blindness unless it gets guidance from Allah’s Divine mental Light. That is why you see even the most intelligent people sometimes commit the silliest mistakes. In short, without Allah’s Divine Enlightenment, the human mind is totally blind.
Other religious scholars said: Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He is the Source of Light, i.e. it is He Who enlightens the universe with stars, Who enlightens the human bodies with effects of worship, and Who enlightens the hearts with proofs and evidences of the truth.
Glory to Allah! Once a person is connected with the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, his face is enlightened with a special bright Divine Light, even though he might be a brown or black person. Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), had a face that was as bright as the Sun; and some Prophetic Hadiths mention that if one of Al-Hour Al-‘Een (the female mates in Paradise) looked down upon people of the earth, the light of her face would overcome the Sun’s light. This takes us to the third meaning, namely that worship enlightens the face. To this effect, the Quranic Verses go:
“Some faces, that Day, shall be shining and radiant, looking at their Lord (Allah).”
“Some faces, that Day, will be bright, laughing and rejoicing at the good news; but other faces, that Day, will be dust-stained and covered with darkness: such will be the wicked evil disbelievers.”
Yes, indeed! Worship enlightens the face!
Some said: Obedience is the adornment of the human selves and bodies, while knowledge is the adornment of the human hearts and souls. Moreover, Allah, All Mighty, increases the hearts of true believers in enlightenment, as He supports them with the light of clear evidence and then the light of good knowledge. To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, says
“Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whom He wills; and Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of all things.”
You should know that there is explanatory evidence and illumination knowledge. For example, you may know that a certain substance is NACL by only reading a label, but there are some people who know it without a label, because their knowledge is deeper, more comprehensive and more accurate than yours, and because they know almost everything about NACL. In other words, there is illumination knowledge and explanatory knowledge.
Others said: Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He guides the human hearts by His Divine Light to good manners and helps his believing slaves opt for the truth and shun falsehood.
Now, there are a great many meanings of the Arabic word “Nour” (Light). One of the subsidiary meanings of the word is (Light of knowledge), which means that the truth is unveiled to the mind of a true believer. In this context, all the different derivations of the Arabic word “Alimah” (to know), give the meaning of “to throw light on something and make it clear and evident”. This is knowledge: unveiling of the truth to the minds of true believers.
Once again: Light of knowledge is the unveiling of the truth to the mind of a true believer as clearly as if eye-seen.
In fact, Allah’s Divine Name “An-Nour” (The Light) is mentioned in several Verses of the Holy Quran. The most remarkable ones are:
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.”
Some said: Allah, All Mighty, has enlightened the heavens and the earth with the Sun and other stars, and He enlightened the minds of true believers with the truth.
“All Praise belongs to Allah, Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth and made darkness and light; yet those who disbelieve hold sh3er as equal with their Lord.”
Allah, All Mighty, enlightens the heavens and the earth with His perceptual physical Light, and He enlightens the hearts and minds of true believers with His Divine Lights that unveil the truth to them.
Imam Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: Allah, All Mighty, is the One Who rightly guides inhabitants of the earth and the heavens. His Divine Guidance that He casts into the hearts of true believers is like pure oil that almost illuminates before it is burned by fire; but when fire touches it, it illuminates more and more and gives more and more light. In this context, Allah, All Mighty, says:
“They desire to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though disbelievers hate (it).”
In other words, if someone desires to stand against the truth, it is as though he desires to extinguish Allah’s Light.
In another Surah (Chapter) of the Holy Quran, Allah, All Mighty, says:
“Is he whose breast Allah has opened to Islam, and is therefore, in light from his Lord (as he who is a non-Muslim disbeliever)? So woe to those whose hearts are hardened against remembrance of Allah! Such are in plain error!”
In the same Surah (Chapter), He, Glory to Him, says:
“And the earth will shine with its Lord’s Light; and the Book will be placed (open); and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward; and it will be judged between them with the truth; and they shall not be wronged.”
In another Surah (Chapter), He, Praise to Him, says:
“They intend to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths. But Allah will bring His Light to perfection even though disbelievers hate (it).”
In fact, the word “Nour” (Light) is mentioned more than forty times in Allah’s Book, the Holy Quran. And some religious scholars are of the opinion that Allah’s Divine Name “An-Nour” (The Light) is the greatest of all of Allah’s Beautiful Divine Names.
Here we have a delicate point: Abu Hurairah quotes Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), as saying
“Verily, Allah, All Mighty, has ninety-nine Names: whoever comprehends each and every one of them will be admitted into Paradise.”
Some said that “Rabu-l-‘Alameen” (Lord of all worlds) is Allah’s Greatest Divine Name, while sh3er said that “Ar-Rahaman” (The Most Gracious) is Allah’s Greatest Divine Name. Some said that the Name “Allah” is Allah’s Greatest Divine Name, while sh3er said that “An-Nour” (The Light) is Allah’s Greatest Divine Name. Bu the question is: Why did not Allah, All Mighty, mention which Name is the Greatest of His Divine Names? The answer is: to give you the chance of utmost contemplation, reflection and deliberation on each and every one of Allah’s Beautiful Divine Names, and to try and find, on your own, which Name is the Greatest.
Undoubtedly, man seeks knowledge in order to get his heart and mind enlightened. In this context
Ibn ‘Abbas narrated: I heard Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), after he had finished prayer, invoke: “O Allah! Make for me Light in my heart, Light in my grave, Light in front of me, Light behind me, Light on my right, Light on my left, Light over me, Light under me, Light in my hearing, Light in my vision, Light in my hair, Light in my skin, Light in my flesh, Light in my blood, and Light in my bones. O Allah! Make great the Light (that you bestow on me)! Grant me Light! And single out (special Divine) Light for me!”
Once you turn to Allah with true love and sincere devotion, once you get connected with Him, once you pray to Him, and once you obey Him, He bestows on you His Divine Light, which is one of Allah’s Greatest Favors. He makes you a divinely enlightened person who sees the truth as it really is and who discerns true from false things that he hears. He provides you with a special Light, i.e. criterion, whereby you judge things; and your vision becomes enlightened. When a true believer sees a mountain, for example, he remembers the Greatness of its Maker and Originator, Allah, All Mighty; while a disbeliever sees only the materialistic benefits that he could get out of such mountain, but he is completely heedless of its Maker, Allah, All Mighty. A true believer sees things with Allah’s Divine Light, and he is rightly guided with His Divine Enlightenment. His seeing and hearing are divinely enlightened and rightly guided, and so is his mind and heart. His deeds and works are also divinely enlightened and rightly guided: when he looks at things, he sees them with divine enlightenment; when he hears things he has light in his ears in the sense that he knows how to distinguish true things from false ones. He has light in his hands in the sense that whenever he gives, he is rightly guided to give in justice. He has light in his movements in the sense that he is rightly guided to move to the truth. He has light in his legs in the sense that he is rightly guided to walk to places that please his Lord, Allah, All Mighty. In other words, Allah, All Mighty, is the Light in the sense that He guides you to righteous good things that please Him and provides you with a special Light, i.e. criterion, whereby you distinguish good things from evil ones.
In some invocations, we read: “O Allah! You are the Light, while all other things are in the darkness of non-existence (before you bring them into the light of existence)! You are the Self-Evident, and nothing has influence on (You) the Pre-Existent! Dawn upon my heart the meanings of Your Divine Name “An-Nour” (The Light), so that I may witness with Your Divine Light the truth, adorn myself with true knowledge and guide them (my fellow humans) to the Most Generous Lord (Allah)! You are Able to do all things! And Blessings and Peace be upon our master, Muhammad, the illiterate Prophet, and upon his family and Companions.”