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The Light of Allah and the Light of the Prophet

Question and answer details
Jad Adnan Attar
El-Salam `alaykom. Does the Koran really differentiate between the light of the sun and the reflected light of the moon? If yes (siraj and nour) what about the different use of both of these words when referring to GOD Almighty and to Mohammad (pbuh). Excellent Site. Ma sha` ALLAH Jalla Jallalouh. Keep up the good work. Salam. Jad
Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine

Salam Jad,


Thank you for your question.


There are many references using the words "siraj" or lamp, and "nur" or light, in the Quran. Although there is no earthly language that can bear the weight of Allah's wisdom and knowledge, He chose the language of the Arabs as the medium for relaying His final and most important message to mankind. Among the many languages of humanity, Arabic has a very high level of subtlety and eloquence. When we study carefully the words Allah chooses to describe things, the miraculous nature of the Quran becomes quite clear.


One verse that describes the sun as a 'siraj' or lamp is:


*{And made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp.}* (Nuh 71:16)


It is very interesting, and also one of the miracles of the Quran, that Allah uses the example of a lamp, or siraj, to describe the sun. At the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it was not known what exactly the sun was made of and how it produced light and heat.


With the increase in scientific knowledge that Allah has blessed us with today, we now know that the sun is very much like a lamp. It requires some type of fuel to burn. When any fuel is burned and reaches a certain level of heat, the flame becomes bright enough to produce a glowing light. The sun we see every day is actually a massive ball of burning hydrogen gas that is millions of kilometers away, 149,597,892 kilometers to be exact.


Allah also describes the moon using the word "muneera" meaning something that is illuminated, or lit up by something shining light on it.


*{Blessed is He Who made constellations in the skies, and placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving light.}* (Furqan 25:61)


Again, this is something that has only recently been discovered, that the moon does not generate its own light, as does the sun, but rather it reflects the light coming from another source, the sun. Allah used the word "muneera" in the Quran to scientifically describe the reality of the moon's light centuries before we discovered this fact.


Allah also describes Prophet Muhammad as a lamp that is lit up.


*{O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner. And as one who invites to Allah's (Grace) by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light.}* (Al-Ahzab 33:45-46)


In this case, Prophet Muhammad is described not as a lamp generating its own light, but as "sirajan muneeran", a lamp given the Light of Allah to guide His servants to what is good and right. Muhammad is not the source of light for mankind to follow and benefit from, he is the lamp that spreads the light throughout creation.


*{Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth…}* (An-Nur 24:35)


Light has so many connotations for us as human beings. It is something we associate with knowledge, hope, life, energy, warmth, sight, and the source of all life and goodness. We associate darkness with ignorance, fear, evil, gloom, and death.


Allah is the source of light in the universe as well as The Light that brings the reality of life to our eyes and souls. Without Allah's Light there is only darkness, we would not be superior to the animals or other creatures in the universe.


We are so insignificant in comparison to Allah, yet He in His infinite Mercy has created us and provided us with everything we will need to lead peaceful, happy lives. Prophet Muhammad directed the light he received as a lamp directs the light within it, spreading it to humanity in a way that is beneficial.


We follow the example of Muhammad in every aspect of our lives. Allah's Light, which would ordinarily be out of our reach to comprehend and benefit from, is brought to us in the life of Prophet Muhammad. In every word he spoke, in every action he performed, in every obstacle he overcame is a lesson for us to rise above the trappings of this worldly life and the traps of the Shaytan.


We cannot hope to reach a level of understanding that Allah has, and will probably never reach that of the prophets and messengers. They were chosen by Allah and purified. They were given knowledge and inspiration that none of us can truly understand. It goes beyond any words of any language that we know. It is something that needs to be experienced by the heart and soul.


Many of us will never reach its highest levels and many of us will have disregarded it as nonsense, worrying only about the life of this world and throwing the Hereafter behind our backs. But if we truly want the best of this life and the best possible achievement in the next life, Paradise, we have to open ourselves up to the light of Allah.


If we use the modern day lamp as an example, since oil lamps are mostly obsolete, maybe we can put it into perspective. The light of Allah, of course, is a much greater example than anything we can compare it to.


Electricity is a powerful force in nature that has been harnessed by human beings, by Allah's Grace. If we were struck by a bolt of lightning, it would most likely kill us. The amount of electricity generated in a power station is aimed at serving the needs of thousands of people at the same time. Were we to use the electricity flowing directly from the station at this rate, it would destroy most of what it comes into contact with.


The amount of energy and force would be too much for us to take all at once. When the electricity is generated in a controlled way, and channeled into wires, electric bulbs, motors and microprocessors, the potential harm is minimized and we benefit greatly from it. It is distributed to thousands and even millions of people at the same time and all benefit in the same way.


What is left for us is to merely turn on the switch and let its wonders help us in countless ways. As Muslims, and mankind in general, we only need to turn on the switch to allow Allah's power and light to fill our lives. The power is ready and at our fingertips; the Quran and Muhammad's example will light up our lives.


I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.



Useful Links:


The Light of Muhammad


Self-imposed Darkness and Light of Infinite Mercy


Between Divine Guidance and Human Responsibility


Guidance… the Divine Gift!

Owing Respect to the Prophet