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The Mystical Verse Of The Light

Among the most profound passages in the Quran, one that has been much ponded over by commentators, is the 35th verse of the surah (chapter) titled ‘Noor’, also spelt ‘Nur’, where ‘noor’ is the Arabic word for light. It is called the ‘Verse of the Light’. Several people look up Surah Noor wall art such as Surah Noor wall stickers, for example, so that they can hang it one their wall or gift it to someone. This wall art can be an expression of someone’s faith. If someone looks at it and feels reminded about the Majesty of Allah, it can be a powerful spiritual reminder too.

Given below is the English translation of the verse (taken from Sahih International):

‘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 above verse is replete with metaphors and depth, and thus its meaning is not easy to decipher. Its use of analogies makes us ponder hard.

According to the exegesis of the verse by philosopher Abul AalaMaududi: “Light is something which makes things visible; which is itself manifest and helps make other things manifest. The human mind conceives light in this very sense. Absence of light is termed darkness, invisibility and obscurity. On the other hand, when there is visibility and things become exposed to view, man says there is light. Allah has been called `Light’ in this basic sense, and not in the sense of a beam of light which travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second and stimulates the optic nerve through the retina. This conception of light has nothing to do with the reality of the meaning for which human mind has coined this word.”

The Verse of the Light is an important extract from the Quran that many Sufis and Muslim philosophers cite for esoteric readings of the Holy Book. The verse was discussed much by al-Ghazali whose interpretations, as well as the nature of Divine Light is detailed in his masterpiece Mishkat al-Anwar (the “Niche of Lights”).

Since the ayatis quite long, most people remember just its first part: ‘Allah is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth.’

Even though it’s not among the passages that are calligraphically written for Islamic wall art, those with a deep reading of the Glorious Quran do look for Surah Noor wall art, such as Surah Noor wall stickers wherein this verse is displayed in calligraphy. Certainly, there is no dearth of wisdoms from the Quran which one can draw influence from and frame them too as a reminder or expression of faith.

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