What Is the Light of Allah Most High?
Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I need some answers which I can’t find anywhere. I know that one of Allah’s attributes is Light (which does not resemble the creation), and one of his names is al-Noor. Please can someone explain what this name/attribute means in regard to Allah? I have read that when Allah is regarded as being Light, it means that he is the one who guides his creation, and it is not referencing a physical light (e.g., light particles that we see with our eyes which are a creation of Allah). Is this correct?
Also, I have seen a hadith that states Allah’s veil is Light/Fire. Is this “Light/Fire” that is mentioned referencing His attribute of Light? Or is His veil a different attribute which is a literal light that does not resemble His creation?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
I pray you are in good faith and health.
Light (Nur) of Allah Most High
The light (Nur) of Allah is uncreated, indescribable, and inexpressible. Allah Most High said, “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” [Quran, 24, 24:35]
Allah being “the Light,” is described as the One who has manifested every concealed matter in the darkness of nonexistence or unseen by originating it and giving guidance. [Sanusi, Sharh Asma’a Allah al-Husna]
Light (Nur) of the Prophet
Also, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was created to be the manifestation of that light (nur) and its reflection in the realm of creation for us to know something of it, each one of his actions and sunna according to the capacity depending how much we practice his teachings and sunna. Allah Most High said, “There certainly has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book.” [Quran, 5:15]
Example of the Sun and Moon
Taking these two examples, Allah is beyond all examples; no one can stare at the sun. But you can stare at the light of the sun as it is reflected in the full moon and appreciates its beauty. Hence the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has been described in the poetry of the early Muslims as “the light of the full moon,” which is, in reality, the light of the sun. Similarly, we recite Quran with our tongues and memorize it in our hearts, although we are creatures, and Quran is Allah’s Divine Uncreated Speech, and the Quran is also light (nur), which in reality is the speech of Allah Most High.
Just like we understand the light of the sun being unique and one not being able to stare at it, similarly, we can understand the status of Allah Most High, His Prophet, and believers, too. If we follow divine guidance, prophetic teachings, and sunna, recite and practice the Quran, we will be able to see this light in our lives and in others who follow it.
The Explanation of Allah being the Illuminator (Al-Nur)
Our scholars unanimously believe Allah Most High is neither a body, substance, or form of light nor a ray. The characterization of Allah with light refers to two things:
First: The commentary of “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” (Quran, 24, 24:35). This light refers to Him being the illuminator (munawwir) of the two.
Second: Light means He is free from all kinds of defects and faults; based on this understanding, this is from His eternal attributes and based on the former, this is from His attributes generated from His action, and not from His eternal attributes. [Tahir al-Baghdadi, al-Asma wa al-Sifat]
Another commentary is Allah Most High brought into existence the realities from nonexistence into existence through the illumination of the sun and moon, universe and galaxy, messengers, scholars, believers, the vastness of all kinds of earthly produce, and managing it all what is in between the two in the most excellent way and beautiful system. [Abu al-Su‘ud, Irshad al-Aql-Salim Ila Mazaya al-Quran al-Karim]
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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.