The Nur(Light) of God

The picture I created is Allah’s name in Arabic being represented in the sky as the ‘light of the heavens and earth’ which represents the Verse of Light (Nur):

“God is the Light of the heavens and the earth; the likeness of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp – the lamp in a glass, the glass as if it were a glittering star –kindled from a Blessed Tree, an olive tree that is neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil well-nigh would shine even if no fire touched it; Light upon Light; God guides to His Light whom He wills. And God strikes similitudes for man, and God has knowledge of everything.” [Qur’an 24:25]

Many questions arise from this verse: Is the light to be taken literally or spiritual? What exactly is the lamp represented of? What does the olive tree not being of the east or west mean? These are many of the questions that are asked when trying to interpret this Qur’anic verse.

The light could be seen as God’s love, mercy, or truth illuminating the universe. To experience this light, one must go from being ego-centric: worldly to be becoming God-centric: where God’s will and love fills your heart. It is believed the prophets, or specifically Prophet Muhammed, is the lamp though which God’s light is passed continuously on.

In the Shia tradition, this light is believed to be passed through the Shia Imam’s as ‘Ahl Al-bayt’ or “People of the House (of the prophet).” This light is believed to be passed by divine designation as predecessors of the Prophet power is  intrinsic, God-given. Through this, the Shia Imam is believed to be an intermediary or intercessor for seeking forgiveness and welfare for people. In more Sufistic outlooks of certain Shia groups, the Imam’s light serves allows them to serve as a spiritual guide for this life. As an example, The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim’s are the only Shia group with a present living Imam-  The 49th Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni. He often cites his role as not only giving spiritual guidance to his followers but improving theirs and that of mankind’s living standards through development, education, and the sponsorship of pluralism:

“[S]pirituality should not become a way of escaping from the world but rather a way of more actively engaging in it.” 

(Imam Shah Karim al-Husayni Acceptance Address- Tutzing Evangelical Academy’s, 20 May 2006)

Leave a Comment

Log in