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“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. His light (in the universe) may be likened to a niche wherein is a lamp; the lamp is in the crystal; which shines in star-like brilliance.”
(Al-Qur’ān – 24:35)
In Qur’ānic usage the expression ‘the heavens and the earth’ is generally employed as an equivalent for the universe. An alternative rendering of the verse, therefore, could be that ‘Allah is the Light of the whole universe’.
The statement that God is the Light of the heavens and the earth is to be taken in its basic sense rather than in the material connotations of the word. Let us illustrate this by giving some examples.
The Qur’ān speaks of God as the All-Seeing. Now this does not necessarily mean that God is possessed of a physical organ, an eye, in the manner of animals and human beings and that He sees with the help of that organ. Likewise, we are told that God seizes. Again, this statement does not necessarily mean that God seizes in the manner that men and animals seize, namely with the help of our hands. All such statements have absolute meaning.
The word ‘light’ is also used to mean ‘knowledge’, whereas its antonym – ignorance – is characterised by ‘darkness’. In this sense, once again, God is the light of the universe for one can gain knowledge of reality and the right way man should tread only from God. Unless one turns to God for light one is doomed to the darkness of ignorance and consequently to sheer error.