Commentary of:

وَبِعِلْمِكَ الَّذِى أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيٍْء

(I ask You) by Your Knowledge, which encompasses all things.

Allah’s Knowledge encompasses all of the actions and all of the times. It encompasses the apparent and hidden aspects of all beings; even that of an atom, billions of which can be placed at the point of a needle. Allah knows the number of all the creatures, even the atoms, the seeds, the drops of rain and flakes of snow. Here we just mention some verses of the holy Qur’an that is an ocean of knowledge.

وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ.

He knows what is in the heavens and what is on earth. (3:29)

وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِنْ وَرَقَةٍ إِلاَّ يَعْلَمُهَا.

He knows what is in land and sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. (6:59)

وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُسِرُّونَ وَمَا تُعْلِنُونَ.

And Allah knows what you keep secret and what you publish. (16:19)

يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنْ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا وَهُوَ الرَّحِيمُ الْغَفُورُ.

He knows what penetrates into the earth, and what comes forth from it, what comes down from heaven, and what goes up to it; He is the All-compassionate, the All-forgiving. (34:2)

The reality of these verses becomes apparent when we closely study an incision in a hill, thousands of which are found in all five continents. Entomologists have counted nearly seven hundred thousand types of insects so far; however, the exact number of the different types of insects is impossible to be determined. In a summer day when the sky is clear, the number of flies, beetles, and millipedes moving in a hill’s incision is more than the total number of the population of that continent. If humans were to suddenly become extinct from the earth, other creatures living on the earth would hardly ever notice their absence!1

وَبِنُورِ وَجْهِكَ الَّذِى أَضَآءَ لَهُ كُلُّ شَيٍْء

(I ask You) by the Light of Your Face, through which all things are illuminated!

The Meaning of Light in Qur’anic Verses and Traditions

In the holy Qur’an and traditions, ‘light’ implies values and perfections. ‘Light’ means guidance2. ‘Light’ means success in travelling towards belief3. ‘Light’ means Islam, insight, knowledge. It means brightness of the spirit4. ‘Light’ is Qur’an:

قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ مِنْ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُبِينٌ.

There has come to you from Allah a light, and a Manifest Book. (5:15)

‘Light’ also means divine rules, doctrines and moral facts:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ.

Surely We sent down the Torah, wherein is guidance and light. (5:44)

According to these references, it becomes clear that ‘light’ is the essence of Allah’s Attributes, Accomplishments, and Glorious Names from which all the creatures benefit to the highest degree of their existence, capacity, and capability. The creatures would then get rid of their obscurity.

In this apt situation, the talented human goes from the darkness of inexistence to the light of existence, from incapability to perfection, from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge, from oppression to justice, from unbelief to faith, from deviation to guidance, from materialism to spirituality; in order to rise in position, all due to Allah’s Light, Names, and Attributes, Who is the Pure Light and Reality.

Qur’anic verses and the traditions of Prophet’s Household (as) imply that “Light of Face” has the same realities and perfections, a thousand of which have been pointed out in Jowshan Kabir supplication.

The reason ‘Light’ is used as a singular is because all of Allah’s Lofty Names are actually His Existence, and there is nothing as noun or adjective in His Holy Sanctuary. Knowledge, Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, Compassion… are all the Existence of the One.

Since ‘Light’ mainly means guidance in Islamic texts the above-mentioned phrase may mean: “O Allah! I ask You by Your Guidance, by which all the creatures are guided.”

Thus, the word ‘light’ covers all the heavenly concepts and attributes, and it is left to common sense to choose among the various meanings according to the situation.

  • 1. Danestani hayi jahan I ilm: 190.
  • 2. al-Mizan: 1/487.
  • 3. Tafsir Abu Al-Futouh: 1/331.
  • 4. Kashf Al-Asrar: 1/ 703.