Exegesis of the verse of Noor - Luminosities denote these divine personalities and the exalted houses denote the houses of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Darkness denotes their enemies.
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونِةٍ لَا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ.
Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth; a likeness of His light is as a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp is in a glass, (and) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star, lit from a blessed olive-tree, neither eastern nor western, the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not — light upon light — Allah guides to His light whom He pleases, and Allah sets forth parables for men, and Allah is Cognizant of all things. (Sura Nur 24:35)
This holy verse is one of the allegorical verses having hidden meanings and there are several aspects in its explanation. The apparent translation is: It is Allah who grants light to the skies and the earths from the light of His existence and knowledge and Guidance as well as the outward shine of the stars etc.
The attribute and quality and example of Allah’s light is like the niche and it is the hole in which the lamp is kept. Some have said that there is a sphere in that lantern which contains a wick and as if there is a lamp in that niche and that the lamp may be in a lantern made of glass and that lantern may be shinning like a very bright star or Venus and that lamp has been lighted by the bounteous tree of olive and that olive tree is neither eastern nor western.
Some have said that it might not have grown either in the east or in the west that the sunshine may or may fall on it sometimes and sometimes may not fall on it, rather it might have grown in some expansive desert on top of a mountain where it might be receiving sunshine all the time so that its fruit might be ripe and its oil extremely pure.
Some have said that it may not be either on the east or on the west of habitation but in the middle of it which is Syria and the olive oil wherefrom is the best of all olive oils the world over. Some have said that it must not have grown where sun remains shinning all the time to burn it down nor in a land where sun may not shine at all keeping it unripe.
It should have grown at a place where the sun may shine and may not shine alternately and it seems as if it (the oil) will light up all by itself without any approach of fire and its radiance may go on increasing, light upon light because the purity of olive oil and the brightness of the lantern and the safety of the lamp-holder and thus its light (brightness) multiplies. Allah guides whomsoever He wishes towards His light and provides examples for the people and Allah is All-knowing.
The commentators have explained the meaning of this verse from many angles. The first is that Allah has described this example for His Prophet. The niche is the Holy heart of the Holy messenger and the lamp is his wisdom-filled soul and the glass is the Messengership which is neither eastern nor western, neither Christian nor Jewish because Christians face east and Jews towards the west while praying. The bountiful tree is Ibrahim (a.s.) and the light Muhammad which is about to come before people, visibly though not audibly.
Second: That niche may mean Ibrahim (a.s.) and lamp may be Ismail (a.s.) and glass may be Muhammad and the blessed tree may mean Ibrahim (a.s.) because the Holy Prophet (S) was born from his loins and they have been neither eastern nor western. The oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not may mean it is likely that the niceties of Muhammad (S) may become visible and apparent very soon before he gets revelation. Light upon light may mean that Messengership is a kind of light which is from the lineage of messengers.
Third: The niche is Abdul Muttalib and lamp is Abdullah and glass is the Holy Prophet (S) who is neither eastern nor western, rather he is a Meccan and Mecca is situated in the middle of the world map.
Fourth: This example has been given by Allah for the believer and the niche is his soul and the lamp his chest (heart) and the glass is faith and the Quran which is in his heart and it brightens or shines through that bountiful tree which is sincerity about Allah. So that tree remains ever green like the tree around which other trees have grown and the shine of the sky does not reach that tree at the time of sunrise nor at the time of sunset and this is the example of a believer. No trail or tribulation affects him adversely as he lives with four virtues (attributes): If Allah grants him something he thanks Him and if he is caught in some difficulty, he remains patient and when he gives a judgement or issues an order he does so with justice and when he speaks he tells the truth. Thus his example among all people is like a living man who walks through the graves of the dead ones. Light above light means his word is light and his deed or act is light. His entering every affair is light and coming out of it is also light and so also is his return towards light on the day of judgement.
Fifth: Allah has given this example regarding the Holy Quran. Thereby the niche is the Quran, the lamp is a believer’s heart, the glass is his tongue and mouth and the bountiful tree is the revelation. the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not means it is likely that soon the argument of Quran will become clear even if it is not recited or that the proofs of Allah may become clear to the creations and for a man who ponders over it even if Quran is not revealed and ‘It is light above light’ means that the Quran is the light along with all those which were before it. ‘Allah guides to His light whom He pleases’ means Allah guides whom He wills towards Messengership and Imamate.
Apart from these, other explanations have also been given by the commentators but they would be too lengthy to mention them here.
Traditions available in the explanation of this verse are also of a various kinds:
First: Ali bin Ibrahim has quoted Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in the explanation of this verse that the niche is Fatima Zahra and ‘in her is the lamp’ means Imam Hasan and ‘the lamp is in the glass’ means Imam Husain and since both these gentlemen are from one and the same Noor (light) both of them have been compared with the glass.
The Imam (a.s.) said that the glass is also Fatima; meaning Fatima (s.a.) is like a shining star among all the women of this world and the heavens and the blessed tree is Ibrahim. Neither eastern nor western means he is neither a Jew nor a Christian. The oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not means it is as if very soon knowledge would gush out from them and their progeny. Light upon light means Imams will be born one after the other. Allah guides to His light whom He pleases means Allah guides whomsoever He wills towards the Imams.
Kulaini and Furat bin Ibrahim have also narrated this report in some ways and Allamah Hilli has, in Kashaful Haqq, and Ibne Bitreeq has, in Aamadah and Sayyid Tawoos in Taraif have narrated similarly from Ibne Maghazali Shafei and he has said that the niche means Fatima and lamp means Hasan and Husain and that Fatima is like a shining star (Kaukabun Duriiyun) among all the women of the world till the end.
The writer says: In order to make the matter more clear we say that when Ibrahim was the root of prophets and the best man and that prophets are like its branches and that from that branch many different branches sprouted (of messengers and legatees) in the progeny of Hazrat Ishaq who are the Bani Israel and in the children of Ismail, the best in whom are the Holy Prophet (S) and his legatees and because of them three branches of Ahle Kitab (people of the book) viz. Jews Christian and Muslims came into being.
Therefore, Ibrahim (a.s.) is the branch and on the basis of both like the olive tree and since fulfilment of the fruits of this tree and the permeation of the radiances of the olive oil was more perfect and to the maximum level, because these great personalities were more graceful than all the messengers and legatees and as these honourable personalities were the medium nation (Ummate Wusta) and the moderate Imams (Aimma Wusta) and since their Shariat and laws, characters and manners were most judicious as Almighty Allah and said:
And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation (Sura Baqarah 2:143)
their being moderate is being moderate in laws; for example, the Christians face the west and the Jews face the east at the time of their prayers, but the prayer direction of this Ummah is in the middle of the two. Likewise the laws of retaliation and blood money and all other rules of Muslims are moderate.
Therefore, the Almighty Allah has compared Ibrahim with the olive because of these great brightnesses saying that it is neither eastern nor western, which means it does not go to any extremity but remains middle and balanced (as is the case with the Jews and the Christians). The Christians have been called eastern and the Jews western looking at their prayer directions.
It is also possible that the verse may mean olive which remains in the middle of the tree which may not be either in the east as the sun does not shine over it at mid-day or in the west of the world where the sun shines over them at the time of sunrise. Thus the simile becomes more perfect and more conclusive. And in doubt olive means the remote matter and its knowledge which is for Imamate and Khilafat, the origin whereof is Ibrahim (a.s.). Therefore, the Almighty Allah addressed him saying:
Surely I will make you an Imam of men (Sura Baqarah 2:124)
which has been transmitted into their holy progeny and olive means the rare elements of revelation and inspiration and the brightness and radiance of olive means the spreading of knowledge from those elements. Though fire touch it not means either revelation or asking because asking also brightens the fire of knowledge and light upon light has been explained as the Imams arriving one after another because every Imam who comes after his predecessor increases the knowledge and wisdom and light in the creation just as we have described. The equanimity and excellence of this explanation is as bright as the day.
Secondly, Ibne Babawayh has, in Tawheed and Maniul Akhbar, with reliable chains of narrators, quoted Fuzail bin Yasir that he asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about the verse: Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth… In reply the Imam said: The entire sky and earth are radiant by the light of Almighty Lord Allah. I asked what does ‘a likeness of His light’ means? He said: His Noor is Muhammad.
Then I inquired about the niche and he replied: The niche means the soul of Muhammad. I questioned: What does the lamp means? He replied: It contains the light of knowledge, meaning Messengership or Prophethood. I asked: What does ‘the lamp is in the glass’ means and he explained: The transmission of the light of Muhammad into the heart of Amirul Momineen. I asked about: ‘as it were’ and he said: Why do you recite ‘as it were’? I asked: What should I read? He said: ‘(and) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star’. I asked what is meant by: ‘lit from a blessed olive-tree, neither eastern nor western’? He said: These are the virtues of Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) who was neither a Jew nor a Christian. I asked about: ‘The oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not’ and he explained that very soon knowledge may come out from the mouth of a scholar from Aale Muhammad (a.s.) even before its asking or he may know of it even before that through inspiration. Then I asked about: ‘light upon light’ and he said the advent of the Imams, one after another.1
In Basair and Ikhtisas, Imam Baqir (a.s.) is reported to have said that ‘a likeness of His light’ is the Holy Prophet (S); that as a niche in which is a lamp is Ilm (knowledge) and the lamp is in a glass is Amirul Momineen and that the knowledge of the Holy Prophet (S) is only with him.
Likewise, Furat has, in Tafsir, quoted Imam Baqir (a.s.) saying that ‘a likeness of His light’ means the knowledge is in the heart of the Holy Prophet (S) and a glass is the heart of Ali (a.s.), lit from a blessed olive-tree... here lit means knowledge, and neither eastern nor western that the knowledge came from Aale Ibrahim towards Prophet Muhammad (S) and from him Ali (a.s.) got it. He is neither eastern nor western means neither a Jew nor a Christian what is meant by the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not is that very soon a scholar will speak with knowledge even before he is asked.
In Kashful Ghummah, there is a narration from Dalail Humairi that people asked for the meaning of niche (Mishkat) from Imam Askari (a.s.). The Imam wrote in response that niche is the soul of Muhammad (S).
Moreover, in Tawheed, there is narration from Imam Baqir (a.s.) that, in niche means the heart (chest) of the Holy Prophet (S). The knowledge of the Prophet came in the heart of Ali (a.s.) which means the Holy Prophet (S) taught everything to Ali (a.s.). In lit from a blessed olive-tree it is meant Ilm (knowledge), neither eastern nor western means he is neither a Jew nor a Christian. the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not means it is likely that soon a scholar from Aale Muhammad (a.s.) may be describe his knowledge even before he is asked about it. Light upon light means one Imam will be followed by another who will be supported by knowledge and wisdom and that this routine has continued ever since the time of Prophet Adam (a.s.) and will continue till the Day of Qiyamat and that only those gentlemen are the legatees (Awsiya) whom Allah has appointed His Caliphs and made them His Hujjat (proof) on His creation. The world will never be without them.
In Kafi, with reliable chains of narrators, it is narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s.) that the Holy Prophet (S) transferred the knowledge which was with him to Ali (a.s.), that is, to his Wasee. This is the meaning of the divine word Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth… Allah says: I am the Guide of the residents of the sky and the earth. The example of this knowledge, which I have given to him is My light from which people get guidance like the niche which contains a lamp. The niche is the heart of Muhammad and the lamp is the light of knowledge which is in his heart.
And the word of the Lord of the universe which says that the lamp is in a glass, it means that I will call Muhammad to Me and give the knowledge which is with him to his legatee. Just as people keep a lamp in a lantern made of glass. (And) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star means the grace of his legatee Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.). Lit from a blessed olive-tree is the original bountiful lineage of Ibrahim as the Lord of the Universe has said about him:
The mercy of Allah and His blessings are on you, O people of the house, surely He is Praised, Glorious. (Sura Hud 11:73)
And also stated:
Surely Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations. (Sura Ale-Imran 3:33)
meaning you are not a Jew who may pray towards the east, not are you a Christian who may pray facing west. But you are on the path of Ibrahim as has Allah Almighty said:
Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists. (Sura Ale-Imran 3:67)
But what is meant by the Divine words: the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not is that the example of your progeny is like oil which is being extracted from olive. Very soon they will speak with the Prophetic knowledge though no angel may come to him (with revelation).
Third: Ali bin Ibrahim and Furat have narrated from Abdullah bin Jundab that he wrote to Imam Ridha (a.s.): May I be sacrificed on you. I have become old and weak and am no more able to do things which I could perform earlier. May I be sacrificed for you. Kindly teach me things which may make me near my Lord and may increase my wisdom and my knowledge and intelligence.
The Hazrat wrote in response: Read the letter which I am sending to you and understand it fully. There is health in it for the one whom Allah like and therein is guidance for the one whom Allah wants to give it. You should read again and again:
In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful; There is no power or might except with Allah the High and the Mighty. Imam Ali bin Husain (a.s.) said doubtlessly Muhammad was the trustee of Allah on earth. After he was taken up from the world we Ahle Bayt are the trustees on the earth. We have the knowledge of people’s calamities and death and the lineage of people and of the one who was born on Islam and who know merely by looking at anyone whether he is a believer or a hypocrite.
Our Shias have, with them the names of all of their elders. Allah has taken a covenant and an oath from us and from them that they will go wherever we go and wherever we will enter they will also enter. None save us and they are on the community (Millat) of Ibrahim and we will benefit by the Light of the Prophet on the Day of Qiyamat and the Prophet will benefit from the light of Allah. And our Shias will catch hold of our light. Whoever will remain detached from us will be destroyed and whosoever will follow us will get salvation and whoever will deny our Imamate is a disbeliever and verily we guide the one who follows us and he also gets guidance who does not love us and the one who does not love us is not from us and he has nothing to do with Islam.
Allah has initiated Religion with us and He has also concluded it on us. It is due to our grace that Allah grows your provision from the earth and it is due to our grace that Allah pours down water from the sky and it is due to our grace that Allah saves you from drowning in the sea and from sinking in the earth and it will be due to our grace that Allah will give you the benefit in your life and in your grave and in the field of gathering (Hashr) and on the Bridge (Sirat) and near the balance (Mizan) and make you enter Paradise. In the Book of Allah, our example is that of a niche and that niche has in it a lamp. So we are that niche wherein is the lamp and the lamp is the Prophet Muhammad (S) and the lamp is in a glass, the apparent meaning of which is the Hazrat.
According to the report of Furat, we are the glass, (and) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star, lit from a blessed olive-tree, neither eastern nor western which means there is no defect of any kind in his Holy lineage which may be sometimes related to the east and some times to the west and in the words: the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not fire means Quran.2 Light upon light means the arrival of Imam after Imam. Allah guides to His light whom He pleases means the light of the Imamate and it is the resolve of Allah to appoint our Wali and our Shia in such a manner that his face may be bright and his argument clear and his proof may be precious in the sight of Allah.
Our enemy will appear with a dark face on the Day of Judgement. His arguments will be false and it is the decision of Allah to make our friends the companions of the messengers, the truthful ones, martyrs and the righteous people and how nice are his friends of satans and disbelievers and how bad are their friends. And it is the resolution of Allah to make our enemies the friends of Satan and disbelievers and how bad are their friends. Our martyrs have a ten-fold grace over all other martyrs. So we are the noble ones and we are the sons and legatees of the prophets and the legatees. We are the dignitaries in the Book of Allah and we are, among all peoples, along with Prophet of Allah, the best and the highest and it is we for whom Allah has reserved His Religion.
He has made plain to you of the religion what He enjoined upon Nuh and that which We have revealed to you and that which We enjoined upon Ibrahim and Musa and Isa that keep to obedience and be not divided therein… ( Surah Shuraa 42:13)
that is, remain steadfast on the religion of Muhammad (S).
Hard to the unbelievers is that which you call them to (Surah Shuraa 42:13);
that is, who deny the Wilayat of Ali which you invite them to accept (Wilayat of Ali) is hard for them.
Allah chooses for Himself whom He pleases, and guides to Himself him who turns (to Him), frequently (Surah Shuraa42:13).
The Imam said: Allah draws whom He likes towards Him and He guides whom He wills, meaning: O Prophet! Allah guides him who accepts your Wilayat.
Similarly, Muhammad bin Ayyash has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that Imam Zainul Aabedeen (a.s.) said: Our example, in the Book of Allah, is like niche. So we are the niche and niche is the hole wherein a lamp is placed and the lamp is in a glass and the glass is Muhammad (S) (And) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star is Ali ibne Abi Talib. Light upon light is the holy Quran and Allah guides to His light whom He pleases means Allah guides towards our Wilayat everyone whom he loves.
Fourth: Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that Imam Baqir (a.s.) has, in the explanation of the verse of Noor (24:35) said that Allah began His light as is His guidance in the heart of a believer. As a niche in which is a lamp is the chest of the believer and glass is his heart and the lamp is the radiance that Allah has put in his heart. Lit from a blessed olive-tree is the lineage of the believer. Neither eastern nor western means that it is in the middle of the mountain so that it may be neither eastern, where sunrays may not fall on it at the time of sunset, nor is it western where it may not receive sunrays at the time of daybreak.
Rather it is at a point where it gets light at all times. The oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not means it is likely that very soon the light which Allah has placed in his heart may begin to spread brightness without saying anything by the tongue. Light upon light means duty after duty and Sunnah (tradition) over Sunnah. Allah guides to His light whom He pleases means Allah leads whom He likes towards His obligatory duties and the recommended deeds.
He said: And Allah sets forth parables for men means Allah has given the example for the faithful. The business of every faithful is to go round (keep going round) five Noors (Lights). His entering in everyone of the said works is a Noor and to come out of it (conclusion) is also Noor. His talking is Noor and his knowledge is Noor. On the Day of Judgement, his returning towards his lord is also Noor. The Hazrat said: Subhanallah, Allah has no examples. So:
Therefore do not give likenesses to Allah. (Sura Nahl 16:74)
فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تُرْفَعَ وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ فِيهَا بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ. رِجَالٌ لَا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ. لِيَجْزِيَهُمْ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا وَيَزِيدَهُمْ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَاللَّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ.
In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them; there glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings, Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about; That Allah may give them the best reward of what they have done, and give them more out of His grace; and Allah gives sustenance to whom He pleases without measure. (Sura Nur 24:36-38)
This verse is only the continuation of the previous verse, which has been just discussed. It means that these guiding lights and the Radiant Imamate and Khilafat shine in some houses and in some families as permitted by Allah and Allah has decided that due to their make up and for honouring them to raise them high or He has ordered to recognize the dignified heights of these families and to believe in their Imamate and Khilafat. Some have said that what is meant by ‘their houses’ is the mosques as it has been said that the Mosques are the houses of Allah on the earth which provide light to those in the sky just as the stars provide light to those who are on the earth. And some have said that they are the houses of the prophets, as the Lord Almighty says:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. (Sura Ahzab 33:33)
And He has also said:
رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ إِنَّهُ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ.
The mercy of Allah and His blessings are on you, O people of the house… (Sura Hud 11:73)
Shaykh Tabarsi has said that: In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted are those houses that belong to the messengers and the absolute legatees and that permitted to be exalted means giving honour and removal of impurities and to keep them clean of disobediences and sins. Some have said that permitted to be exalted means asking of their needs from Allah and that His name may be remembered in them means the name of Allah is being recited in them. They say Quran is being recited therein or Allah’s beautiful names are being read therein. There glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings means in them, every morn and eve, Allah’s holiness is being described. Some have said that it means offering of prayer and some have said that it means Allah’s being clean of those things which cannot be attributed to Him and to relate those attributes to Allah which rightfully belong to Him, all of which are made up of wisdom and reason. Then it is mentioned as to who are the reciters of glorification. So Allah says:
رِجَالٌ لَا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ.
Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about; That Allah may give them the best reward of what they have done, and give them more out of His grace; and Allah gives sustenance to whom He pleases without measure. (Sura Nur 24:37)
This is the literal translation of the verse and now some traditions are being given below in this regard.
Both Shias and the Ahle Sunnat have narrated from Buraidah that when the Holy Prophet (S) recited this verse, a man got up and asked: O Messenger of Allah! Which are those houses? The Hazrat replied: They are the houses of the messengers. Thereafter Abu Bakr got up and asked, pointing towards the houses of Ali (a.s.) and Fatima, are these houses also included in those ones? The Holy Prophet (S) replied: Yes, rather they are the best of them.
Shazan has narrated from Ibne Abbas that: I was in the Mosque when someone recited this verse. I asked: O Messenger of Allah! Which are those houses? The Holy Prophet (S) replied: They are the houses of messengers pointing towards the noble house of Fatima (s.a.).
Muhammad bin Ayyash has, with reliable chains of narrators, narrated from Muhammad bin Fuzail that Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) was asked about the meaning of this verse. He replied that here house means the houses of Muhammad the Prophet of Allah and that the house of Imam Ali (a.s.) is also included in them.
From other reliable chains the same Imam is reported to have said that here houses means the houses of Aale Muhammad which means the houses of Ali (a.s.) and Fatima and Hasan and Husain and Hamza and Ja’far (a.s.). They glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings means the prayer which is being offered in the hours of grace. Then in praise of them, Allah says: Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about…
That they are a few males and that none else has been included in them and has, thereafter, said: That Allah may give them the best reward of what they have done, and give them more out of His grace; and Allah gives sustenance to whom He pleases without measure… which mean the things which have been reserved for them like making their love and obedience obligatory and calling their residence Paradise.
Kulaini has narrated from Abu Hamza Thumali that once Qatada Basri came to Imam Baqir (a.s.). The latter asked him: Are you the jurisprudent (Faqih) of Basra? He replied: Yes. The Hazrat told him: Woe unto you Qatada! Doubtlessly the Creator of the universe has created a group and has given it His Hujjat (proof) over His creation. So they (the group said) are the pegs (like mountains) on earth who stand (keep steadfast) on the Command of Allah. They are noble because of the knowledge of Allah and Allah chose them before creating the universe. Those fine bodies were on the right side of the Throne (Arsh).
Hearing this, Qatada remained silent for quite sometime and then said: By Allah, I have remained in the company of religious jurisprudents (Faqihs) and have also sat with Ibne Abbas. But at no time have I ever experienced the restlessness before them as I am experiencing now in front of you. The Hazrat asked: Do you know before whom are you sitting now? You are sitting before the residents of those houses in praise of which Allah has said: In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them… You are sitting there and are before the one of that group about whom Allah has mentioned this verse. Qatada said: By Allah, you have told the truth. May Allah sacrifice me for you. By Allah, this house is not made up of bricks and cement, rather this is the house of nobility and high grace.
Kulaini has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in the explanation of the verse of Houses (24:36) that it means the houses of prophets said that Allah has made four of them the noblest of all houses as He has said:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَى آدَمَ وَنُوحًا وَآلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَآلَ عِمْرَانَ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ.
Surely Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations. (Sura Ale-Imran 3:33)
It is narrated in Ihtijaj that Ibne Kawaa has narrated from Amirul Momineen, about the meaning of this verse that:
and it is not righteousness that you should enter the houses at their backs, but righteousness is this that one should guard (against evil); and go into the houses by their doors…(Sura Baqarah 2:189)
The Hazrat said: We are houses about which Allah has ordered to enter through doors and we are the threshold of Allah and His houses through the doors whereof people should proceed towards Allah. So the one who obeyed and followed us and believed in our Imamate and Wilayat, entered these houses through proper doors and the one who opposes us and gives grace to others over us is entering the houses through the back.3
The third and the fourth verses:
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَعْمَالُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ بِقِيعَةٍ يَحْسَبُهُ الظَّمْآنُ مَاءً حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَهُ لَمْ يَجِدْهُ شَيْئًا حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَهُ لَمْ يَجِدْهُ شَيْئًا وَوَجَدَ اللَّهَ عِنْدَهُ فَوَفَّاهُ حِسَابَهُ وَاللَّهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ.
And (as for) those who disbelieve, their deeds are like the mirage in a desert, which the thirsty man deems to be water; until when he comes to it he finds it to be naught, and there he finds Allah, so He pays back to him his reckoning in full; and Allah is quick in reckoning; Or like utter darkness in the deep sea: there covers it a wave above which is another wave, above which is a cloud, (layers of) utter darkness one above another; when he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light. (Sura Nur 24:39-40)
As, in the previous verses, faith, knowledge, Messengership and Imamate have been compared with Noor or Light. Now these two verses give the examples for the behaviour of disbelievers who are contrary to the Holy personalities. It is mentioned that those people who belie Allah and His Prophet, their deeds are like a mirage in deserts. The thirsty considered them water bodies and when he reaches there he finds nothing but Allah’s chastisement and the reward of his misdeeds from Allah and very soon Allah is to take an account from the creations. Or the example of the deniers is like the darkness in deep seas and the surface of the sea may be covered by a big wave then another wave over it and then by dark clouds overhead, that is, darkness over darkness, and when he (the drowning person) stretches out his hand (which is the most apparent of all his body organs) he is unable to see it even and the one whom Allah does not give light has no light at all.
Ibne Mahyar has, with reliable chains of narrators, narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s.) that: And (as for) those who disbelieve means Banu Umayyah and what is meant by which the thirsty man deems to be water is the thirsty hypocrite who leads Bani Umayyah towards the mirage (making them believe that it is water) and when they reach there they get nothing except divine punishment.
In the Tafsir of Ali Bin Ibrahim, Imam Baqir (a.s.) is quoted that which the thirsty man deems to be water points towards the first and the second mischief and that by utter darkness in the deep sea is meant the third mischief and that by there covers it a wave above which is another wave is meant Talha and Zubair. Above which is a cloud, (layers of) utter darkness means the trouble raised by Muawiyah and all Banu Umayyah. When the faithful draws out his hand in the midst of the darkness of these troubles, it is not possible to see. And to whomsoever Allah does not give light means the one for whom Allah has not made an Imam from Bani Fatima, will not have any Imam in Qiyamat in whose light he can walk.
And as has been mentioned in another verse:
يَوْمَ تَرَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَسْعَى نُورُهُمْ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ بُشْرَاكُمْ الْيَوْمَ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ.
On that day you will see the faithful men and the faithful women—their light running before them and on their right hand—good news for you today: gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide therein, that is the grand achievement. (Sura Hadid 57:12)
The Imam said that on the day of Qiyamat, the Imams will be lights for the faithful who will walk before them and on their right so as to lead the Shias to the palaces in Paradise.
Kulaini has, somewhat differently, yet with reliable chains of narrators, narrated this tradition and so also Ibne Mahyar has, with reliable chains of narrators, narrated it from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that Or like utter darkness in the deep sea is an indication to the first and the second and that by; there covers it a wave means the people of Jamal (Battle of the camel), Siffeen and Naharwan. Above which is another wave means Banu Umayyah.
When he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it means when Amirul Momineen took out his hand in their mischief and darkness it was not possible to see, that is, he was giving them good counsels but people did not accept except the one who believed in his Imamate and Wilayat. And to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light means the one for whom Allah did not provide an Imam in this world will not have any light in the hereafter, that is, he will have no Imam to guide him towards Paradise.
The fifth verse:
فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالنُّورِ الَّذِي أَنزَلْنَا وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ.
Therefore believe in Allah and His Apostle and the Light which We have revealed. (Sura Hadid 57:12)
Most commentators have said that in this verse, Light means the Quran.
Kulaini and others have, with reliable chains of narrators, quoted Imam Baqir (a.s.) that he said: By Allah! In this verse, what is meant by light are the Imams from the Aale Muhammad till the Day of Judgment and by Allah, only they are the light of Allah both in the skies and on the earth whom Allah has sent.
By Allah, in the hearts of the believers, the light of the Imam is shining more brightly than the sun and, by Allah, these dignitaries are keeping the hearts of the faithful shining and Allah hides their light from those whom He wills whereby their hearts remain dark and nobody befriends us and none believes in our guardianship (Wilayat) unless Allah makes his heart clean and Allah does not clean the heart of anyone until one becomes obedient to us and does not come in our company in the place of safety. When he becomes obedient to us, Allah protects him from hardships and keeps him safe from the severe terror of the Day of Qiyamat.4
The sixth verse:
الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِنْدَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنْ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمْ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمْ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ مَعَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْمُفْلِحُونَ.
Those who follow the Apostle-Prophet, the Ummi, whom they find written down with them in the Taurat and the Injeel (who) enjoins them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them; so (as for) those who believe in him and honor him and help him, and follow the light which has been sent down with him, these it is that are the successful. (Sura Araf 7:157)
Allah Almighty, with reference to the virtues of the righteous people, for whom He has reserved His mercy, says:
Those who follow and obey the Prophet who did not read and write or was the resident of Ummul Qura (Meccan), find the mention of this Prophet and his attributes and his Messengership in Torah and Bible which are with them, who commands them to do good deeds and prevents them from evils and makes clean and pure things permitted for them and makes bad and dirty things prohibited (Haram) and decreases the burden of difficult matters which were on their heads (weight of heavy covenants etc). So now only those people are successful who trusted him and gave respect to him and helped him and followed the light which has been sent down with this prophet.
Many commentators have said that Light means the Quran and Kulaini has quoted Imam Ja’far (a.s.) that here Light means Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and so also the Infallible Imams.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that Light means Amirul Momineen. So Allah took promise from His Prophets about His Prophet that they will inform their people about the advent of the last Prophet (S) and may help him. Thus the Prophets helped by word and gave their communities the covenant and very soon, on the time of the second coming (Raja’t) the Holy Prophet (S) and all the messengers will return to this world and will help the Hazrat.
Kulaini also has, in another tradition, narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that: so (as for) those who believe in him means ‘have believed in the Imam’ and from: and honor him and help him, and follow the light which has been sent down with him, these it is that are the successful… means ‘they did not keep away from ‘Jibt’ and ‘Taaghoot’ who are the first and the second (usurpers of caliphate) and their worship denotes their obedience.
Ayyashi has narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s.) that in this verse Light means Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.).5
The Seventh verse:
يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَيَأْبَى اللَّهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ.
They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse. (Sura Saf 61:8)
It means that ‘the deniers and the hypocrites want to puff out the light of Allah with a blow of their mouth and to suppress Religion with their false religions like a man who wants to puff our the light of the sun with a blow of his mouth and Allah is to complete His Noor even though the deniers may dislike it.’
Kulaini and others with reliable chains of narrators narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s.) that people asked the meaning of this verse from Imam (a.s.) and he said: People wanted to wipe out the Wilayat of Amirul Momineen with their talks and Allah completes the Imamate as has been mentioned in another verse:
Light of Allah means Imamate. People asked for the explanation of the subsequent verse:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ.
He it is Who sent His Apostle with the guidance and the true religion, that He may make it overcome the religions, all of them, though the polytheists may be averse. (Sura Saf 61:9)
The Imam said that Allah is He Who ordered His Messenger to make Ali Ibne Abi Talib his legatee as Wilayat is the True religion so that (He will) complete His Light along with the Wilayat of the Qaem Aale Muhammad (Imam Mahdi) though the polytheists may be averse to the Wilayat of Ali. That is even though the deniers may not like the Wilayat of Ali. People asked: Was this verse revealed like this? He said: Yes.
Ali bin Ibrahim has, explaining the verse: Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse… narrated that Allah will complete His Light through the Qaem Aale Muhammad (Imam Mahdi) until, at last, there will not be worship of anyone (or anything) at any place except the worship of only one Allah as the Holy Prophet (S) has said that he (Qaem Aale Muhammad) would fill up the world with justice and equity just as it was formerly full of injustice and oppression.
It is narrated in Akmaluddeen from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that the earth never remains without an Imam who is wise and who enlivens and establishes, through true affairs (orders), that which people destroy. Then he recited the verse:
They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse. (Sura Saf 61:8)
Muhammad bin Ayyash has narrated that Imam Baqir (a.s.) recited this very verse and said: By Allah, if you people give up the true religion and the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), Allah will not give up, that is, verily He will create groups who will adopt this religion or He will make the Qaem of Aale Muhammad appear, who would make the entire creation enter this religion.
Likewise, it is narrated from Amirul Momineen that one day the Holy Prophet (S) ascended the pulpit and said: Allah looked at people of the world as it should be seen and then selected me from among all. Then He looked again and chose Ali who is my brother, my heir, my legatee and my Caliph in my Ummah and the guardian (Wali) and Imam of every believer. Whoever befriends him has befriended Allah and whoever becomes his enemy has become an enemy of Allah.
By Allah, no one befriends him except a believer and no one becomes his enemy except an infidel. He is, after me, the Light of the earth and he is the pillar of the earth. He alone is the word of piety (Kalima Taqwa) and firmest handle/rope (Urwatul Wuthqa) as mentioned by Allah. Then he (S) recited the verse: They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths… till the end and said:
O People! Those of you who are present here should convey my message to those who are not present. O Allah! I make You witness in this matter. (Then he begins the continuation of tradition in his speech). Thereafter, Allah looked at the earth for the third time and, after me and after my brother Ali, chose eleven Imams who will arrive one after another as his vicegerents. They are like stars in the sky as when a star sets another one rises in its place. They are guides as well as rightly-guided. No one can harm them, except the one who cheats them and may not help them. These Imams are all proofs of Allah on earth and His witness before the creation. Whoever obeyed them obeyed Allah and whoever disobeyed them disobeyed Allah. They are with the Quran and the Quran is with them. They will not get separated from the Quran until they come to me on the pond of Kauthar.
The Eighth verse:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَآمِنُوا بِرَسُولِهِ يُؤْتِكُمْ كِفْلَيْنِ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ نُورًا تَمْشُونَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ.
O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and believe in His Apostle: He will give you two portions of His mercy, and make for you a light with which you will walk, and forgive you, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Sura Hadid 57:28)
Commentators have translated it like this: O those people who have believed in the Oneness of Allah and who testify Moosa and Isa, refrain from Allah’s anger and believe in the Messenger of Allah, or: O those who have apparently believed in Allah and His Messenger, believe in the Messenger from your heart so that Allah may grant you two parts of that Light by His Mercy, two parts of that Light (noor) in the light of which you may walk on the Day of Qiyamat and Allah may forgive you and Allah is Forgiving, Kind. Some have said that here Light (Noor) means the Holy Quran.
Kulaini and Mahyar and others have, with many chains of narrators, narrated that ‘two portions’ (Kaflain) means Imams Hasan and Husain (a.s.) and: And make for you a light with which you will walk… means He may appoint an Imam for you whom you may follow.
Ibne Mahyar has, with another chain, reported that Imam Baqir (a.s.) said that ‘two portions’ (Kaflain) means Hasnain (Imams Hasan and Husain). And make for you a light with which you will walk… means a just Imam whom they follow and he is Imam Ali (a.s.).
Likewise, Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari is reported to have said, from reliable chains of narrators, that ‘two portions’ (Kaflain) means Hasnain (a.s.) and then added: The one whom Allah grants grace or makes our Shia, no calamity facing him in the world can harm him even if he may have nothing but grass to eat.6
The Ninth verse:
يَوْمَ تَرَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَسْعَى نُورُهُمْ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ بُشْرَاكُمْ الْيَوْمَ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ. يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا انْظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِنْ نُورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُوا وَرَاءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُوا نُورًا فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِسُورٍ لَهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَاهِرُهُ مِنْ قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ. يُنَادُونَهُمْ أَلَمْ نَكُنْ مَعَكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى وَلَكِنَّكُمْ فَتَنْتُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَتَرَبَّصْتُمْ وَارْتَبْتُمْ وَغَرَّتْكُمْ الْأَمَانِيُّ حَتَّى جَاءَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَغَرَّكُمْ بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ. فَالْيَوْمَ لَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنْكُمْ فِدْيَةٌ وَلَا مِنْ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مَأْوَاكُمْ النَّارُ هِيَ مَوْلَاكُمْ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ.
On that day you will see the faithful men and the faithful women—their light running before them and on their right hand—good news for you today: gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide therein, that is the grand achievement. On the day when the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women will say to those who believe: Wait for us, that we may have light from your light; it shall be said: Turn back and seek a light. Then separation would be brought about between them, with a wall having a door in it; (as for) the inside of it, there shall be mercy in it, and (as for) the outside of it, before it there shall be punishment. They will cry out to them: Were we not with you? They shall say: Yea! but you caused yourselves to fall into temptation, and you waited and doubted, and vain desires deceived you till the threatened punishment of Allah came, while the arch deceiver deceived you about Allah. So today ransom shall not be accepted from you nor from those who disbelieved; your abode is the fire; it is your friend and evil is the resort. (Sura Hadid 57:12-15)
Meaning: That day you will see that the light (Noor) of the believing men and women (everyone of them) will be walking fast both in front of them and on their right side and angels will tell them: Good tidings of Paradise for you beneath which rivers flow. You will live in them forever. This is the great success. And on that Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to the faithful ones: Just wait for us or just look at us so that we may also benefit from your light. In response they will be told: Go back to the world and gain light through faith and good deeds or return to the field of gathering (Mahshar) or go wherever you like because you will not get any share from us.
Then a wall will be raised between those believers and hypocrites having a door of divine mercy which is Paradise and beyond it would be divine anger which is called Hell. The hypocrites will say to the faithful: Were you not with us in the world? The faithful will say: Doubtlessly you were but you were indulging in hypocrisy and were awaiting calamities to fall on the faithful and you were in doubt about the religion and aspirations had deceived you until the Divine Command came up, that is, death overtook you. And Satan made you unmindful of Allah. So now you will not get any ransom neither from Allah not from the deniers. Your dwelling place is Hell and only it is more suitable to you and it is a very bad place for your return.
It is mentioned at another place:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَصُوحًا عَسَى رَبُّكُمْ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيُدْخِلَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ يَوْمَ لَا يُخْزِي اللَّهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَى بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ.
O you who believe! Turn to Allah a sincere turning; maybe your Lord will remove from you your evil and cause you to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, on the day on which Allah will not abase the Prophet and those who believe with him; their light shall run on before them and on their right hands; they shall say: Our Lord! make perfect for us our light, and grant us protection, surely Thou hast power over all things. (Sura Tahrim 66:8)
Meaning: O Faithful people! Repent for your sins from the bottom of your heart on the threshold of Allah that is such repentance (Taubah) after which you may not repeat those sins. It is hoped that your Lord will have mercy on you and will forgive your sins and will admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow. On that day Allah will not put His Messenger and the faithful people to disgrace. On that day their Light (Noor) would be walking before them and on their right side and they will be humming: O Our Lord! Complete our Light for us and forgive us. Verily You are able to do everything.
Ali bin Ibrahim has, in the explanation of this verse, quoted Imam Sadiq (a.s.) regarding the Divine Words that the Imam of the faithful will be their Light (Noor) which will be walking ahead of them and on their right until it will lead them into Paradise.
In the Tafsir of Furat, Imam Baqir (a.s.) is quoted when asked the meaning (Tafsir) of: On that day you will see the faithful men and the faithful women—their light running before them that he said: The Holy Prophet (S) has said that Noor (Radiance or Light) will be that of the Imam of the faithful which will, on the Day of judgment, walk before them when Allah will permit the Imam to go to their dwellings in the Paradise of permanence (Jannatul Adn) and the faithful will be behind them until they enter Paradise. And about Allah’s words: and on their right hand, he said that you will take mediation (Wasilah) of the Aale Muhammad holding their skirts and they will catch hold of the skirt of Hasan and Husain (a.s.) and they will hold the skirt of Amirul Momineen and he will be holding the skirt of the Holy Prophet (S) until they enter Paradise along with these dignitaries.
This is the Tafsir of the words of Allah: good news for you today: gardens…
Ibne Shahar Aashob has, in Manaqib, quoted Imam Baqir (a.s.) that the meaning of ‘complete our Light (Noor) for us’ is ‘make our Shias join us’.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has, explaining the verse: Wait for us, that we may have light from your light… said that the Lord of the universe will divide (curtail) the Light for the hypocrites and that it will appear in the toes of their left feet and will soon disappear and that is why the faithful will pray ‘complete our Light for us’.
Ali bin Ibrahim has quoted Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that the one who will have Light in Qiyamat will get salvation and that every believer will surely have the Light.
Likewise, it is narrated in the explanation of the captioned verse that Allah, on the Day of Judgment and in the hereafter divide the Light among the people in proportion of their faith and of the hypocrites. Then the Light of the hypocrites will appear in their left toes and it will disappear soon. At that time the hypocrites will tell the faithful: Just keep standing where you are for a while so that we may also get some benefit of your Light.
The faithful will reply: Go back from where you have come and ask for light from there. So they (the hypocrites) will return and a wall will come up between them. The hypocrites will call out to the faithful from the other side of that wall and ask: Were you not with us in the world? They will respond: Indeed we were. But your hearts made you incline towards sins by deceit and you fell in doubt regarding the faith and you were waiting for calamities to fall on the faithful.
The tenth verse:
فَالْيَوْمَ لَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنْكُمْ فِدْيَةٌ وَلَا مِنْ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا.
So today ransom shall not be accepted from you nor from those who disbelieved…(Sura Hadid 57:15)
About the above verse the Imam said: By Allah, what is meant by this verse is neither the Jews nor the Christians; and Allah has not aimed here at anyone except the Ahle Qibla (those having common prayer direction).
مَأْوَاكُمْ النَّارُ هِيَ مَوْلَاكُمْ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ.
Your abode is the fire; it is your friend and evil is the resort…
This means the Hell-fire is more deserving for you.
It is mentioned in Amirul Momineen’s sermon of Ghadeer: Race towards what pleases your Lord before a wall is raised in front of you within which may be mercy and without which, chastisement. At that time your complaint will not be heard and you will cry and weep but no notice will be taken.
It is narrated at length in a tradition in Khisal according to which Prophet of Allah said that on the Day of Judgment there will be five flags for my Ummah:
The first flag will come with the Pharaoh of this Ummah who is the first hypocrite. The second banner will be with Samri of this community who is the second hypocrite. The third pennant will be that of the Jaaseeq of this Ummah who is the third hypocrite, the fourth flag will be of Muawiyah and the fifth will be, O Ali! Yours under which will gather the faithful and you will be their Imam. Then the holders of the aforesaid four flags would be asked:
Go back and seek Light and then a wall will be raised between them with a door in it. Inside it will be mercy wherein will be my Shias and devotees and those who would be with me will be those who had remained with me and fought against the rebel group. The door of mercy means my Shias. The rebels, others and the hypocrites would cry to my Shias asking: Were we not with you in the world (till end as mentioned above).
Then the Hazrat said: My Shias and the believers of my Ummah will arrive on the pond of Kauthar and I will have a staff of the Awsaj tree in my hand with which I will drive away my enemies from Kauthar just as camels are being driven away.
It is narrated by Jabir Ansari in Khisal that: I was with the Holy Prophet (S) when the latter told to Amirul Momineen (a.s.): Allah has given seven virtues to your Shias and your friends: Ease at the time of death, comfort in the horrible time in grave, light in darkness, safety from fear and anxiety at the time of Qiyamat, justice near the balance of deeds, crossing the bridge (Sirat) easily and to be the first while entering Paradise. Then he recited the verse:
…their light running before them and on their right hand…
The Eleventh verse:
اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنْ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَوْلِيَاؤُهُمْ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُمْ مِنْ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ.
Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide. (Sura Baqarah 2:257)
Meaning: Allah is the guardian (Wali) or the master of the affair (Waliyul Amr) of those who have believed. He brings them out of the darkness of disbelief, misguidance and ignorance and brings them in the light of faith, guidance and knowledge.
And those who have become deniers, their friend and helper is the false deity (Taghoot), that is, the devil Satan who is the leader of the deniers and deviators and the leaders of infidelity and misguidance drives them out of their light of faith, knowledge and guidance or their ability in these things and take them into the darkness of committing disbelief and transgression or takes them out of the light of reasons and proofs and drowns them in the darkness of doubts and uncertainties.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is quoted in the Tafsir of Ayyashi that, in this verse Light (Noor) means Aale Muhammad and darkness means their enemies.
Then it is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that what it means is that the one who puts faith in those Imams who have been appointed by Allah, even if the deeds of that person are bad, Allah takes him out of the darkness of the Day of Qiyamat and leads him towards the light of forgiveness and pardon and admits him to Paradise and those who have denied the true Imams and who believe in those leaders who have not been appointed by Allah will remain in the Hell forever even if they were righteous and steadfast in their deeds and (good) in character.
Kulaini has narrated with reliable chains of narrators from Yafoor that: I said to Imam Sadiq (a.s.): I find it very strange that some people who have no connection or relation with your Wilayat and have the Wilayat of other hypocrites and yet they are honest and faithful and also wonder about some who are your friends and believe in your Wilayat but are neither honest, faithful nor true. Hearing this, the Imam sat up straight and said in fiery tone: He has no religion who worships Allah with a love for an oppressor Imam (leader) who has not been appointed by Allah. But there is no chastisement for the one who does not worship (does not pray) but believes in the Imamate of the just Imams who has been appointed by Allah.
I asked rather astonishingly: No religion for them and no punishment? The Imams said: Yes, perhaps you have not heard this word of Allah: Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; It means: Takes him out of the darkness of sins and brings him towards Taubah (repentance) and pardon because they (such people) were believing in every just Imam’s Imamate who has been appointed by Allah. And it is said: and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness;
The narrator said that I asked: Does it not mean the denier-disbelievers? The Imam replied: Do the deniers ever possess any Noor or light from which they might be brought into darkness? Rather what is meant in this verse are those who do have the light of Islam. Yet, since they accepted the love and Wilayat of every oppressor Imam who is not appointed by Allah, they left the light of Islam and entered the darkness of deviation. Therefore, Allah made Hell-fire their punishment. So they are the people of Hell. They will live in it forever.
Shaykh Tusi has, in Majalis, quoted Amirul Momineen that the Holy Prophet (S) recited this till: in it they shall abide. People asked: Who are the people of Hell? The Prophet replied: Those who will, after my passing away, fight against Ali and only they will dwell in Hell along with the disbelievers because they rejected the truth after the proof was complete for them.
The twelfth verse:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بُرْهَانٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ نُورًا مُبِينًا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِهِ فَسَيُدْخِلُهُمْ فِي رَحْمَةٍ مِنْهُ وَفَضْلٍ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَيْهِ صِرَاطًا مُسْتَقِيمًا.
O people! surely there has come to you manifest proof from your Lord and We have sent to you clear light. Then as for those who believe in Allah and hold fast by Him, He will cause them to enter into His mercy and grace and guide them to Himself on a right path. (Sura Nisa 4:174-175)
Meaning: O People! The proof (of truth) has come for you from your Lord and We have sent down to you the Noor (Light which shows the truth). So now those who believed in Allah and joined with that light, Allah will soon admit them to His mercy which has been promised to them and will also shower additional bounties on them and guide them towards that Straight Path which has been promised to them, that is the right path which, in the world, is submission, faith and obedience, and, in the hereafter it leads to Paradise.
Some commentators have said that proof (Burhan) means miracles. Some have said it means the Holy Prophet (S) and according to yet some others, Light (Noor) is Quran.
In the book Tawilul Aayaat, Dailami has narrated that the Hazrat said: Burhan means the Holy Prophet (S) and the manifest light (Noorum Mubeen) means Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Ali bin Ibrahim has said that it means the light of the Imamate of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
Then as for those who believe in Allah and hold fast by Him
It means those people who accepted the Wilayat of Amirul Momineen and of the Infallible Imams.
In Majmaul Bayan, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said that proof (Burhan) means Muhammad (S) and Light (Noor) and the Straight Path (Sirate Mustaqeem) means Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.).
The Thirteenth verse:
أَوَمَنْ كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَنْ مَثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِنْهَا كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ.
Is he who was dead then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like him whose likeness is that of one in utter darkness whence he cannot come forth? Thus what they did was made fair seeming to the unbelievers. (Sura Anam 6:122)
Meaning: The man who was dead (denier), him we made alive so to lead him towards faith and we appointed (provided) a Light (Noor) for him by which he walks among people. Some have said that Light means wisdom and intelligence, some have opined that it means the Holy Quran and yet some others have said it means faith. Can he be like the one who is lying in the darkness of disbelief, misguidance and ignorance and is totally unable to come out of it? In this way their deeds have been made beautiful for the deniers.
Kulaini has, with reliable chains of narrators, quoted Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that it means the light of Imamate whom the Imam leads and: Like him whose likeness is that of one in utter darkness whence he cannot come forth? means the one who does not know the Imam.
Kulaini has narrated through another reliable chain that when Allah decided to create Adam, on a Friday in the first hour, He sent Jibraeel (a.s.) who took some earth from the seventh sky upto the first sky in his right hand fist and likewise took the earth of the earths from first to the seventh earth in his left hand fist. At that time Allah addressed to what was in the right hand of Jibraeel: I will create out of you the messengers, their legatees, the truthfuls, the believers and the fortunate ones. Then He told to what was in Jibraeel’s left hand: I will create the oppressors, the polytheists, the disbelievers and the stonehearted people out of you.
Then He mixed the two dispositions (Teenat) and with regard to the guardianship (Wilayat) they became different from each other. As He says: ‘He takes out the living from the dead and the dead from the living.’ The Hazrat said: The living who is being created from the dead is a believer who is being brought our from the nature (Teenat) of the disbeliever and the dead which He brings our from the living is the disbeliever who comes our of a believer’s essence (Teenat). Therefore, the living is the believer and the dead is the disbeliever. This is the meaning of the Divine words: Is he who was dead then We raised him to life…
Therefore, the basic material (Teenat) of the believer is mixed up with the basic material (Teenat) of the disbeliever and he gets life when Allah, by His Power separates his material from that of the disbeliever. Likewise, the Almighty Lord, at the time of birth, brings the believer out from the dark material of the disbeliever towards light (Noor). Therefore when it has entered in, it brings the disbeliever from light, which is the basic material of the believer towards the darkness of denial. As He has said: He sent the messenger so that he may warn (frighten) who is alive’, that is, the believer and so that the warning of chastisement may come true for the deniers or may complete arguments (Hujjat) to them.
Ayyashi has, in the explanation of this verse quoted Imam Baqir (a.s.) that here ‘Mayyit’ (dead) means he who does not know our affair of Imamate and meaning of life (Hayat) is that he came to know the truth about Imamate and Light (Noor) means Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib and darkness (Zulumat) is like that of those in the creation who know nothing and do not recognize their Imam and he pointed towards them by his hand.
Ibne Shahr Aashob has narrated almost like this and Ali bin Ibrahim has said that: Is he who was dead… means he is ignorant of the truth. Then We raised him to life… means We guide him towards truth and made for him a light by which he walks among the people… here Light (Noor) means Wilayat and like him whose likeness is that of one in utter darkness whence he cannot come forth… means they are devoid of truth in the matter of the Wilayat of the Imams.
The Fourteenth verse:
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِمَنْ دَخَلَ بَيْتِي مُؤْمِنًا وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَلَا تَزِدْ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا تَبَارًا.
My Lord! forgive me and my parents and him who enters my house believing, and the believing men and the believing women; and do not increase the unjust in aught but destruction! (Sura Nuh 71:28)
Meaning: O my Lord! Forgive me and my father and also the one who may enter my house with faith and the believer men and the believer women and do not increase for the oppressors anything but destruction.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that here house means guardianship (Wilayat), that is, whoever accepts Wilayat is like the one who enters the house of the Prophets.7
Shaykh Tabarsi has said that house means either the house of the Prophet or the ship (ark) and some have said that it is the house of Muhammad (S) and the ‘believers’ means either all the faithful or the Ummat of Muhammad (S).
Kulaini and Ibne Mahyar have narrated from Imam Kazim (a.s.) in the explanation of the verse:
And that the mosques are Allah’s, therefore call not upon any one with Allah: (Sura Jinn 72:18)
that Mosques means the legatees of Allah.
Ali bin Ibrahim has quoted Imam Ridha (a.s.) that Mosques means the Imams.
Likewise, Ibne Mahyar has quoted Imam Kazim (a.s.) that: I have heard from my honourable father that Mosque means the legatees and the Imams, one after one. So what is meant is that you should call and invite people to towards no one but them, otherwise you will be like the one who called (invoked) someone or something other than Allah.8
Ayyashi has, in the explanation of the verse: and set upright your faces at every Masjid… (7:29) given a narration the translation of which is: Bow your heads (faces) in every Mosque meaning at every place of prayer or at the time of Prayer. The Imam said: Here Masjid means the Imams. It is possible that it may mean that mosques are the houses of the Imams so it is to turn towards their Holy houses for gaining religious knowledge and for obeying and following them and, after their passing away, you should go to their Holy shrines. Or Mosque may mean the people of Mosque as only these people are the ones who build and inhabit the Mosques. It is also likely that these noble souls have been metaphorically called Mosques as Allah has commanded to become lowly and humble before them and to give them respect. There are many traditions wherein it is mentioned that it means turning towards (facing) the Qibla (Ka’ba) at the time of prayer or absolutely (always).
Ayyashi has quoted Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in the explanation of the Divine words:
Attend to your embellishments at every Masjid… (Sura Araf 8:31)
that the Imam said: Here Masjid means the Imams.
This tradition can be further explained in several ways:
First: That by Mosque the houses of these Holy personalities and graves may be meant as is mentioned in some traditions.
Second: In this verse the addressees may be these Holy dignitaries. It is mentioned in some traditions that this verse is specifically for the prayers of Friday and Eids and that when they are present they must be given preference.
Third: Embellishments might means guardianship (Wilayat) as is mentioned in some traditions. But in the traditions what is mentioned is to wear good quality clothes at the time of offering the prayer. In some traditions it is mentioned that it means applying perfume and combing the hair at the time of every prayer.9
- 1. The translator says: The recitation of Ka Annahu has not been quoted from the rare and that being of the masculine gender of the pronoun is by way of predicate or by way of explaining the glass (Zujajah) or it is also likely that Zujajah (second one) might not have been there in the recitation of Ahlul Bayt.
- 2. The Holy Quran is equated to the fire because proper use of fire is beneficial and its improper use results in loss and destruction. Likewise, is the case with Quran. If its meanings, as intended in the revelations are understood through the appropriate persons then it is the means of welfare and salvation in the Hereafter and if it is obtained from unqualified people it becomes the cause of eternal destruction and the Imam is all in all, light because he is the cause of success both in this worldly life and in the Hereafter (translator).
- 3. The writer says: The gist of these verse is that Allah has placed the light of guidance, Prophethood, Imamate and Khilafat in these houses and it (the light or Noor) is, right from the time of Adam (a.s.) to Ibrahim (a.s.) reaching from one to the other and from there it ended (finally reached) the Holy forefathers of Muhammad (S) and therefrom it reached the Holy Prophet (S) and from there it was transferred to his honourable Awsiya (Legatees) and Allah decided that this family should remain high ranking and famous still eternity and should remain the residence of Imamate and Khilafat and that the world should continue to shine with their light of knowledge and that their residence and houses should continue to be honoured during their lives and that people should come to them for getting divine knowledge and divine codes of life and that after their passing away their shrines should be honoured and kept clean of impurities and that their houses should be respected and their obedience should be considered compulsory and people should not deviate from following them.
- 4. The writer says: On the basis of this interpretation, sending them down on earth is from the viewpoint of sending their Holy souls towards their Holy bodies. It is like ordering them, after their attaining the high position of acquiring the highest rank in spiritualism and radiance, to engage in the work of conveying the message and inviting creation. So that association with the creation is like coming down from a high place as Allah says: “We sent down…” or from the angle that as is mentioned in some traditions, that the Almighty Lord made their Holy light live in the loins (sulb) of Adam or it indicates that He sent down their love and Wilayat on the Holy Prophet (S). It is also possible that the ‘Noor’ may mean the Quran from the viewpoint that as has been proved earlier, only these people are ‘the talking Quran’ and ‘the Real Quran’ and only they are its bearers and explainers and that a large part of the Holy Quran has been revealed in praise of these dignitaries. Hence Noor is compared with them and this reason is the most clear of all reasons and, about this reason, (about the meaning of this verse) there are many traditions that shall be mentioned afterwards.
- 5. The writer says: All the causes that have been narrated, while explaining the reasons of descent of Noor can be mentioned here also and they are very relevant to the cause of the revelation of this verse. The third and the fifth causes are also relevant from the viewpoint that in the beginning when Allah sent the Messengership, the Wilayat of Amirul Momineen was also sent along with it.
- 6. The writer says: Rahmat (mercy) means the Mercy in the Hereafter or the worldly mercy. Since the Imam is the greatest of all the bounties of Allah on His servants, in these traditions, he is called both the mercies. It is also possible that the ‘talking Imam’ and the ‘silent Imam’ both maybe meant in every age as both were then living and that the description of both may also be as an example and since Imam Hasan (a.s.) was like the greatest of worldly mercy (Rahmat) from the viewpoint that he made a treaty with Muawiyah and saved the life of the Shias and Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) was the greatest example of the other worldly bounties whose companions attained the highest degree of martyrdom. That is why both these dignitaries have been mentioned exclusively and the word ‘Tamshoon’ in this verse, might have been used because of the walking (Masha) on the spiritual path which results in mental perfection and the attainment of heavenly ranks and it is also possible that ‘Mashi’ is Qiyamat as have been mentioned in the explanation of Yasaa Nooruhum.
- 7. The writer says: Bait (house) means house in the spiritual sense as mentioned earlier which is the family having honour, respect, Islam and Faith. So one who accepts their Wilayat entered that family and joined them. Therefore the Shias of Ali (a.s.) who believe in his Wilayat have entered this house and are included in the prayer of Nuh.
- 8. The writer says: Commentators have differed in explaining Masajid (mosques) in this Holy verse. Some say they are the places built for worship and this is mentioned in some traditions also. In some traditions Imam Ali, Imam Sadiq, and Imam Taqi (a.s.) have been quoted that they said that Masjid means the seven parts of the human body which must touch ground while prostrating before Allah and they are the forehead, palms of both hands, both knees and both the toes of both the feet. But there are some aspects of the explanations made in these traditions.
First: The Holy houses of these impeccable Imams are their life (Hayat) and after their passing away their Holy graves may be meant. So a noun possessed should be fixed in these traditions because it is possible that it may mean all the Holy places, and that the specific mention of one person may be due to his being the most gracious of them all.
Second: The houses may be in the spiritual sense as has been mentioned earlier.
Third: This addition may be destined because only these gentlemen are the real people of mosques.
- 9. The writer says: In my opinion, these traditions can be taken as correlated if possibly, ‘Zeenat’ might mean both physical and spiritual adoration, and the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) is the greatest and the noblest of all spiritual adorations. In every tradition, the narrator has mentioned accordingly to his knowledge and condition.