- 28 Dec 2020
Light in Islam
Open the Curtains and Let Light of Allah (AWJ) in Your Heart. The Light of Allah (AWJ), when we receive it, has a profound effect on our hearts and on our life. What are the means with which we can seek it and what blocks it?
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things. (Quran 24:35)
In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty mentions nur or light many times. He also mentions its opposite, dhulma or darkness and layl or night and other similar words.
Opening the Curtains/ Veils
Our heart longs for Divine Light. Our heart is the receiver. The Light is from Allah Almighty. If you want the Light to come to your heart, you have to open the curtains.
Allah Almighty is always radiating Light. However, if the curtains are drawn, we simply cannot receive His Light. Just as solar panels which are covered up cannot get energy from the sun no matter how bright it is. Sometimes our curtains are half open or half closed, depending on what we are engaged in. The reception of the Light and its reflection in us depends on us.
Allah Almighty mentions qalb/qulub or heart 132 times in different wordings. As well as the word breast or sadr/sudur 44 times, which is another reference to the heart. So, the heart has been mentioned 176 times reflecting the extent of its importance. Again, in the sunnah we see plenty of narrations talking about the heart.
Allah Almighty mentioned in the Qur’an that guidance descends on the heart. In addition, diseases like envy and hatred also take root in the heart. Love is experienced in the heart and taqwa (consciousness of Allah Almighty and obedience to Him) are in the heart, as is mentioned in the hadith, where the Prophet (peace be on him) pointed to his chest three times, (as narrated by Bukhari), to indicate that the chest was place where taqwa resides.
Uncovering the Heart
The thickest curtains which block the Light are sins. Especially over the years, accumulated sins without repentance solidify the heart, until it is hard like a rock. Allah Almighty says:
Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. (Quran 2:74)
You might have met people who have no mercy in their hearts, and especially tyrants and oppressors are like this.
The easy way to polish the heart is to practice istighfar daily. The Prophet (peace be on him) would say astighfirullah 100 times in the morning. You can also say astaghfirullahal azeem. Or the sayid al istighfar.
O Allah! You are my Rab. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favours that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon
Regret your sins without being excessive and going beyond the limits. If we seek istighfar, Allah Almighty will forgive us.
You need to follow the steps properly, with sincerity and with focus and attention. Slowly, slowly when you repeat this every day you will start to see the Light reflect from your heart.
Benefits of Receiving Light
When you start to receive Light in your hearts you will notice the change in yourself. Your life will be different. Your approach, communication, relationships, business, studies, understanding, memory and energy will all improve. I can assure you. Try it and feel the difference.
Temptations are presented to the heart continuously during our lives. Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamani, (may Allah be pleased with him), said the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
Temptations are presented to the heart, one by one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but any heart that rejects them will be left with a mark of purity, so that hearts are of two types: a dark heart that has turned away and become like an overturned vessel, and a pure heart that will never be harmed by temptation for as long as the earth and the heavens exist. The dark heart only recognises good and denounces evil when this suits its desires and whims (Muslim).
There is no break in their being introduced to the heart one after the other, however whoever rejects these tribulations/temptations of the dunya, their whims and desires, the calls of shaytan, will find that their heart becomes stronger. Anyone who succumbs to temptations will find their hearts stained with sin.
If you don’t polish the heart, another stain is deposited until the heart is fully dark. Sins make the heart shut down just like an overturned vessel. As it is overturned, it cannot hold any water even when it is raining. We need to turn the vessel the right way up.
Seek Allah’s Help
Reject the calls of shaytan. Resist them. Escape to Allah Almighty. Seek His support and help. This will polish our heart. And though we might slip from time to time, we always have the way back to Him through repentance.
When you make istighfar say, ‘O Allah I don’t want to return to this sin again. Protect me from the whispers of shaytan. Help me as I can’t do it without you.’
Show Allah Almighty your weakness. Not to anyone else. When you admit to Allah Almighty that you are weak, that your temptations and whims are strong, this makes your heart soft. Otherwise your heart will be heavy like the rock.
The Prophet (peace be on him) was keen on fixing hearts. In the very famous hadith which has been narrated in Bukhari, he said:
There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily this piece is the heart. (Bukhari)
Once the heart is corrupted it becomes unable to discern between right and wrong:
Thus there will be two kinds of hearts: one is pure like a white gemstone and it will not be harmed by any tribulation as long as the heavens and earth endure, and the other is black and dusty like a worn-out vessel, neither recognising good nor rejecting evil, but rather immersed in its desires. (Muslim)
Unlike the darkened heart, the image of the pure heart shinning like marble is beautiful. Marble is strong, reflective and smooth. If any dirt falls on it is easy to wipe away. If dust falls on it, you need only to blow it and it disappears. Unlike a frying pan, which even when you scrub it remains greasy.
A strong, healthy heart is not affected by fitan (temptations) because there is a shield protecting it. The shield is istighfar, salah, recitation of Qur’an, dhikr, and supplication. Even if, from time to time, one slips a bit, one can come back and polish the heart again.
This heart which keeps rejecting fitan and dunya is not residing in his heart.
In ibn Ata illah al Askandari’s Kitab al Hikam (Book of Wisdoms), he mentioned that the heart will not be illuminated if it is full of dunya. The Light of Allah Almighty will not shine in that heart, as it has no space. Like any hard disc, unless you delete the files, you will not have space in it. You will not allow Light in if you are chained by your whims and desires.
Divine Light by Shabina
How Do We Receive this Light?
We have stations where we receive Light. Just as a tube journey stops at stations along the journey and it is at these points where we admit Light into our hearts. We have different means to receive this Light.
The Stations of Light:
This is the best method to receive it. There is no comparable means to receive Light than salah. No other ibadah is equivalent to salah – it is the top form of worship, when we perform it properly. When we have focus in our salah, we feel serenity. The more focus the more serenity.
Recitation of the Qur’an.
Reciting the Qur’an has to be a daily wird (act of worship performed with consistency). Even if it is one page, don’t underestimate its power. If you want to benefit you need to focus. Read that page with the fullness of your heart, rather than as a tick box exercise. If you can understand one ayah properly from that page it will even better.
Dhikr of Allah (SWT)
e.g. la ilaha illallah, subhanallah, alhamdulilah, astaghfirullah, allahu akbar. Continuous dhikr from the sunnah softens the heart.
Especially the supplication of Light du’a an’nur brings nur into our hearts. The Prophet (peace be on him) used to supplicate:
O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light, and make me light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light.
O Allah, make for me a light in my grave… and a light in my bones. Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in light. Grant me light upon light. (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad).
Be in the company of good people and in circles of Light.
Be in the right company as they are the carriers of the Light, so you will benefit from their company. And seek the Stations of Light by attending gatherings as you will find it there.
Sinning without repentance locks the heart. The one who is not purifying himself is in delusion. He is living in ghafla. In this state, he will not experience either the permanent or the occasional Stations of Light.
The Permanent Stations of Light:
- Salah: the best station
- Qur’an: recitation 1 page at least and understand one Ayah to act upon it
- Istighfar: 100 times daily istighfar
- Dhikr: Tasbeeh, tahleel, takbeer, salawat
- Du’a: the supplication for nur
- Circles of knowledge
- Good companions
The Occasional Stations of Light:
- Sacred months
- Sacred days e.g Day of Arafah, Ashura
"O you who have believed, fear Allah and believe in His Messenger; He will give you a double portion of His mercy and make for you a light by which you will walk and forgive you; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Quran 57:28)"
Light in the Hadith:
The importance of Allah's light is mentioned many time in the Hadith. Below are just a few examples:
• Ibn Abbas (R.A.) reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ usually said this invocation while going to the mosque during the last third of the night: “O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light, and make me light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light. O Allah, make for me a light in my grave… and a light in my bones. Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in light. Grant me light upon light.” [Sahih Bukhari]
• Abi Said al Khudri (R.A.) reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Fear the perception (firassah) of the believer for he sees with the light of Allah the Almighty the Majestic.” [Jami’ at Tirmidhi]
• The Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, created His creation in darkness, then He cast His noor (light) upon them, so whoever is touched by that noor he is guided, and whoever it missed, he goes astray. It is for this reason that I say that the pens have dried with Allah’s knowledge.” [Jami’ at Tirmidhi n°2642]
• Abu Sa’eed reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ, said, “The hearts are four kinds: a polished heart as shiny as a radiant lamp, a sealed heart with a knot tied around it, a heart that is turned upside down, and a heart that is wrapped. As for the polished heart, it is the heart of the believer and its lamp is the light of faith. The sealed heart is the heart of the unbeliever. The heart that is turned upside down is the heart of a pure hypocrite, for he had knowledge but he denied it. As for the heart that is wrapped, it is the heart that contains both faith and hypocrisy. The parable of faith in this heart is the parable of the herb that is sustained by pure water, and the parable of the hypocrisy in it is the parable of an ulcer that thrives upon puss and blood; whichever of the two is greater will dominate.” [Musnad Ahmad n°10745]
• Ibn Mas’ud narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, explained the following words of Allah, the Exalted: “The hearts of those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens to Islam.” (Qur’an 6.125) This means, the Messenger explained, that, “When the light (of truth) enters the heart it expands and opens up.” The Companions asked: “Is there any evidence of this (in the life of a Muslim)?” He replied: “Being ever mindful of the eternal life of the Hereafter, and remaining at guard in this life of delusion, and preparing oneself for death before it comes.” [reported by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak and Al-Bayhaqiy in al asma’ was sifat]
• Anas said that, he accompanied the Prophet ﷺ into the mosque where they saw a group of people with their hands raised, calling upon Allah. “Do you see in their hands what I see?” the Prophet asked. “What is in their hands?” Anas replied. “There is light in their hands,” replied the Prophet. “Ask Allah the Exalted to show it to me,” said Anas. At the Prophet’s request, Allah showed it to him.” [Bukhari in Tarikh, Bayhaqi and Abu Nu’aym]
• Two of the companions of the Prophet ﷺ departed from him on a dark night and were led by two lights like lamps (going in front of them from Allah as a miracle) lighting the way in front of them, and when they parted, each of them was accompanied by one of these lights till he reached their (respective) houses.
According to Anas it was Asid ibn Hadir et ‘Abad ibn Bishr [Bukhari n°454]
• The Prophet ﷺ said: “Among Allah’s servants are people who are neither Prophets nor martyrs, but whom the Prophets and martyrs will deem fortunate because of their high status with Allah.” They asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Inform us of who they are.” He ﷺ said: “They are people who loved each other for the Light of Allah, without being related to one another or being tied to one another by lineage. Their faces are light and they will be upon chairs of light. They will feel no fear when the people will be feeling fear and they will feel no grief when the people will be grieving.” Then He ﷺ read the verse: “Behold, on the friends of Allah there shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” [An-Nasa’i in Al-Kubra , Abu Ya’la in his musnad , Ibn Hibban in his sahih]
• “70,000 veils of Light and darkness separate Allah (SWT) (from his creation). Nobody reaches the reality of one of those veils without being annihilated Abu Ya’la dans son Musnad, at Tabarani dans al Kabir et Ibn Abi ‘Asim.” [reported by Abu Ya’la in his musnad , At-Tabarni in Al-Kabir and Ibn Abi ‘Asim]
• Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “When Allah created Adam He wiped his back and every person that He created among his offspring until the Day of Resurrection fell out of his back. He placed a ray of light between the eyes of every person.” [Jami’ at Tirmidhi n°3356]
• ‘Ikrimah narrated that ibn ‘Abbas said : “Muhammad saw his lord.” I said : “Did Allah not say : “No vision can grasp Him, but he grasps all vision.”” He said: “Woe unto you! That is when He manifests His Light. But Muhammad saw his Lord two times” [Jami’ at Tirmidhi n°3590]
• Abu dharr narrated : “I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ : Did you see thy Lord? He said: “He is a Light. How could I see Him?” [sahih Muslim n°341]
• Abu Moosa Al-Ash’ari said: “The Prophet ﷺ stood among us and told us five things. He said: “Verily, Allaah, the Exalted and Mighty, does not sleep and it does not befit Him to sleep. He lowers the scale and lifts it. The deeds of the night are taken up to Him before the deeds of the day, and the deeds of the day [are taken up to Him] before the deeds of the night. His veil is the light – in the narration of Abu Bakr (RA) (instead of the word” light”) it is fire. If he reveals it, the splendor of His Countenance would burn His creation as far as His sight reaches.” [Sahih Muslim]
• Abu Dharr Ghifari addressed the Holy Prophet ﷺ, “O Apostle of God! Give me some advice.” The Holy Prophet ﷺ replied, “I exhort you to the fearing of the Lord, it is the essential.” Abu Dharr relates that he, then, said, “Give me some more advice.” The Prophet ﷺ replied, “I exhort you to make Tilawat and Zikr, you will obtain light in the earth and the heavens. Abu Dharr (radiAllâhu ‘anhu) relates that he, further, said, “Give me some more advice.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Do not laugh much for it kills the heart and deprives the Light from it.” [at Tabarani, Abu Nu’aym and al Bayhaqiy]
• Abu darda narrated: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ came out to us when we were speaking of poverty and how we feared it. He said: “Is it poverty that you fear? By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, (the delights and luxuries of) this world will come to you in plenty, and nothing will cause the heart of anyone of you to deviate except that. By Allah, I am leaving you upon the white path, the night and day of which are the same.” Abu Darda said: “He spoke the truth, by Allah. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ did indeed leave us upon the light path the days and nights of which were the same.” [Sunan ibn Majah]
• Abu Musa, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him, said: “The example of Muslims, Jews and Christians is like the example of a man who employed laborers to work for him from morning till night for specific wages. They worked till midday and then said: “We do not need your money which you have fixed for us and let whatever we have done be annulled.” The man said to them: “Do not quit the work, but complete the rest of it and take your full wages.” But they refused and went away. The man employed another batch after them and said to them: “Complete the rest of the day and yours will be the wages I had fixed for the first batch.” So, they worked till the time of `Asr Salah. Then they said: “Let what we have done be annulled and keep the wages you have promised us for yourself.” The man said to them: “Complete the rest of the work, as only a little of the day remains,” but they refused. Thereafter he employed another batch to work for the rest of the day and they worked for the rest of the day till the sunset, and they received the wages of the two former batches. So, that was the example of those people (Muslims) and the example of this light which they have accepted willingly” [Sahih Bukhari]
• Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saying: “A group of my ummah seventy thousand strong will enter Paradise, with their faces shining like the moon.” [Sahih Bukhari]
• It is related that Jabir ibn `Abd Allah said to the Prophet ﷺ: “O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, tell me of the first thing Allah created before all things.” He said: “O Jabir, the first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet from His light, and that light remained (lit. “turned”) in the midst of His Power for as long as He wished, and there was not, at that time, a Tablet or a Pen or a Paradise or a Fire or an angel or a heaven or an earth. And when Allah wished to create creation, he divided that Light into four parts and from the first made the Pen, from the second the Tablet, from the third the Throne, [and from the fourth everything else].” [related by Imâm as-Souyoûtiy in al-Khasâ’is al-Kubrâ]
• The Prophet ﷺ said “My Companions are like stars. Whichever of them you use as a guide, you will be rightly guided.” [al Ibana al-Kubrâ/Ibn Batta]
• Kuraib reported that Ibn `Abbas spent a night in the house of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and he said: “the Messenger of Allah ﷺ stood near the water-skin and poured water out of it and performed ablution in which he neither used excess of water nor too little of it, and the rest of the hadith is the same, and in this mention is also made (of the fact) that on that night the Messenger of Allah ﷺ made supplication before Allah in nineteen words. Kuraib reported: “I remember twelve words out of these, but have forgotten the rest. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Place light in my heart, light in my tongue, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light above me, light below me, light on my right, light on my left, light in front of me, light behind me, place light in my soul, and make light abundant for me.” [Sahih Muslim]
Final Thought and Prayer
May Allah AWJ help us all to follow the footsteps of our Holy Prophet PBUH and may Divine light enter our hearts to radiate the love and will of Allah AWJ ameen.