Friday Sermon: Divine attribute Al Nur (The Light)

December 11th, 2009

Huzur continued with the subject of the Divine attribute Al Nur (The Light) in his Friday Sermon today.

Huzur said today he would elaborate on the Quranic verses which he had referred to last week but did not explain. Huzur said that nur is the light that spreads and is of two kinds; worldly and of the Hereafter. The worldly light is again of two kinds: one that is perceived through spiritual insight and is called Makool (pertaining to reason) and is attained through wisdom and is the light of wisdom and light of the Qur’an. The other kind of light is which the physical sight sees is called Mahsoos (pertaining to the senses) and is the light found in the sun, the moon and the stars.

An example of the light seen through the physical eye is in Surah Yunus verse 6: ‘He it is Who made the sun radiantand the moon lambent…’ (10:6). The [Arabic} word used in this verse for the light of the sun is zia and for the moon it is nur, some may wonder about the difference. The lexicon considers zia more brilliant than nur. Zia is that light which is alight by itself but nur is generally that brightness which takes light from another source. However, God has declared; ‘Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth…’ (24:36). The explanation of the fact that God has stated that He is Nur is that Nur is also used in the connotation of zia. God has stated about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) ‘sirajum muneera’ [siraj translates as sun/lamp and muneera translates as radiant]. That is, he is a radiant sun from which others shall take light while his light too is from God. Huzur explained that the ray of zia is also called nur.

The discharge of the light of God can be seen in the physical and the spiritual world both. True cognisance of the universe can be achieved only it is perceived with God-given nur. Huzur said a source that enables a thing to be seen is also called nur. God has subjected the sun, the moon and everything in the universe to serve mankind. An atheist cannot see God in the workings of nature although he/she is benefitting from it all by virtue of the Divine grace of Rahmaniyyat (God’s quality of being Gracious). On the other hand a believer, who has been given the nur of the Qur’an benefits both physically and spiritually. In places God has mentioned both the kinds of lights so that mankind’s attention is drawn to spirituality as well as matters of the world. Regarding the light of the Hereafter, the Qur’an states, ‘…Their light will run before them and on their right hands. They will say, ‘Our Lord, perfect our light for us…’(66:9).

Next Huzur explained the verses that he cited last week.

‘O People of the Book! There has come to you Our Messenger who unfolds to you much of what you had kept hidden of the Book and passes over much. There has come to you indeed from Allah a Light and a clear Book.

Thereby does Allah guide those who seek His pleasure on the paths of peace, and leads them out of every kind of darkness into light by His will, and guides them to the right path. (5:16-17). Huzur said people of the earlier Books had either altered them or had concealed part of them. Having being informed by God, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) presented those teachings once again as well as many new teachings. Thus opening up extensive ways to reach God; ways which are in accordance to human nature. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was neither of the east nor of the west, he gave teachings that were based on moderation.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that Prophets of God are given revelation in accordance to their nature. Moses (on whom be peace) had a majestic Shariah in the form of Torah revealed to him as his nature was majestic and severe, whereas Jesus (on whom be peace) had a gentle, compassionate nature and the teaching of Gospels is based on mildness. The nature of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was moderate, neither too mild nor too severe, it was blessedly sagacious and thus was the teaching revealed to him in the form of the Holy Qur’an. As it states: And the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but whoso forgives and his act brings about reformation, his reward is with Allah...’ (42:41). In Islam punishment is strongly associated with reformation. If reformation is attainable by forgiveness then that is what should be sought. However, if punishment is the only way to attain this, then it is necessary to punish in proportion to the crime committed.

Thus a Prophet who unfolded old and new teachings came with a clear Book. It was the nur of the person of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), who was called ‘sirajum muneera’, and through whom the light of God was to further illuminate. In accordance with God’s promise and the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) the biggest portion of the nur of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was to be given to the person who would be the Messiah and the Mahdi and who would be granted the title of ‘prophet from the ummah’. This was so because whoever was to receive the seal of prophethood of the Holy Prophet, ‘sirajum muneera’ (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was to be filled with God’s light.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was unlettered but came with the perfect light of the heavens which transformed savages into people of high morals. While Europe speaks of enlightenment today, people who attained this nur established the authority of their knowledge a thousand years ago. Theirs was not simply spiritual knowledge, rather it went hand in hand with worldly progress and advancement. The light of the Muslim world illuminated the rest of the world. However, Muslims need to reflect over why today that nur is not emitting from them and illumining the world. The reason is clear: they reject the one who was to be the true reflection of the nur of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in this age. It is also a moment for Ahmadis to ponder that this nur cannot be attained simply by professing verbally. Rather, it is essential to reflect on the teachings and the Quranic elucidations of the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Huzur said do not look for light by immersing in this world, look for the light by immersing in the Holy Qur’an. Fortunate are those who fulfil their promise of the bai’at.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) thus wrote about the attainment of his status: ‘I always wonder how high was the status of this Arab Prophet, whose name was Muhammad, thousands of blessings and peace be upon him. One cannot reach the limit of his high status and it is not given to man to estimate correctly his spiritual effectiveness. It is a pity that his rank has not been recognized as it should have been. He was the champion who restored to the world the Unity of God which had disappeared from the world; he loved God in the extreme and his soul melted out of sympathy for mankind. Therefore God, Who knew the secret of his heart, exalted him above all the Prophets and all the first ones and the last ones and bestowed upon him in his life-time all that he desired. He is the fountain-head of every grace and a person who claims any superiority without acknowledging his grace, is not a man but is the spawn of Satan. He has been bestowed the key to every exaltation and he has been given the treasury of every understanding. He who does not receive through him is deprived forever. I am nothing and possess nothing. I would be most ungrateful if I were not to confess that I have learnt of the true Unity of God through this Prophet. The recognition of the Living God we have achieved through this Perfect Prophet and through his light. The honour of converse with God, through which we behold His countenance has been bestowed upon me through this great Prophet. The ray of this sun of guidance falls like sunshine upon me and I continue illumined only so long as I am adjusted towards it’ (Haqiqatul Wahi - Essence of Islam, Vol I, pp. 197-198)

Huzur said this extract should be sufficient to satisfy any pious natured person, among the objectors, of the lofty regard the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and that he viewed no status for himself in separation from the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).

The aforementioned verse 17 of Surah Al Maidah states that the two lights of the person of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the Holy Qur’an are the only two aspects which God has decreed to be the sources to attain His pleasure and take one to the ways of security. The ways of security are those which lead to God safely, having being protected from Satan, and through them one attain the beneficence of nur. The ways of security are granted to those who, having been guided by God, seek His pleasure and set forth on ‘the right path’ (seerat e mustaqeem).

The most excellent model of seeking God’s pleasure after the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was displayed by his Companions. This was by virtue of his power of holiness and his religious and moral training. Not only did it take the Companions from darkness to light but also bestowed the honour of [the salutation of] raziAllaho unhum (may God be pleased with them). Having attained the nur, they became excellent models and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) likened them to guiding stars. Most fortunate were they to have been granted first hand beneficence. In accordance with God’s promise in the latter-days, He sent the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and made him a reflection of his mater’s nur. In turn, those who received first-hand beneficence of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also filled their hearts with nur and were established on seerat e mustaqeem.

Huzur said God has taught us the prayer of seerat e mustaqeem. Each one of us should endeavour to seek beneficence from it’s nur in accordance tour personal capacities. Huzur said some are given more and some less, but each person is given nur. It is not stated that everyone has to attain the highest station, but endeavour is essential. God alone guides to seerat e mutaqeem. In order to walk on seerat e mustaqeem nur is needed and nur can be attained from the Prophet of God (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the Holy Qur’an.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) elucidates seerat e mustaqeem:

‘It should be understood that seerat e mustaqeem which is based on truth and wisdom has three aspects, theoretical, practical and relating to self. Each of these is again three faceted. For instance, the theoretical comprises appreciation of that which is due to Allah, that which is due to His creatures, and that which is due to oneself. The practical demands the discharge of each three sets of obligations. That which is due to Allah in the theoretical sphere is to regard Him as the One, the Source of all beneficence, comprehending all excellences, the origin and returning point of everything, free from every imperfection and short-coming, combining in Himself all perfect qualities and the Sole Being to Whom worship is due. This is the theory of seerat e mustaqeem concerning that which is due to Allah. Its practical aspect comprises obeying Him with perfect sincerity, associating no one in the obedience due to Him, and supplicating Him alone looking up only to Him for the promotion of one’s welfare and effacing oneself in His love. This is the practical seerat e mustaqeem concerning that which due to Allah, and this is the very truth. The theoretical seerat e mustaqeem, concerning that which is due to one’s fellow beings, consists in accepting them as one’s kin as servants of God and in that capacity amounting to nothing independently of Him. For, true appraisal of God’s creatures is that their existence is only derived from Him and is non-existent in itself, all being mortal. This is the theoretical definition of Tauheed (Unity), for it emphasises the Eminence of One Being Who suffers from no shortcoming and is Perfect is His Being.

The practical seerat e mustaqeem, concerning that which is due to one’s fellow beings, consists in practising genuine virtue, that is, doing which is most beneficial and proper for them. This is practical Tauheed (Unity), the object of the creature being that all his conduct should be a reflection fo Divine attributes.