An-Nur (The Light) One of Allaah’s Names Prepared by Dr. Saleh As-Saleh

Explaining the Meaning of
An-Nur (The Light)
One of Allaah’s Names
Prepared by
Dr. Saleh As-Saleh
2
بسم االله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allaah, Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem, I begin to
write:

إنَّ الحمد نحمده ونستعين بهِ ونستغفِره ونعوذُ بااللهِ من شرورِ أنفُسِنا وسيئاتِ أعمالِنا من يهدِهِ االلهُ فلا
ضل له، ومن يضلِلْ فلا هادي له. وأشهد أن إله إلاّ االلهُ وحده شريك له. وأشهد أنَّ محمداً عبده
ورسولُه ،صلَّى االلهُ علَيهِ وعلى آلهِ وصحبه وسلَّم.
All Praise is due to Allaah, we praise Him, and seek His help and
forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah, Most High, from the evils of
our own selves and from our wicked deeds. Whomever Allaah
guides cannot be misguided, and whomever He leads astray cannot
be guided. I testify that there is no true God worthy of being
worshipped except Allaah, Alone, without partner or associate. I
further testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger ().
May Allaah’s salaah and salaam also be granted to the Prophet’s
pure family and to all of his noble companions.
يا أَيها الَّذِين آمنوا اتقُوا اللَّه حق تقَاتِهِ ولا تموتن إِلاَّ وأَنتم مسلِمونَ [آل عمران:١٠٢ .[
O you who believe! Fear Allaah [by doing all that He ordered and
abstaining from all that He forbade] as He should be feared [obey
Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always] and die not
except in a state of Islaam. [TMQ1
, aal-’Imraan (3 102)].

1
TMQ: Translation of the meaning of the Qur’aan.
3
يا أَيها الناس اتقُوا ربكُم الَّذِي خلَقَكُم مِن نفْسٍ واحِدةٍ وخلَق مِنها زوجها وبثَّ مِنهما رِجالاً كَثِيراً
ونِساءً واتقُوا اللَّه الَّذِي تساءَلُونَ بِهِ والأَرحام إِنَّ اللَّه كَانَ علَيكُم رقِيباً [النساء: ].
O mankind! Be dutiful to your Rabb [Allaah], Who created you
from a single person [Adam] and from him [Adam] He created
his wife [Eve], and from them both He created many men and
women. And fear Allaah through Whom you demand your
mutual [rights] and [do not cut the relations of] the wombs
[kinship]. Surely, Allaah is ever an All-Watcher over you. [TMQ,
an-Nisaa’ (4:1)].
يا أَيها الَّذِين آمنوا اتقُوا اللَّه وقُولُوا قَولاً سدِيداً * يصلِح لَكُم أَعمالَكُم ويغفِر لَكُم ذُنوبكُم ومن يطِعِ
اللَّه ورسولَه فَقَد فَاز فَوزاً عظِيماً [الأحزاب: ٧٠-٧١.[

O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him,
and speak [always] the truth. He will direct you to do righteous
good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever
obeys Allaah and His Messenger has indeed achieved a great
success. [TMQ ,al-Ahzaab (33:70-71)].
أما بعد/
فإنَّ أصدق الحديثِ كتاب االلهِ تعالى، وخير الهدي هدي محمدٍ صلى االله عليه وعلى آله
وصحبِهِ وسلَّم ،وشر الأمورِ محدثاتها، وكُلَّ محدثَةٍ بِدعة وكُلَّ بدعةٍ ضلالةٌ، وكُلَّ ضلالَةٍ
النار.
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It proceeds that the most truthful speech is that of Allaah’s Book
[the Qur’aan] and that the best of guidance is that of Muhammad
(). The worst of evils are the muhdathaat (newly-invented matters
[in the deen]), and every innovated matter (in the deen) is a bid’ah;
every bid’ah is a dalaalah (misguidance), and every dalaalah is in
the Fire of Hell.”
Know, may Allaah’s Mercy be upon me and you, that Knowing of
Allaah by His Names and Attributes increases the faith in Him and
the adherence to His commandments because, when established,
this knowledge would enjoin the proper estimate of Allaah with the
the believer. It is grave injustice on the part of some people who
give high estimate to created beings while falling short in giving
Allaah all the proper and most high estimate He deserves.
Also when we know that creation will come to an end, then it is
improper and wrong to offer worship to something that will cease
to exist. The worship of creation in one form or another is due to
ignorance about the Qualities of Allaah, the Ever-Existing:
[ ما لكم ترجون وقارا ] (نوح: ١٣ (
What is the matter with you, that you fear not Allaah (His
punishment), and you hope not for reward from Allaah or you
believe not in His Oneness. [TMQ; Nooh (71):13].
The believer, who properly estimates the Greatness of Allaah, will
be guided to obey, fear, hope, and seek Him Alone. This estimation
of Allaah fills the heart of the true believer such that he would not
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introduce anyone before Allaah () and His Messenger ().
Therefore, the knowledge of Allaah entails that the Muslim resort
only to Him, invoking Him by His Names and Attributes. That is
why Allaah () says:
[والله الأسماء الحسنى فادعوه هبا ] الآية (الأعراف:١٨٠ (
“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names Belong To Allaah, so call
on Him by them.” [TMQ; al-A’raaf (7): 180].
One of the Great Names of Allaah is ورالن) An-Nur: The Light). It is
one of the names of Allaah that are mentioned in conjunctive
constructs (related names) and they are part of al-Asmaa’ AlHusnaa. For example, Allaah’s Name ar-Rabb ( “The Lord”)
always comes related to other words in the ayaat (verses) of the
Qur’aan. We read in soorat al-Faatihah:
Rabbul ‘Aalameen { العالمين رب{
The Rabb of al-’Aalameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists):
Ar-Rabb: -بالـر Allaah is the Rabb: He gives all things the power
to grow, to move, and to change; and to Whom belongs the
Creation and Commandment. The Master Who has no equal in His
Soveignty, Predominance, and Highness. The One Who Provides,
Sustains, Owns, Cherishes, Organizes all that existing. ArRuboobiyyah is an infinitive noun of Ar-Rabb.
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An-Nur
ورالن An-Nur (The Light)-Soorat An-Nur (Qur’aan 24:35):
1-An-Nur is one of Allaah’s Names as well one of His Attribute,
derived from His Nur (Light) which is an Attribute established with
His Thaat (Essence). Allaah, , said:
[ االله نور السمواتِ والأرض ]
Allaah is the Light (Nur) of the heavens and the earth2
…[TMQ;
An-Nur (24):35]
The Prophet  used to invoke Allaah  upon starting the night
prayers (Tahajjud):

2
In this Aayah’s construct, Allaah’s Nur is related (mudaaf) to As-Samaawati
wal Ard (the heavens and the earth). Some had interpreted this aayah such that
Allaah , is the One Who illuminates (Munawwir) the heavens and the earth
and guides their inhabitants. This is from His Actions, otherwise it does not
preclude the fact that the Nur, which is one of His Attributes, is established
with Him. It is common for the Salaf تعـالى االله رحمهـم ,may Allaah’s Mercy be
upon them, to mention all or some of the meanings of the attributes
pertraining to Allaah’s Names. By mentioning some of the meanings they do
not negate the other affirmed qualities of such names. As such, one of the
meanings signified by Allaah being “An-Nur of the heavens and the earth” is
that He has illuminated the heavens and the earth and guided their inhabitants
by His Light. The saying that meaning is restricted to His illumination of the
heavens and the earth by certain planets (sun, moon, stars), is wrong, because
the illumination by their light does not cover the entire universe. [See Ibn
Taymeeyah’s al-Fatawaa, 6: 390-393].
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asa
“…لك الحمد أنت نور السماوات والأرض..”-متفق عليه
“All Praise is due to You; You are the Light of the heavens and the earth…”3
2- “The texts from the Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah relate An-Nur
to Allaah, according to the following angles:
The First Angel:
a. That Allaah  has a Nur related (gr. conjugated) to Him as an
Attribute of His Thaat [Essense], the same as His other Attributes
of Life, Sight, Knowledge, Might, and so forth. Allaah, Most
Majestic and Most Magnificent, says:
[ وأشرقَتِ الأرض بنورِ ربـها ]
And the earth will shine with the Light of its Rabb (Allaah–when
He will come on the Day of Resurrection to judge among
men)…[TMQ; Az-Zumar (39): 69].

And if the earth will shine with His Light, then He  is a Nur
(Light) as stated by His Messenger, Muhammad : “You are the
Light of the heavens and the earth…”4

3
For a full text of the Prophet’s invocation see Saheeh Al-Bukhaari
(English/Arabic), V.9, Hadeeth # 482.
4
Grammatically, the “Light” which is related (annexed) to Allaah in the
construct of the Aayah (which means): “And the earth will shine with the
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b. That An-Nur relates to His most Honorable and Majestic Face.
‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’oud  said:
“نور السماوات والأرض من نور وجهه”
“The light of the heavens and the earth is from the Light of His Face.”5

Light of its Rabb…” is not an annexation denoting possession, creation, honor,
or preferment as it is the case in many aayaat (Verses) of the Noble Qur’aan
including:
a. Baytee (My house), mentioned in the aayah (which means): That they
(Ibraaheem and Ismaa’eel) may purify Baytee (My house, i.e the Ka’bah) for
those who circel it, or stay (in I’tikaaf ), or bow, or prostrate themselves
(near it, in prayer).” (TMQ 2:125)
b. Naaqatullaah (Allaah’s She-Camel) mentioned in Allaah’s Saying (which
means): “This Naaqatullaah (She-Camel of Allaah) is sent to you (Prophet
Saalih’s people, Thamood) as a sign. So allow it to graze in Allaah’s
earth.”(TMQ 7:73).
5
Reported by at-Tabaraani (Mu’jam At-Tabaraani, V.9, # 8886), ad-Daarimiye
in ar-Rad ‘alaa Bishr al-Mareesi (p.449), and al-Haythami in Majma’uzZawaa’id (V.1, p.85). Amongst its narrators, is Abu ‘Abdis-Salaam AzZubayr. Ibn Abee Haatim and Ibn Ma’een did not mention anything regarding
the haal (status) of this narrator i.e. whether he is da’eef (weak), or thiqah
(trustworthy transmittor), or otherwise. Ibn Hibbaan, however, mentioned him
in his book ath-Thiqaat (The Trustworthy (men of Hadeeth). Al-Haythami
realted that Abu Haatim (i.e. Ar-Raazi) described Abu ‘Abdis-Salaam Azubayr
as majhool (unknown). Shayekhul Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah reported this
narration and said: “It is affirmed upon the authority of Ibn Mas’oud .” (See
Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa, V.6, p.391). He also mentioned it in V.2, p.189 of the
same reference. And Allaah knows best.
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c. Allaah’s Nur is also related (mudaaf) to the heavens and the earth
as in His  saying:
[ االله نور السمواتِ والأرض ]
Allaah is the Light (Nur) of the heavens and the earth …[TMQ;
An-Nur (24): 35].
6

6
There is no contradiction between the interpreation that this aayah means that
Allaah, Most High, is the Munawwir of the heavens and the earth and between
the saying of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’oud in which the Nur is related to Allaah’s
Thaat. The interpretation that Allaah is the Munawwir (The One Who
Illuminates) or Haadi (The One Who Guides) the heavens and the earth is true
because it relates the act (verb) of Tanweer (Illumination) to the active
“subject” i.e. Allaah, the Most Magnificent. There is no contradiction whether
one says that Allaah is the Nur of the heavens and the earth bi-Thaatihi (by
Himself) or bi-Fi’lihi (by His Act). Imaam Ibnul Qayyim تعالى االله رحمه said: “The
truth is that Allaah is the Nur of the heavens and the earth taking into
consideration all of the interpretations.” Being the Munnawwir and the Haadi,
does not negate the fact that He , Himself, is Nur. Those who negate
Allaah’s Attribute of An-Nur erred by thinking that if they would affirm the
Attribute of An-Nur it would mean that Allaah is the light falling upon walls
and gardens, etc.! The fact however is that the created light is an effect of the
Attribute of An-Nur. We know that Ar-Rahmah (Mercy) is an Attribute of
Allaah established with Him . The rahmah (mercy) present on earth is an
effect of Allaah’s Attribute of Ar-Rahmah separted from Him . The
knowledge of the creature is a distinct and separate effect of Allaah’s Attribute
of Knowledge. The saying of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’oud  does not mean or
imply that the light on walls and on the surface of the earth is the essence of
the Light of Allaah’s most honourable Face. [See Ibnul-Qayyim, Mukhtasar
as-Sawaa’iq al-Mursalah ‘alal-Jahmiyyah al-Mu’attilah, checked by Ridwaan
Shaakir Ridwaan (Makkah and Riyadh: Saudi Arabia, Maktabat Nizaar AlBaaz), pp. 547-548 and Ijtimaa’ al-Ju-youoshil-Islaamiyyah, ‘Awaad
10
d. Light is Allaah’s Hijaab (Veil). The Prophet  said: “Light is
His Hijaab, If He uncovers it then the subuhaat (brightness,
splendour, majesty, and greatness) of His Face would burn His
creation so far as His Sight reaches.”7

‘Abdullaah Al-Mi’tiq, ed. (Riyadh: Saudi Arabia, Maktabat Ar-Rushd,
1415/1995], pp.45-46.
7
In another narration instead of the word “light” it is fire, due to the doubt of
the narrator Abu Musa al-Ash’ari. Reported by Muslim (Saheeh Muslim –
English translation, V.1, Hadeeth # 343), Ahmad (4:405) and others. Both
narrations stating the “light” and “fire” are in Saheeh Muslim.
The pure “fire” which Allaah mentioned in the Qur’aan when He  spoke to
Musa  (Qur’aan 27:7-8) is also called a light and it is a light which
illuminates without burning. Allaah also called the fire of the lamp a light
(Qur’aan 24:35), contrary to the dark fire of Hell which is not called a light.
Therefore, the doubt of the narrator between the words “light” and “fire” does
not prevent [from affirming] that the “Light” is His Hijaab. [See ShayekhulIslaam Ibn Taymeeyah’s Fataawaa, V.6, pp.384-386 and Ibnul Qayyim’s
Mukhtasar as-Sawaa’iq al-Mursalah, p.551. Shayekhul Islaam said: “There
are three kinds of (created light): The first is characterized by Isharaaq bila
Ihraaq (illumination but without burning) and this is the “pure” light like
that of the moon. The second kind burns without illumination and this is
the dark fire (a black burning fire). The third being a light and a fire, like
the sun. Also the fire of the lamps in this world is described by being
being both (a light and a fire)…” Imaam Ibnul Qayyim added “This is the case
with the created and witnessed lights. The Hijaab of ar-Rabb (Allaah), Most
Blessed and Most High, is a Nur (Light) and it is a Fire. All of the [three] kinds
of the created lights are real relative to their proper classifications…And if the
light of His creation, like that of the sun, the moon, and fire, are real, then how
could His Light be not real? The Light of His Face is real too [and fits His
Majesty] and it is not figurative.” Ibid, pp.551-552 (with a slight adaptation).
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The cases of the aforementioned angle represent situations in which
the sifah (attribute) of An-Nur has been related to its mawsoof (what
is being described) as Imaam Ibnul Qayyim تعـالى االله رحمـه classified
them.8

The Second Angle:
The second angle is the idaafah (relating) of the maf’uool (object)
to its faa’il (active subject). Ibnul Qayyim said: “This is mentioned
in the saying of Allaah, Most High:
[ اللَّه نور السماواتِ والْأَرضِ مثَلُ نورِهِ كَمِشكَاةٍ فِيها مِصباح الْمِصباح فِـي زجاجـةٍ
الزجاجةُ كَأَنها كَوكَب دري يوقَد مِن شجرةٍ مباركَةٍ زيتونةٍ لَا شرقِيةٍ ولَا غَربِيـةٍ يكَـاد
زيتها يضِيءُ ولَو لَم تمسس نار نور علَى نورٍ يهدِي اللَّه لِنورِهِ من يشاءُ ويضرِب اللَّـه
الْأَمثَالَ لِلناسِ واللَّه بِكُلِّ شيءٍ علِيم] [ النور، ٣٥ .[
The parable of His Light is as (if there were) a niche and within
it is a lamp, and the lamp is in glass, the glass as it were a
brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the
east9
nor of the west10, whose oil would almost glow forth (of
itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allaah
guides to His Light whom he wills. And Allaah sets parables for

8
Ibnul Qayyim in Ijtimaa’ al-Juyoushil-Islaamiyyah, pp.45-54.
9
It does not get sun-rays only in the morning.
10Nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day
long.
12
mankind, and Allaah is the All-Knower of everything.” [TMQ;
An-Nur (24): 35]
It means: The parable of Allaah’s Light in the heart of his believing
slave. The one having the greatest share of this Light is His
Messenger Muhammad . This Light relates to Allaah تعـالى being
the One who grants and bestows it upon His slave. It is also related
to the slave since he is its place (mahalluhu) and favorable recipient
(qaabiluhu).This light has a:
1-faa’il (active subject),
2-qaabil (recipient),
3-mahal (place),
4-haamil (carrier), and
5-and maadah (substance).
The aayah above comprises all of these mattters in detail:
The faa’il (One Who does this) is Allaah, Most High, the One Who
makes the lights to abound, Who guides to His Light whom He
Wills.
The favorable recipient (al-qaabil) is the believing slave.
The place of reception (mahal al-qubool) is the believer’s heart.
The haamil (carrier) is his motivation, determination, and will.
13
The maadah (substance) is his sayings and actions.”11
“The light which Allaah puts in the heart of the submitting Muslim
is faith in Him, knowledge and love of Him, and remembrance of
Him. It is His light (the Qur’aan) which He brought down, the
origin of which is in the hearts of the Muslims. Its substance
strengthens and increases until it appears on their faces, their limbs
and their bodies, even on their clothes and in their homes. On the
Day of Resurrection, this light emerges and runs forward before
them12 amidst the darkness of the Bridge (Siraat)
13 until they cross
over it. The (intensity) of their lights on the Bridge will correspond
to the intensity (strong or weak) of the repective lights in their
hearts in the dunya (this life).
The similitude of this Light and its place, its carrier, and its
substance is as the niche which is like the chest [of the believer].
Inside the niche there is a glass, from the most crisp and clear kind.
[In the aayah] it is even made to resemble brilliant star in its clarity
and purity. This glass resembles the heart [al-mahal]. The
similitude to the glass is because it embodies qualities present in the

11Ibnul Qayyim in Ijtimaa’ al-Ju-yoush al-Islaamiyyah, pp.45-54.
12Allaah  Says: {أيـديهم بـين يـسعى نـورهم) {The believer’s) Light will run
forward before them. (Qur’aan 66:8)
13Siraat: The Bridge over the midst of Hell; It is extremely slippery; On it
there are hooks, claws, and bars; Over it mankind will pass. The believers, as
the Prophet  explained, “Will pass like the blink of an eye, like the lightning,
like the wind, like the birds, and like the fast horses and camels. Some will be
saved, some will be lacerated then set free, and some will be thrown into the
Fire…”. See Saheeh Muslim, V.1, Hadeeth # 352.
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heart of the believer: clearity, smoothness, and firmness. It sees the
truth by virtue of its clarity; kindness, mercy and affection originate
from it because of its smoothness; it stands firm in holding to the
truth and it makes jihaad against the enemies of Allaah, due to the
firmness in its structure…
In contrast with this enlightened heart, there are two other opposing
and blameworthy hearts. One of them is stone-like, harsh,
merciless, it lacks beneficience, reverence, and the clarity by which
it can see the truth. In fact it is as an ignorant and a tyrant heart; it is
neither aware of Allaah (the Truth) nor it is mercifull to the
creation. Opposite to it, is a weak, watery, neither firm nor strong
heart,… and everything (good, evil, wicked, etc.) that mixes with it,
affects it in its own way.
In the glass there is a lamp and it is the light (an-nur) that is in the
wick. The wick in the lamp is the light carrier (al-haamil), and
the substance of the light is the olive oil, extracted from the olives
of a tree growing in the most suitable place by being exposed to the
sun rays all day long. Its oil is from the purest of its kind, clear
without turbidity, to the degree that it will almost glow forth of
itself. Similar to the olive oil is the substance of the believing heart.
It is from the “tree” of Revelation:14 it is the greatest blessed thing

14What Allah reveals in His Books and (or) inspires to His Messengers. The
strength of its “roots” in the heart of the believer depends upon His compliance
with its content. That is why there is a variation amongst the degree of faith
amongst Muslims. Some are stronger than others in their adherence to the
teachings of Islam. There are the obedient and disobedient Muslims. Those
who mixed the substance (al-maadah) with ways not condoned by Islam,
15
and most distant from deviation. It is intermediate and, indeed, it is
the most just and best of all matters. It did not deviate like the
deviation of Christanity and Judaism. In all things it is bound to a
medium course between these two blameworthy extremes.

Since the clarity of this oil is so intense such that it almost glows by
itself, and then upon mixing with fire its illumination as well as that
of the fire’s substance of light intensifes, then this becomes light
upon light.
Something similar happens to the believer. His heart is lit such that
he almost knows the truth by means of his fitrah and intellect. His
heart, however, has no maadah (substance) within itself. But when
the maadah of the al-Wahy (Revelation) touches his heart and the
latter rejoices in its company, its light [of fitrah] increases by the
light of al-Wahy. The light of al-Wahy adds up to that of fitrah and
it becomes a light upon light. So, the believer would almost speak
the truth even though he may have not heard an evidence. He later

became corrupt, or were led astray. If they do not repent, and clean their hearts
and follow the way of Revelation, they may subject themselves to the
punishment of Allah, which may manifest itself in different ways on the
individual and (or) the society levels.
When the way of uncontrolled lusts and desires takes over the heart of man, he
will turn away from the Revelation and may choose for himself ways of
“worship” or “religions” that ascribe best to his desires. The goal becomes the
life of this world only, turning man to forget as to what occurs after death. He
is overwhelmed by the “developments” taking place around him in all walks of
life and wants to keep “on track”! Life turns to “drug stores” asking for “pills”
to ease down the “rush”, or to “therapeutic clinics” to “relief” the worry and
the sad heart! Or to suicide! Sometimes taking other lives with him.
16
hears of the evidence to be identical to what has been attested to by
his fitrah. Thus, it is being a light upon light. This is the status of
the believer. He acknowledges the truth, in general, by means of his
fitrah. He then hears of the textual proofs and [authentic] traditions
presenting what he has acknowledged, but in details. His faith,
therefore, stems from the attestation of al-Wahy and fitrah…”15

I ask Allaah, An-Nur, to enlighten my heart and yours, and to fill
them with firm Eeemaan. He is the Most Generous, the Most
Merciful.
Saleh As-Saleh
29-1-1426.
March 10, 2005
Acknowledgement: May Allaah, the Most High, reward sister Umm
Ahmad Al-Kanadiyyah for her editing of the text. Aameen.

15Ibnul Qayyim’s al-Waabil as-Sayyib, verified by Saleem al-Hilaali (AdDammaam, Saudi Arabia, Daar Ibnul Jawzi, 1415/1994), pp.100-103.