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In these days of long summer daylight, I thought it would be nice to look at Surah An-Nur, the surah of light. And I’m going to look at 3 or 4 verses starting at verse 41.
Do you not see that Allah is He Whom do glorify all those who are in the heavens and the earth, and the (very) birds with expanded wings? He knows the prayer of each one and its glorification, and Allah is Cognizant of what they do.
This is the first verse. What does this verse have to do with light? If you think about it, if we start with physical light, this verse is telling us about some of the things physical light is showing us in this world. Haven’t you looked? Haven’t you seen Allah’s amazing creation? The animals, the birds, all of these things, glorifying Allah in their own ways. Each with their own distinct form of glorification of praise of Allah. Whether it is the birds singing with their beautiful songs, whether it is the animals with their various cries, all of these creatures are showing us the wisdom and power of the creation.
An interesting point here language wise is if we look at the way this is worded in the Arabic, “Allah knows what they are doing,” it is using the form of the verb which is used typically for intelligent beings, normally human beings, perhaps and indication that animals are not without intelligence. Verses 42 and 43 continue:
And Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and to Allah is the eventual coming.
Do you not see that Allah drives along the clouds, then gathers them together, then piles them up, so that you see the rain coming forth from their midst? And He sends down of the clouds that are (like) mountains wherein is hail, afflicting therewith whom He pleases and turning it away from whom He pleases; the flash of His lightning almost takes away the sight.
Allah (SWT) says He sends down mountains, and interestingly enough, the English word ‘cloud’ actually means hail or a mass of rock. So there’s an obvious resemblance between the two. Allah (SWT) is telling us that He sends down clouds and from within these clouds rain falls and so does hail, and the flash of lightning almost takes sight away. Again, the wording here is interesting. Indeed scientists tell us that just looking at lightning cannot make you permanently blind. It might almost make you blind, it might temporarily blind you, but it cannot permanently blind you. But if you are struck by lightning, that might cause blindness.
Allah turns over the night and the day; most surely there is a lesson in this for those who have sight.
People of vision, we started out with physical vision, physical light, but the believer sees beyond the physical. The believer sees also with spiritual insight, spiritual vision, and this is where the lessons come in. So make use of your vision while you have it. If Allah has blessed you with the ability to see, use your eyes, but while looking with your eyes, see also with your heart. Look at the amazing divine symphony and divine gallery. There is in a sense a symphony of divine glorification and the clouds are a divine art gallery. And as you do so, as you look at these things, remember that just as with the lightning, we can barely handle physical light when it gets beyond a certain level, and we should keep the same in mind about spiritual light. As you are approaching Allah’s signs, approach them with humility.