`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said:
(Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.) means, the Guide of the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth. Ibn Jurayj said: "Mujahid and Ibn `Abbas said concerning the Ayah:
(Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.) He is controlling their affairs and their stars and sun and moon.'' As-Suddi said concerning the Ayah:
(Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.) by His Light the heavens and earth are illuminated. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "When the Messenger of Allah got up to pray at night, he would say:
(O Allah, to You be praise, You are the Sustainer of heaven and earth and whoever is in them. To You be praise, You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them. ) It was narrated that Ibn Mas`ud said, "There is no night or day with your Lord; the Light of the Throne comes from the Light of His Face.''
(The parable of His Light) There are two views concerning the meaning of the pronoun (His). The first is that it refers to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, meaning that the parable of His guidance in the heart of the believer is
(as a niche) This was the view of Ibn `Abbas. The second view is that the pronoun refers to the believer, which is indicated by the context of the words and implies that the parable of the light in the heart of the believer is as a niche. So the heart of the believer and what he is naturally inclined to of guidance and what he learns of the Qur'an which is in accordance with his natural inclinations are, as Allah says:
(Can they who rely on a clear proof from their Lord, and whom a witness from Him recites it (can they be equal with the disbelievers)) (11:17). The heart of the believer in its purity and clarity is likened to a lamp in transparent and jewel-like glass, and the Qur'an and Shari`ah by which it is guided are likened to good, pure, shining oil in which there is no impurity or deviation.
(as (if there were) a niche) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Muhammad bin Ka`b and others said, "This refers to the position of the wick in the lamp.'' This is well-known, and hence Allah then says:
(and within it a lamp.) This is the flame that burns brightly. Or it was said that the niche is a niche in the house. This is the parable given by Allah of obedience towards Him. Allah calls obedience to Him as light, then He calls it by other numerous names as well. Ubayy bin Ka`b said, "The lamp is the light, and this refers to the Qur'an and the faith that is in his heart.'' As-Suddi said, "It is the lamp.''
(the lamp is in a glass,) means, this light is shining in a clear glass. Ubayy bin Ka`b and others said, "This is the likeness of the heart of the believer.''
(the glass as it were a star Durriyyun,) Some authorities recite the word Durriyyun with a Dammah on the Dal and without a Hamzah, which means pearls, i.e., as if it were a star made of pearls (Durr). Others recite it as Dirri'un or Durri'un, with a Kasrah on the Dal, or Dammah on the Dal, and with a Hamzah at the end, which means reflection (Dir'), because if something is shone on the star it becomes brighter than at any other time. The Arabs call the stars they do not know Darari. Ubayy bin Ka`b said: a shining star. Qatadah said: "Huge, bright and clear.''
(lit from a blessed tree,) means, it is derived from olive oil, from a blessed tree.
(an olive,) This refers to the blessed tree mentioned previously.
(neither of the east nor of the west,) means, it is not in the eastern part of the land so that it does not get any sun in the first part of the day, nor is it in the western part of the land so that it is shaded from the sun before sunset, but it is in a central position where it gets sun from the beginning of the day until the end, so its oil is good and pure and shining. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas commented on:
(an olive, neither of the east nor of the west,) "This is a tree in the desert which is not shaded by any other tree or mountain or cave, nothing covers it, and this is best for its oil.'' Mujahid commented on:
(neither of the east nor of the west, ) saying; "It is not in the east where it will get no sun when the sun sets, nor is it in the west where it will get no sun when the sun rises, but it is in a position where it will get sun both at sunrise and sunset.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr commented:
(an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself)) "This is the best kind of oil. When the sun rises it reaches the tree from the east and when it sets it reaches it from the west, so the sun reaches it morning and evening, so it is not counted as being in the east or in the west.''
(whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it.) `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said (this means) because the oil itself is shining.
(Light upon Light!) Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn `Abbas that this meant the faith and deeds of a person. As-Suddi said:
(Light upon Light!) "Light of the fire and the light of the oil: when they are combined they give light, and neither of them can give light without the other. Similarly the light of the Qur'an and the light of faith give light when they are combined, and neither can do so without the other.''
(Allah guides to His Light whom He wills.) means, Allah shows the way to the ones whom He chooses, as it says in the Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad from `Abdullah bin `Amr, who said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
(Allah created His creation in darkness, then on the same day He sent His Light upon them. Whoever was touched by His Light on that day will be guided and whoever was missed will be led astray. Hence I say: the pens have dried in accordance with the knowledge of Allah, may He be glorified.)''
(And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.) Having mentioned this parable of the Light of His guidance in the heart of the believer, Allah ends this Ayah with the words:
(And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.) meaning, He knows best who deserves to be guided and who deserves to be led astray. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
(Hearts are of four kinds: the heart that is clear like a shining lamp; the heart that is covered and tied up; the heart that is upside-down; and the heart that is clad in armor. As for the clear heart, it is the heart of the believer in which is a lamp filled with light; as for the covered heart, this is the heart of the disbeliever; as for the upside-down heart, this is the heart of the hypocrite, who recognizes then denies; as for the armor-clad heart, this is the heart in which there is both faith and hypocrisy. The parable of the faith in it is that of legume, a sprout that is irrigated with good water, and the likeness of the hypocrisy in it is that of sores that are fed by blood and pus. Whichever of the two prevails is the characteristic that will dominate.) Its chain of narrators is good (Jayyid) although they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not record it.
(36. In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised, in them His Name is remembered. Therein glorify Him in the mornings and in the evenings,) (37. Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah nor from performing the Salah nor from giving the Zakah. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned.) (38. That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His grace. And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills.)
Having likened the heart of the believer and what it contains of guidance and knowledge to a lamp lit with good oil shining in a clear glass, Allah then states where it belongs, which is in the Masjids, the places on earth that are most beloved to Allah. The Masjids are His houses where He Alone is worshipped. So Allah says:
(In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised,) meaning, Allah has commanded that they be established and that they be kept clean of any filth, idle talk or words or deeds that are inappropriate. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas concerning this Ayah:
(In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised,) he said; "Allah forbade idle talk in them.'' This was also the view of `Ikrimah, Abu Salih, Ad-Dahhak, Nafi` bin Jubayr, Abu Bakr bin Sulayman bin Abi Hathamah, Sufyan bin Husayn and others among the scholars of Tafsir. Many Hadiths have been narrated concerning the construction of Masjids, honoring them, respecting them, and perfuming them with incense etc. This has been discussed in more detail elsewhere, and I have written a book dealing with this topic on its own, praise and blessings be to Allah. With Allah's help we will mention here a few of these Hadiths, if Allah wills. In Allah we put our trust and reliance. `Uthman bin `Affan, the Commander of the faithful (may Allah be pleased with him) said; "I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
(Whoever builds a Masjid seeking the Face of Allah, Allah will build for him something similar to it in Paradise.) It was narrated in the Two Sahihs. Ibn Majah narrated that `Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said; "The Messenger of Allah said:
(Whoever builds a Masjid in which the Name of Allah is remembered, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.) An-Nasa'i mentioned something similar. There are very many Hadiths which say this. `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: "The Messenger of Allah commanded us to build Masjids among the houses, and to clean them and perfume them.'' This was recorded by Ahmad and the Sunan compilers with the exception of An-Nasa'i. Ahmad and Abu Dawud recorded a similar report from Samurah bin Jundub. Al-Bukhari said: "`Umar said: `Build for the people a place to worship Allah, and beware of using red or yellow for adornment and decoration and distracting the people thereby.''' Abu Dawud narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
(I was not commanded to Tashyid the Masjids.) Ibn `Abbas said, "Decorating them as the Jews and Christians did.'' Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
(The Hour will not come until people show off in building Masjids.) It was recorded by Ahmad and the compilers of the Sunan, with the exception of At-Tirmidhi. Buraydah narrated that a man called out in the Masjid and said, "Has any body said anything about a red camel'' The Prophet said:
(May you never find it! The Masjids were built only for what they were built for.) This was narrated by Muslim. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
(If you see someone buying or selling in the Masjid, say to him, "May Allah never make your business profitable!'' And if you see someone calling out about lost property, say, "May Allah never return it to you!'') This was recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said: "Hasan Gharib.'' Al-Bukhari recorded that As-Sa'ib bin Yazid Al-Kindi said, "I was standing in the Masjid and a man threw pebbles at me, so I looked and saw `Umar bin Al-Khattab who said, `Go and bring me these two men.' I went and brought them to him, and he said, `Who are you' Or, `Where do you come from' They said, `We are from At-Ta'if.' `Umar said, `If you had been from this town I would have hit you, for you are raising your voices in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah.''' An-Nasa'i recorded that Ibrahim bin `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf said: "`Umar heard the voice of a man in the Masjid and said: `Do you know where you are''' This is also Sahih. Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Al-Musili recorded from Ibn `Umar that `Umar used to burn incense in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah every Friday. Its chain of narration is Hasan and there is nothing wrong with it, Allah knows best. It is confirmed in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said:
(A man's prayer in congregation is twenty-five times better than his prayer in his house or the marketplace. That is because if he performs Wudu' and does it well, then he goes out to go to the Masjid, and for no other purpose than to pray, he does not take one step but he increases in one level in status and one sin is removed. When he prays, the angels continue sending blessings on him as long as he is in the place where he prays, ﴿they say﴾, "O Allah, send blessings on him, O Allah, have mercy on him.'' And he will remain in a state of prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer.) The following is recorded in the Sunan:
(Those who walk to the Masjids when it is dark, give them the glad tidings of complete Light on the Day of Resurrection.) When entering the Masjid, it is recommended to enter with one's right foot, and to say the supplication recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari, where it is narrated from `Abdullah bin `Amr that the Messenger of Allah used to say, when he entered the Masjid:
(I seek refuge with Allah Almighty and with His Noble Face, and with His Eternal Domain, from the accursed Shaytan.) (He (one of the narrators) asked, `Is that all' He answered, `Yes'). If he says this, the Shaytan says: "He will be protected from me all day long.'' Muslim recorded that Abu Humayd or Abu Usayd said: The Messenger of Allah said:
(When anyone of you enters the Masjid, let him say: "O Allah, open the gates of Your mercy for me. And when he comes out, let him say: "O Allah, I ask You of Your bounty.'') An-Nasa'i also recorded this from them from the Prophet. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah said:
(When anyone of you enters the Masjid, let him invoke blessings on the Prophet then let him say: "O Allah, open the gates of Your mercy for me.'' When he comes out, let him invoke blessings on the Prophet and say, "O Allah, protect me from the accursed Shaytan.'') This was also recorded by Ibn Majah, as well as Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban in their Sahihs.
(in them His Name is remembered.) meaning, the Name of Allah. This is like the Ayat:
(O Children of Adam! Take your adornment to every Masjid...) (7:31)
(and you should face (Him only) in each and every Masjid, and invoke Him only making your religion sincere to Him) (7:29).
(And the Masjids are for Allah) (72:18).
(in them His Name is remembered.) Ibn `Abbas said, "This means that His Book is recited therein.''
(Therein glorify Him in the mornings and in the evenings.)
(Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah) This is like the Ayat:
(O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah.) (63:9)
(O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the Salah on Friday, hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business.) (62:9) Allah says that this world and its adornments, attractions and marketplaces should not distract them from remembering their Lord Who created them and sustains them, those who know that what is with Him is better for them than what they themselves possess, because what they have is transient but that which is with Allah is eternal. Allah says:
(Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah nor from performing the Salah nor from giving the Zakah). meaning, they give priority to obeying Allah and doing what He wants and what pleases Him over doing what they want and what pleases them. It was reported from Salim from `Abdullah bin `Umar that he was in the marketplace when the Iqamah for prayer was called, so they closed their stores and entered the Masjid. Ibn `Umar said: "Concerning them the Ayah was revealed:
(Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah).'' This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir.
(Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah). `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This meant from the prescribed prayers.'' This was also the view of Muqatil bin Hayyan and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. As-Suddi said: "From prayer in congregation.'' Muqatil bin Hayyan said, "That does not distract them from attending the prayer and establishing it as Allah commanded them, and from doing the prayers at the prescribed times and doing all that Allah has enjoined upon them in the prayer.''
(They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned.) means, the Day of Resurrection when people's hearts and eyes will be overturned, because of the intensity of the fear and terror of that Day. This is like the Ayah:
(And warn them of the Day that is drawing near...) (40:18),
(but He gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror) (14:42).
(And they give food, in spite of their love for it, to the poor, the orphan, and the captive, (saying:) "We feed you seeking Allah's Face only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. Verily, We fear from our Lord a Day, hard and distressful, that will make the faces look horrible.'' So Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them a light of beauty and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient) (76:8-12). And Allah says here:
(That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds,) meaning, "They are those from whom We shall accept the best of their deeds and overlook their evil deeds.''
(and add even more for them out of His grace.) means, He will accept their good deeds and multiply them for them, as Allah says:
(Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of a speck of dust.) (4:40)
(Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit.) (6:160)
(Who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan.) (2:245)
(Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills.) (2:261) And Allah says here:
(And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills.)
(39. As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a Qi`ah. The thirsty one thinks it to be water until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing; but he finds Allah with him, Who will pay him his due. And Allah is swift in taking account.) (40. Or like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light.)
These are two examples which Allah sets forth of two kinds of disbelievers. Similarly He sets forth two parables of the hypocrites at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah: one involving fire and the other involving water. Similarly, in Surat Ar-Ra`d He gives two parables of the guidance and knowledge that are instilled in the heart, again involving fire and water; we have discussed each of them in the appropriate place and there is no need to repeat it here, praise be to Allah. The first of these two examples is that of the disbelievers who call others to their disbelief, thinking that they have good actions and beliefs, when this is not in fact the case. Their likeness is that of a mirage which is seen in a desert plain, looking from a distance as if it is a deep sea. The word Qi`ah refers to a vast, flat, level area of land in which the mirage may appear. There are different kinds of mirage, one which appears after midday, and another which appears in the morning and looks like water between heaven and earth. If a person who is in need of water sees the mirage, he thinks that it is water so he heads towards it in order to drink from it, but when he reaches it,
(he finds it to be nothing.); Similarly the disbeliever thinks that he is doing something good and that he has achieved something, but when Allah judges him on the Day of Resurrection, and brings him to account and examines his deeds, he will find that nothing has been accepted at all, either because of a lack of sincere belief or because he did not follow the proper ways of the Shari`ah. As Allah says:
(And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust.) (25:23). And He says here:
(but he finds Allah with him, who will pay him his due. And Allah is swift in taking account.) A similar view was also narrated from Ubayy bin Ka`b, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and others. In the Two Sahihs, it is reported that on the Day of Resurrection it will be said to the Jews, "What did you used to worship'' They will say, "We used to worship `Uzayr the son of Allah.'' It will be said to them, "You have lied. Allah has not begotten a son. What do you want'' They will say, "O Lord, we are thirsty, give us something to drink.'' It will be said to them, "Do you not see'' Then Hell will be shown to them as if it is a mirage, parts of it consuming other parts, and they will go and fall into it. This is the parable of one whose ignorance is deep and advanced. As for those whose ignorance is simple, those who are uneducated and foolish and blindly follow the leaders of disbelief, knowing and understanding nothing, their parable is as Allah says:
(Or like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it!) meaning, he can hardly see it because it is so intensely dark. This is the parable of the heart of the disbeliever whose ignorance is simple, who merely follows and does not know the true nature of the one whom he follows or where he is going. He is like the ignorant man in the parable who was asked, "Where are you going'' He said, "With them.'' He was asked, "Where are they going'' He said, "I do not know.''
(darkness upon darkness) Ubayy bin Ka`b said: "He is enveloped in five types of darkness: his speech is darkness, his deeds are darkness, his coming in is darkness, his going out is darkness and his destiny on the Day of Resurrection will be darkness in the fire of Hell.'' As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas also said something similar.
(And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light.) One whom Allah does not guide is ignorant and doomed, an utter loser and disbeliever. This is like the Ayah:
(Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him) (7:186) This is in contrast to what Allah says about the believers:
(Allah guides to His Light whom He wills.) (24:35) We ask Allah the Almighty to put light in our hearts and give us light on our right and on our left, and to increase us in light.
(41. See you not that Allah, He it is Whom glorify whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, and the birds with wings outspread Of each one He knows indeed his Salah and his glorification; and Allah is All-Aware of what they do.) (42. And to Allah belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, and to Allah is the return.)
Allah tells us that whosoever is in the heavens and on the earth, i.e., the angels, mankind, Jinn, animals and even inanimate objects, all glorify Him. This is like the Ayah:
(The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him) (17:44),
(and the birds with wings outspread) means, while they are flying they glorify their Lord and worship Him with the glorification with which they are inspired and to which they are guided. Allah knows what they are doing, and so He says:
(Of each one He knows indeed his Salah and his glorification;) meaning, He has guided every creature to its own way of worshipping Allah, may He be glorified. Then Allah tells us that He knows all of that and nothing at all is hidden from Him. He says:
(and Allah is All-Aware of what they do.) Then Allah tells us that to Him belongs the sovereignty of heaven and earth, and that He is the Ruler and Controller, the God Who is worshipped and besides Whom none other is to be worshipped, and there is none to put back His judgment.
(and to Allah is the return) means, on the Day of Resurrection, when He will judge as He wills,
(that He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done...) (53:31) He is the Creator and Sovereign, and His is indeed the Authority in this world and the next. To Him be praise at the beginning and in the end.
(43. See you not that Allah drives the clouds gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap of layers, and you see the rain come forth from between them; and He sends down from the sky, from mountains in it of ice, and strikes therewith whom He wills, and averts it from whom He wills. The vivid flash of its (clouds) lightning nearly blinds the sight.) (44. Allah causes the night and the day to succeed each other. Truly, in this is indeed a lesson for those who have insight.)