Ibn Al-Qayyim’s Words on The Light Attained by The Believers

 

الحمد لله وحده، والصلاة والسلام على من لا نبي بعده، وعلى آله وصحبه، أما بعد

 

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said regarding the saying of Allaah, The Most High:

 

اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ ۗ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

((Allaah is The Light of the heavens and the earth.

The similitude of His Light is as a niche wherein there is a lamp, the lamp is within a crystal, the crystal is as if of star like brilliance.

It is kindled from a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west whose oil would almost glow forth, though no fire touched it.

Light upon light; Allaah guides to His Light whom He wills.

And Allaah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allaah is All-Knowing of everything.)) (An-Nūr: 35)

 

Ubay bin Ka’ab said: “It is like His light which is found in the heart of the Muslim.” And this is the very light which Allaah placed in the heart of His servant by way of awareness of Him and having love of Him as well as having Eemaan (true belief) in Him and in remembrance of Him. It is His light which He revealed to them and thus by means of it gave them life; and made them walk amongst the people with it. Its origin is found in their hearts; so its ingredient gains strength and so increases until it manifests upon their faces and their limbs and their bodies – rather even in their clothing and their dwellings, it is visualized by those of their stock – whilst the majority of the creation disapprove of it.

Then when The Day of Resurrection occurs, that light will emerge and will be on their right hand sides and running (shining) before them in the darkness of the Bridge – until they cross it. They will be upon it in accordance to ones strength or weakness in their hearts in the life of this world. So from them will be those whose light will be like the sun, whilst another will be like the moon and another like a star and another like a lamp and another will be given light which will obscure his own feet – illuminating for a moment and extinguishing the next. If this is the condition of his light in the life of this world; then at the Bridge he will be given the equivalent of that – rather it will be the very same light which will become visually apparent unto him.

Thus; whilst the hypocrites possessed no firmly established light in the life of this world; rather their light was outwardly apparent – not inwardly, they will be given light which will be apparent, yet its consequential inclination will be to darkness and disappearance.

Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic, struck a similitude for this light, as well as for its location and its carrier and its ingredient; of an example of a niche – and that is an aperture found in the wall – it accordingly is the example of the chest. In that niche is a crystal of the most clearest of crystals, such that it is likened to star like brilliance in terms of its whiteness and its clarity; and it is the example of the heart, it is likened to a crystal because it gathers the attributes which are to be found in the heart of the believer, and they are: clarity and gracious amiability and firm unyieldingness. So it sees the truth and guidance by way of its clarity and so by way of that it attains compassion and mercy and tenderness by way of its gracious amiability. It also strives against the enemies of Allaah, The Most High, and is severe upon them and is vehement in regards the truth – and so it is firm in its regard due to its firm unyieldingness.

Ibn al-Qayyim went on to state:

Contained within the crystal is a lamp; and it is the light which is in the wick – and it is its carrier; and for that light there is an ingredient – and it is oil which has been pressed out of an olive that originates from the most equitable of places. The sun gleams upon it at the first portion of the day as well as its latter; hence its oil is from the most clearest of oils and the furthest of them from cloudiness, such that due to its clarity it virtually illuminates without flame – this is the ingredient of the light of the lamp.

Likewise is the ingredient of the light of the lamp which is in the heart of the believer, it is derived from the tree of revelation which is from the greatest of factors for blessing – and the furthest of them from misguidance. Rather of the affairs it is that which holds the middle-course – as well as its most just and its finest. It does not deviate with the deviation of the Christians, nor with the deviation of the Jews. Rather it is a balanced middle-course between two blameworthy extremes in every regard.[1] For this is the ingredient of the lamp of Eemaan in the heart of the believer.

So whilst that oil becomes intense in its clarity as such that it is virtually illuminated by itself – then it fuses with the flame – and so its illumination becomes yet more intense and the ingredient of the illumination of the flame becomes stronger due to it – that then is light upon light.

Such is the case of the believer; his heart is illuminated and virtually knows the truth by way of his natural disposition and his intellect. However he has no ingredient from himself – so the ingredient of revelation comes and so makes contact with his heart and so infuses with his joy; hence he increases in light by way of the revelation upon his light which Allaah, The Most High, had naturally placed within him. Thus there are gathered for him the light of revelation along with the light of natural disposition – light upon light.

Therefore he virtually speaks with the truth – even if he has not heard a narration to its effect, then he hears the narration in accordance to what his natural disposition had witnessed; and so it becomes light upon light. This is the distinction of the believer who encounters the truth with his natural disposition as a whole, then he hears of a detailed narration regarding it – and hence his Eemaan rises aloft from the testimony of the revelation and the natural disposition.

So let the intelligent one pay attention to this magnificent ayah; and its conformity to these noble implications. For He, The Glorified and Most High, has mentioned His light in the heavens and the earth; and His light in the hearts of His believing servants. The light which is comprehended and witnessed with the discernment; as well as the hearts; and by way of which the sights and the hearts are illuminated. Likewise the light which is felt and witnessed with the sights, that by way of which the lands of the world are illuminated – both the northern and the southern hemispheres.

For they are both two great lights – one of them is yet greater than the other.

 

(Taken from: Al-Waabil as-Sayyib wa Raafi al-Kalim at-Tayyib p.119-123)

 

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[1] Ibn Al-Qayyim said elsewhere regarding this issue as is found in his work Ighaathatul Lahfaan vol 1 p.182: “So the religion of Allaah is between the one who exceeds the bounds within it and the estranged one who is disinclined with regards to it. For indeed the best of people are those upon a moderate way, those that rise above the shortcomings of the unrestrained; and nor do they affiliate with the extremism of the transgressor. Allaah, The Glorifed has made this Ummah (nation) as a moderate one, and it is the best one and the just one due to its moderation between the two blameworthy extremities, and justice is the moderation between the extremes of tyranny and of negligence and thus harms of misfortune are indeed aimed at the extremes whilst moderation is safeguarded by its regions – and hence the best of affairs are their moderate ones.”

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