بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ
One way Allah has selected to give us knowledge is by telling us things in parables. For example He talks about a goodly tree; He says;
‘Seest thou not how Allah sets forth a parable? - a goodly word like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens,- of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition’. (14:24)
Here Allah is alluding that all good persons are like goodly trees that bring numerous benefits. Today I want to bring another parable to our attention. This one is a bit technical and is found in Surah Nur.
Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is As if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed In Glass: the glass As it were a brilliant star: Lit from a Blessed tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though Fire scarce touched it: light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth parables for men: and Allah doth know all things. (24:35)
What exactly is Allah talking about? We know that the light of the soul cannot be compared to anything in the universe. It is a special creation from Allah. So when Allah talks about His Light, only He alone knows what He is talking about.
What we can understand it to possible mean is the light with which He created the soul. That light is pit in something like a niche and over the niche there is a glass. The light shinning forth is bright as a result of the brightness of the light contained in the lamp.
What I understand; and please note that I can be wrong because this is very technical and because Allah didn’t specified; I believe that Allah is referring to the human heart. The soul is placed inside the heart and around the soul is the flesh. This flesh is like a glass around the soul. Now heart specialists have said that when the heart is alive and active it is like two waves of electricity that constantly passes through it. My understanding is Allah has encased that special light of the soul in that organ which is the heart, and as a result it too can become bright and shinning just as a lamp shade.
Understand that Allah is telling mankind that He has given human beings something that you cannot find anywhere else in the universe. And this special light is encased in a special organ which has the capacity to become bright and shinning if properly cultured.
This special light or the soul cannot be contaminated. It will remain pure and clean. Nothing can interfere with the soul. What happens is that the shade around the soul can either diminish or increase the brightness of the permeation. This was evident in the life of Prophet Muhammad (pboh). Allah made Jibreel wash the heart of Prophet (pboh) on two separate occasions. And he is perfect and completely sinless. When he was going on that blessed night to meet his Lord his blessed heart was washed so that possibly nothing could have diminished the brightness of his shade.
Allah has created a physical body and the soul in two very special ways. The body was created and soul was a command. He put the two together forming the complete human personality. And if both can work together, you can ascend to the highest. If you can keep your shade polished and shinning; you will be able to experience God in whatever way He bestows.
On the other hand the nafs is the working of the physical self. It is energy, like the energy produced by starting a car when the petrol is ignited etc. The nafs is the energy created by the body. Because it is energy and because the ruh is refined energy; the nafs can impact upon it. How? It can dirty the shade around that special light or keep it bright and shinning. The nafs works on the shade which as we have identified is the human heart.
When Prophet Muhammad (pboh) was going on Mir’aj his heart was washed clean. Remember if you want to meet your Lord the best experience you can have is if you have a bright and clean heart that will allow for the vibration from Allah to be amplified.
No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things. (6:103)
You cannot look at an atom with your naked eyes. It is not possible except with the aid of instruments. So too the light of Allah cannot be experienced with the eyes. Prophet Muhammad (pboh) could not see Jibreel in his true form on the night of the first revelation. It was only when he was outside the dimension of space and time he could have seen his true form.
So too you will only be able to experience something of your Lord if you keep your soul bright and shinning. That is the purpose of zikir and doing good and staying away from evil. When engaging in evil the energy produced by the nafs causes spots to appear on the shade. As Allah says ‘they have put stains on their heart’.
The more stain on the heart the more difficult it is for the light to penetrate. As Allah says in Surah An'am; ‘It is those who believe and do not clothe up their beliefs with wrong - that are (truly) in security, for they are on (right) guidance.’
Do not focus on and judge others. Think about the relationship you have with your Lord. Is my light bright and shinning or is it clothed with darkness. And that is the mission of life. Trying to culture and cultivate your personality to allow you special light to grow and permeate your entire body. How do we achieve this? People will not help you; it is an individual matter. Yes if you are with good and righteous people they can be of some benefit in terms of giving you some sort of zeal. But no one can help you remove and prevent the spots from appearing on your heart.
Satan will not want you to achieve this because his light is already out. So he will want to cover up and extinguish your light. Thus he will decorate the evil and get you to divert from your mission. Allah will also test you moments of trials and tribulations; all in an effort to see if you really want to keep your light bright and shinning. He says He will try you with loss of wealth, with family etc.
This is why Prophet Muhammad (pboh) taught us that the internal struggle is greater than any external battle. He (pboh) is reported to have said “I have returned from the small Jihad (Jihad Asghar) to the big Jihad (Jihad Akbar)”. The Sahabas enquired “what is the big Jihad?” Prophet (pboh) said “the Jihad al nafs (inner desires)”.
Passion and desires don’t care about morals, humility and submitting to Allah. It wants comfort and pleasure. If you indulge your shade may develop spots on it. Make every effort to keep your shade bright and clean so that when it reflects is will be attractive that it will give you the capacity to see on that Day when people will be struggling to see the path in complete darkness. This is possibly why Allah says ‘they have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, - nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning)’.
Keep your shade clean. The Islamic year is coming to an end; reflect on your past and make a resolution to build and improve upon. And thank Allah for taking you and guiding you this far. May Allah guide us, protect us and enable us to always keep of shade polished and clean, insha Allah.
Transcript of discourse delivered by
Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed
The video presentation of this discourse can be accessed at