Karachi is nefarious for its incessant power outages. While most of us urbanites have adjusted well to this hide-and-seek way of life, the loss of power in the middle of the night remains, nevertheless, an extremely irritating phenomenon for everyone. However, a recent personal experience of groping around in the dark ironically became a means of “enlightenment” for me.
The power went out late at night, and there was a lull lasting a few minutes before the power generator came on. In those moments, I tried exiting a room through an open doorway, and collided with the door. “Ouch!” I hissed. “What did you hit?” my concerned other half asked. “Oh, nothing…” I replied, as I took a few more steps and stepped on a toy on the carpet. I sucked in my breath at the shock of feeling the soft toy under my foot, and reached for the side of my toddler’s cot. Clutching it as a guide, I carefully made my way forward, but alas. “Ow!” yelled my daughter as she yelped in pain: I had stepped on her leg! I could not see where she was lying in the dark. Finally the light came on.
I then started reflecting on what a blessing illumination is. My thoughts went to the verse of the Qur’an:
“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 is in a glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east (i.e. neither it gets sun-rays only in the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allah guides to His Light whom He wills. And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.” (Qur’an, 24:35)
Why would Allah name Himself as “Light” (Noor)? What role does light play in our life?
In the dark, a person cannot see anything, let alone differentiate between the good and bad. Just as light makes things evident for us, Allah’s Light of guidance makes it clear for the believer what will benefit him and what will harm him in this world and the hereafter. (There can, however, be no comparison between the mortal light of this world and the Divine Light of Allah.)
Protects from danger
A person may collide with sharp objects, trip over something, or fall off an edge in the dark. So will a person who doesn’t seek Allah’s guidance in life fall into traumatizing “accidents” that hurt him emotionally and spiritually. One may, for example, get into bad company and acquire destructive habits like drinking, drugs, adultery and gambling only to end up mentally, physically and spiritually drained. Though he may have started such deeds pursuing enjoyment, they would only leave him farther from the path of happiness.
Won’t hurt society
One may unknowingly trod upon or hurt someone not visible in the dark. So does a person deprived from the guidance of Islam harms the society by his actions. Because of that darkness, he may not even realize the impact his deeds are having on others.
Guide to destination
Ask any hiker or trekker, he will tell you why he prefers traveling the day and camping the night. Daylight prevents him from losing his way and it safely leads him to his destination. Similarly, Allah’s Light guides a believer to his destination – Paradise – in the hereafter. The Straight Path is clear to the believer at all times.
Light unveils beauty
A blooming flower, a scenic landscape, a colorful sunrise, and a picturesque lagoon only exhibit their beauty when there’s light. Just as the sun’s light reveals the beauty of nature, Allah’s Light accentuates the inherent good in a believer. It lets him taste the sweetness of faith, experience tranquility in his soul, and it brings out the best of a person’s character.
So how do we seek Allah’s guidance? Through Islam, through the Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Alif Lam Ra, (This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad, peace be upon him) in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness into light by their Lord’s Leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise.” (Qur’an, 14:1)
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “I am leaving you on a clear way, its night is like its day and none turns away from it except that he would be destroyed.” (Ahmad and Ibn Majah)
Can you imagine leading your life constantly lurking around aimlessly in a pitch-dark night, unable to see his way? That is how our lives are without Allah’s Light. – SG