The Meaning of ‘Light Upon Light’

Peace, one and all…


The sensuous eye is a horse,
and the light of God is the rider:
without the rider the horse is useless.
The light of God rides the sensuous eye,
and then the soul yearns for God.
How can a riderless horse
recognise the signs of the road?
God’s light enhances the senses:
this is the meaning of ‘light upon light’
(a reference to Quran 24:35)
Masnavi 2.1290-1293

6 thoughts on “The Meaning of ‘Light Upon Light’

  1. Light upon light is a phrase from verse# 35 of sura Nur of the Quran,thought to be one of the most symbolic verses of the holy scripture,among its many interpretations and commentaries I came across the following narration mentioned in “al-mahajja” by Syed Hashim al Bahrani,

    It has been narrated from Jabir bin abdullah ansari,who said:
    “I entered the mosque of kufa and saw that Ameer al mu mineen Ali ibne abi talib(as) was writing something with his finger.He had a smile on his face.

    “O ameer ul mumineen what makes you smile?”,I asked

    “I find it strange that people read this verse but do not reflect upon it”,he replied.
    “which verse are you referring to I asked”
    “he replied”
    “allah is the light of the heavens and the earth.The likeness of his light is as a lantern(Mishkat)”,Muhammad is the lantern.
    “wherein is a Lamp(misbah)”.The lamp refers to me.
    “The lamp is in a glass(zujajah)”.Hasan and Hussain are the glass.
    “The glass is as a shining star(kokub-e-durri)”.Ali bin hussain(Imam zainul abideen) is the shining star.
    “Lit from a blessed tree”.Muhammad bin ali(Imam baqir) is the blessed tree.
    “The olive”.Jafar ibne Muhammad(Imam jafar sadeq) is the olive.
    “Neither of the east” refers to Musa bin jafar(imam al kazim).
    “Nor of the west” refers to Ali bin musa(imam al reza).
    “whose oil grows forth of itself” refers to muhammad ibne ali(imam taqi)
    “though fire did not touch it” refers to ali ibne muhammad(imam al naqi)
    “light upon light refers to hasan bin ali” (imam al askari).
    “allah guides unto his light whomever he wills”.The Qaem is his light.
    and” allah sets forth parables for people.And allah is aware of all things.

  2. Salams Hasnain,

    Welcome to my online home. Allah bless you always.

    Yes, Ayat al-Nur is such a beautiful and profound verse of the Quran. Thank you for sharing this hadith with us.

  3. Wa alaikum salam,

    thanks for appreciating the comment it is a pleasure to exchange intellectual information on a site/blog as prestigious as this.

  4. Sura Nur, verse #35, actually describes a gas laser. And the laser light is given as example of Creator’s light embrace the whole universe. There is more, if you are really interested in!

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