Written by Abdul Fatir
Dr. Zakir Naik :
THE LIGHT OF THE MOON IS REFLECTED LIGHT
It was believed by earlier civilizations that the moon emanates its own light. Science now tells us that the light of the moon is reflected light. However this fact was mentioned in the Qur’aan 1,400 years ago in the following verse:. “Blessed is He Who made Constellations in the skies, And placed therein a Lamp And a Moon giving light.” [Al-Qur’aan 25:61]
The Arabic word for the sun in the Qur’aan, is shams. It is referred to as siraaj, which means a ‘torch’ or as wahhaaj which means ‘a blazing lamp’ or as diya which means ‘shining glory’. All three descriptions are appropriate to the sun, since it generates intense heat and light by its internal combustion. The Arabic word for the moon is qamar and it is described in the Qur’aan as muneer, which is a body that gives nur i.e. light. Again, the Qur’aanic description matches perfectly with the true nature of the moon, which does not give off light itself and is an inert body that reflects the light of the sun. Not once in the Qur’aan, is the moon mentioned as siraaj, wahhaaj or diya or the sun as nur or muneer. This implies that the Qur’aan recognizes the difference between the nature of sunlight and moonlight.
The Arabic word dahaha has been translated by A. Yusuf Ali as “vast expanse”, which also is correct. The word dahaha also means an ostrich-egg
Consider the following verses related to the nature of light from the sun and the moon: “It is He who made the sun To be a shining glory And the moon to be a light (Of beauty).” [Al-Qur’aan 10:5] “See ye not How Allah has created The seven heavens One above another, “And made the moon A light in their midst, and made the sun As a (Glorious) Lamp?” [Al-Qur’aan 71:15-16]’
As has been already shared, Aryabhatta not only explained that moon and other planets reflect the sun’s light but also explained eclipses. Dr. Naik needs to read about some great non-Arabic civilizations of the time (I wonder how he missed this one being born in a civilization as great as Indian – anyways).
My Response :
I agree that some people even before Aryabhatta reasoned that moon’s light is a reflection but what Dr. Zakir meant was that this idea was not unanimously accepted everywhere on earth until recent times.
The ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras (d. 428 BC) reasoned that the Sun and Moon were both giant spherical rocks, and that the latter reflected the light of the former.
Although the Chinese of the Han Dynasty believed the Moon to be energy equated to qi, their ‘radiating influence’ theory also recognized that the light of the Moon was merely a reflection of the Sun.
As seen above it was put forward by ancient people but it was not accepted overall until recent scientific observations confirmed it.
Now if Dr. Naik is to be believed, Nur means reflected light. No previous Islamic scholar has made this scandalous claim before – and do you know why? Because one of the 99 Names of the God of Quran (Allah) is AN-Nur. If we translate this word according to Dr. Naik’s definition Allah’s name would become:THE REFLECTED LIGHT! Now the question to ask Dr. Naik is that if Allah is “reflected light” who is the Original Light Source? [We await Dr. Naik’s answer to this question eagerly]
My Response :
Meaning of the word Noor :
نور (noor): بيّن (bayyan) reveal, reflect.
نور (noor): be revealed, to be lighted, to receive light.
Sakhr Dictionary 2006/2007:
“light, brightness, illumination, glow, gleam.”
The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, Page1009:
“light, beam, brightness, gleam, glow, illumination, lamp, indirect light.”
Now Agniveer claims that No previous Islamic scholar has made this scandalous claim before :
Ibn Kathir (May Allah Be Pleased With Him) (1301–1373) says in his Tafsir of The Noble Qur’an :
the sun rises each day and sets at the end of the day, giving one kind of light all the time, but it moves, rising and setting at different points in the summer and winter, thus making the days and nights longer or shorter alternatively according to the season. Its authority is in the daytime, for it is the heavenly body that dominates the day. As for the moon, Allah has decreed that it should pass through different phases. At the beginning of the month, the moon appears small when it rises. It gives off little light, then on the second night its light increases and it rises to a higher position, and the higher it rises the more light it gives – even though it is reflected from the sun – until it becomes full on the fourteenth night of the month.
Surah Furqan 25:61: Sher Ali:
“Blessed is HE Who has made in the heaven mansions of stars and has placed therein a Lamp producing light and a moon that reflects light.”
Surah Furqan 25:61: Amatul Rahman Omaralt:
“Blessed is He Who has placed stars in the heaven and has set in it the glowing sun (that produces light) and the glittering moon (that reflects light).”
Coming to the name of Allah as An-Noor , it actually refers to the spiritual light of Allah which is reflected in theHeavens and Earth moreover the verse (24:35) in which Allah is referred as An-Noor smokes Agniveer itself (if thought that An-Noor actually refers to physical light of Allah) when read fully :
للَّهُ 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
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.
-Surah Nur (24:35)
The phrases Light of the heavens and the earth and Allah guides to His light whom He wills clearly show that it refers to the spiritual light of Allah which is reflected in the Universe. However for those who insist that it is physical the rest of example The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. shows that Allah has his own light which he reflects himself just like a halogen lamp which gives its own light and also has a reflector provided which reflects its own light.
Regarding Surah Nur 24:35: from reading the context, one will see that this verse is simply a metaphor. The parable of “the light of God” is not meant to express that God has light which is reflected from something else. It means he has his own light & reflects light, which refers to spiritual light. The Arabic word used for “niche” in this verse is “mishka” (*). There is a prefix added to this noun “ka” making it as “kamishkatin” since the letter “ka” points to a resemblance of a thing to another or indicating a metaphor.
Muhammad Asad’s commentary – Surah Nur 24:35:
“The particle ka (“as if” or “as it were”) prefixed to a noun is called kaf at-tashbih (“the letter kaf pointing to a resemblance [of one thing to another]” or “indicating a metaphor”). In the above context it alludes to the impossibility of defining God even by means of a metaphor or a parable – for, since “there is nothing like unto Him” (42:11), there is also “nothing that could be compared with Him” (112:4). Hence, the parable of “the light of God” is not meant to express His reality – which is inconceivable to any created being and, therefore, inexpressible in any human language – but only to allude to the illumination which He, who is the Ultimate Truth, bestows upon the mind and the feelings of all who are willing to be guided. Tabari, Baghawi, and Ibn Kathir quote Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Mas’ud as saying in this context: “It is the parable of His light in the heart of a believer.”
* The “lamp” is the revelation which God grants to His prophets and which is reflected in the believer’s heart – the “niche” of the above parable (Ubayy ibn Ka’b, as quoted by Tabari) – after being received and consciously grasped by his reason (“the glass [shining brightly] like a radiant star”): for it is through reason alone that true faith can find its way into the heart of man.
* It would seem that this is an allusion to the organic continuity of all divine revelation which, starting like a tree from one “root” or proposition – the statement of God’s existence and uniqueness – grows steadily throughout man’s spiritual history, branching out into a splendid variety of religious experience, thus endlessly widening the range of man’s perception of the truth. The association of this concept with the olive-tree apparently arises from the fact that this particular kind of tree is characteristic of the lands in which most of the prophetic precursors of the Qur’anic message lived, namely, the lands to the east of the Mediterranean: but since all true revelation flows from the Infinite Being, it is “neither of the east nor of the west” – and especially so the revelation of the Qur’an, which, being addressed to all mankind, is universal in its goal as well.
* The essence of the Qur’anic message is described elsewhere as “clear [in itself] and clearly showing the truth” (cf. note 2 on 12:1); and it is, I believe, this aspect of the Qur’an that the above sentence alludes to. Its message gives light because it proceeds from God; but it “would well-nigh give light [of itself] even though fire had not touched it”: i.e., even though one may be unaware that it has been “touched by the fire” of divine revelation, its inner consistency, truth, and wisdom ought to be self-evident to anyone who approaches it in the light of his reason and without prejudice.
* Although most of the commentators read the above phrase in the sense of “God guides unto His light whomever He wills,” Zamakhshari gives it the sense adopted in my rendering (both being syntactically permissible).
* I.e., because of their complexity, certain truths can be conveyed to man only by means of parables or allegories: see notes 5 and 8 on 3:7.”
Maududi’s commentary – Surah Nur 24:35:
“The phrase “heavens and the earth” in the Qur’an is generally used for the “universe”. Thus the verse would also mean: “Allah is the light of the whole universe”
Light is something which makes things visible; which is itself manifest and helps make other things manifest. The human mind conceives light in this very sense. Absence of light is termed darkness, invisibility and obscurity. On the other hand, when there is visibility and things become exposed to view, man says there is light. Allah has been called `Light’ in this basic sense, and not in the sense of a beam of light which travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second and stimulates the optic nerve through the retina. This conception of light has nothing to do with the reality of the meaning for which human mind has coined this word; rather the word light is used for all those lights which we experience in this physical world All human words used for Allah are used in their basic sense and meaning, and not with reference to their physical connotation. For instance, when, the word “sight” is used with respect to Allah, it does not mean that Allah has an eye like men and animals with which He sees. Similarly when we say that Allah ‘hears’ or ‘grips’ or ‘grasps’, it does not mean that He hears through ears, or grips or grasps with the hand like us. These words are used in a metaphorical sense and only a man of very poor intelligence would have the misconception that hearing or seeing or grasping is not possible except in the limited and specific sense in which we experience it. Similarly it will be short-sightedness to interpret the word ‘light’ in the sense of physical light rays emanating from a luminous body and affecting the retina. This word is not applicable to Allah in its limited sense, but in its absolute sense. That is, He alone in this universe is the real and prime “Cause of manifestation”, otherwise there is nothing but darkness. here. Everything which gives light and illuminates other things has got its light from Him; it has no light of its own.
The word light is also used for knowledge, and ignorance is termed as darkness. Allah is the Light of the universe in this sense too, because the knowledge of Reality and of right Guidance can be obtained from Him alone; without having recourse to His `Light’, there will be nothing but darkness of ignorance and the resultant vice and wickedness in the world.”
As you can see, it is NOT literal that Allah is light, but metaphorical. It is metaphorical that the spiritual light and guidance comes from Allah. Since Allah is the sources of light and guidance, Allah reflects his own guidance and metaphoric light to the sincere and truthful believers. The parable in the verse shows that through the niche, the it reflects light. Similarly, Allah reflects his own light & is the source of light. Zakir Naik already refuted this allegation in his debate against William Campbell over 10 years ago…
“And he said that if it means ‘a reflection of light’, – and he quoted the Qur’an, Surah Al-Nur Chapter No.24, Verse No.35 and 36 that� ‘Allah Subhanawataala is ‘Nuras samawati wal ardz’. ‘Is the light of the heavens and the earth.’ Read the complete verse, and analyze what does it says. It says� ‘Allah is the light’� ‘Nur.’ It says� ‘Allah is the light of the Heavens and the Earth.’ It is a similitude – like a niche, and within the niche there is lamp. The ‘lamp� word is there. So Allah Subhanawataala has got light of its own, and even reflected light. Like you see a halogen lamp – you know which are here. The lamp inside is like a ‘siraj’ but the reflector is like moon – it is reflecting light. The lamp, the tube� the tube is having a light of its own, but the reflector of the halogen lamp is reflecting light – So both two in one. So Allah Subhanawataala, Alhamdulillah�besides having light of its own – as the Qur’anic verse says� In the niche there is a lamp, and that lamp light of Allah Subhanawataala, is its own light, and Allah reflects its own light. Dr. William Campbell says that� ‘The Qur’an says that� ‘Qur’an is nur’� It is reflecting light.’ Of course – The Qur’an is reflecting the light and the guidance of Allah Subhanawataala. Regarding Prophet Mohammed Sallallahu alaihi wasallam being Siraj – Yes he is. The Hadith of the beloved Prophet is giving guidance to us. So Muhammad Sallallahu alaihi wassallam � he is also ‘nur’ he is also ‘Siraj’- Alhamdullillah. He has his own knowledge also – Alhamdulillah. He has the guidance from Allah Subhanawataala-Alhamdulillah. So if you use this word ‘Nur’ as reflected light, and Munir as reflected light, yet Alhamdulillah, you can prove it scientifically that the light of the moon is not its own light, but it is the reflected light.” (Source)
Islamphobe and hate maongers(as used by agniveer) use this verse to abjure the verity that “Moon has a reflected light” as per mention in Quran. Subsequently, they try to balance this idea with the “light of Allah” mentioned in verse 24:35, so to speak that it means Allah is also acquiring light from somewhere else (Nauzubillah). Usually they use this particular verse and just pick the first part of it where it says that Allah is the “light of heavens and the earth”; they deliberately hop the further part of the verse where the word “lamp” is used. So, if you take the first part of the verse literally, you cannot say that Allah is taking light from somewhere else because Allah’s light is described further in the verse where the word “lamp” is used.
To make it more clear we address this verse again.
“God 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:…”(Quran 24:35)
if you replace the word “light” with “guidance” the verse would read
“God is the guidance of the heavens and the earth. The parable of his guidance is as if there were a niche and with it a lamp…” (Quran 24:35)
So the verse means that God is the ultimate source of this guidance and he Himself reflects this guidance on human beings.The Quran makes it very clear that it is a parable.
Dr. Naik, probably embarrassed, has not shared the entire verses 71:15-16. Here they are
15-16 “See ye not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another. And made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp?” So what do we have here:
–Again the Greek/Judaic philosophical thought of 7 heavens in which various stars and planets and sun and moon can be SEEN by the naked eye. Hence Allah’s insistence in this verse too. He is asking everybody to look at the planets which are visible at dawn and dusk, the stars, the planets, the moon all believed to be stationed in their respective layers of the 7 layered heaven
–Another blunder is that Moon is placed IN BETWEEN (in the midst of) these Layers. Another verse tells us that stars are in the lower heavens.. implying that moon is farther than the stars from us.
My Response :
Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers.And made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp?
-Surah Nuh (71:15-16)
Allah asks the modern human’s of today that don’t they consider how Allah has made all this. Regarding 7 heavens it has been refuted above. Noble Qur’an does not say that moon is in between the heavens , it says that Allah has made the moon in the heaven (notice the word therein ) so Agniveer’s statement implying that moon is farther than the stars from us. falls apart.
Another big hole in this argument is that it ties Nur with Moon. Aryabhatta told us 100 years before Quran that ALL PLANETS reflect sun light. Earth is also a Nur (borrowing Dr. Naik innovative translation) when looked from the Moon. [Ask Rakesh Sharma or Neil Armstrong. Better use Google].
My Response :
Is this an argument ? Does the Noble Qur’an deny that the Earth reflects light ?
The Holy Quran differentiates between the sunlight and moonlight.
In the words of Dr.Zakir Naik
“The Arabic word for Sun is ‘Shams’. It’s always described either as ‘Siraj’ meaning a torch, or ‘Wahaj’ meaning a blazing lamp, or ‘Diya’ – ‘meaning a shining glory’. The Moon – the Arabic word is ‘Qamar’. It’s always described as ‘Munir’, meaning borrowed light or ‘Noor’, which is a reflection of light.”
Nowhere in the entire Quran is “munir” or “noor” used for something that emanates light or something that has its own light.
Muhammad Asad the famous translator and commentator explains:
“He is is who has made the sun a [source language=”of”][/source] radiant light and the moon a light [reflected]” (Quran 10:5)
“The nouns diya and nur are often interchangeable, inasmuch as both denote “light”; but many philologists are of the opinion that the term diya (or daw’) has a more intensive connotation, and is used to describe “a light which subsists by itself, as that of the sun and fire” – that is , a source of light- while nur signifies “a light that subsists by some other thing” (Lane V, 1809, of the authority of Taj al-Arus): in other words, light due to an extraneous source or – as in the case of the moon – reflected light”
Still if one doesn’t agree I want to know why is there not one place in the Holy Quran where moonlight is described as Siraj’ meaning a torch, or ‘Wahaj’ meaning a blazing lamp, or ‘Diya’ – ‘meaning a shining glory’??
Why is there not a single place where sunlight is described as “munir” or ” noor”??
The reason is that the author of the Quran who is the All-Knowing Creator of this universe knows the difference between the two lights.
The above explanation is sufficient to prove that the light of the moon is not its own light but it’s reflected light.
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