Only Allah’s Light Can Defeat the Darkness

Sun rays in a field

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

The world can be a dark place. War, greed, racial hatred, oppression… these are expressions of social ignorance on a sweeping scale. Sometimes it feels like the world is being consumed by the forces of darkness, doesn’t it?

Then we have personal suffering, abuse, and selfishness – manifestations of spiritual darkness at the most intimate level. Because these ills strike at our friendships, in our homes and in our own hearts, they are even harder to deal with than global calamities.

There’s only one refuge, one source of protection, comfort, and guidance. The only true light comes from Allah (God, the Creator). Only Allah’s light can defeat the darkness. All other promises of hope and salvation are illusions.

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” – Quran 24:35

Can one find comfort in material luxury, physical sensation, or intoxication? Not really. Those are distractions. Whatever pleasure we get from them fades quickly.

Can one find solace in nature? Perhaps, but only because the beauty of nature is a reflection of Allah’s mercy and creative genius. The creation is a sign that points to the Creator. When you’re sitting there on a mountain meadow, looking out over the forested slopes and thinking, “This sure is beautiful. I feel at peace,” what you’re really doing – whether you realize it or not – is praising Allah and sensing the beauty and wonder that He placed in His creation.

One another note, do some fools commit evil in the name of religion? Yes, but Allah is exalted and glorified above what people do.

Our refuge from all of this is Allah’s light. The following is an authentic dua’ which the Prophet (sws) used to supplicate in sujood:

“O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light, and make me light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light. O Allah, make for me a light in my grave… and a light in my bones. Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in light. Grant me light upon light.”

It should be noted that this light has nothing to do with skin, hair or eye color. It is a reference to Allah’s light, which Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said was the gift of Allah’s guidance in the heart of the believer. Allah says, “Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light.” – Quran 2:257

It seriously disturbs me that people – and Muslims are not immune – continue to equate lightness and darkness of skin to goodness and badness of character. A person might have skin dark as ebony, yet be filled with Allah’s light, so that the noor radiates from her face. And a person might be white as bone, yet thoroughly evil. Anyone who believes differently is confused and spiritually lost. May Allah protect us from such corrupt ways of thinking.

We seek refuge in Allah’s light from the darkness of the world. In practical application, seeking Allah’s light means that we seek the guidance of the Quran (which is a manifestation of light). We love and follow the Prophet (sws). We strive to be present in our worship. We try to be kind to Allah’s creatures – not only other humans, but the animals and plants as well, as we were placed in stewardship over them. We struggle daily against our own negative impulses, and we try to make the world a better place.

How does Islam continue to grow in the West?

Sun rays in a green forest

By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com

Someone posted this question recently on an Islamic forum that I belong to:

There all kinds of people coming to Islam. There are some that even convert in huge masses (20+ people). It’s the fastest growing religion in the UK and USA. Just visit Youtube. How is that a religion that is put down in the media constantly is the most popular choice today?

Let me put it in marketing terms to start. I don’t want to cheapen our deen which is the most beautiful way of life, ordained for humanity by Allah. But most people in this consumer culture of the West understand marketing concepts.

In the marketing industry they say that there is no such thing as bad publicity. That may or may not be true, but I do believe it is true when you have a quality product. Islam is a quality product.

I have heard of many people who initially wanted to learn more about this “terrible religion” that gets so much bad press. So they picked up a book on Islam or a copy of the Quran, began reading, and SubhanAllah, were guided to the truth.

That’s the way of it.

Throwing a rubber ball at the ground

This deen is a clarion call, it is the sunlight through the clouds. It is manifest truth. As much as the enemies of Allah try to badmouth Islam, they only serve its cause. As Allah says (paraphrasing) in the Quran, they desired to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will complete His light, though the disbelievers may detest it.

Someone once said to me that those who try to damage Islam are like someone throwing a rubber ball down on the ground. The harder they throw it, trying to smash it, the higher it bounces back in the air.

When I say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, that doesn’t mean that I am happy about things like terrorist attacks, “honor killings”, female genital mutilation and other bad actions that bring bad publicity to Islam. I despise those acts and I utterly condemn them, not only because they damage the image of Islam and make life harder for Muslims, but because they are evil in themselves, and they bring suffering to innocent people.

No, when I say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, I am thinking more of the lies that are told about Islam. Hateful preachers who insult the Prophet (peace be upon him); or the often-made false claim that Islam was spread by the sword; or the bigoted epithets (like “Islamofascists”) that are used to try to discredit Islam in the eyes of the public. In the end, all these lies will fail, because truth is clear from falsehood.

Quran 61:8

Quran 61:8

(8) They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.

(9) It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although those who associate others with Allah dislike it.

(Umm Muhammad translation)

The enemies of Islam think that Allah’s light is like a candle that can be blown out with the breath from their mouths, by propagating false rumors and lies about this deen. They might as well try to blow out the light of the sun. Allah’s light is far more powerful even than that.

Quran is a light

O humankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light.” (Quran 4:174)

Allah has manifested His light in the revelation of the Quran. It is an eternal book, protected by Allah, unchanged, shedding light like a lamp that never runs dry. It illuminates the souls of those who read it and practice it, and so light spreads in the world, purifying it.

That’s why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The best amongst you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.” [Al-Bukhaari] Because the Quran is the source of guidance and a light, and by spreading it we ensure the victory of Islam over oppression, we perpetuate Truth in the world, and we offer guidance to the lost.

The Quran is also a source of internal peace. Recitation and contemplation of the Quran soothes the heart and carries away the stresses of life, and it brings one closer to Allah. That’s why the Prophet (pbuh) said, “No people assemble in one of the houses of Allah, and recite and study the Book of Allah, except that tranquility prevails over them, mercy encompasses them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes a mention of them in the presence of those near Him.” [Muslim]

Wow. SubhanAllah.

So it’s not surprising when you hear stories from people who were non-Muslims; became curious about Islam due to the constant fear-mongering in the media; decided to pick up a Quran and check it out for themselves; and found themselves moved, and their hearts touched, so that they accepted Islam. It’s a very common story.

Trust in Allah

I started out by answering the question, “How does Islam continue to grow in the West in spite of all the negative press and lies?” Now I want to add a final message for my Muslim readers: Don’t despair when you see the forces of falsehood arrayed in all their power against Islam. When you read about Muslims being oppressed in Palestine, Chechnya, East Turkestan (a Muslim province of China) and so many other places, you should feel pain and sympathy for your brothers and sisters, but don’t let your heart be filled with rage or hatred.

Don’t despair! Hatred and despair are the opposites of faith; they lead to corruption and are the fuel that drives evils like terrorism, where people cast aside the principles of their religion, and allow themselves to be seduced into blind violence, justifying it to themselves because they are so angry.

Trust that Allah will perfect His light. Do your part to serve the cause of Islam (that is key!), and then trust that Allah will manifest the Truth over all, no matter who stands against it. Trust also that Allah will guide you, and bring you into the light, and reward you in this life and the next.

In these next two verses there is a double message, one for the People of the Book (the Christians and the Jews), calling them to the light that Allah has revealed; and one to the believers, calling on them to “pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace…”, in other words to seek Allah’s pleasure through compassionate and righteous action on the paths of peace.

“O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book; By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.” (Quran 5:15-16)

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