Light

Dara Shokuh, the prince who has been executed in 1659, and who was an initiate in the Qadiriyya order, is responsible for the “Majma ul-Bahrayn”. This meeting of seas did not only bring the esoterical and the exoterical dimensions together, but was also a junction of the world of Islam and the world of Hinduism. Dara Sokuh at first discerns three kinds of light in a part I’ve selected for translation. He then speaks about the senses in relation to light and continues by equating Islam and Hinduism regarding some aspects of light. He finishes by commenting on the Light verse of the Qur’an, which is one reason for presenting all of this. In the German translation by Richard Gramlich (see his “Islamische Mystik” pp. 297-298) we can read this part:

There are three kinds of light. When it (firstly) shines with the quality of divine majesty, it has either the colour of the sun or the colour of a ruby or the colour of fire. When it (secondly) shines with the quality of divine friendliness, then it has either the colour of the moon or the colour of silver or the colour of a pearl or the colour of water. And (thirdly) there is the light of the divine essence, which is elevated above all qualities. No one can experience this except for the friends of God about whom God has said, that “God guides to His light whomever He pleases” (see Qur’an 24:35).

That is a light, which – when you are sleeping or when you are sitting with closed eyes – you cannot see with your eyes, cannot hear with your ears, cannot mention with your tongue, cannot smell with your nose, and cannot feel with your tactile sense. In your sleep you use one thing and you do not need all your limbs, nor do you need your external senses and the light of the lamp. Seeing, hearing, reeking, tasting, and your tactile sense have become essentially identical to one another. This is called the light of the essence and this is the light of God.

Friend, think about what I’ve said as it is something for careful consideration and contemplation. The messenger of God has explained this contemplation thus: “One hour of contemplation is better as the acts of the people and the jinns”.

The light, which has been mentioned in the magnificent Qur’anic verse 24:35 “God is the light of the heavens and the earth” is called by the Indian poor ‘jun sarup’ (perhaps the Sanskrit ‘jyotih svarupa’ the shining of the light in its own way, the shining of the light in itself), ‘svâprakâs’ (Sanskrit ‘svaprakâsa’, manifest by itself; in addition: light), ‘sapnprakâs’ (Sanskrit ‘svapnaprakâsa’, manifest by means of a dream; in addition: light). This means that it shines by itself, and it doesn’t matter if the world may appear in it or not. When the Sufis (referring to the Light Verse) explain light as enlightenment, then the Indians have also referred to it as enlightening.

The magnificent Light Verse (Qur’an 24:35) tells this:

“God is the light of the heavens and the earth.
His light is like a niche in which there is a lamp,
The lamp is in a glass,
The glass is like a glittering star.
It is kindled from a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the East nor the West.
Its oil will almost shine, even if no fire has touched it.
Light upon light.
God guides to His Light whomever He pleases.”

With the little that I understand I can tell this: The niche refers to the bodily world. The lamp means the light of the essence. The glass implies the spirit, which is like a glittering star as this glass looks like a lamp because of the clarity of the first mentioned lamp. That this lamp is kindled, refers to the light of being. With the blessed olive tree the divine essence is meant, which is elevated above the Eastern and Western directions. The oil is the great spirit (ruh-e a’zam). This means that this oil -because of its being so extremely subtle and pure – shines out of itself and doesn’t need any kindling. Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Wâseti explains this about the spirit: The glass of the spirit is so clear that it doesn’t need the touch of the fire of the human world and doesn’t need any beam of light. It is almost possible because of its very many capabilities to kindle itself. This light of the oil is light upon light. This means that beyond the most extreme purity and clarity it is a light full of light. And with all this clarity still no one is able to see Him if He doesn’t properly guide you with the light of His loneliness.

The verse tells, to sum it up: God appears with the light of His essence in pure and light spaces and no darkness and no curtain comes in between. The light of the essence shines in the space of the spirit of the spirits, the spirit of the spirits in the space of the spirits, and the spirits in the space of the bodies. In a similar way the lamp appears in the space of the glass with the help of the oil, and the glass appears in the space of the niche. And all of them receive light from the light of the (divine) essence. That is why there is light upon light.

This concludes the explanation of this verse from the Qur’an by Dara Shokuh.

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