The Light of the Prophet (s)

Suyuti in Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Fayruzabadi in the Tafsir Ibn `Abbas entitled Tanwir al-miqbas (p. 72), Shaykh al-Islam, Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, the Mujaddid of the sixth century, in his Tafsir al-kabir (11:189), Qadi Baydawi in his Tafsir entitled Anwar al-tanzil, al-Baghawi in his Tafsir entitled Ma`alim al-tanzil (2:23), Imam al-Shirbini in his Tafsirentitled al-Siraj al-munir (p. 360), the author of Tafsir Abi Sa`ud (4:36), and Thana’ullah Pani Patti in his Tafsir al-mazhari, (3:67) said: “What is meant by a Light is: Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him.”

Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in his Tafsir jami` al-bayan (6:92) said: “There has come to you a Light from Allah: He means by the Light: Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him, by means of whom Allah has illuminated the truth, brought forth Islam, and obliterated idolatry. Therefore he (the Prophet) is a light for those who have been enlightened by him and by his exposition of truth.”

al-Khazin in his Tafsir (2:28) similarly says: “There has come to you a Light from Allah means: Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him. Allah called him a light for no other reason than that one is guided by him (Muhammad) in the same way that one is guided by light in darkness.”

al-Nasafi in his commentary entitled Tafsir al-Madarik (1:276) and al-Qasimi in his Mahasin al-ta’wil (6:1921) similarly say: “There has come to you a Light from Allah: this is the light of Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him, because one is guided by him. Similarly he has been called a lamp (siraj).

Imam Ahmad al-Sawi similarly said in his supercommen-tary on Tafsir al-Jalalayn (1:258): “There has come to you a Light from Allah: that Light is the Prophet, Blessings and peace upon him. He was named a light because he enlightens the sight and guides it to the correct path; and also because he is the root of every light whether material or spiritual.” We will return to the latter statement below insha Allah.

Sayyid Mahmud al-Alusi in his commentary entitled Tafsir Ruh al-Ma`ani (6:97) similarly says: “There has come to you a Light from Allah: that is, an immense light which is the Light of Lights and the Elect among all Prophets, Blessings and peace upon him.”

Isma`il al-Haqqi in his supercommentary on Alusi entitled Tafsir ruh al-bayan (2:370) similarly said: “There has come to you a Light from Allah and a Book that makes all things manifest: It is said that the meaning of the former is the Messenger, Blessings and peace upon him, and the latter is the Qur’an… The Messenger is called a Light because the first thing which Allah brought forth from the darkness of oblivion with the light of His power was the light of Muhammad, Blessings and peace upon him, as he (the Prophet) said: The first thing Allah created is my light.” This narration is addressed below.

Of particular note is the fact that the Mu`tazilis insisted that the Light in verse 5:15 referred only to the Qur’an and not to the Prophet. Alusi said in the continuation of the passage quoted above: “Abu `Ali al-Jubba’i said that the light concerns the Qur’an because the Qur’an discloses and brings forth the paths of guidance and certitude. al-Zamakhshari [in al-Kashshaf 1:601] also contented himself with this explanation.” Further elaboration on these two sources is given by Shah `Abd al-`Aziz al-Multani in his al-Nabras (p. 28-29): “al-Kashshaf proclaims itself Father of the Mu`tazila… Abu `Ali al-Jubba’i is the Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab of the Mu`tazila of Basra.” The similarity of the Mu`tazila with the Wahhabis and “Salafis” of modern times is pointed out by Imam Kawthari in many places in his Maqalat, where he shows that as in the case of the Mu`tazila, the Wahhabis’ denial of the characteristics of the awliya’ camouflages a denial of those of the Prophets.

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