Noorun Alaa Noor // Light Upon Light

اللَّهُ 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.” (24:35)

I have always been fascinated by Aayah 35 in Surah Noor. It’s my favourite aayah in the Qur’aan and this is why.

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” Allah is comparing himself to the thing “light” which is what you need to be able to see the universe for what it is. Without light you can’t see anything so without Allah you can’t see anything.

Allah uses a parable here “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 star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree”. It is an ancient invention, in a large room light needs to spread, to do this there’s an arch (a niche) in the wall which is where a lamp goes. Oil is then put into the lamp and because of the shape of the arch this light spreads to the entire room. This niche is called a mishkaat which is the example of Allah’s light. 

The arch we speak of is actually your rib cage as it is shaped like an arch. Allah made a hole in it and this hole has a “lamp” which is your heart. The oil used to light up the lamp is something pure which is “neither of the east nor of the west,” you won’t find it anywhere because the oil in the lamp is from Allah. The oil is your rooh.

“whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.” This oil wants to light up. Noor is a light that doesn’t have any burning or heat in it. It is the light of Allah. The light we have inside of ourselves is not entirely noor, it has an element of daw’ which is also light but this light has burning in it. Why? Because when we experience this light, there’s going to be some pain, some burning and some sacrifices.

“Light upon light”. This lamp inside, this heart has a light that Allah put in it before we even got here and then there’s a second light, the light of revelation that Allah sends. Allah is the way you see reality and revelation is also the way by which you see reality. The light outside will not be of any benefit if you are eyes are closed or if you’re blind. We need the light inside to see. When this light that was put inside your clean heart meets the light of revelation then the two lights collide and the entire entity of the human being inside of him is lit up. Allah calls this Noor Alaa Noor. This light drives darkness away, the sadness goes away, the fears go away and the jealousy goes away. This is Light upon light.

“Allah guides to His light whom He wills.” Allah guides who ever he wants to the light and whoever wants to be guided to the light can also have this light. Allah says that he is willing to give it to you but you have to also be willing to accept it.

“And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.”

For this blog post, I’ve collaborated with my friend, Nuraan Khan, Pen to Pixels. Nuraan and I know each other for about ten years. This aayah is her favourite also and so, we have bonded over a shared love for the same aayah. It is impossible for me to read this aayah without thinking of Nuraan. So, tonight, when you’re reading taraweeh and you read Surah Noor please think of us (and please make dua for us).

You can find Nuraan’s instagram page here.

The original artwork that inspired the digital piece.

Amazing is the profile of my Nabi ﷺ

Amazing is the profile of my Nabi ﷺ
When I send salutations upon him
Blessings descend upon me


Amazing is the profile of my Nabi ﷺ
When I long to visit him in his city of peace
He sends me an invitation to meet him


Amazing is the profile of my Nabi ﷺ
When I feel lost without guidance
He told me to look at the Qur’aan and the Sunnah


Amazing is the profile of my Nabi ﷺ
When I look for stories of love
He left many for us to read


Amazing is the profile of my Nabi ﷺ
When I look for someone to emulate
He left me guiding stars to follow


Amazing is the profile of my Nabi ﷺ
When everyone ignores me
He cries “my ummati, my ummati”


Amazing is the profile of my Nabi ﷺ
When I send salutations upon him
Blessings descend upon me


-r.l.

Note: I read the first stanza somewhere and it really resonated within me, so I decided to build on it.

Ramadhaan 1441/2020

Four weeks of mercy. 

30 days of worship. 

720 hours of spirituality. 

43 200 minutes of forgiveness. 

2 592 000 seconds of happiness.

Nabi ﷺ said: “O People, there comes to you a great month now, a most blessed month, in which is a night greater in value and goodness than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made fasting fardh by day and has made sunnah the taraweeh salaah by night. Whosoever wants to be close to Allah by doing any good deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a fardh in any other time and whoever performs a fardh, shall be given the reward of seventy faraaidh in any other time.” 

Alhamdulillah, once again, we are blessed with the arrival of our favourite month of the year, Ramadhaan. It has come at a time where all of us are in desperate need of its blessings. 

This Ramadhaan will be very different to its predecessors. There will be no taraweeh in the masjid. There will be no iftaar with our family and friends. There will be no takeaways for sehri. There will be no programmes in the masjid. There will be no itikaaf. But with all that this pandemic has taken away from us, it has not left us without blessings. 

It has given us the opportunity to revolve our days around salaah as it should be but due to so many other obligations, we loose ourselves in the mundane tasks of our days. It has given us the opportunity to pray salaah in jamaat with our families, there is something so sweet about falling into prostration in sync with the people you love. It has given us the opportunity to use our time at home to read as much Qur’aan because there is no place we need to rush to. A man asked someone “how much Qur’aan should you read?” He replied, “equivalent to the amount of happiness you are looking for.” 

Nabi ﷺ said: Allah Ta’alah says, “Whoever draws close to me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to me the by length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom (a unit of length equal to six feet). Whoever comes to me walking, I will come to him running.” Let us use this month to gain closeness to Allah. Like we focus on our physical health and our mental health, let us use Ramadhaan to focus on our spiritual health. May Allah make it easy for all of us and may He give us the contentment all of us crave. 

Please remember my family and I in your duas as you and your family are always in mine. 

The one where we choose the best friend

Chandler (aka the funny one in the group, also my favourite person.)

  • Is not great at advice but can interest you in a sarcastic comment.
  • It is impossible for a person to not laugh when Chandler’s on screen. 
  • Consoled Rachel when she found out her parents were getting a divorce and Monica when she was upset at Ross’s wedding. 
  • The way he looks at Monica. 
  • Joey says that Chandler is the best roommate ever. 
  • Chandler said that proposing to Monica is the most important thing he’s going to do in his life. 
  • Makes jokes when he feels uncomfortable.
  • Knows that he and Monica are meant for each other. 
  • Thought out every detail about his future with Monica. 
  • Cares for Joey and will have an apartment on his garage for Joey to live in when he and Monica have a home together. 
  • Will carry Monica around in his pocket even if she shrinks down to two inches tall. 
  • Chandler wanted the Swing Kings because while Monica and him were dancing to them it was the first time he knew Monica was the woman that he wanted to dance all his dances with. 
  • The way he looked at Monica in that dress. 
  • That time Chandler, Ross and Joey did facemasks together so they would have younger looking skin. 
  • When he lost the cameras, he tried to recreate the pictures people took at the wedding. 
  • The way he talks Monica down when she wants to do crazy things. 
  • The fact that he would do the crazy things for Monica. 
  • Thinks that expensive china should be used. 
  • Chandler’s smile. 
  • Chandler and Joey’s “hey honey” and “hey sweetie” interaction. 
  • The speech Chandler gave to Erica about the baby: “My wife’s an incredible woman. She’s loving and devoted and caring… and don’t tell her I said this, but the woman’s always right. I love my wife more than anything in this world. And… it kills me that I can’t give her a baby. I really want a kid. And when that day finally comes, I’ll learn how to be a good dad, but my wife, she’s already there. She’s a mother without a baby. Please?”
  • When Chandler gives Phoebe away. 
  • The fact that he made sure the new house had a “Joey Room” in it. 
  • Chandler and Joey’s hugs. 

Monica (aka the mom of the group)

  • Takes in Rachel after she leaves Barry at the altar. 
  • Always gives the gang food. 
  • Her style is effortless and she gets it right every time. 
  • When Rachel has an infection in her eye, she puts the eye drops in Rachel’s eyes as Rachel is scared of the drops. 
  • Didn’t want a big fancy wedding, wanted a marriage. 
  • Monica gave Chandler her jacket when he was cold. 
  • She gave up THE dress for The Swing Kings because Chandler wanted them for their wedding. 
  • Got to marry her best friend and soulmate, Chandler. 
  • She gave Rachel the name Emma because she loves Rachel more than she loves the name Emma. 
  • The way she gets excited about organising anything. 
  • Monica made all of them take of Rachel when she just moved to the city. 
  • Monica speaks the truth, “I don’t get older, I get better.”
  • Monica put three lasagnes in Joey’s freezer before they moved out. 
  • “I know.” – Monica Geller, at any given time.

Joey (aka the cute one in the group)

  • The way he took care of the chick and the duck. 
  • Is always there for all of the friends and will sacrifice his own happiness for them.
  • Has a bed time penguin pal, Bugsy.
  • Instinctively protected his sandwich when he thought a bullet went off then gave it to Chandler to prove how much Chandler means to him. 
  • If the revolution comes, Phoebe will destroy all of them besides Joey. 
  • Joey’s facial expressions. 
  • Has a Joey’s apple. 
  • When Phoebe found out she was 31, Joey made her feel better. 
  • That time Chandler, Ross and Joey did facemasks together so they would have younger looking skin.
  • Ken Adams. 
  • Joey made the apartment baby proof and set up a crib for Rachel’s baby. 
  • He’s a Tribbiani: “but dammit we can eat.”
  • “If he’s funny, laugh.”
  • Took Rachel out on a date when she was feeling sad that she couldn’t go out on a date because she was pregnant and he brought her flowers.
  • When Joey thought Monica was cheating on Chandler, he called Chandler and sat outside Monica and Chandler’s apartment with a baseball bat until Chandler got home. 
  • Joey and Phoebe tried to get Rachel and Ross back together by setting them up on terrible dates so they would realise they’re perfect together. 
  • Used the wishbone to wish that Chandler would get the job he really wanted. 
  • Chandler and Joey’s “hey honey” and “hey sweetie” interaction. 
  • The way Joey speaks French. 
  • Joey made a sign to welcome the baby home and then sat in the paint. 
  • Joey and Chandler’s hugs. 

Rachel (aka the fashionable one in the group)

  • Moved to the city on her own.  
  • Covers Monica with a blanket when she falls asleep on the couch so she doesn’t get cold. 
  • Told Ross that Emily called even though she loves Ross. 
  • Put stuff together for Monica when Monica and Chandler got engaged.
  • Rachel taught Ben pranks and he calls her “Fun Aunt Rachel”.
  • As maid of honour for Monica, she made sure that everything went well on their big day. 
  • She gave us the iconic line of: “No uterus, no opinion!”
  • When Rachel and Ross sing “baby got back” to Emma. 
  • The way she takes care of Emma, she’s a really good mom. 
  • If she wanted Emma’s birthday cake to be a disaster, she would’ve baked it herself. 
  • She got off the plane. 

Phoebe (aka the weird one in the group)

  • She let Rachel be maid of honour for Monica because she knew how much it meant to Rachel.
  • Says boyfriends and girlfriends come and go but their friendships are forever. 
  • Told everyone she was pregnant when Rachel wasn’t ready to tell everyone. 
  • Regina Phalange. 
  • The way she spells her name: “P as in Phoebe, H as in Hoebe, O as in Oebe, E as in Ebe, B as in Bebe, and E as in…’ello there, mate!”
  • When Joey and Phoebe tried to get Rachel and Ross back together by setting them up on terrible dates so they would realise they’re perfect together.
  • Kept Ross’s Science Boy from her days on the street. 
  • Phoebe’s confidence. “Wow. Don’t you look nice.” “Yes, I do.”
  • The way Phoebe teaches Joey French. 
  • Princess Consuela Banana Hammock. 
  • The fact that she always rooted for Ross and Rachel. 

Ross (aka the irritating one in the group)

  • When he got dressed for Rachel’s prom because he thought Rachel’s date ditched her. 
  • He let Rachel win in Poker “but look how happy she is.”
  • Ross’s reaction when he found out Chandler’s going to propose “we’re going to be brothers-in-law”.
  • He bought Phoebe a bike for her because she never got a “first bike” when she was small. 
  • That time Chandler, Ross and Joey did facemasks together so they would have younger looking skin. 
  • Told Chandler he will hunt him down and kick his ass if he hurt Monica in any way. 
  • Always makes Rachel feel better when she’s upset. 
  • Joey thinks he’s a good guy. 
  • The way Ross was going to propose to Rachel. 
  • When Ross and Rachel sing “baby got back” to Emma. 
  • Ross hyped up Joey to Charlie even though he liked Charlie, the palaeontology professor and he knew that they had more in common than Joey and Charlie. 
  • The one where Ross is fine. 
  • The fact that Ross counts “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi.”
  • Ross told Rachel he loved her and not to get on the plane. 

Honourable Mention:

Mike

  • That time he went over to Ross and they couldn’t talk about anything so they sat there in silence. 
  • He’s really witty. “This doesn’t concern you.” “I’m sorry I was thrown off by the mention of my name.”
  • Went to Barbados to tell Phoebe he loved her and wanted to marry her. 
  • His proposal: there’s no one else I’d ask to marry three times. 
  • The way he looked at Phoebe when she was walking down the aisle. 
  • When Mike changed his name to “Crap Bag” when Phoebe changed her name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock. 
  • He made a really pretty sign to welcome the baby home. 

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We are so blessed and it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for us to realise that. 

If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your body, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you’re richer than 75% of the entire world. 

If you have money in your wallet, and can go anywhere you want, you are among 18% of the world’s most wealthy people. 

If you are alive today and healthy, you are more blessed than the millions of people who will not survive this week and die. 

If you can actually read and understand this message, you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who are blind, deaf or illiterate. 

-Kamaldeep Singh

I came across this post a few years ago but it is something that I always hear in my head when I find myself being ungrateful or complaining or being rude in any way. 

Today, more than ever, we all need to remember how very, very blessed we are.  

Here’s ten blessings that I am extremely thankful for:

  1. My religion, Islam. Nothing brings comfort like praying, “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28)
  2. My family. Most of us are safe at home right now but for some people, home is not a safe place. 87000 cases of gender based violence have been reported since the lockdown started. 
  3. My home. I have a bed to sleep on, couches to relax on and even a backyard to get some sunshine, amongst many many other things to make this time at home easy. 
  4. My country. With 2,083,048 cases worldwide (3:33 AM 16/04/2020), South Africa has 2,506 cases. A salute to our President for making every difficult decision. We will get through this and we will be stronger. 
  5. Food. Like many of you, I have used this time to experiment in the kitchen. If you, like me, have had access to whatever ingredients you needed to experiment, I would consider us extremely blessed as people all over the country barely have enough to survive. 
  6. Clean water. I open the tap and there it is. I can comfortably shower, wash my hands and I can drink it (do you know that even in first world countries, they’re unable to drink tap water). 
  7. Electricity. I have lights switched on in my home, I can use a heater if I feel cold and I have access to the internet. 
  8. Netflix. I may be watching Friends for the millionth time but it makes me laugh and feel warm inside. 
  9. Campus. Wits going online makes me feel some sort of normalcy. 
  10. Books. I’m using this time to start reading again. Do you know how sad it is to go from being someone who used to read under her desk in math class to reading one book every few months?

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