Mosque Lamp

Mosque Lamp | Mamluk dynasty, about AD 1350-55 | From Cairo, Egypt To The British, Museum | Commissioned by Amir Sayf al-Din Shaykhu

Enamelled and gilded glass lamps were commissioned in large numbers for the many mosques built in Cairo by the Mamluk Sultans and their amirs. Many, including this example, are inscribed with verses from the Qur’an (24:35):

‘God is the Light of the heavens and the earth;
the likeness of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp
(the lamp in a glass,
the glass as it were a glittering star)
kindled from a Blessed Tree,
an olive that is neither of the East nor of the West
whose oil wellnigh would shine, even if no fire touched it.’

(Arberry, 1955, pp. 50-51)

Perhaps more than any other, this single ayat suggests only mystical interpretations, as the metaphor is completely coherent, but it does not surrender an obvious meaning. Hence it was and remains a key Qur’anic passage to many Sufis and Muslim Philosophers into the present day, who argue for esoteric readings of the Qur’an. Most noteworthy amongst the intellectual and spiritual genius who have puzzled over Ayat an-Nur is al-Ghazali (d. 1111), whose reflections on this verse, as well as the nature of divine Light is collected in his masterpiece Mishkat al-Anwar (the “Niche of Lights”).


3 thoughts on “Mosque Lamp

  1. zain khan

    سورہ آل عمران کی چھٹی ایت :: اللھ تعالی فرماتے ہیں، قران مین دو طرح کی ایات ہیں، ایات المحکمات اور آیات المتشابیہات— قران کی جان آیات المحکمات ہیں جو صریحاِ ہیں، آیت المتشابیہات سمچھ سے ورا ہہیں، یا زمانے– وہ لوگ جن کے دل میں کھوٹ ہے متشابیہات کے بارے مین بحث کرتے ہین

    متشابیہات: یعنی جنت، دوزخ، فرشے، انبیا کرام، کتب، اور اللھ کا مقام جلس وغیراہ– اور سارے فرقہ بندی کی جڑ متشایہات پر بحث: بس ہم ایمان رکھتے ہیں اور کوئی واصاحت نیی

    زین العابدین


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