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NOOR

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The word noor means light, illumination or effulgence. Light in a general sense is that natural agent or influence, which evokes the functional activity of the organ of sight. It is viewed as the medium of visual perception generally. The word noor occurs 49 times in the Koran. The Koran is rich in reference to light, both in the literal as well as in symbolic and metaphoric senses. The most common word for light is noor, although diya appears on three occasion, also misbah and siraj. Light as a noor most frequently appears juxtaposed to darkness (zulumat). This is most common in the phrase "From the darkness in the light" (mina l-zulumati ila l-noori), which appears at least seven times in the Koran (2:257, 5:16, 14:1, 5; 33:43, 57:9, 65:11). In this context, light functions both as that with which one can see clearly in a literal sense and also as a metaphoric source of guidance and illumination, where darkness is akin to ignorance. In the first sense, light versus darkness is compared to having sight versus being blind: "Say, Is the blind equal with one who sees or is darkness equal with light?" (13:16); this verse is repeated almost verbatim in 35:19. Elsewhere the direct connection between light and seeing versus darkness and not seeing is clearly evoked: "God took away their light and left them in darkness so they could not see" (2:17), and the evocative "Or like the darkness in a deep ocean surmounted by crashing waves with dark clouds above


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