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|Meaning of the name||The Light|
|Number of verses||64|
|Number of Rukus||9|
The general agreement of scholars is that this sura was revealed shortly before or after the Battle of the Trench in 5 AH
The sura thus begins with various explanations and decrees on or relating to corrupt sexual acts, family law, and specifications on the giving of testimony. Foremost amongst these rulings is God's punishment for adultery. This section ends with the pronouncement that good men and women should be paired together, as should corrupt men and corrupt women. This discussion turns into reflections on privacy and modesty, namely of hosts and women. Contained herein are several regulations and explanations of modesty, most directly lines traditionally used to argue for the wearing of hijab. After these prohibitions are cast for women, the text turns towards men, asking them not to oppress slavegirls into prostitution, and to marry those women who need husbands, despite their poverty.
After a second statement of the Quran's status as a clear sign from Allah, the famed Ayat an-Nur appears. This is often referred to as "the Light Verse", or "the Parable of Light", a mystical group of lines that has been the subject of much scholarship and reflection.
- "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is as if there were a niche and within it a lamp: the lamp enclosed in glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His light: Allah doth set forth parables for men: and God doth know all things."
The Qur'an here briefly returns to a slightly more literal form of speech as it reassures believers that their remembrance will be rewarded, as the forgetfulness of the sinners will be punished. In keeping with the Light Verse, the unbelievers too are explained in metaphor, returning to the deeply symbolic tone above:
"And as for the unbelievers, their works are as a mirage in a spacious plain,
in which a thirsty man thinks there to be water,
until when he comes to it, he finds it is nothing;
there indeed he finds God and He pays him his account in full;
and God is swift in the reckoning;
or they are as shadows upon a sea obscured,
covered by a billow above which is a billow above which are clouds;
shadows piled one upon the other;
when he puts forth his hand, wellnigh he cannot see it.
And whoever God assigns no light, no light has he." (Lines 39-40)
The Qur'an explains that the Earth itself is evidence of God's reality and power. He controls the clouds, the winds, the hail, and the mountains. It is also explained in this surah that God created all creatures from water, including animals with four feet, animals with two feet, and animals without any feet.
The Qur'an confirms that God has sent down signs (ayat) to make His reality clear, and that understanding that reality is as a "straight path", that if one is truly following, one can never be led astray. God keeps His word, and will continue to reward those who believe and keep to their religion, as He has rewarded others in the past for doing the same.
The Book urges the believer not to fret, and not to accuse people of sin merely for the conditions of their birth or social status. For example, in many tribal cultures a blind person or their parents were believed to be wicked, hence the gods or the spirits have blinded them. The Qur'an urges one not to think in this manner, and instead remember that all things are signs from God, and thus all believers should be of good nature to others, and wish them blessings from God. If that is done, the signs become clear and "haply you will understand".
As the believer must greet others well, so must they ask for leave from them before departing. However, the sura ends, God knows the hidden reasons people do as they do, "God knows those of you who slip away surreptitiously", for when all returns to Him, they will testify against themselves to Him.
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|Surah An-Nur 24||Next sura: