By Sana Rahim, MedShare’s Faiths Act Fellow
It is profound to see how people across various faith and non-faith traditions alike seek light in their spiritual endeavours. Whether it is ethereal guidance from a deity or the simple joy of living a contented life- human beings gravitate towards to the notion of light. In Islam, noor, or light, is both an attribute of the divine, and a characteristic of an upright believer.
As people around the world celebrated Diwali last week, I couldn’t help but to connect the images of illumination in the Hindu tradition to the notion of noor within the Qur’an. In Verse 35 of Surah Noor, Allah is described as “the light of the heavens and the earth.” The light of Allah is analogized to a lamp within a glass, from which “light upon light” emanates. Some scholars interpret the light to be the Iman, or faith of a believer and the “glass” as a means of reflecting the light of God, to shine even brighter.
As a Faiths Act Fellow this year, it may seem surprising that I seem to find this notion of noor in 33 other fellows that come from all different faith backgrounds. My friends in the Faiths Act Fellowship are bringing light to the world through service, and in some way or another, reflecting the light of the divine through their work this year.
Verse 35 also describes that the oil within the lamp seems to glow itself, as if no fire had touched it, making the glass around the lamp shine “as it were a brilliant star.” As people lit oil lamps around the world to celebrate Diwali, I couldn’t help but to feel that all of the Faiths Act Fellows are brilliant microcosms of the light described in the Qur’an.
As a Muslim, I couldn’t find more meaning in Diwali and its celebration of light. Eric Farr, one of the Faiths Act Fellows shared this quote from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with me: “The most important thing is to polish the mirrors of hearts in order that they may become illumined and receptive of the divine light.”
This year on Diwali, I hope and pray that Allah helps me to polish my mirror one day at a time, and that He continues to guide my path with His light. If that isn’t an interfaith prayer, I don’t know what is.
To read other Tony Blair Faiths Act Fellows blog posts, visit their website here.