Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Meditation on Light

Roland Clarke

Solomon (Sulaiman hakim) said, “Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.” (Eccl. 11:7) Not only do people like light, V Jayaram notes that “light has been universally associated with divinity or godliness in almost every culture and civilization.” (Symbolism of Light in Hinduism)

We see this connection between God and light in the writings revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims. For example, one of the most often recited verses of the Qur'an says, “God is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” (Surah 24:35) This idea is not unlike what Jesus said in 1 John 1:5, “God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 John 1:5) The prophet Isaiah foretold a day would come when, “No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light.” (Isaiah 60:19) Centuries later the apostle John spoke of the restoration of all things, envisioning “a new heaven and a new earth ... God’s home is now among his people! ... He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. ... his servants will worship him. And they will see his face ... And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 21:1-4; 22:5) Note: most of this paragraph is taken from an article by David Foster, titled, Interfaith Dialog on Light and quoted with his permission.

Jesus brings true light

The Bible and the Qur'an affirm that Jesus brought spiritual light which fulfilled the Law and the prophets. Surah 5:46 says Jesus brought the light by “confirming” (reaffirming) the Law of Moses. However, he also satisfied all that it required by obeying God perfectly. (John 8:29; 14:31) In his character and actions Christ shone a pure light not dimmed by any imperfection. Surah 19:19 describes Jesus/Isa as faultless – a truth that is reaffirmed many times in the Bible. (John 8:46)

Jesus taught his followers to shine their light before men by doing good deeds in such a way that “everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16) The Injil (Gospel) also tells us in Matthew 4:13-25 how Jesus shone a “great light on those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow.” Then it explains how he shone light: “by healing every kind of disease and illness.” Some of those who were healed were likely critically illclose to dying like the man described in Luke 7:1-10. When Jesus healed such people he shone a very bright light.

But Jesus didn't just save people from the brink of death. He did something even more amazing. He raised the dead, causing onlookers to glorify God. We read in John 11:38-44 that Jesus arrived at the tomb of Lazarus and said,

“Roll the stone aside.” But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out ...”

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12) In a similar way, Solomon said, “the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light, growing brighter and brighter until full day.” (Proverbs 4:18, NLT) Another similar proverb says, “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.” (Proverbs 12:28, NIV) Think about it and you will realize: Discovering the truth about Jesus is the key to unlocking the meaning behind these proverbs.

Remember: Jesus is the only one who lived a perfectly righteous life. (Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 Peter 2:22) Also, he said,“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” (John 17:3)

Interestingly, the apostle John saw a vision of Jesus where Christ's “face ... was like the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” (Revelation 1:6-18) Note: “keys” are a metaphor meaning Christ overpowered and abolished death. Because of this he has the authority to release others, i.e. raise them from the grave. (John 5:25-30)

Two thousand years later we are hearing increasing numbers of reports from people who've seen a vision of Jesus Christ. In almost all these visions Jesus appears as a brilliant light, not unlike John's vision. The story of Abdullah as described below, is particularly interesting. Bear in mind that Scripture describes hell as the second death which implies that Christ has authority to free people from death, both physically and spiritually. (Revelation 21:8) Note also, the Qur’an says believers will not "taste Death, except the first Death; and He will preserve them from the chastisement of the Blazing Fire." (Surah 44.56)

Abdullah was a faithful Muslim. He lived just an hour’s drive from Mecca, prayed in the mosque five times a day, practiced all the Muslim beliefs, and, of course, regularly visited Mecca. Like many Muslims, he was taught that Christians had evil spirits and that he must keep away from them.

One night Abdullah dreamed he was in hell, burning in a blazing fire. The next morning, very worried, he prayed to Allah, ‘I have done everything well; why would I go to hell?’ During the following days he grew increasingly troubled. One night he was sleepless because of fear, when at midnight a bright light lit his room and a voice said, ‘I am Jesus. Come to me. I am the way to heaven. Follow me and you shall be saved from hell.’ Abdullah fell on his face crying and said, ‘Please help me find you.’ Within days Abdullah found a Christian Bible and began reading it. He soon committed his life to Jesus. (

Let me conclude by quoting a verse from Scripture that summarizes our discussion: God “has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.” (2 Timothy 1:10) Notice, the word illuminated simply means God has brought to light the way to immortality.

Be careful

Jesus said,Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.” (Luke 11:35; cf. Isaiah 5:20) Scripture also warns us that, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) The Bible and the Qur'an warn Christians and Muslims not to be deceived by Satan/Shaitan.

Point to ponder

The prophet Isaiah foretold God would destroy death forever on a special place, Mount Zion, i.e. Jerusalem. (Isaiah 25:7-9) In a similar way, Jesus the Messiah predicted that he would be killed in Jerusalem and three days later rise again. (Luke 18:31-33) Think about it. Could this astonishing miracle be an indication or sign that he overpowered death and destroyed it? You may like to explore this further by reading an article, titled, Is death the end? available online here.

If you want to know more about the true light which comes through God's Messiah I suggest you read The path of righteousness available online here.