The world can be a dark place. War, greed, racial hatred, oppression… these are expressions of social ignorance on a sweeping scale. Sometimes it feels like the world is being consumed by the forces of darkness, doesn’t it? Then we have personal suffering, abuse, and selfishness manifestations of spiritual darkness at the most intimate level. Because these ills strike at our friendships, in our homes and in our own hearts, they are even harder to deal with than global calamities. There’s only one refuge, one source of protection, comfort, and guidance. The only true light comes from Allah (God, the Creator). Only Allah’s light can defeat the darkness. All other promises of hope and salvation are illusions.
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” – Quran 24:35
Can one find comfort in material luxury, physical sensation, or intoxication? Not really. Those are distractions. Whatever pleasure we get from them fades quickly. Can one find solace in nature? Perhaps, but only because the beauty of nature is a reflection of Allah’s mercy and creative genius. The creation is a sign that points to the Creator. When you’re sitting there on a mountain meadow, looking out over the forested slopes and thinking, “This sure is beautiful. I feel at peace ,” what you’re really doing sub-consciously is praising Allah and sensing the beauty that He placed in His creation.
Do some people commit evil in the name of religion? Yes, but Allah is exalted and glorified above what people do. Our refuge from all of this is Allah’s light. The following is an authentic dua’ which the Prophet ﷺ used to supplicate in sujood:
“O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light, and make me light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light. O Allah, make for me a light in my grave… and a light in my bones. Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in light. Grant me light upon light.”
It should be noted that this light has nothing to do with skin, hair or eye color. It is a reference to Allah’s light, which Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA) said was the gift of Allah’s guidance in the heart of the believer. Allah says,
“Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light.” – Quran 2:257
It’s obvious that people continue to equate lightness and darkness of skin to goodness and badness of character. A person might have a skin as dark as ebony, yet be filled with Allah’s light, so that the noor (light) radiates from their face. And a person might be white as bone, yet thoroughly evil. Anyone who believes differently is confused and spiritually lost. May Allah protect us from such corrupt ways of thinking.