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O Prophet!

Truly We have sent you as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and a Warner (45) And as one who invites to Allah's (Grace) by His leave, and You as a Lamp spreading Light. (33:46) Allh 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 is in glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east (i.e. neither it gets sun-rays only in the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allh guides to His Light whom He wills. And Allh sets forth parables for mankind, and Allh is All-Knower of everything. (24:35) Indeed, there has come to you from Allh a light (Prophet Muhammad SAW ) and a plain Book (this Qur'n). (5.15) In these verses, the word Nur(light) has been explained by a number of classic Quranic exegetes as follows: Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti: "It is the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)" (Tafsir alJalalayn, 139). Ibn Jarir al-Tabari: "By Light He means Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), through whom Allah has illuminated the truth, manifested Islam, and obliterated polytheism; since he is a light for whoever seeks illumination from him, which makes plain the truth" (Jami' al-bayan, 6.161). Fakhr al-Razi: "There are various positions about it, the first being that the Light is Muhammad, and the Book is the Quran " (al-Tafsir al-kabir, 11:194). Al-Baghawi: "It means Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), or, according to a weaker position, Islam" (Ma'alam al-Tanzil, 2.228). Qurtubi (Ahkam al-Quran , 6.118) and Mawardi (al-Nukat wa al-'uyun, 2.22) mention that interpreting Nur as "Muhammad" (Allah bless him and give him peace) was also the position by [the Imam of Arabic grammar Ibrahim ibn Muhammad] al-Zajjaj (d. 311/923). All of which shows that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), is a light from Allah, according to the Quran. This is the interpretation of the earliest exegetes, for al-

Tabari was the sheikh of the salaf (early Muslims) in tafsir; while explaining Nur as "Islam" is an interpretation that came later. As for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) being a bashar or 'human being', there is no doubt of this, because it is Quran and 'aqida. Yet the Quran does not simply state that he is a normal human being, but rather says,

Say: "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your God is one God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner." (18:110) The important qualificatory phrase in this verse shows us that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was a completely different sort of human being from anyone else, then or now. For none of us can say he is divinely inspired as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was. Rather, as is said in a poetic ode to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) which is often sung at gatherings after singing the Qasida al-Burda [Ode of the Prophetic Mantle] by al-Busayri: Muhammad is a human being, but not like humankind; "He is a ruby, while people are as stones."