Sura An Noor : Enlightening our souls and families

This beautiful sura in Quran is the 24th sura and has been revealed in Madina. In the 35th  ayat, it describes the noor of Allah(j.j), therefore the name of the sura is Sura An Noor.

The whole sura is blueprint for happy family life and emphasizes the importance of family structure. The relationship between firm society and healthy family life is mentioned within context of the social laws found in this sura.

Before we examine the prominent status of such laws and recommendations we have to understand the meaning of the word “noor” and why this sura mentions both the divine attributes of heavenly omni-potent power as well as social rules like how women should dress and how men should behave in any society from a socio-sexual perspective.

Noor means light but this is the kind of light not only illuminates physical spaces from darkness but it guides a soul from the mischievous path to the right one. Some mufassirs suggest that Allah(j.j) utilizes angels to enlighten the firmaments and govern prophets to illuminate earth by giving His noor. If one soul reaches the right path and stays en route, it is only because he has been granted a portion of Allah’s(j.j) noor. In this context, noor is much more than physical illumination and it is associated with “walking the right path”

For individuals to stay on the right path, such noor is necessary. This sura is also a great example of Holy Quran’s semantic structure. It is not just a heavenly text to describe mysterious powers and attributes of the creator of the universe. It tells us exactly how to behave in society. It tells us how we can protect our families. It tells us about the best ways to form men and women relationships both within a household and within a society. It emphasizes the concept of honor, dignity and how and why both men and women should be punished if they pose a threat to their own family structure, therefore threat to society.

This sura could have extensively told us only about Allah’s(j.j) noor. Or, it could have only told us about such social norms and rules without any mentioning of this special “source of energy that illuminates the universe”, in other words, noor.

However, it does mention both.

What might be the point of including the concept of noor with social laws in the same sura?

This should gives a secondary message about the Quran itself. It is not just a book of heavenly mystery. Allah(j.j) didn’t leave us alone or “just gave us freedom and reason” to establish our own set of rules. He guides us with his noor to enlighten us with His knowledge in our personal relationships as well as how we can protect our social structures like our family and how men and women can preserve their socio-sexual relationships in the most dignifying and honorable way.

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