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Knowledge Is Light (Sûfism)

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Chapter Summary

Light was a common symbol in Biblical thought, and throughout later Judaism and Christianity. Light shows the way and provides guidance, as do wisdom and the religious law. According to the Qurʿân, light provides guidance and is given by God, and by God alone. Moderate Ṣûfîs understood God’s “light” in a metaphorical sense as being something immaterial, as being something serving the purpose of guiding mankind. The identification of light with knowledge, or with wisdom, or with both knowledge and wisdom, was ancient and accepted in Islam at an early stage, as attested by Mâlik’s statement using the expression “light of wisdom." Ṣûfism made use of the material provided by religious scholars that described knowledge as light.

Keywords: Ṣûfism; knowledge; light; Qurʿân

10.1163/ej.9789004153868.i-355.24
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