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DOI 10.12887/30-2017-3-119-09

Katarzyna PACHNIAK – The Concept of Light in Islam: The Mysticism of Light in The Niche of Lights by Al-Ghazali

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The introductory focus of the article is the verse on light present in surah An-Nur [24] of the Quran. The author first analyzes the concept of light in the culture of early Islam, attempting to establish how the verse on light found its way to the Quran. After presenting the general difficulties in a reconstruction of the early history of Islam the author shows how its concept of light was affected by older religions, in particular Zoroastrianism and Manicheism, and later Neoplatonism. The influence in question is discussed in relation to mystical philosophy in Islam (Sufism), where the impact in question was most visible. Subsequently, the basic concepts of Sufism are discussed.

The second part of the article comprises an analysis of The Niche of Lights [Mishkat al-anwar] by Al-Ghazali. The treatise is described with a view to the ways in which God is shown in it as the highest Light which radiates itself onto other beings and is cognizable by people on various levels, the highest of them being accessible solely to mystics, i.e. those capable of seeing pure light and ‘pouring’ it into themselves, thus annihilating their own selves.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: Al-Ghazali, The Niche of Lights, light, Quran, Zoroastrianism, Manicheism, Neoplatonism, Sufism, mysticism of light, God

Contact: Katedra Arabistyki i Islamistyki, Wydział Orientalistyczny, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland

E-mail: k.pachniak@uw.edu.pl
Phone: +48 22 8263683

Pliki do pobrania:

» 119_Pachniak.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887