Quranic Reflection No 608 Āyat 9:32 – Extinguishing the Light of Allah (swt)

يُرِيدُونَ أَن يُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَيَأْبَى اللَّهُ إِلَّا أَن يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ

Yurīdūna an yutfi’ū nūrallahi biafwāhihim waya’ballāhu illā an yutimma nūrahū walaw karihal-kāfirūn.

They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah refuses except to perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.

(Surat al-Tawbah, No.9, Āyat 32)

This verse gives an interesting analogy to those who oppose belief in Allah ‘azza wajall and wish to destroy it. The Almighty says it is like those who wish to extinguish His light with their mouths, but they will not succeed.

Note the following points about this verse:

1) The religion of Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā, its teachings, and the Quran, are termed as the light of Allah. Light is the source of warmth and brightness which causes growth and gives life. It adds beauty to all tings. The guidance sent by Allah also causes movement of the soul and brings about growth of the soul. It beautifies and brightens. It is the source of continuous goodness.

2) Trying to blow with one’s mouth at a light that has a Divine source is a feeble attempt to put out what cannot be extinguished. The weakness of the human being cannot stand up to the power and might of the Creator. His will reigns supreme and what He wishes will eventually take place. Sometimes we fail to see the big picture and overlook the fact that God’s hand steers all things towards a specific direction.

3) The word ‘ya’ba’ means preventing strongly and holding back. The efforts of the disbelievers will not be allowed to block the eventual success of the guidance sent down by Allah.

According to Tafsir Nūr, the Prophet (s) said: God looked at the people of the earth and chose me. Then He looked again and chose Ali bin Abū Tālib [a]. He is the light on the earth after me. The Prophet (s) then recited the above verse.

Bībī Fātima Zahrā (a) recited this verse in the sermon she gave when she spoke up for her right to Fadak. She said: You hastened to take the reins [of the caliphate] into your hands. After having acquired it, you started to ignite the fire of mutiny and you became engrossed in inciting the fire. You responded to the call of Satan, the seducer, and you intended to put out the light of the glorious religion.

The analogy of the mouth could refer to the fact that often religion is attacked verbally. Words – false and venomous – are used to oppose Islam. We see that is society today, where media uses language to distort the teachings of Islam and spread falsehood about it. Such attacks have been taking place since the inception of Islam. As believers we must realize the weakness of such attempts to put out the truth that has come from Allah (swt).

Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; Āghā Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr Nūr.