Reflection No. 221 on Q 66:8 – Perfection of Spiritual Light

رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا
Rabbanā atmim lanā nūranā waghfirlanā
Our Lord! Perfect our Light for us and forgive us
(Sūratu Tahrīm, No. 66, Āyat 8)

The above verse is the supplication of the believers on the Day of Judgement. When they have already been forgiven and are being taken to Heaven, their light of faith and good deeds will shine in front of them and to their right. At that time believers will pray for the completion of their light and for forgiveness. This is after God has removed from them all the evil they have done. So what forgiveness are they asking for at this time? ‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī explains it beautifully in his Tafsīr al-Mīzān. He says the believers will have a light but that light will not be perfect or complete. Their sins have been forgiven but in their record of deeds are the empty spaces which had earlier been filled with sins. They see a flaw in their record of deeds and consequently in the light they have, so they ask God to fill in the empty spaces with good and thus perfect their light.

Imam Ali Zaynul ‘Ābidīn (a) quotes this verse when he bids farewell to the month of Ramadan. He says:  It is You who has opened for Your servants a door to Your pardon, which You have named ‘tawba.’. You have placed upon that door a pointer from Your revelation, lest they stray from it: You have said –blessed are Your names. The he quoted Quranic verse 66:8.  Repent to Allah with sincere repentance! Maybe your Lord will absolve you of your misdeeds and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, on the day when Allah will not let the Prophet down and the faithful who are with him. Their light will move swiftly before them and on their right. They will say, ‘Our Lord! Perfect our light for us and forgive us! Indeed You have power over all things.  (Sahīfa Sajjādiyya, Du‘ā 45, passages 10 &11)

As we enter the last week of the holy month of Ramadan, it is necessary to put extra efforts in repenting and pleading for forgiveness untiringly, and ask for a complete and perfect acceptance. The opportunity is slipping by and a conscious awareness will help us benefit from it as completely as possible.

The following are recommended to do before the month ends:

Compare yourself now with when the month began.
How is your relationship with Allah different? What about your relation with the Holy Prophet (s) and the Imams (a)? And, the relationship with the Book of Allah? Has there been an increase in enthusiasm, attachment, activity, etc.?
How much have you worked on yourself and removed negative traits?
Have you improved relationships with your kith and kin? And, with other people?

Repent sincerely for all past misdeeds. Recite istighfār repeatedly at the same time weeping for past disobediences and sins committed and promising not to repeat

Recite the Quran as much as possible during these last days and strengthen your relationship with it.

Supplicate with full attention of the heart, for that is the best action of this month. The following phrase in the Du’ā which we recite during the last ten nights of the holy month is pertinent: [My Master] If You are pleased with me in this month then increase for me that pleasure; and if You are not pleased with me, then from now on, be pleased with me. O the Most Merciful. Knock the Divine door, by saying it again and again.

Pray that God may complete the light for us, forgive us completely. Each night of the month He forgives so many of His creatures. According to hadith, on the last night of the month Allah forgives the number of people equal to all those who He has forgiven during the month. May we be from among them!

Sources: Imam ‘Ali Zaynul ‘Ābidin, Sahifa Sajjādiyya; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūne; ‘Allāmah S M H Tabātabā’ī, Al-Mīzān fī Tafsīr al-Quran.