أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا

It is He Who made the sun a glow and the moon a light. (Al-Quran, 10:5)

Both the words ضِيَاءً and نُورًا mean glow and light, therefore many master lexicographers have taken these as synonyms. ‘Allamah al-Zamakhshari, al-Tibi, besinde some others said: Though the sense of light is common to both words, but noor is general. Whether strong or weak, dim or clear, every light is referred to as noor, while ضوء (daw) and ضِيَاءً (diyaa) refer to light that is strong and clear. One needs both kinds of light. For the usual business of life, the sharp and clear light of the day is required, while the comparatively dim light of the night is preferred for ordinary chores. If the day had nothing but the pale light of the moon, business will be affected adversely, and if the sun were to keep shining also during the night, sleep and chores that must be taken care of at that time alone would be disturbed. Therefore nature made arrangements to provide both kinds of light by giving sunlight the degree of daw’ and diyaa and let it manifest itself at that time when people are busy in business, vocation or other avenues of livelihood. And the moonlight was made to be gentle, pale and pleasing and the night was appointed to be the time of its manifestation.

The Holy Quran has differentiated the lights of the sun and the moon variously at several places. In Surah Nuh, it was said ‘WajaAAala alqamara feehinna nooran wajaAAala alshshamsa sirajan’ (And has made the moon a light therein, and made the sun a lamp-71:16). Again, in Surah al-Furqan, it was said: wajaAAala feeha sirajan waqamaran muneeran (and has placed therein a great lamp (sun), and a moon giving light-25:61). Siraj means lamp and since the light from a lamp is its own and not borrowed from somewhere else, therefore, some commentators have said that diyaa is the intrinsic light of something while noor is extrinsic light derived from something else. This semantic approach appears to be influenced by Greek thought, otherwise it has no lexical basis and the Quran too has not given any categorical verdict about it.

Zajjaj takes diya to be the plural of daw. Perhaps, this may be indicative of the sun being a compendium of the seven colors of light which show up in the post-rain rainbow. (Al-Manar).

Maariful Quran, Volume 4, pp: 516-517.

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