Islamic Prophecies: Electric light bulbs

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God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is that of a niche in which is a lamp. The lamp is enclosed in glass. The glass is like a pear-like planet. Lit with the oil of a blessed tree, the olive, neither of the east, nor the west, whose oil appears to light up even though fire touches it not. Light upon light. God guides to His light whomever He wills. God sets forth parables for the people. God knows all things. (24:35)


We believe that there are implications in the Quran indicating certain important inventions that were to take place in the future for mankind. At the time of the Prophet, when these inventions were beyond human imagination, people could not have imagined them. How could it be possible to explain to these people what electricity and the electric light bulb were?

The verse above seems to hint at electricity and the light bulb. However, I am not claiming that this is its only significance. It is certain that the scope of it must be larger than that. While the verse points to a fundamental issue in referring to light, it also seems to have the connotation of an electric bulb and electricity.

Light (“noor” in Arabic) is described enclosed in a glass. The fuel of this light within the glass comes neither from the east nor from the west, as the fuel consumed at the time was olive oil, but the expression here seems to point to a source of energy other than olive oil. The expression east and west means the entire world. An energy whose origin is neither the east nor the west must be an unknown energy. When this fact is seen within the framework of the expression, “to light up even though fire touches it not,” one generated by an energy without fire suggests electricity.

This verse certainly has other connotations. But it is impossible not to think of electricity. At the end of the verse, mention is made of parables. Recourse to parables is a method used by the Quran to convey information to the public who may not be in a position to understand what is communicated.

The imaginative scene that this verse generates in our mind is the following: the electric bulb that is lit in a dark room without having recourse to a flame illuminates the entire medium. Likewise when we look at the universe around us without our being aware of God’s existence, deprived of all faith, everything will look dark, void and suggestive of despair. Once we take cognizance of God’s existence and are enlightened by religion, our world will be illuminated just as the dark room is lit up. An aimless life will become meaningful, despair will yield itself to hope, and the feeling of being in a void will be replaced by a sense of existence. That is, the dark will be turned into light.


Rebuttal[edit]

The first thing to note, is that this is a parable; a story. A likeness to the nature of Allah, and the true believers . ie. it should not be taken literally. Also notice the author's phrasing: this seems to HINT at electricity and the light bulb . Even they know its a stretch. Different types of lamps were in use, and known about long before the time of Muhammad; so, again, it isn't referring to an unknown thing. Everyone knew what a lamp was. The Bible, which Muhammad and his companions had access to, also talks about lamps.

Another thing to notice when reading the verse in context, is the very next verse

Yusuf Ali: (Lit is such a Light) in houses, which Allah hath permitted to be raised to honor; for the celebration, in them, of His name: In them is He glorified in the mornings and in the evenings, (again and again)


Pickthal: (This lamp is found) in houses which Allah hath allowed to be exalted and that His name shall be remembered therein. Therein do offer praise to Him at morn and evening.


Shakir: In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them; there glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings,

If we are to take this as a "true prophecy", then wouldn't it mean that non-Muslim houses would have no light bulbs? After all, Allah tells us in the next verse, that this lamp/light is only found in houses in which his name is 'remembered'. This disqualifies non-Muslims and renders these verses as exactly what they are; a parable, and nothing more.


Conclusion[edit]

This is a parable. The very next verse (Quran 24:36) rules out the possibility that this is any way prophetic of the invention of light bulbs, or electricity.


External Links[edit]

Muslim websites:


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