Theories of light and self-realization

October 27, 2017


Over the centuries our (scientific) approach towards the study of light has evolved, and we have presented here an analogy between this evolution of approach (realization) with the realization of HAQ. In this, our approach would be to only mention the similarities and not discuss them.

Words that are capitalized and italicized are borrowed from SUFI terminology (mostly Arabic). Refer to the glossary at the end of this post for their meanings.

The law

The foundation of a religion. It usually includes a set of rules to abide by, a defined way of life, a character to imbibe, a way of life.
This is also the first step to realization in our view and our view is that inspiration uses knowledge and imagination as its means of manifestation.
Now, amongst the first theories of light is the ray theory, which mainly deals with light as a ray, which travels in a straight line (rectilinear propagation). The theory successfully explains reflection and is quite straightforward. An important feature of this theory is that it believes light’s interaction with all matter is indiscriminatory.
The theory would suffice to explain the most basic aspects of light.

The spirituality

The wave theory of light succeeded the ray theory.
Here light is viewed as an electromagnetic wave. It has two components - electrical and magnetic. This theory explains the three exceptional phenomena that ray theory could not - diffraction, scattering, and refraction (bending of light).
This means that light interacts differently with sharp edges and with materials with a different property (refractive index and attenuation coefficient).
Secondly, this theory also deals with colors as varying wavelengths. White light now appears to have hidden all colors within it.

The reality/essence

The particle theory of light succeeded the wave theory. Here, light is considered as a quantized beam of particles called photons.
Ironically, in essence photons are particles, much similar to what forms matter. And science has gone far enough to have proven that energy and mass are interconvertible (courtesy Einstein).
And we also know that all energy has an associated wavelength and hence frequency (courtesy Plank). Hence, light now can be viewed as energy and I prefer to broaden the understanding of NOOR to mean energy.
It is quite funny that science has gone so far, and people who claim to possess understanding of religion continue to fight over matters of NOOR (energy) - BASHAR (matter).

Now, it is worth mentioning that light today is accepted to have dual nature (wave and particle), and hence both wave theory and particle theory are accepted, leading to the term duality of light. For a layman though, the ray theory of light seems to suffice. Exceptions and miracles rarely bother laymen! Call it indifference, laziness, ignorance, as you please!
But to those who seek, their thirst does not die! And people of insight do not indulge in debates. A student who is only familiar with ray theory, how can he even discuss (leave alone debate) topics pertaining to wave/particle theory!
But indeed there are those who seek and those who know!

Glossary of capitalized and italicized words

  • HAQ = Truth
  • SHARIATH = Religious law
  • TAREEKATH = Spiritual path
  • MAARIFATH-o-HAQEEQATH = Gnosis and reality
  • NOOR = Light
  • BASHAR = Human


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