Does “Noor also Nur” in Qur’an (71:16) mean “reflected light” or just “Light”?

𝐃𝐨𝐞𝐬 “𝐍𝐨𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐍𝐮𝐫” 𝐢𝐧 𝐐𝐮𝐫’𝐚𝐧 (𝟕𝟏:𝟏𝟔) 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧 “𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭” 𝐨𝐫 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 “𝐋𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭”?

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢-𝐈𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧:

Regarding the verse Quran (71:16):

وَجَعَلَ ٱلْقَمَرَ فِيهِنَّ نُورًا وَجَعَلَ ٱلشَّمْسَ سِرَاجًا

(And made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp)

An Arab atheist claims that the meaning of the Arabic word Noor also Nur (same word in Arabic, variation in English is due to how people put it in English) is not “reflected light”; its meaning is just “light”.

If its meaning is ” reflected light” there is no problem, but if its meaning renders ” light” there is a problem because then the above verse will be considered a scientific error.

𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐫 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐍𝐨𝐨𝐫/𝐍𝐮𝐫 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬?


𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭, 𝐥𝐞𝐭 𝐮𝐬 𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝟐 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐞𝐬 𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐨. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐧 𝐌𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐑𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐋𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝟏𝟒𝟎𝟎 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐨 𝐃𝐫. 𝐙𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐫 𝐍𝐚𝐢𝐤.

In English, it’s normal to say “moonlight” as shorthand for “light that is reflected from the Sun by the Moon” From Merry Webster Dictionary. But technically if we need to be very accurate, the word Noor or Nur doesn’t mean moonlight.

Even if “Noor/Nur” means “light” (and does not mean “reflected light”), we’d deduce it from context anyway, like what we do with “moonlight” in English.

The moon is light, because it functions as one, whether the source of its light is a reflection is irrelevant.

The problem is that you are assuming that Allah is teaching you a primary-school science lesson on how the moon works, rather than recounting His favors so that you may give thanks.

The Arabic word Noor/nūr (Arabic: نور), associated with the moon, means the opposite of darkness in general. It can be a source of light, and it can be a reflection (or refraction for that matter) of light, too.

None of the classical tafasīr (exegeses) of the Qur’an mentioned that the word Noor/nūr was used to denote the moon being a reflector of light. Any tafsīr that referred to the matter mentioned that the different words refer to the difference in the light’s intensity rather than its source.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐍𝐨𝐨𝐫/𝐧𝐮̄𝐫 𝐢𝐬 𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐫’𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐡 ﷻ 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐇𝐢𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬:

اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ ۗ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.

Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.

— Surat An-Nur 24:35

In the verse above, there is no known scholarly opinion that restricts the word Noor/nūr therein to be a reflection.

It is, however, commonly practiced in the Arabic language to use the word diyā’ (Arabic: ضياء) to refer to a source of light and Noor/nūr to be the resulting light from said source.

In the following verse, Allah ﷻ is giving an example of people who go astray to those who start a fire (istawqad, Arabic: استوقد) and as it radiates light (adā’at, Arabic: أضاءت), their light is taken away from them (nūrihim, Arabic: نورهم):

مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي اسْتَوْقَدَ نَارًا فَلَمَّا أَضَاءَتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ ذَهَبَ اللَّهُ بِنُورِهِمْ وَتَرَكَهُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ

Their example is that of one who kindled a fire, but when it illuminated what was around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness [so] they could not see.

— Surat Al-Baqarat 2:17

𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐍𝐨𝐨𝐫/𝐧𝐮̄𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐜-𝐀𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐜 𝐝𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐭 𝐀𝐥-𝐌𝐚𝐚𝐧𝐲, 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨:

  • bloom
  • brighten
  • emerge
  • enlighten
  • glow
  • illuminate
  • inform
  • light
  • lighten
  • shed light on
  • shine
  • twinkle

𝐇𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐜 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐬𝐢𝐫𝐚̄𝐣 (𝐀𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐜: سراج) 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐫’𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐚 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭:

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ فِي السَّمَاءِ بُرُوجًا وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا سِرَاجًا وَقَمَرًا مُّنِيرًا

Blessed is He who has placed in the sky great stars and placed therein a [burning] lamp and luminous moon.

— Surat Al-Furqan 25:61

وَجَعَلَ الْقَمَرَ فِيهِنَّ نُورًا وَجَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ سِرَاجًا

And made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp?

— Surat Nuh 71:16 (the verse you quoted in your question)

وَجَعَلْنَا سِرَاجًا وَهَّاجًا

And made [therein] a burning lamp

— Surat An-Naba 78:13

Likewise, the Arabic word diyā’ (Arabic: ضياء) was only used in the Qur’an to refer to a source of light:

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ ۚ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ ذَٰلِكَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

It is He who made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. Allah has not created this except in truth. He details the signs for a people who know

— Surat Yunus 10:5

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِن جَعَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمُ اللَّيْلَ سَرْمَدًا إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَنْ إِلَٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَأْتِيكُم بِضِيَاءٍ ۖ أَفَلَا تَسْمَعُونَ

Say, “Have you considered: if Allah should make for you the night continuous until the Day of Resurrection, what deity other than Allah could bring you light? Then will you not hear?”

— Surat Al-Qasas 28:71

It is worth noting, though, that some modern tafasīr of the Qur’an explicitly say that the moon is not a source of light whereas the sun is a source of light when discussing Qur’an 71:16,

𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞, 𝐀̄𝐥 𝐆𝐡𝐚̄𝐳𝐢 𝐚𝐥-‘𝐀̄𝐧𝐢 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐫’𝐚𝐧:

وإنما سمى الأول نورا والآخر سراجا، لأن نور القمر منعكس عليه من الشمس لاختلاف تشكلاته بالقرب والبعد عنها

NOTE.  Our own translation, so treats it with care.

And the former [moon] was called Noor/nūr and the latter [sun] was called sirāj because the light of the moon is a reflection from the sun that differs based on its proximity to the sun

— Bayān al-Ma’āni, Vol. 4, pp. 267 (Arabic only)

Some even elaborated about the topic by explicitly saying that the moon is intrinsically dark and that its luminance is the result of the reflection of sunlight, e.g., Ibn ‘Ashūr in At-Tahrīr wa at-Tanwīr 30/204 (Arabic only) and Sayyid Tantāwi in At-Tafsīr al-Waseet 15/119 (Arabic only).

Moreover, by doing some basic Google search. The word نُورًا means illuminate you can check it on Google don’t write نور write نورا and Google translation clearly shows that it means illuminate.

Then they will tell you that Allah says in Quran that Allah is the light Remember there the word used is نور not نورا

This is all their plan to divert Muslim mind and make them atheist Don’t fell in their trap Remember ALLAH says in Surah Baqarah This book has no doubt in it

Allah says in Holy Quran (10:5):

Sahih International:

“It is He who made sun a shining light and moon a derived light ad determined for its phases that you may know number of years and may count {of time}. Allah has not created it except in truth. He details the signs for a people who know.”

The problem with the author of is that Allah says Moon as Noor in several verses in Quran as 10:5,71:16 and 25:61 and thus it is a contradiction with science because Noor means only “light.

“𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐮𝐬 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐍𝐨𝐨𝐫:

1. “To receive enlightenment” Hans Wehr 4th ed. page no.1183.

2. “Accidental light” Lanes Lexicon page 2865.

3. “Some said Zia (word used in this verse for sun) means personal light and Noor (word used in this verse for moon) is the light which is not personal………but its meaning will be reflected light only when it will be compared with Zia.” Lughat ul Quran page 1670.

4. “Mutakallamin says the thing wich is itself illuminated is Zia like sun and which gets light from someone other is noor like Moon.” Riaz us Salikin (copied from Tafseer Anwar un-Najaf vol 7 page 147)
Now we quote some of interpretations of Quran indicating that moon is said Noor in the verse because it reflects light from sun.

𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐬:

1. Tafseer e Naeemi vol. 11 page 196
2. Tafseer e Namoona vol. 5 page 41

3. Tafseer Anwar u Najaf vol. 7 page 147

4. Tafseer Roh ul Bayan  Para 9,10 and 11 page 881(Urdu translation by Muhammad Faiz Awaisi)

5. Tafseer Kamalain Sharah Jalalain vol. 3 page 36

6. Tafseer Mazhari vol. 5 page 312

All Muslim scholars agree that Allah is not NOOR, but He is the creator of Noor because Noor is that body which itself appears, and make other appear.

But Allah has nothing like him so here Noor in that context means creator of light of heavens and Earth The stand-alone word Noor is not one of Allah Exalted he beautiful names, rather it is a descriptive within the context of the Quranic verse.

The Hadith of the Holy Prophet of Sahih Muslim is its interpretation. (From Tafseer e Naeemi vol. 11 page 200)

All the below discussions clarify that Holy Quran says that the moon reflects light, not that the moon is light.

𝐑𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 -𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭

It was believed by earlier civilizations that the moon emanates its own light. Science now tells us

𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭. 𝐇𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫, 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐫’𝐚𝐧 𝟏,𝟒𝟎𝟎 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐨 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞:

25:61 ►“ تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ فِي السَّمَاءِ بُرُوجًا وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا سِرَاجًا وَقَمَرًا مُنِيرًا “

“Blessed is He Who made Constellations in the skies, and placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving light.” [Al-Qur’an –Surah Al-Furqan-25:61]

The Arabic word for the sun in the Qur’an is shams. It is also referred to as siraaj which means a ‘torch’ or as wahhaaj meaning ‘a blazing lamp’ or as diya which means ‘shining glory’.

All three descriptions are appropriate to the sun since it generates intense heat and light through its internal combustion.

The Arabic word for the moon is qamar and it is described in the Qur’an as muneer which is a body that gives noor i.e. reflected light.

Again, the Qur’anic description matches perfectly with the true nature of the moon which does not give off light by itself and is an inactive body that reflects the light of the sun. Not once in the Qur’an, is the moon mentioned as siraaj, wahhaaj or diya nor the sun as noor or muneer.

This implies that the Qur’an recognizes the difference between the nature of sunlight and moonlight.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐧:

10:5 ►“ هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ ذَلِكَ إِلا بِالْحَقِّ يُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ “

“It is He who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty).” [Al-Qur’an- Surah Yunus- 10:5]

071.015► أَلَمْ تَرَوْا كَيْفَ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا

071.016► وَجَعَلَ الْقَمَرَ فِيهِنَّ نُورًا وَجَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ سِرَاجًا

“See ye not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another, “And made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp?” [Al-Qur’an – Surah Nooh 71:15-16]

The Glorious Qur’an and modern science are thus in perfect agreement about the differences in the nature of sunlight and moonlight.

Allah knows Best.


Misquoting Quran (24:35) by claiming the Moon has its own light despite Quran did not confirm that

Are there chapters in the Quran which state that the moon is lit by reflected sunlight?

The Scientific Miracles of the Qur’an


Paul the False Apostle of Satan

A Search for God: Falsification Tests on the Quran

The Creation in Pairs Quran (51:49)

The Polar Star Is The Compass Of The Sky

The appointed Term of the Sun in the Noble Quran

Meaning of “And of everything, we have created pairs, Quran (51:49)

The Miraculous Saying of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH): The drop of semen after 40 forty-two nights

Some Evidence for the Truth of Islam 

A Barrier between Seas – Discoveries Agree with the Quran (25:53)

How Quran Verses Proofs Every Living Thing Is Made Of Water

Scientific Proof of The Shape of The Earth in The Quran

Scientific Proof How the Sun Rotates in The Quran

Scientific Qur’an Miracles: Backbone and Ribs

Some of the Many Scientific Facts found in the Noble Quran

Astonishing Series of Who Told Prophet Muhammed?

Proof from History of Moon Splitting Into Two

Miracles of the Qur’an

A Lamp And A Moon Giving Light

Miraculous Prophet Muhammed Peace be upon him

Science And Hadith | Number Of Joints In Human Body

Some of Miracles of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him

Scientific Elaboration of Quran (95:4)

The Quran On The Expanding Universe And The Big Bang Theory

Da Vinci Code in the Light of the Quran and Bible

The Menstrual Period And Womb | Miraculous Quran

Scientific Proof of Barrier Between Sweet and Salt Water Quran (25:53)