Verses and Translation
يَوۡمَ تَرَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ يَسۡعَىٰ نُورُهُم بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ وَبِأَيۡمَـٰنِهِم بُشۡرَٮٰكُمُ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ جَنَّـٰتٌ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا ٱلۡأَنۡہَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيہَاۚ ذَٲلِكَ هُوَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ (١٢)
“On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], “Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally.” That is what is the great attainment.”
Allah the Exalted states that the believers who spend in charity will come on the Day of Resurrection with their light preceding them in the area of the Gathering, according to the level of their good deeds.
As reported from `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, “their light running forward before them”, he said, “They will pass over the Sirat according to their deeds. Some of them will have a light as large as a mountain, some as a date tree, some as big as a man in the standing position. The least among them has a light as big as his index finger, it is lit at times and extinguished at other times.” Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir collected this Hadith.
Ad-Dahhak commented on the verse, “Everyone will be given a light on the Day of Resurrection. When they arrive at the Sirat, the light of the hypocrites will be extinguished. When the believers see this, they will be concerned that their light also will be extinguished, just as the light of the hypocrites was. This is when the believers will invoke Allah, `O our Lord! Perfect our light for us.'”
Allah’s statement, “and in their right hands.” Ad-Dahhak said: “Their Books of Records.”
As Allah said, “So whosoever is given his record in his right hand.” [Quran; 17:71]
Allah said, “Glad tidings for you this Day! Gardens under which rivers flow” meaning it will be said to them, “Receive glad tidings this Day, of gardens beneath which rivers flow to dwell therein forever!”
This and the following verses show that the Light on the Day of Judgment will be specifically meant for the righteous believers only. As for the disbelievers and the hypocrites and the wicked people, they will be wandering about in the darkness as they had been in the world. The light there will be the light of righteous deeds. The sincerity of the faith and the piety of the character and conduct will turn into light that will lend brightness to the personality of the virtuous. The brighter the deed the more luminous will be his person, and when he will walk towards Paradise, his light will be running forward before him. The best explanation of it is Qatadah’s mursal tradition in which he says; “The Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) said: “The light of someone will be so .strong and sharp that it will be running on before him equal to the distance between Madinah and `Aden, of another equal to the distance between Madinah and San’a, and of another even less than that; so much so that there will be a believer whose light will Dot extend beyond his steps.” (Ibn Jarir). In other words, the intensity of the light of a person will be proportionate to the extent of the good done and spread by him in the world, and the beams of his light will be running on before him in the Hereafter extending as far as his good will have extended in the world.
Here, a question may arise in the mind of the reader “One can understand the meaning of their light running on before the believers but what does their light running on only on their right hand mean? Will there be darkness on their left side? The answer is: When a man is walking with a light on his right hand, his left side also will be bright, though the fact of the matter is that the light will be on his right hand. This has been explained by the Hadith, which Hadrat Abu Dharr and Abu Darda’ have reported, saying that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace;) said: “I shall recognize the righteous people of my Ummah by their light which will be running on before them and on their right and on their left.” Hakim, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduyah).