To better understand the significance of this verse, it is necessary, at this stage, to deal with the notion of matter. The Fatimi thinkers relate back the formation of the material world to the tainting and degeneration in the beginning of a section of the creation. A thing that is the subject of creation, we know, is indestructible. It is however capable of constant transformation from one form to another and by this continuous process of change may acquire the attributes of purity and cleanliness.
With an increasing degree of purity and cleanliness comes a corresponding rise in status. In the same way ʿaql in man inherently bears the capacity of ascending to the highest degree in perfection through the process of discipline, conditioning and absorbing the ‘radiant grace’ emanating from the Higher Source. We are now introduced to wahy (revelation), its transmission to man, its attributes and effects and then exhorted to exercise our ʿaql, so that, it may comprehend the message of revelation and profit by it.
In this metaphorical couplet, the sun of wahy personifies the Holy Prophet Mohammed SAW who is chosen, by virtue of his perfection amongst men, for the transmission of the ‘radiant grace’ emanating from al-ʿAql al-Awwal. The messenger of Allah now reveals the book of Allah to mankind. The revelation transmitted to man from the Higher Source through the messenger, being instant and direct, is pure and unblemished.
The Book of Allah achieves two objects. It provides man with knowledge and comprehension by which to discipline and condition himself in accordance with the dictates and doctrines revealed. It kindles and lights up ʿaql in man and sets in motion the upward progress leading to the highest perfection discussed earlier. It may be pointed out that the illustration of the inter-relation between the Sun and Moon we noticed in verse one is again maintained here. The rays of the Sun of wahy (referred to in the Arabic verse) being dazzling cannot directly be received or absorbed. As such the agency of the metaphorical Moon becomes imperative. The Moon absorbs the dazzling light of revelation and sheds it again as a gentle light, the heat and power of which is conducive to the ʿaql in man. Appropriately, the commentary to this verse is ended with a Hadith of the Holy Prophet SAW: ‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the gateway. Whosoever seeks knowledge must come to the gateway.’