اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونِةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُّورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاء وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is, as it were, that of a niche containing a lamp; the lamp is [enclosed] in glass, the glass [shining] like a radiant star: [a lamp] lit from a blessed tree - an olive-tree that is neither of the east nor of the west the oil whereof [is so bright that it] would well-nigh give light [of itself] even though fire had not touched it: light upon light! God guides unto His light him that wills [to be guided]; and [to this end] God propounds parables unto men, since God [alone] has full knowledge of all things.This is another parable like the previous ayah from surat al baqara about the reward of those who are giving in allahs sake. The structure of the ayah is similar how one thing is mentioned, then expanded upon each time adding more to it.
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ
Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth, this is not told as a parable here but as a statement. it is not mathalullaahi ka mathali noor as samawaati wal ardh.. but simply Allah is the light.. its an equational sentence. It is said that this description of Allah as noor refers to his guidance, He is the light of the heavens and the earth who guides the inhabitants of the heavens and earth. Or else it is said to refer to how he controls the sun, moon, stars and all these things which give light. An noor is found listed in narrations of Allah's asma ul husna.
مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ
the parable of his light is like a niche containing a lamp.
This is where the parable begins. There are two opinions mentioned about the meaning of the "hi" (noorihi), the first that it refers to Allah and second that it refers to a believer, so that the parable would be about the light of iman in the heart of a believer being like a niche in which is a lamp etc
This is from where we start to see the same structure of the parable as before in surat al baqara, using undefined relative clauses (mishkaatin feehaa misbaah, this is one of these). Apparently mishkaat refers to the position of the wick in a lamp.
الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ
expanding on the image further, we have been told it is like a niche containing a lamp, so now it tells us how is the lamp, what is it like? The misbaah or lamp is said to represent obedience to Allah. As for the zujaja this means a clean and clear glass, which allows the light to be seen through it shining brightly. This is not another relative clauses, rather it is just like a new sentence but carrying the theme from the previous one.
الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ
now the same way like how Allah mentioned the misbaah and then He gave a sentence to explain more about that, He has just mentioned the zujaaja so gives one sentence to explain and tells us something more about the zujaaja. "ka" here shows that another likeness or parable, similie is being given... it is not literally az zujaajatu kawkabun.. but it is like a kawkabun durriyyun, a shining star. This agrees with what was said about the glass being something clear allowing the light to come brightly shining through it, and durriyy can refer to reflecting, so the light reflects and comes even more, even brighter. Some have an alternative reading with refers to the kawkabun being made from pearls... which also gives an image of it being bright, shining and maybe still reflecting the light off it.
يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ
yooqadu is passive, so we dont have a subject for this action of lighting we just know that it was lit but obviously every action allah ultimately is the subject of that because he has power over everything. This "lit" gives the image of lit from and fuelled from, because from the same root we hav the word waqood which means the fuel, and when something is lit it does not do this without a fuel. This yooqadu is said to refer back to the misbaah or or could be for the kawkab, but it can not be for the zujaaja. shajaratin mubaraka is indefinate, it is not a specific one known blessed tree but just rather "a blessed tree".. any, it is general.
زَيْتُونِةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ
zaytoona is an olive, it is said to be referring and linked back to the tree, so we could understand it as an olive tree. laa sharqiyya wa laa gharbiyya refers to the quality of the tree because it gets the sun all though the day not just at only certain times when the sun is either rising or setting. This means the oil from that tree is good. Again all of this is undefined as we see by the repeating tanweens on everything and no definate articles anywhere... it makes the whole image slightly vague it is not a specific description of one thing but its an image which is supposed to make the people think and ponder about it.
يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ
yukaadu means almost, so we dont have to take it that literally the oil lights without touching the fire, but almost.. this is supposed to show how much is shining, and it is something amazing because we never see oil lighting it self up without touching ne fire or something to burn from so because its an usual thing which Allah is mentioning here it should draw the persons attention to how much this oil is shining and how bright is this light.
نُّورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ
light upon light. this can be seen as an exclamation because it is not a normal sentence as such, there is no action here it is stating "light upon light", its quite emphatic. This emphasises the brightness of the light again because light upon light gives the image of being doubled and increased than just a normal "noor" by itself. And it has been said that it refers to the light of the fire and the light of the oil.. because both are needed together to produce a strong light, and that is like the quran and the light of faith, together give life.
يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاء
Allah guides who He wills. Many times in Quran we are reminded about this. Those who Allah guides none can misguide, those who He leaves without guidance none can guide them. Allah is the ultimate guide, and this re-emphasises what we were told in the very opening of the ayah.. Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth, Allah is the one who guides the inhabitants of the earth and heavens, and he guides who he wills.
وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ
and Allah sets forth parables for mankind. Not just this one mathal but many amthaal as we see all through the quran, including this one and the previous one which was covered from surat al baqara. Allah has said elsewhere in his Quran that his parables are a means of increasing in eeman those who believe, as they ponder it and benefit from it but it descreases those who dont believe or who have diseased hearts as they say "what does Allah want with these parables?" ie belittling it and not taking the effort to try to understand or derive a good meaning. Also elsewhere in Quran He tells us in surah ibrahim "wa yadhrib ullaah ul amthaala lin naasi la3allahum yatadhakkaroon"... so that we might reflect. That is the purpose of all of these parables.
وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
and Allah knows everything. In reference to the second to last sentence about guidance this can be applied, because Allah guides whom He wills and He knows who is right to be guided and who is not, who's heart is open to guidance and belief and who is arrogantly closed up and does not want to believe. But it is not restricted to this only, as the ayah says Allahs ilm is bi kulli shay2 so we do not have to limit it to something specific it can also be a general reminder for the believers that Allahs knowledge encompasses everyting, he knows what we do, what is in our hearts, what has happened, what will happen.. everything.
some of this content is from tafsir ibn kathir, alot of things i did not include like some hadiths which are linked to the topic and different things... so here is the link because its good to read