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God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is a niche, wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as a shining star kindled from a blessed olive tree, neither of the East nor of the West. Its oil would well-nigh shine forth, even if no fire had touched it. Light upon light. God guides unto His Light whomsoever He will, and God sets forth parables for mankind, and God is Knower of all things.
The blessed olive tree, and its fruit, have been domesticated since 3000 BC, and this evergreen directly contributed to the emergence of more complex agricultural societies. Its properties have been recognized both for its spiritual and health benefits; The ancient Greeks, for example, used to cover their bodies and hair in olive oil as a matter of grooming and good health.
Within the Quran, the olive tree is mentioned numerous times, most famously in the Verse of Light. A blessed olive tree, neither of the East nor of the West has been interpreted, by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, to mean that it is a heavenly tree, since any earthly tree would necessarily be located either in the eastern or western lands. Symbolically, the olive tree represents the axis mundi where the higher and lower realms meet.
Through a fifth generation tasbih guild, based in the center of Cairo’s old market beside the sanctuary of the Sayidna al-Hussain Mosque, Rumi’s Garden has commissioned this wonderful large Islamic olive wood prayer bead set. Each bead is soft to the touch and releases a subtle fragrance of olive oil when used. The golden and cream tasseling was commissioned to West African students of knowledge at al-Azhar University.