What is the meaning of "لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ" (neither Eastern nor Western) in surah Noor:35?

God is the Light of Heaven and Earth! His light may be compared to a niche in which there is a lamp; the lamp is in a glass; the glass is just as if it were a glittering star kindled from a blessed olive tree,] which is [neither Eastern nor Western, whose oil will almost glow though fire has never touched it. Light upon light, God guides anyone He wishes to His light. God composes parables for mankind; God is Aware of everything!


2 Answers 2


There are different interpretations on this, in Tafseer Al Tabari he interprets it as "the sun of the east does not touch it (the olive tree) nor does the sun of the west touch it"

( لا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلا غَرْبِيَّةٍ ) قال: فمثله مثل شجرة التفّ بها الشجر، فهي خضراء ناعمة، لا تصيبها الشمس على أيّ حال كانت، لا إذا طلعت ولا إذا غربت، وكذلك هذا المؤمن قد أجير من أن يصيبه شيء من الغير، وقد ابتلي بها فثبته الله فيها، فهو بين أربع خلال: إن أعطي شكر، وإن ابتلي صبر، وإن حكم عدل، وإن قال صدق، فهو في سائر الناس كالرجل الحيّ يمشي في قبور الأموات

I can not translate this properly, so I am just going to translate what I can if someone can give a better translation please edit it:

A tree that is green and soft which the sun does not hit in what ever state it is in, not when the sun comes up nor when it goes down. It goes on to tell that this is the believer that has been saved from something that would have tested him. It goes on to give four "signs": If he was given something he thanked, if he was tested he was patient, if you judged he was fair, if he talked he only said truth, and he is in with people like a alive man walking among the graves of the dead.

In Tafseer Al Baghawee he interprets it as that the tree is not all eastern so when the sun goes down it does not hit the tree, and it is not all western so when the sun comes up in the east it does not hit the tree. So the tree is both eastern and western so it takes the sunlight from the two so the oil is more lighter or has more light. It is like the saying "he is not white or black" meaning he is not all white nor is he all black he is in between, I pray this helped to clarify it more Insha'Allah.

There are many other interpretations for this part of the Ayah in my opinion I think one should read all the tafaseers "At least the famous good ones :)" so that he can understand it from different views hence forming a view himself based on all the views he has read, that is my opinion.


According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir, neither Eastern nor Western in this particular verse refers to the best kind of oil. When the sun rises it reaches the olive tree from the east and when it sets it reaches it from the west, so the sun reaches it morning and evening, so it is not counted as being in the east or in the west.


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