Statement of Amb. Omar Hilale, P.R. of the Kingdom of Morocco to the UN, Co-Organizer of 2022 “Diwali Stamp – The Power of One Awards” at the UN

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We are meeting today to celebrate peace in the spirit of Diwali, a Hindu festival to mark the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and the blessings of victory, freedom, enlightenment and tolerance over extremism.

These values and principles were recognized by the U.N. General Assembly, in its resolution 69/250 adopted in December, 2014.

Diwali, this multi-millennial festival, made its way across the centuries, civilizations and cultures, carrying the message of peace, light and love for others. The embodiment of light, as hope and peace, has also become religious precepts in all religions.

Reference to light can be found in various religious and spiritual teachings. Light has important meanings associated with creation, wisdom and hope.

Religions encourage worshipers to develop closer relationships with God to light their spiritual paths through the darkness of a sinful world.

Across the world, people with different beliefs often use light sources, such as candles and lanterns, in prayer and meditation.

In Islam, the word “light” is a symbol of wisdom and guidance that comes from a loving creator who cares for its creation. It is used to refer to different religious elements, including:

The Holy Qu’ran: in Sura Al-Ma’idah, verse 15 recites:

ﺑﺴﻢ ﷲ اﻟﺮﺣﻤﻦ اﻟﺮﺣﯿﻢ
قَدْ جَآءَكُم مِّ نَ ٱللّﱠ ِ ﻧُﻮۭرٌ وَ ﻛِﺘَـٰﺐٌۭ ﻣﱡﺒِﯿﻦۭ
ﺻﺪق ﷲ اﻟﻌﻈﯿﻢ

There certainly has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book.”

  • Faith: in Sura Al-Baqarah, verse 257 says:

ﺑﺴﻢ ﷲ اﻟﺮﺣﻤﻦ اﻟﺮﺣﯿﻢ
َّللَاه ُ وَ لِّيﱡ الَذِّيْنَ اٰمَا ْوُن يُخْرِّ جُهُمْ مِّ نَ الظُّمُلٰ تِّ اِّلَى الوُّنْ رِّ
ﺻﺪق ﷲ اﻟﻌﻈﯿﻢ

Allah is the Guardian of those who have faith; He brings them out of darkness into the light.”

  • One of Allah’s 99 Names is indeed “An Nour”, meaning: “The Prime Light”, the “Light”, the Illuminator, the One who Reveals, and “The One Who Guides”.
  • As indicated in Surat An-Nur – Verse 35:

ﺑﺴﻢ ﷲ اﻟﺮﺣﻤﻦ اﻟﺮﺣﯿﻢ
ّللَاوُن ُ َرُ السمََاوَتا ِّ وَا لاَرْ ضِّ
ﺻﺪق ﷲ اﻟﻌﻈﯿﻢ

Which translates into “God is the light of the heavens and the earth.” Meaning that Allah’s Pure Essence is the source of all universe. He is the Illuminator, the Commander and the Sustainer of all creations.

In Christianity, light plays a foundational role in creation. It is a symbol of life. In Genesis 1:3, the Bible says that on the first day of creation: “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

Christians light a candle to pray and remember Jesus, or to make them closer to and in solidarity with the person they love or, for whom they are praying.

In Judaism, Hanukkah, also called the “Festival of Lights”, commemorates the inauguration of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees, and the miracle of the Candelabra of which light continued to burn for eight days, which was interpreted as a sign of God’s protection of the Jewish people. It is these events that Jews celebrate during eight days, each year, by lighting the Hanukkah lights.

Today we live in a world troubled with wars, conflicts and pandemics, whether in Europe, Africa or Asia. In this dark and difficult times, the UN represents a real ray of hope for the human community. The principles of the UN Charter are the light that guides us in our efforts to build a better and fairer world, free of conflict, where all people live in harmony and peace.

Despite our diversity, as Members of the United Nations, we all share the same commitment to peace, which is, and should remain, the light of our humanity.

As the famous Sufi scholar, Jalal Uddin Al-Rumi, said “The lamps are different, but the Light is the same.

May the light enter all our lives with warmth and love.

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