Surah Ikhlas is the 112th Surah of the Quran and it’s English meaning is “Fidelity” or “Sincerity”. It’s often referred to as Absoluteness, The Unity, Oneness of God, Sincere Religion, The Declaration of [God’s] Perfection.
Surah Ikhlas is a very powerful and very short surah which consists over 4 ayat.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said to his companions, “Is it difficult for any of you to recite one third of the Qur’an in one night?” This suggestion was difficult for them so they said, “Who among us has the power to do so, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?” Allah Apostle replied: ” Allah (the) One, the Self-Sufficient Master Whom all creatures need.’ (Surat Al-Ikhlas 112.1 – to the End) is equal to one third of the Qur’an.” (Reference: Sahih Al-Bukhari 5015)
Below you can read Surah Ikhlas with English Translation, Transliteration and Tafsir.
Read Surah Al-Ikhlas Transliteration
Qul huwa Allahu ahad
1. Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One,
2. Allah, the Eternal Refuge.
Lam yalid wa lam yoolad
3. He neither begets nor is born,
Wa lam yakul-lahu kufuwan ahad
4. Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”
The Tafsir of Surat Al-Ikhlas (Chapter – 112)
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Similar was recorded by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarir and they added in their narration that he said,
(As-Samad) is One Who does not give birth, nor was He born, because there is nothing that is born except that it will die, and there is nothing that dies except that it leaves behind inheritance, and indeed Allah does not die and He does not leave behind any inheritance.
(And there is none comparable to Him.) This means that there is none similar to Him, none equal to Him and there is nothing at all like Him.” Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded it and At-Tirmidhi mentioned it as a Mursal narration. Then At-Tirmidhi said, “And this is the most correct.”
Al-Bukhari reported from `Amrah bint `Abdur-Rahman, who used to stay in the apartment of `A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet , that `A’ishah said, “The Prophet sent a man as the commander of a war expedition and he used to lead his companions in prayer with recitation (of the Qur’an). And he would complete his recitation with the recitation of `Say: He is Allah, One.’ So when they returned they mentioned that to the Prophet and he said,
(Ask him why does he do that.) So they asked him and he said, `Because it is the description of Ar-Rahman and I love to recite it. So the Prophet said,
(Inform him that Allah the Most High loves him.)” This is how Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith in his Book of Tawhid. Muslim and An-Nasa’i also recorded it. In his Book of Salah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said, “A man from the Ansar used to lead the people in prayer in the Masjid of Quba’. Whenever he began a Surah in the recitation of the prayer that he was leading them, he would start by reciting `Say: He is Allah, One’ until he completed the entire Surah. Then he would recite another Surah along with it (after it). And used to do this in every Rak`ah. So his companions spoke to him about this saying; `Verily, you begin the prayer with this Surah. Then you think that it is not sufficient for you unless you recite another Surah as well. So you should either recite it or leave it and recite another Surah instead.’ The man replied, `I will not leave it off. If you want me to continue leading you (in prayer), I will do this; and if you all do not like it, I will leave you (i.e., I will stop leading you).’ They used to consider him to be of the best of them to lead them in prayer and they did not want anyone else to lead them other than him. So, when the Prophet came they informed him of this information and he said,
(O so-and-so! What prevents you from doing what your companions are commanding you to do, and what makes you adhere to the recitation of this Surah in every Rak`ah) The man said, `Verily, I love it.’ The Prophet replied,
(Your love of it will cause you to enter Paradise.) This was recorded by Al-Bukhari, with a disconnected chain, but in a manner indicating his approval.
Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Sa`id that a man heard another man reciting
(Say: “He is Allah, One.”) and he was repeating over and over. So when morning came, the man went to the Prophet and mentioned that to him, and it was as though he was belittling it. The Prophet said,
(By He in Whose Hand is my soul, verily it is equivalent to a third of the Qur’an.) Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i also recorded it. Another Hadith Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Sa`id, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah said to his Companions,
(Is one of you not able to recite a third of the Qur’an in a single night) This was something that was difficult for them and they said, “Which of us is able to do that, O Messenger of Allah” So he replied,
(“Allah is the One, As-Samad” is a third of the Qur’an.) Al-Bukhari was alone in recording this Hadith.
Imam Malik bin Anas recorded from `Ubayd bin Hunayn that he heard Abu Hurayrah saying, “I went out with the Prophet and he heard a man reciting `Say: He is Allah, the One.’ So the Messenger of Allah said,
(It is obligatory.) I asked, `What is obligatory’ He replied,
(Paradise.)” At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i also recorded it by way of Malik, and At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih Gharib. We do not know of it except as a narration of Malik.” The Hadith in which the Prophet said,
(Your love of it will cause you to enter Paradise.) has already been mentioned.
`Abdullah bin Imam Ahmad recorded from Mu`adh bin `Abdullah bin Khubayb, who reported that his father said, “We became thirsty and it had become dark while we were waiting for the Messenger of Allah to lead us in prayer. Then, when he came out he took me by my hand and said,
(Say.) Then he was silent. Then he said again,
(Say.) So I said, `What should I say’ He said,
(Say: “He is Allah, One,” and the two Surahs of Refuge (Al-Falaq and An-Nas) when you enter upon the evening and the morning three times (each). They will be sufficient for you two times every day.)” This Hadith was also recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih Gharib.” An-Nasa’i also recorded through another chain of narrators with the wording,
(They will suffice you against everything.)
In his Book of Tafsir, An-Nasa’i recorded from `Abdullah bin Buraydah, who reported from his father that he entered the Masjid with the Messenger of Allah , and there was a man praying and supplicating saying, “O Allah! Verily, I ask you by my testifying that there is no God worthy of worship except You. You are the One, the Self-Sufficient Sustainer of all, Who does not give birth, nor were You born, and there is none comparable to Him.” The Prophet said,
Al-Bukhari recorded from `A’ishah that whenever the Prophet would go to bed every night, he would put his palms together and blow into them. Then he would recite into them (his palms), `Say: He is Allah, One’, `Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of Al-Falaq’, and `Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind.’ Then he would wipe whatever he was able to of his body with them (his palms). He would begin wiping his head and face with them and the front part of his body. He would do this (wiping his body) three times. The Sunan compilers also recorded this same Hadith.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(1. Say: “He is Allah, One.”) (2. “Allah As-Samad.”) (3. “He begets not, nor was He begotten.”) (4. “And there is none comparable to Him.”) The reason for the revelation of this Surah has already been mentioned. `Ikrimah said, “When the Jews said, `We worship `Uzayr, the son of Allah,’ and the Christians said, `We worship the Messiah (`Isa), the son of Allah,’ and the Zoroastrians said, `We worship the sun and the moon,’ and the idolators said, `We worship idols,’ Allah revealed to His Messenger ,
(Say: “He is Allah, One.”) meaning, He is the One, the Singular, Who has no peer, no assistant, no rival, no equal and none comparable to Him. This word (Al-Ahad) cannot be used for anyone in affirmation except Allah the Mighty and Majestic, because He is perfect in all of His attributes and actions. Concerning His saying,
(Allah As-Samad.) `Ikrimah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “This means the One Who all of the creation depends upon for their needs and their requests.” `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas, “He is the Master Who is perfect in His sovereignty, the Most Noble Who is perfect in His nobility, the Most Magnificent Who is perfect in His magnificence, the Most Forbearing Who is perfect in His forbearance, the All-Knowing Who is perfect in His knowledge, and the Most Wise Who is perfect in His wisdom. He is the One Who is perfect in all aspects of nobility and authority. He is Allah, glory be unto Him. These attributes are not befitting anyone other than Him. He has no coequal and nothing is like Him. Glory be to Allah, the One, the Irresistible.” Al-A`mash reported from Shaqiq, who said that Abu Wa’il said,
(As-Samad.) is the Master Whose control is complete.”
(He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none comparable to Him.) meaning, He does not have any child, parent or spouse. Mujahid said,
(And there is none comparable to Him.) “This means He does not have a spouse.” This is as Allah says,
(He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife He created all things.) (6:101) meaning, He owns everything and He created everything. So how can He have a peer among His creatures who can be equal to Him, or a relative who can resemble Him Glorified, Exalted and far removed is Allah from such a thing. Allah says,
(And they say: Ar-Rahman has begotten a son. Indeed you have brought forth (said) a terrible evil thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins, that they ascribe a son to Ar-Rahman. But it is not suitable for Ar-Rahman that He should beget a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto Ar-Rahman as a slave. Verily, He knows each one of them, and has counted them a full counting. And all of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection.) (19:88-95) And Allah says,
(And they say: “Ar-Rahman has begotten a son. Glory to Him! They are but honored servants. They speak not until He has spoken, and they act on His command.) (21:26-27) Allah also says,
(And they have invented a kinship between Him and the Jinn, but the Jinn know well that they have indeed to appear before Him. Glorified is Allah! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him!) (37:158-159) In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded (that that the Prophet said),
(There is no one more patient with something harmful that he hears than Allah. They attribute a son to Him, while it is He Who gives them sustenance and cures them.) Al-Bukhari also recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,
(Allah the Mighty and Majestic says, “The Son of Adam denies Me and he has no right to do so, and he abuses Me and he has no right to do so. In reference to his denial of Me, it is his saying: `He (Allah) will never re-create me like He created me before.’ But the re-creation of him is easier than his original creation. As for his cursing Me, it is his saying: `Allah has taken a son.’ But I am the One, the Self-Sufficient Master. I do not give birth, nor was I born, and there is none comparable to Me.”)
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ikhlas, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.
This short surah is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’ān, as authentic ahadith confirm. Al-Bukhari, the leading Hadith scholar, relates a Hadith which mentions the case of one who had heard another man reciting this surah repeatedly. He went to the Prophet the following morning and told him disapprovingly about what he had heard, as though he felt that it was too little. The Prophet commented, “I swear by Him who holds my soul in His hand that it [i.e. this sūrah] is equivalent to one third of the Qur’an.”
And, indeed, there is nothing surprising in that. For God’s oneness which the Prophet was ordered to declare to the whole world is a belief to be ingrained in our minds, an explanation of human existence and a way of life in itself. From this standpoint, the surah can be said to have embraced, in the clearest of terms, the Al-Ikhlas (Purity of Faith) 289 principal and most fundamental ideas of the great truth of Islam. The Arabic term, ahad, used here to refer to God’s oneness is much more precise than the more frequently used term, wahid, which means ‘one’. Ahad has the added connotations of absolute and continuous unity and an absence of equals.
God’s oneness is such that there is no reality and no true and permanent existence except His. Moreover, every other being acquires whatever power it may possess from God who rules over this world. Nothing else whatsoever plans anything for the world nor, for that matter, decides anything in it.
This is the belief that should be entrenched in us. It gives us a full explanation of human existence. Once this belief is clear and the explanation has established itself in our minds, our hearts are purified of all falsities and impurities. They are thus released from all bonds except their bond with the Unique Being to whom alone the reality of existence belongs and who is the only effective power in this world. Thus, the human heart is released from bondage to anything in this world, even if it cannot shirk the notion that other beings exist. Indeed, why should our hearts aspire to anything that has neither a permanent reality, nor any independent power to function in this world? The only real existence is that of the Divine Being and the truly effective power is Divine Will.
When a human heart releases itself from believing in anything but the one truth of God, and upholds this everlasting truth, it begins to enjoy its freedom from all shackles, false ideas, evil desires, fears and confusions of any sort. Indeed, when a human heart finds God, it benefits much and loses nothing. o why should it desire anything but God’s pleasure? Why should it fear anything, since there is no absolutely effective power but that of God?
When a concept that sees nothing in the world but the reality of God establishes itself in our hearts and minds, we begin to see this genuine and permanent reality in everything He has made. This is when our hearts feel the hand of God in everything. There is only one level beyond this and that is when our hearts feel nothing but God’s reality in the whole universe.
Thus, every event and every movement in this life and in the universe is attributed to the first and only cause; that is, God who brings other causes into play and influences their effectiveness. The Qur’ān takes great care to establish this truth. It has always put aside apparent causes, associating events directly with God’s will. It says: “When you threw [a handful of dust] it was not your act, but God’s.” (8: 17) “For victory comes only from God.” (8: 10 and 3: 126) “You have no will except as God wills.” (76: 30)
By disregarding all apparent causes and connecting matters directly with God’s will, a feeling of relief gently penetrates our hearts so that we recognize the only Al-Ikhlas (Purity of Faith) 290 Saviour from whom we can ask whatever we may wish, and by whom we are rescued from all fear. We are no longer impressed by apparent influences, reasons and causes that bear no reality or true existence in themselves.
These are the steps of the way some mystics, or Sufis, tried to climb, but they deviated too far from it. For Islam wants people to follow this route struggling with the realities of life, and leading a human life in which they exercise the role God has assigned to human beings on earth, using all their resources and fulfilling all the obligations laid upon them.
From this concept of God’s oneness stems a perfect way of life based on an explanation of human existence and whatever outlooks, feelings, and traits it stimulates. This way of life is based on the worship of God alone whose will is the only effective power in the world. Thus, people seek refuge with Him in times of need and fear, happiness and discomfort, ease and hardship. For what is the use of turning towards a non-existent or powerless being? This way of life looks to God alone as its benefactor. From Him we receive our beliefs, outlooks, values, criteria, legislation, institutions, systems, ethics and traditions.
A Complete Way of Life
On this basis a complete way of life is formulated, in which people perform all their activities and make sacrifices absolutely and only for God, hoping always to be nearer the truth. This way of life strengthens bonds of love, brotherhood, mutual sympathy and care between all beings and human hearts. For when we speak of liberation from complete submission to these feelings we are by no means suggesting that people should despise or hate them or escape from practising them. Instead they arise from the creative hand of God and they all owe their existence to Him. They are a gift to us from God who loves us and whom we love. Therefore, they deserve our love.
It is a sublime and lofty way of life that looks at this earth as small, life as short, its enjoyments and luxuries as worth little; and the breaking away from hindrances as humanity’s great aim. In Islam, however, this release does not mean seclusion, isolation and neglect, nor does it mean contempt for, or escape from life. Instead it simply means a continuous and sincere endeavour and an everlasting struggle to lead humanity towards submission of everything in human life to God alone. Consequently, it is the fulfilment of man’s role as God’s vicegerent on earth with all its obligations, as we have already explained.
Liberation of the soul through a life of isolation and extreme spiritualism is easy to achieve but Islam does not approve of it, because it wants its followers to fulfil man’s role assigned to him by God who placed him in charge of the earth and to provide Al-Ikhlas (Purity of Faith) 291 the leadership humanity needs. This is the harder way that guarantees man’s elevation and achieves the victory of divine will within him. This is real liberation, for it urges the human soul to fly to its divine source and achieve its sublime status within the scope God, the wise Creator, has defined for it.
For the sake of all this, the first address the Islamic message made was devoted to the establishment of the reality of God’s oneness in people’s hearts and minds. In this form, the Islamic message is seen by the soul, heart and mind, as a full explanation of human existence, a way of life and not merely a spoken word or an inert belief. It is life in its entirety and religion in its totality. Whatever details are later put in place are no more than the natural fruits of its establishment in people’s hearts and minds.
All the deviations that afflicted the followers of earlier divine religions, and which corrupted their beliefs, ideas and lives arose, in the first place, from a deterioration of the concept of God’s absolute oneness in their minds. But what distinguishes this concept in the Islamic faith is the fact that it is deeply rooted throughout human life. Indeed, it forms the foundation of a realistic and practical system for human life, clearly reflected in both legislation and belief.
To say, “He is God, the One and only God,” (Verse 1) means that “He is the Eternal, the Absolute,” (Verse 2) and that “He begets none, nor is He begotten, and there is nothing that could be compared to Him.” (Verses 3-4) But the Qur’ān states it all in detail for added emphasis and clarification.
“The Eternal, the Absolute” also means the Lord to whom all creation turns for help, and without whose permission nothing is decided. God is the One and only Lord. He is the One God and Master while all other beings are but His servants. To Him and Him alone are addressed all prayers and supplications. He and only He decides everything independently. No one shares His authority.
“He begets none, nor is He begotten,” means that the reality of God is deep-rooted, permanent and everlasting. No changeable circumstances ever affect it. Its quality is absolute perfection at all times. Birth is descent and multiplication and implies a developed being after incompleteness or nothingness. It requires espousal which is based on similarity of being and structure. All this is utterly impossible in God’s case. So the quality of ‘One’ includes the renouncement of a father and a son.
“There is nothing that could be compared to Him,” means that no one resembles Him in anything or is equivalent to Him in any respect, either in their reality of being, in the fact that He is the only effective power, or in any of His qualities or attributes. This is implied in the statement of his being ‘One’ made in the first verse, but it is repeated so as to confirm and elaborate upon that fact. It is a renunciation of the twogod belief which implies that God is the God of Good while Evil has its own lord who, as the belief goes — is in opposition to God, spoils His good deeds and Al-Ikhlas (Purity of Faith) 292 propagates evil on earth. The most well-known two-god belief was that of the Persians, who believed in a god of light and a god of darkness. This belief was known to the people in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, where the Persians once had a state and exercised sovereignty.
This surah firmly establishes and confirms the Islamic belief in God’s oneness just as Surah 109, The Unbelievers, is a denunciation of any similarity or meeting point between the Islamic concept of God’s oneness and any belief that ascribes human form, attributes, or personality to God. Each surah deals with God’s oneness from a different angle. The Prophet used to start off his day reciting these two sūrahs in the sunnah, or voluntary prayer before the obligatory dawn or fajr prayer. This, surely, was immensely significant.
Tafsir by Abul A’la Maududi Surah Ikhlas
The first addressee of this command is the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself for it was he who was asked: Who is your Lord and what is He like. Again it was he who was commanded to answer the question in the following words. But after him every believer is its addressee. He too should say what the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been commanded to say.
That is, my Lord to Whom you want to be introduced is none but Allah. This is the first answer to the questions, and it means: I have not introduced a new lord who I want you to worship beside all other gods, but it is the same Being you know by the name of Allah. Allah was not an unfamiliar word for the Arabs. They had been using this very word for the Creator of the universe since the earliest times, and they did not apply this word to any of their other gods. For the other gods they used the word ilah. Then their beliefs about Allah had become fully manifest at the time Abraha invaded Makkah. At that time there existed 360 idols of gods (ilahs) in and around the Kabah, but the polytheists forsaking all of them had invoked only Allah for protection. In other words, they knew in their hearts that no ilah could help them on that critical occasion except Allah. The Kabah was also called Bait-Allah by them and not Baitilahs after their self-made gods. At many places in the Quran the polytheistic Arabian belief about Allah has been expressed, thus:
In Surah Az-Zukhruf it has been said: If you ask them who created them, they will surely say, Allah. (verse 87).
In Surah Al-Ankabuut: If you ask them, who has created the earth and the heavens and who has subjected the moon and the sun. They will surely say: Allah. And if you ask them, who sent down rainwater from the sky and thereby raised the dead earth back to life. They will surely say: Allah. (verses 61-63).
In Surah Al-Muminun: Say to them, tell me, if you know, whose is the earth and all who dwell in it. They will say, Allah’s. Say to them: To whom do the seven heavens and the Glorious Throne belong. They will say: To Allah. Say to them: Tell me, if you know, whose is the sovereignty over everything. And who is that Being who gives protection while none else can give protection against Him. They will surely reply: This power belongs to Allah. (verses 84-89).
In Surah Younus: Ask them: Who provides for you from the heavens and the earth. Who has power over the faculties of hearing and sight. Who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living. Who directs the system of the universe. They will surely reply: Allah. (verse 31).
Again in Surah Younus at another place: When you set sails in ships, rejoicing over a fair breeze, then all of a sudden a strong wind begins to rage against the passengers and waves begin to surge upon them from every side and they realize that they have been encircled by the tempest. At that time they pray to Allah with sincere faith, saying: If you deliver us from this peril, we will become Your grateful servants. But when He delivers them, the same people begin to rebel on the earth against the truth. (verses 22-23).
The same thing has been reiterated in Surah Bani Israil, thus: When a misfortune befalls you on the sea, all of those whom you invoke for help fail you but He (is there to help you), yet when He brings you safe to land, you turn away from Him. (verse 67).
Keeping these verses in view, let us consider that when the people asked: Who is your Lord and what is He like to Whom service and worship you call us. The answer given was Huwa Allah: He is Allah. This answer by itself gives the meaning: My Lord is He whom you yourself acknowledge as your own as well as the whole world’s Creator, its Master, Sustainer and Administrator, and He whom you invoke for help at critical times beside all other deities, and I invite you to His service alone. This answer comprehends all the perfect and excellent attributes of Allah. Therefore, it is not at all conceivable that the Creator of the universe, its Administrator and Disposer of its affairs, Sustainer of all the creatures living in it, and the Helper of the servants in times of hardship, would not be living, hearing and seeing, that He would not be an All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All- Wise, All-Merciful and All-Kind Sovereign.
The scholars have explained the sentence Huwa-Allahu Ahad syntactically, but in our opinion its explanation which perfectly corresponds to the context is that Huwa is the subject and Allahu its predicate, and Ahad-un its second predicate. According to this parsing the sentence means: He (about Whom you are questioning me) is Allah, is One and only one. Another meaning can also be, and according to language rules it is not wrong either: He is Allah, the One.
Here, the first thing to be understood is the unusual use of ahad in this sentence. Usually this word is either used in the possessive case as yaum ul-ahad (first day of the week), or to indicate total negative as Ma jaa a-ni ahad-un (No one has come to me), or in common questions like Hal indaka ahadun (Is there anyone with you), or in conditional clauses like Injaa-ka ahad-un (If someone comes to you), or in counting as ahad, ithnan, ahad ashar (one, two, eleven). Apart from these uses, there is no precedent in the pre-Quranic Arabic that the mere word ahad might have been used as an adjective for a person or thing. After the revelation of the Quran this word has been used only for the Being of Allah, and for no one else. This extraordinary use by itself shows that being single, unique and matchless is a fundamental attribute of Allah; no one else in the world is qualified with this quality: He is One, He has no equal.
Then, keeping in view the questions that the polytheists and the followers of earlier scriptures asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about his Lord, let us see how they were answered with ahad-un after Huwa-Allah.
First, it means: He alone is the Sustainer: no one else has any share or part in providence and since He alone can be the Ilah (Deity) Who is Master and Sustainer, therefore, no one else is His associate in Divinity either.
Secondly, it also means He alone is the Creator of the universe: no one else is His associate in this work of creation. He alone is the Master of the universe, the Disposer and Administrator of its system, the Sustainer of His creatures, Helper and Rescuer in times of hardship; no one else has any share or part whatever in the works of Godhead, which as you yourselves acknowledge, are works of Allah.
Thirdly, since they had also asked the questions: Of what is your Lord made? What is His ancestry? What is his sex? From whom has He inherited the world and who will inherit it after Him? All these questions have been answered with one word ahad for Allah. It means:
(1) He alone has been, and will be, God forever; neither was there a God before Him, nor will there be any after Him.
(2) There is no race of gods to which He may belong as a member: He is God, One and Single, and none is homogeneous with Him.
(3) His being is not merely One (wahid but ahad, in which there is no tinge of plurality in any way:
He is not a compound being, which may be analyzable or divisible, which may have a form and shape, which may be residing somewhere, or may contain or include something, which may have a color, which may have some limbs, which may have a direction, and which may be variable or changeable in any way. Free from every kind of plurality He alone is a Being who is Ahad in every aspect. (Here, one should fully understand that the word wahid is used in Arabic just like the word one in English. A collection consisting of great pluralities is collectively called wahid or one, as one man, one nation, one country, one world, even one universe, and every separate part of a collection is also called one. But the word Ahad is not used for anyone except Allah. That is why wherever in the Quran the word wahid has been used for Allah, He has been called Ilah wahid (one Deity), or AllahulWahid- al-Qahhar (One Allah Who is Omnipotent), and nowhere just wahid, for this word is also used for the things which contain pluralities of different kinds in their being. On the contrary, for Allah and only for Allah the word Ahad has been used absolutely, for He alone is the Being Who exists without any plurality in any way, Whose Oneness is perfect in every way.
The word used in the original is samad of which the root is smd. A look at the derivatives in Arabic from this root will show how comprehensive and vast this word is in meaning. (Lexical discussion of the meanings of the derivatives is omitted).
On the basis of these lexical meanings the explanations of the word as-Samad in the verse Allah-us-Samad, which have been reported from the companions, their immediate successors and the later scholars are given below:
Ali, Ikrimah and Kab Ahbar: Samad is he who has no superior.
Abdullah bin Masud, Abdullah bin Abbas and Abu Wail Shaqiq bin Salamah: The chieftain whose chieftaincy is perfect and of the most extraordinary kind.
Another view of Ibn Abbas: Samad is he to whom the people turn when afflicted with a calamity. Still another view of his: The chieftain who in his chieftaincy, in his nobility and glory, in his clemency and forbearance, in his knowledge and wisdom is perfect.
Abu Hurairah: He who is independent of all and all others are dependent upon him.
Other views of Ikrimah: He from whom nothing ever has come out, nor normally comes out, who neither eats nor drinks. Views containing the same meaning have been related from Shabi and Muhammad bin Kab al-Kurazi also.
Suddi: The one to whom the people turn for obtaining the things they need and for help in hardships.
Saeed bin Jubair: He who is perfect in all his attributes and works.
Rabi bin Jubair: He who is immune from every calamity.
Muqatil bin Hayyan: He who is faultless.
Ibn Kaysan: He who is exclusive in his attributes.
Hasan Basri and Qatadah: He who is ever-living and immortal. Similar views have been related from Mujahid, Mamar and Murrat alHamadani also.
Murrat al-Hamadani’s another view is: He who decides whatever he wills and does whatever he wills, without there being anyone to revise his judgment and decision.
Ibrahim Nakhai: He to whom the people turn for fulfillment of their desires.
Abu Bakr al-Anbari: There is no difference of opinion among the lexicographers that samad is the chief who has no superior and to whom the people turn for fulfillment of their desires and needs and in connection with other affairs. Similar to this is the view of Az-Zajjaj, who says Samad is he in whom leadership has been perfected, and to whom one turns for fulfillment of his needs and desires.
Now, let us consider why Allahu-Ahad has been said in the first sentence and why Allah-us-Samad in this sentence. About the word ahad we have explained above that it is exclusively used for Allah, and for none else. That is why it has been used as ahad, in the indefinite sense. But since the word samad is used for creatures also, Allall-us-Samad has been said instead of Allah Samad, which signifies that real and true Samad is Allah alone. If a creature is samad in one sense, it may not be samad in some other sense, for it is mortal, not immortal; it is analyzable and divisible, is compound, its parts can scatter away any time; some creatures are dependent upon it, and upon others it is dependent; its chieftaincy is relative and not absolute; it is superior to certain things and certain other things are superior to it; it can fulfill some desires of some creatures but it is not in the power of any creature to fulfill all the desires of all the creatures, On the contrary, Allah is perfect in His attributes of Samad in every respect; the whole world is dependent upon Him in its needs, but He is not dependent upon anyone; everything in the world turns to Him, consciously or unconsciously, for its survival and for fulfillment of the needs of everyone; He is Immortal and Ever-living; He sustains others and is not sustained by anyone; He is Single and Unique, not compound so as to be analyzable and divisible; His sovereignty prevails over entire universe and He is Supreme in every sense. Therefore, He is not only Samad but As-Samad, i.e. the Only and One Being Who is wholly and perfectly qualified with the attribute of samad in the true sense.
Then, since He is As-Samad, it is necessary that He should be Unique, One and Only, for such a being can only be One, which is not dependent upon anyone and upon whom everyone else may be dependent; two or more beings cannot be self-sufficient and fulfillers of the needs of all. Furthermore, His being As-samad also requires that He alone should be the Deity, none else, for no sensible person would worship and serve the one who had no power and authority to fulfill the needs of others.
The polytheists in every age have adopted the concept that like men, gods also belong to a species, which has many members and they also get married, beget and are begotten. They did not even regard Allah, Lord of the universe, as supreme and above this concept of ignorance, and even proposed children for Him. Thus, the Arabian belief as stated in the Quran was that they regarded the angels as daughters of Allah. The Prophetic communities too could not remain immune from this creed of paganism. They too adopted the creed of holding one saintly person or another as son of God. Two kinds of concepts have always been mixed up in these debasing superstitions. Some people thought that those whom they regarded as Allah’s children, were descended from him in the natural way and some others claimed that the one whom they called son of God, had been adopted by Allah Himself as a son. Although they could not dare call anyone as, God forbid, father of God, obviously human mind cannot remain immune against such a concept that God too should be regarded as a son of somebody when it is conceived that He is not free from sex and procreation and that He too, like man, is the kind of being which begets children and needs to adopt a son in case it is childless, That is why one of the questions asked of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was: What is the ancestry of Allah, and another was: From whom has He inherited the world and who will inherit it after Him.
If these assumptions of ignorance are analyzed, it becomes obvious that they logically necessitate the assumption of some other things as well.
First, that God should not be One, but there should be a species of Gods, and its members should be associates in the attributes, acts and powers of Divinity. This not only follows from assuming God begetting children but also from assuming that He has adopted someone as a son, for the adopted son of somebody can inevitably be of his own kind. And when, God forbid, he is of the same kind as God, it cannot be denied that he too possesses attributes of Godhead.
Second, that the children cannot be conceived unless the male and the female combine and some substance from the father and the mother unites to take the shape of child. Therefore, the assumption that God begets children necessitates that He should, God forbid, be a material and physical entity, should have a wife of His own species, and some substance also should issue from His body.
Third, that wherever there is sex and procreation, it is there because individuals are mortal and for the survival of their species it is inevitable that they should beget children to perpetuate the race. Thus, the assumption that God begets children also necessitates that He should, God forbid, Himself be mortal, and immortality should belong to the species of Gods, not to God Himself. Furthermore, it also necessitates that like all mortal individuals, God also, God forbid, should have a beginning and an end. For the individuals of the species whose survival depends upon sex and procreation neither exist since eternity nor will exist till eternity.
Fourth, that the object of adopting some one as a son is that a childless person needs a helper in his lifetime and an heir after his death. Therefore, the supposition that Allah has adopted a son inevitably amounts to ascribing all those weaknesses to His sublime Being which characterize mortal man.
Although all these assumptions are destroyed as soon as Allah is called and described as Ahad and As-Samad, yet when it is said: Neither has He an offspring nor is He the offspring of another, there remains no room for any ambiguity in this regard. Then, since these concepts are the most potent factors of polytheism with regard to Divine Being, Allah has refuted them clearly and absolutely not only in Surah Al-Ikhlas but has also reiterated this theme at different places in different ways so that the people may understand the truth fully. For example let us consider the following verses:
Allah is only One Deity: He is far too exalted that He should have a son: whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth belongs to Him. (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 171).
Note it well: they, in fact, invent a falsehood when they say, Allah has children. They are utter liars. (Surah As-Saaffat, Ayats 151-152).
They have invented a blood-relationship between Allah and the angels, whereas the angels know well that these people will be brought up (as culprits). (Surah As-Saaffat, Ayat 158).
These people have made some of His servants to be part of Him. The fact is that man is manifestly ungrateful. (Surah Az-Zukhruf, Ayat l5).
Yet the people have set up the Jinn as partners with Allah, whereas He is their Creator; they have also invented for Him sons and daughters without having any knowledge, whereas He is absolutely free from and exalted far above the things they say. He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth: how should He have a son, when He has no consort? He has created each and every thing. (Surah AlAnaam, Ayats 100-101).
They say: the Merciful has offspring. Glory be to Allah! They (whom they describe as His offspring) are His mere servants who have been honored. (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayat 26).
They remarked: Allah has taken a son to himself. Allah is All-pure: He is Self Sufficient. He is the Owner of everything that is in the heavens and the earth. Have you any authority for what you say? What, do you ascribe to Allah that of which you have no knowledge. (Surah Younus, Ayat 68).
And (O Prophet) say: Praise is for Allah who has begotten no son nor has any partner in His Kingdom nor is helpless to need any supporter. (Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 111).
Allah has no offspring, and there is no other deity as a partner with Him. (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayat 91).
In these verses the belief of the people who ascribe real as adopted children to Allah, has been refuted from every aspect, and its being a false belief has also been proved by argument. These and many other Quranic verses of the same theme further explain Surah Al-Ikhlas.
The word kufu as used in the original means an example, a similar thing, the one equal in rank and position. In the matter of marriage, kufu means that the boy and the girl should match each other socially. Thus, the verse means that there is no one in the entire universe, nor ever was, nor ever can be, who is similar to Allah, or equal in rank with Him, or resembling Him in His attributes, works and powers in any degree whatever.
Tirmidhi, Hakim and others have recorded that the pagans of Makkah asked the Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) : “0 Muhammad! Tell us about the ancestry of your Lord.” So Allah revealed this Surah. Some narratives ascribe this inquiry to the Jews of Madinah. In view of these conflicting reports, there is a divergence of opinion as to whether this is a Makki Surah or Madani Surah. According to Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud, Hasan Basri, ` Ata’, ` Ikrimah and Jabir (رض) ، the Surah is Makki and, according to Qatadah, Dahhak رحمۃ اللہ علیہما and others, it is Madani. According to one narration of Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas (رض) ، it is Makki and, according to another, it is Madani [ Qurtubi ].
According to another narration, the pagans added to their question whether Allah was made of gold, silver or some other stuff, in response to which this Surah was revealed.
Virtues of the Surah
Imam Ahmad (رح) has recorded a narration in his Musnad that a person came up to the Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) and said, “I love this Surah [ Al-Ikhlas ] immensely.” The Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) ‘ replied: “Your love for it will cause you to enter Paradise.” [ Ibn Kathir ].
Tirmidhi has recorded on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) that once the Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) asked the people to gather and said: “I shall recite to you a third of the Qur’an?” When the people had congregated, he recited Surah Al-Ikhlas and said: “This is equal to a third of the Qur’an.” [ Muslim ].
In a lengthy Hadith, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Nasa’i have recorded that the Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) said: “Anyone who recites Surah Al-Ikhlas and the mu’awwadhatain (i.e. the last two surahs of the Holy Qur’an) morning and evening, they shall be sufficient for him.” In another narration, the wordings are: “They will suffice him against every affliction.” [ Ibn Kathir ]
Imam Ahmad (رح) has recorded a narration in his Musnad on the authority of Sayyidna ‘Uqbah Ibn ` Amir (رض) that the Messenger of Allah (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) said: “I shall show you three such Surahs that are revealed in Torah, Injil, Zabur and the Qur’an. Do not sleep at night until such time that you have recited them. They are Surah A1-Ikhlas and the mu’awwadhatain.” Sayyidna ‘Uqbah Ibn ` Amir (رض) says that since I have heard this, I did not miss reciting them. [ Ibn Kathir ].
Oneness of Allah
Verse [ 112:1] قُلْ هُوَ اللَّـهُ أَحَدٌ Say, (The truth is: Allah is One.) The imperative qul (Say) is directly addressed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) ، thus indicating that he is Allah’s Prophet and Messenger. This verse directs and commands him to convey Allah’s message to mankind. ‘Allah’ is the personal name of that Necessary Being Whose non-existence is inconceivable. He comprises all the attributes of perfection and is free from, or above, or overrides all kinds of imperfections. The epithets ahad and wahid are both applied to Allah which are normally translated as ‘One’ but the word ahad includes an additional sense which signifies that Allah is beyond composition, plurality and resemblance, which means that He is neither composed of any elements, nor does He has any partner, nor has He any resemblance to anything. This is a response to those who asked about Allah whether He is made of gold or silver or pearls. This concise statement covers all aspects of discussion on the Divine Being and His attributes. The imperative qul [ say ] points to the messenger-ship of the Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم) . If analyzed properly, this brief sentence covers all the detailed discussions expounded in voluminous books of theology.
112:2 Surah Ikhlas
Verse [ 112:2] اللَّـهُ الصَّمَدُ (Allah is Besought of all, needing none) The word samad bears several literal senses. Therefore, the Qur’anic exegetical scholars have assigned different meanings to this verse. Tabarani, the leading authority on Prophetic Traditions, in his kitab-us-Sunnah, has collected all the interpretations of the Divine attribute As-samad and concluded that they are all authentic, and comprehend all the attributes of our Lord that have been assigned to Him, but originally it refers to ‘the chief who has no superior and to whom the people turn for the fulfillment of their desires and needs; thus all people depend on him, but he does not depend on any one. [Ibn Kathir].
112:3 Surah Ikhlas
Allah is Above having Children and Procreating Verse [ 112:3] لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ (He neither begot anyone, nor was begotten.) This verse responds to those who had questioned about the ancestry of Allah. There is no analogy between Allah, the Creator, and His creation. While His creation comes into being through the biological process of procreation, Allah Himself has no children, nor is He the child of anyone.
112:4 Surah Ikhlas
Verse [ 4] وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ (And equal to Him has never been any one.) The word kufuwan, as used in the original, means an ‘example’, a ‘similar thing’, ‘one equal in rank and position’. Thus this verse means that there is no one in the entire universe, nor ever was, nor ever can be, who is similar to Allah, or equal in rank with Him, or resembling Him in His attributes, works and powers in any degree whatsoever.
Surah Al-Ikhlas: A Comprehensive Concept of Allah’s Oneness and a complete Negation of Shirk
There were many types of people who denied the Divine Oneness, and set up partners or rivals to Allah. Surah Al-Ikhlas negates all types of such wrong belief systems, and imparts a comprehensive lesson of Divine Oneness. Among the unbelievers, several types may be identified. There is a group that denies the very existence of God [ the atheists ]. Another group believes in the existence of God, but denies that His existence is ‘Necessary’. A third group believes in God’s existence and in His existence as ‘Necessary’ but denies His attributes of perfection. A fourth group believes in God’s Necessary Existence and in His attributes of perfection, but denies Oneness of God and believes in and worship more than one gods and goddesses, and thus practices polytheism. Verse [ 1] refutes vehemently all such false belief systems. Verse [ 2] refers to the practices of those who do worship Allah alone, but believe that there are also other helpers who can fulfill their needs, desires and ambitions. The Divine attribute As-samad denounces outright any such notion. A fifth group ascribes children to Allah and the phrase lam yalid [ He neither begot anyone ] repudiates this notion of theirs in the strongest terms. Allah, the Pure and Exalted, knows best!
End of Tafsir.