قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ ﴿1﴾ اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ ﴿2﴾ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ﴿3﴾ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ ﴿4﴾
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
- Qul huwal laahu ahad
- Allah hus-samad
- Lam yalid wa lam yoolad
- Wa lam yakul-lahoo kufuwan ahad
With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful.
- Say, :The truth is that Allah is One.
- Allah is Besought of all, needing none.
- He neither begot anyone, nor was he begotten.
- And there hath never been co-equal with Him anyone.
Cause of Revelation
Tirmidhi, Hakim and others have recorded that the pagans of Makkah asked the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه 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 رحمهما الله 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 (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and said, “I love this Surah [ Al-Ikhlas ] immensely.” The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه 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 (صلى الله عليه 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 (صلى الله عليه 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 (صلى الله عليه 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 1: ﴾قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ﴿ The imperative qul (Say) is directly addressed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه 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 (صلى الله عليه وسلم) . If analyzed properly, this brief sentence covers all the detailed discussions expounded in voluminous books of theology.
Verse: 2 ﴾اللَّهُ 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 ].
Allah is Above having Children and Procreating
Verse: 3 ﴾لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ﴿ 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.
Verse: 4 ﴾وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ﴿ 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  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!
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