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Surah Al-Ikhlas and its Great Message
By Sami Zaatari
The Quran without a doubt is a beautiful book, full of wisdom and great meanings. Surah Al-Ikhlas is no exception to this rule.
Surah Al-Ikhlas is the 112th Surah in the Quran, and without a doubt is one of the most powerful Surah’s in the Quran, the Surah completely gets rid of any shirk that people are committing, and moves God away from the paganistic ideas and doctrines that they have ascribed unto him. The Surah deals essentially and exclusively with Tauhid. Tauhid is:
confirming the Oneness of Allah. It is the basis of Islam. (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/reference/glossary/term.TAUHID.html)
What does it mean to bear witness to Tawheed?
What does it mean to bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah?
What it means to bear witness that there is no god except Allaah is to deny that anyone other than Allaah has the right to be worshipped, and to affirm that this is the right of Allaah alone, with no partner or associate. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“That is because Allaah He is the Truth (the only True God of all that exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and what they (the polytheists) invoke besides Him, it is Baatil (falsehood). And verily, Allaah He is the Most High, the Most Great”[al-Hajj 22:62]
So the words laa ilaaha (there is no god) deny all things that are worshipped instead of Allaah, and the words illa Allaah (except Allaah) affirm that all kinds of worship are for Allaah alone. So what they mean is that there is none that is rightfully worshipped except Allaah.
Just as Allaah has no partner in His dominion, so too He has no partner in His worship.
What it means to bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah is tobelieve firmly, from the depths of one's heart, and express it on one's lips, that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger to all of creation, mankind and the jinn alike. That means believing what he has told us about events in the past, what he has told us about things that are yet to come, what he has permitted of halaal things, what he has forbidden of haraam things; and it means obeying and following what he has commanded, and giving up and avoiding what he has forbidden, following his laws, adhering to his Sunnah in secret and in the open, accepting and submitting to his judgements, and knowing that obedience to him is obedience to Allaah, and disobedience to him is disobedience to Allaah, because he is the one who conveyed the Message from Allaah, and Allaah did not cause him to die until He had perfected the religion, and he conveyed it clearly. May Allaah reward him on behalf of us with the best reward that was ever given to any Prophet on behalf of his people and any Messenger on behalf of his nation.
A person can only enter Islam by uttering this twin testimony of faith; its two parts are intertwined and cannot be separated. For the conditions of testifying that there is no god but Allaah are the same as the conditions of testifying that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah. These, along with the evidence for them, are mentioned in questions no. 9014 and 12295.
And Allaah knows best.
YUSUFALI: Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
This verse here gets rid of any polytheistic beliefs, such as ascribing partners to God, or saying that he is 3, or 4, or a hundred. The verse is making it clear that Allah is one, and has no partners.
By saying this, it also affirms the point that all things in the universe are controlled by God, and God alone, he has all the power, and everything you see around you is done by his will alone. It essentially shows that all the power in the universe exclusively belongs to God and no one else, unlike what several pagans believe and have believed.
The Surah continues:
YUSUFALI: Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
The verse affirms that Allah is eternal, meaning he does not die, nor is he brought into this life through birth. It gets rid of all polytheistic and pagan beliefs which claimed that God is a man, or that God died and was given birth to etc etc. The Surah continues to make this point very clear:
YUSUFALI: He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
The verse makes it explicitly clear that God does not beget any children, therefore having no sons or daughters. This is also a clear refutation to many pagan beliefs that were floating around before and during that time, that God had children including sons and daughters etc etc. The verse also then makes it clear that God himself is not begotten, affirming that he eternal, he always is, and does not come into being through sexual intercourse. Beautiful verses indeed. The Surah finally ends by saying:
YUSUFALI: And there is none like unto Him.
The verse is showing us that God is above all, that he is unlike any of us, he does not eat, nor does he sleep, nor does he get married like we all do. Therefore God is making it clear to all those who have made false doctrines against him that he is far above to what they ascribe him to.
In fact if one notices, the verses all compliment each other and are following a specific order with each verse making a point for the previous. Verse 2 tells us that Allah is eternal, meaning he always is, the next verse explains further telling us he is not given birth to, hence continuing the meaning of the previous verse, that he is eternal and always is. Verse 3 goes on to tell us that Allah has no kids either, and then it explains further to us in the next verse by telling us that God is unlike anyone, and nothing can be compared to him. Hence he does not have kids, and if people do not understand this, then it makes it clear that he is unlike anyone and is far above what our human minds can comprehend and make up in his name. So as you can see each verse compliments the next.
Here is what tafsir Ibn Kathir wrote:
The Reason for the Revelation of this Surah and its Virtues
Imam Ahmad recorded from Ubayy bin Ka`b that the idolators said to the Prophet , "O Muhammad! Tell us the lineage of your Lord.'' So Allah revealed
[قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ - اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ - لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ - وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهُ كُفُواً أَحَدٌ ]
(Say: "He is Allah, One. Allah He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is non comparable to Him.'')
Hadith on its Virtues
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,
«سَلُوهُ لِأَيِّ شَيْءٍ يَصْنَعُ ذَلِكَ؟»
(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,
«أَخْبِرُوهُ أَنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى يُحِبُّه»
(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,
«يَا فُلَانُ، مَا يَمْنَعُكَ أَنْ تَفْعَلَ مَا يَأْمُرُكَ بِهِ أَصْحَابُكَ، وَمَا حَمَلَكَ عَلَى لُزُوم هَذِهِ السُّورَةِ فِي كُلِّ رَكْعَةٍ؟»
(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,
«حُبُّكَ إِيَّاهَا أَدْخَلَكَ الْجَنَّة»
(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.
As I said this is a very powerful and beautiful Surah:
A Hadith that mentions this Surah is equivalent to a Third of the Qur'an
Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Sa`id that a man heard another man reciting
[قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ ]
(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,
«وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ إِنَّهَا لَتَعْدِلُ ثُلُثَ الْقُرْآن»
(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,
«أَيَعْجِزُ أَحَدُكُمْ أَنْ يَقْرَأَ ثُلُثَ الْقُرْآنِ فِي لَيْلَةٍ؟»
(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,
«اللهُ الْوَاحِدُ الصَّمَدُ ثُلُثُ الْقُرْآن»
("Allah is the One, As-Samad'' is a third of the Qur'an.) Al-Bukhari was alone in recording this Hadith.
In conclusion I say that this verse crushes every form of polytheism, and crushes every pagan lie invented against God. Indeed this Surah is so great it crushed centuries of lies with a simple 4 verses, this very fact alone shows the greatness of God, that in 4 short verses, he sends out a very strong and beautiful message that crushes every form of lie that is ascribed to him by polytheists. That just makes me say ‘God is great’ ‘Allaho Akbar’.
Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.
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