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Surah Ikhlas (Chapter 112) - An Explanation

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.


Although this chapter of Qur’an is very short but its significance is of utmost importance to the basis of our faith viz., Tawheed. We know that Allah has 99 names and He says in the Holy Qur’an, “And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.” (7:180) These 99 names are the attributes of Allah. For instance, Ar-Raheem, (the Bestower of Mercy), Al-Haleem (The Most Forbearing), Al-Ghafoor (The Forgiving) to name a few. However, “Allah” is the proper noun.


When we look at the attributes, we notice that Allah bestows some of these attributes in human beings too by His grace, although not at the same level as Allah possesses that attribute. For instance, Ar-Raheem (the Bestower of Mercy) is the attribute of Allah but we can find this in human beings too. Similarly, another attribute of Allah being Al-Haleem (The Most Forbearing), so also Allah bestows this quality in some human beings too.


However, there are some attributes of Allah that are exclusive to Allah alone. No one has these attributes whatsoever. Therefore, these 4 attributes help us to clearly distinguish between the Creator and the creations. If we associate any of these 4 attributes to anyone other than Allah, it may amount to Shirk. Surah Ikhlas is very special and it is the manifestation of Pure Tawheed (the ultimate quality of Oneness of Allah)


Let’s go through translation of the 4 verses of this Surah:


  • Say, “He is Allah, the One and Unique (verse 1)

  • Allah, Who is in need of none and of Whom all are in need (verse 2)

  • He neither begot any nor was He begotten (verse 3)

  • And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” *verse 4)


Verse 1:

In the first verse, Allah commands the Holy Prophet to declare that Allah is One. The Islamic principle of Oneness is not limited to the declaration that there is none except one God but it also extends to all realities. In other words, all realities merge into One Reality.


Allah is One and Unique, Allah created everything, Allah knows everything, Allah is the giver, Allah is the Guide (Hadi) Therefore, we believe in Unity of Command (Hukm). We worship Allah alone. We prostrate before Allah alone. We seek help from Allah alone.


Verse 2:

The second verse declares that Allah is Eternal. This means that He is above time and space because, in human terms, time is related to the movement of stars and planets. This implies that He is not affected by the past, present and future. He is the creator. He is there from the beginning and will remain forever. Since everything is from Him, He is also called Wajib-ul-Wujood (Obligatory Existence).


Ibn Sina distinguishes between the ‘obligatory’, the ‘possible’, and the ‘impossible’. The obligatory is that whose nonexistence is impossible. The possible is that whose existence or nonexistence, both are possible. The impossible is that whose existence is impossible.

  1. Obligatory Existence (Wajib ul Wujood) refers to Allah alone. None, other than Allah, has obligatory existence.

  2. Possible Existance (Mumkin ul Wujood) could be anything that is available, that is seen etc. Human beings have possible existence.

  3. Impossible Existance (Mumtani’y al Wujood) refers to the fact that there is only one God (Allah), therefore, it is impossible to have another God. Allah is Omnipotent (unlimited authority “Qudrat”), therefore, if Allah wills, He can create anything but it is His will to be One, Alone, and Unique. Another example of impossible existence is that of children of Allah.

  • Allah is the only creator (all other things are His creations), Allah is not created by anybody,

  • Allah is not dependent on others, we are all dependent on Allah, Allah gives us air to breath,

  • Allah gives us food, water, home, everything, we need Him. We ask him for everything.

Verse 3:

The third verse declares that the Allah does not give birth or takes birth because He is Eternal and the only reality. Allah is immortal and He does not need to give birth or take birth, Allah has no parents, Allah has no sons and daughters, Allah has no brothers and sisters. He is One and Alone.


Verse 4:

The last verse declares that there is none equal to Allah because He is Unique. Human beings live in the world of duality. Allah is absolutely unique and therefore, He is beyond comparison.

Example: In Qur’an, you might have seen the word “Zulumaat” (plural of Zulmat) and Noor. Qur’an does not use the plural form of Noor. Everywhere you will see “Noor” only, and not “Anwaar”. Because Allah is Noor.


Surah Noor: Allahu Noorus-Samawaati Wal-Ardh. (Al-Qur’an 24:35) “Allah is the Light of the heavens and earth”.


Allah is not only One but also Unique (Ahad), no one is like Allah, everything has an example but Allah has no example, and none is comparable to Allah.


May Allah guide us and help us stay away from all kinds of Shirk, whether explicit or hidden, Ameen!

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