Tafsir of Surah Al-’Ikhlas
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
"He is Allah, One.
Allah He begets not, nor was He begotten.
And there is non comparable to Him.''
Similar was recorded by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarir and they added in their narration that he said,
"الصَّمَدُ 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.
وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهُ كُفُواً أَحَدٌ ٌ 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.''
A Hadith on its Virtues
Al-Bukhari reported from Amrah bint Abdur-Rahman, who used to stay in the apartment of Aishah, the wife of the Prophet, that Aishah 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 Quran). 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,
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 Surahas 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,
مَا يَمْنَعُكَ أَنْ تَفْعَلَ مَا يَأْمُرُكَ بِهِ أَصْحَابُكَ،
وَمَا حَمَلَكَ عَلَى لُزُوم هَذِهِ السُّورَةِ فِي كُلِّ رَكْعَةٍ؟
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.
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.
Another Hadith that its Recitation necessitates Admission into Paradise
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, وَجَبَت (It is obligatory).
I asked, `What is obligatory'
He replied, "الْجَنَّة 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, حُبُّكَ إِيَّاهَا أَدْخَلَكَ الْجَنَّة Your love of it will cause you to enter Paradise, has already been mentioned.
A Hadith about repeating this Surah
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, قُل Say. Then he was silent.
Then he said again, قُل Say.
So I said, `What should I say?'
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
وَالْمُعَوِّذَتَيْنِ حِينَ تُمْسِي وَحِينَ تُصْبِحُ ثَلَاثًا، تَكْفِكَ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ مَرَّتَيْن
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,
يَكْفِكَ كُلَّ شَيْء
They will suffice you against everything.
Another Hadith about supplicating with it by Allah's Names
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,
By Allah in Whose Hand is my soul, verily he has supplicated with Ism e Azam. Whenever supplication is made with the greatest name of Allah, it is blessed with acceptance.
A Hadith about seeking a Cure by these Surahs
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', (Surah 112)
`Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of Al-Falaq', (Surah 113) and
`Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind.' (Surah 114)
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.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
Say: He is Allah, One.
لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ
He begets not, nor was He begotten.
وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
And there is none comparable to Him.
The reason for the revelation of this Surah has already been mentioned.
- 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,
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ ﴿١﴾
Say: "He is Allah, One.''
- 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,
اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ ﴿٢﴾
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,
" الصَّمَدُ As-Samad, is the Master Whose control is complete.''
Allah is Above having Children and procreating
Then Allah says,
لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ﴿٣﴾
He begets not, nor was He begotten.
meaning, He does not have any child, parent or spouse.
وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ ﴿٤﴾
And there is none comparable to Him.
Mujahid said, وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ (And there is none comparable to Him),
"This means He does not have a spouse.''
This is as Allah says,
بَدِيعُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَّهُ صَـحِبَةٌ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ
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.
وَقَالُواْ اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَـنُ وَلَداً
لَقَدْ جِئْتُمْ شَيْئاً إِدّاً
تَكَادُ السَّمَـوَتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنشَقُّ الاٌّرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدّاً
أَن دَعَوْا لِلرَّحْمَـنِ وَلَداً
وَمَا يَنبَغِى لِلرَّحْمَـنِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَداً
إِن كُلُّ مَن فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ إِلاَّ آتِى الرَّحْمَـنِ عَبْداً
لَّقَدْ أَحْصَـهُمْ وَعَدَّهُمْ عَدّاً
وَكُلُّهُمْ ءَاتِيهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ فَرْداً
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,
وَقَالُواْ اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَـنُ وَلَداً سُبْحَانَهُ بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُّكْرَمُونَ
لاَ يَسْبِقُونَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ وَهُمْ بِأَمْرِهِ يَعْمَلُونَ
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,
وَجَعَلُواْ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْجِنَّةِ نَسَباً وَلَقَدْ عَلِمَتِ الجِنَّةُ إِنَّهُمْ لَمُحْضَرُونَ
سُبْحَـنَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
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,
لَا أَحَدَ أَصْبَرُ عَلَى أَذًى سَمِعَهُ مِنَ اللهِ، يَجْعَلُونَ لَهُ وَلَدًا، وَهُوَ يَرْزُقُهُمْ وَيُعَافِيهِم
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,
قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ:
كَذَّبَنِي ابْنُ آدَمَ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ ذَلِكَ،
وَشَتَمَنِي وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ ذَلِكَ،
فَأَمَّا تَكْذِيبُهُ إِيَّايَ فَقَوْلُهُ:
لَنْ يُعِيدَنِي كَمَا بَدَأَنِي، وَلَيْسَ أَوَّلُ الْخَلْقِ بِأَهْوَنَ عَلَيَّ مِنْ إِعَادَتِهِ،
وَأَمَّا شَتْمُهُ إِيَّايَ فَقَوْلُهُ: اتَّخَذَ اللهُ وَلَدًا،
وَأَنَا الْأَحَدُ الصَّمَدُ، لَمْ أَلِدْ وَلَمْ أُولَدْ، وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لِي كُفُوًا أَحَد
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 Surah Al-Ikhlas, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.