Translation and Tafsir of Surah al-Ikhlas

Surah al-Ikhlas, or “Purity” or “Sincerity”, is the 112th Surah of the Quran, consisting of just four verses. It is also referred to as Surah Tawheed (Monotheism) because this Surah summarizes the concept of Monotheism in a comprehensive manner.

It is one of the very few Surahs in the Quran whose name is not mentioned in the Surah itself; it has, instead, been named in view of its meaning and subject matter. 

Narrated Hz Aisha (RA): [1]

The Prophet (PBUH) sent (an army unit) under the command of a man who used to lead his companions in the prayers and would finish his recitation with (the Surah 112): ‘Say (O Muhammad): “He is Allah, the One.” ‘ (112.1) When they returned (from the battle), they mentioned that to the Prophet. He said (to them), “Ask him why he does so.” They asked him and he said, “I do so because it mentions the qualities of the Beneficent and I love to recite it (in my prayer).” The Prophet; said (to them), “Tell him that Allah loves him.”

This article provides full translation and tafsir of Surah al-Ikhlas, along with Arabic text.

First up, the full Arabic text of Surah al-Ikhlas:

surah-al-ikhlas-full-arabic

Translation

  1. Say: He is Allah, the One!
  2. Allah, the Eternal, the Absolute! 
  3. He begets not, nor was He begotten;
  4. And there is none comparable unto Him.

And now, on to the Tafsir of Surah al-Ikhlas.

Tafsir

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1. Say: He is Allah, the One!

This verse proclaims the Oneness of Allah. It sums up the essence of Islam, and negates all forms of polytheism and idolatry. The word “Ahad” meaning “The One” is used in the Quran only for Allah, and no one else. Allah says: [2]

Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.

Allah has no partners, associates, or helpers. Worship is directed solely to Allah, for He is the Only One worthy of worship. As Allah says in Surah al-Isra: [3]

And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him.

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2. Allah, the Eternal, the Absolute! 

In this verse, Allah refers to Himself by one of His Perfect attributes: As-Samad. As-Samad is also one of the Names of Allah.

Allah has been referred to as The Eternal Refuge, The Self-Sufficient, The Absolute, and the One on Whom all depend and to Whom all creation turns to for fulfillment of their desires and needs, by different translators of the Quran.

Therefore, while the whole world is dependent upon Allah for fulfillment of its needs, He is in need of no one. As mentioned in Surah an-Naml: [4]

Truly my Lord is Free of all Needs, Supreme in Honour!

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3. He begets not, nor was He begotten;

This verse states that Allah was not born, nor did He give birth. In other words, He has no beginning and therefore no ending. Allah is the Creator of each and everything, but He was not created by any power.

One might wonder: isn’t it pretty obvious that Allah, the Ultimate Authority, is above everything else? Well, it surely is obvious. But many polytheists and idolaters wrongfully ascribe partners as well as sons and daughters to Allah (Nauzubillah!). However, this particular verse of Surah al-Ikhlas leaves no room for any uncertainty in this regard.

As in Surah al-An’am, Allah says: [5]

[He is] Originator of the heavens and the earth. How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things? And He is, of all things, Knowing.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: [6]

None is more patient than Allah against the harmful and annoying words He hears (from the people): They ascribe children to Him, yet He bestows upon them health and provision.

Furthermore, in Surah an-Nisa: [7]

Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son.

And in Surah al-Isra: [8]

Say: “Praise be to Allah, who begets no son, and has no partner in (His) dominion.”

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4. And there is none comparable unto Him.

The last verse of this Surah declares that Allah is beyond comparison. In other words, there is nothing comparable to Him in nature and attributes. There is none in the entire universe, nor ever was, nor ever can be, who is equal to Allah. He is Unique in every aspect. In Surah ash-Shurah, Allah says: [9]

There is nothing like Him.

Thus, this Surah gives a summarized description of the Oneness of Allah and the Perfection of His Attributes. Such is the importance of Surah al-Ikhlas that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) equalled it to one-third of the Quran. As reported by Hz Abu Hurairah (RA): [10]

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) came out to us and said: I am going to recite before you one-third of the Quran. He then recited: “Say: He is Allah, One-Allah, the Eternal,” to the end of the Surah.

References

  1. Sahih Bukhari Vol 09, Book 93, Hadith 472
  2. The Quran 21:22 (Surah al-Anbya)
  3. The Quran 17:23 (Surah al-Isra)
  4. The Quran 27:40 (Surah an-Naml)
  5. The Quran 06:101 (Surah al-An’am)
  6. Sahih Bukhari Vol 09, Book 93, Hadith 475
  7. The Quran 04:171 (Surah an-Nisa)
  8. The Quran 17:111 (Surah al-Isra)
  9. The Quran 42:11 (Surah ash-Shurah)
  10. Sahih Muslim Book 06, Hadith 317

 

photo by Calligraphed Oil Paintings


2 comments

  1. This is an informative way of discussing Surat Al-Ikhlas.Three comments:(1)The use of the expression’Islmic Monotheism’ is unfortunate.There is no other monotheism.Islam is the only monotheistic religion:Ayah3.19:<<The true religion with Allah is Islam.(2)There are two other Surahs besides Sutat Al-Ikhlas which do not take their names from a word occurring in them:Al-Fatiha, which takes its name from its function as the opening Surah of the Quran ,and Surat Al-Anbiya(#21) which takes its name from its subject like Surat Al-Iklas.(3)In Palestine people built their buildings with dressed stones.So the profession of the stone mason was an important one. There was never a shortage of buildings being built and of masons hard at work dressing the stones.I was always fascinated by how a shapeless stone is soon turned into a beautiful dressed stone by the blows of the mason on his chisel.But above all the rhythmic sound coming from those blows always brought to my mind the repeated and circular rhyme of Surat Al-Ikhlas.I felt that the rhyme of that Surah had chiseled it in my heart the way the masons were chiseling the form on the stone.Such is the power of this beautiful Surah that whenever I read it even now,I can hear the rhythmic sound coming from the blows of the masons of Palestine.But I also hear another and a mightier sound.It is the sound of the Ayahs of this great Surah chiseling and forming the solid rock which anchors the whole mighty edifice of Islam.

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