The chapter Al-Ikhlas (The Unity) was revealed at Makkah.
It is so named because the belief in the Unity of Allah has been
purified of all kinds of shirk (polytheism) and a clear explanation
of it has been given. In this chapter, too, a comprehensive elucidation
of the Unity of Allah has also been provided.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
- Say: He, Allah is One.
- Allah is He on Whom all depend.
- He begets not, nor is He begotten;
- And none is like Him.
In this chapter, the Unity of Allah has been perfected from every
aspect. We are directed to say: Allah is ONE. The word Huwa
(He) points towards the inner nature of man which attests to the
existence of Allah. It is possible for this faculty to be suppressed
for a time in the gaiety and intoxication of this world’s life but
it can never be effaced. Whenever man finds himself in difficulty
or pain or feels his own utter helplessness and weakness, his nature
involuntarily and visibly reaches out to that Supreme Being in search
of protection for it knows that it can obtain help from that Source
just as it is the nature of an innocent child to turn spontaneously
to his mother when he is suffering pain, difficulty or loneliness.
The spirit of man naturally acknowledges the existence of Allah
and here the word Huwa (He), is an indication of that inherent
tendency in man.
Some Sufis even consider Huwa (He) as one of the names of
Allah and they are constantly engaged in the repetition of this
word (Huwa). In other words, Allah commands our Holy Prophet
“O Muhammad! Prophet of Allah, you who are teaching the
world true, authentic and deep knowledge of Allah, tell the people
that that Being Whom their inner selves acknowledge, that is, Allah,
the compendium of all perfect attributes and the perfect One in
beauty and goodness, is Allah Who is One and without any partner.”
Here the word Ahad (One) is used because it expresses the
Unity of Allah to the highest degree of perfection. This means that
He is One in His person, One in His attributes and
One in His actions also. In fact, there is not the slightest
possibility of duality in Him.
Today, Science, after exhaustive research, has established the
fact that the peculiar nature of all things and their inherent powers
are all working towards one purpose. This proves beyond doubt that
the Power that has overall control of everything, the One Supreme
Law-maker and Regulator Who guides each one to its appointed goal
of perfection is One.
In spite of all those apparently and mutually contradictory powers
in the world, the fact remains that all things are working towards
one purpose and there is only one Almighty Being Who guides them
along their diverse paths so that each one may attain its perfection.
In short, all men of Science are agreed upon one point, and that
is, there can only be One Being Who regulates the affairs
of the world.
A Christian Father proudly presents an outdated style of logic
whose stupidity arouses involuntary laughter. He argues that when
one uses the number one, the number two must necessarily
follow. Therefore, when one says God is One, then two, or
a second god, has to come. Perhaps someone should point out to him
that if that proposition is correct, that is, when one says one,
two must follow, then when one says three, the number four
inevitably has to follow.
Note: In the Holy Quran, two words are used for one:
wahid and ahad. Wahid means one or the first of a series,
whereas ahad means one, after which nothing is to follow.
In short, this proclamation of the Holy Quran leads to the conclusion
that God is One that God Who contains within Himself all
the perfect attributes and to Whose existence man’s inner nature
bears witness. And in using the singular number ahad for
Him, the intention is to demonstrate that His unity is so perfect
that He has no partner in His Being nor in His attributes nor in
Now, it is evident that shirk (polytheism) is of three kinds.
Firstly, that of dependence on means; secondly, that
of lineage; and thirdly, that of likeness to oneself.
In this chapter, the Holy Quran refers to the three kinds of shirk
and it proclaims that Allah, Who is One, is above need of and
free from these three constraints.
We shall consider the first kind of polytheism dependence
on means. If, like us, as regards His attributes and works,
Allah is dependent on other means, then it is clear that for the
manifestation of His attributes and the execution of his works,
these things must have come into being together with Him or must
have pre-dated His existence and this is shirk (polytheism).
For example, in order to see, we need eyes and light; in order to
hear, ears and air-waves. If we wish to build something, we must
have hands and material. If Allah is like this, too, then of necessity
all these things would have to exist together with him or before
Him, and without them, neither His attributes nor His God-head could
come into operation. Therefore this is the greatest form of shirk
So, in order to function, we, human beings, depend on the laws
of nature. Accordingly, when we intend to do something, we resort
to the laws of nature for we need them and can do nothing without
them. Similarly, if Allah is in need of the laws of nature and He
has no alternative but to turn to them in order to function, then
it would be necessary for those laws to be in existence before Him
in order for His God-head to operate, and if those laws were non-existent,
then, Allah forbid, He could not have done anything. Thus those
philosophers who believe that Allah is limited and in need of laws
are really preaching polytheism. In order to refute all forms of
polytheism, the Holy Quran says:
Samad means the One Who is Himself above all need and the
One to Whom all turn for the fulfilment of their needs. In fact, He
is the Maker and Creator of everything. All depend on Him for their
birth, their living and all other kinds of needs. And He is above
need of all things to such an extent that He is totally free of all
those laws and means on which we, human beings, depend. Rather, all
those laws and means depend on Him and owe their existence to Him.
In fact, laws and means are another name for the Divine works under
which the whole of creation operates and from which they cannot deviate
even to the slightest degree. Thus one of the characteristics of Allah
is that He is Ghalibu ‘ala amrihi, that is, Allah has total
command over His laws and means because He is the Master of the Kingdom
and from Him emanate all laws and means to which the whole of creation
is intricately bound. The meaning of all this is that Allah is perfect
and unlimited in His person, attributes and deeds, and in Him there
is no trace of polytheism. In short, dependence on means, which
is the root of all polytheism, has been eradicated and thus the Unity
of Allah has been perfected in all respects.
Allah is He on Whom all depend.
Now, let us examine if there is any family relationship regarding
Allah. Family relationship is a kind of dependence and it is the
opposite of the attribute Samad which means self sufficient
and on whom others depend.
Family relationship necessitates a person being a father of someone
or a son of someone, that is, he gives birth to someone or is born
of someone. This is how kinship is perpetuated. But when there is
a chain of descendants, the concept of the Unity of Allah is destroyed,
for then there will have to be a dynasty of gods. That is why Allah
says Lam yalid wa lam yulad (He begets not, nor is He begotten).
And in this simple statement, all false doctrines of the Christians
and the polytheists have been refuted. Many Arab polytheists had
ascribed daughters to Allah and used to worship them as goddesses,
whilst sun-worshippers and polytheists believed in deities born
of virgin mothers and considered them as sons of God. In this way,
when the religion of the sun-worshippers got mixed up with Christianity,
and Christians, too, became immersed in the religion of the sun-worshippers,
then the belief in Jesus as the Son of God was adopted and consequently
Mary was believed to be the mother of God so they started
to believe in a God, a son of God and a mother of God.
The Holy Quran eradicated all these wrong beliefs in these two
statements Lam yalid wa lam yulad (He begets not, nor
is He begotten). In other words, there is no chain of procreation
with Allah. In fact, He is Self-subsisting and has no beginning
The following is a conversation between a Christian and the author
on the question of the Unity of God:
||“Do you know who the
||“Yes, I know who he
||“Do you believe in him?”
||“Yes, I believe in him.”
||“What is your belief
|| “I believe him to be
a prophet of God.”
|| “Then you believe in
||“What should I believe
|| “You should accept
him as the Son of God.”
||“O! Does God have a
son? Well, if He has a son, then there must be a father and
a grandfather, too! For the existence of a son pre-supposes
a process of procreation with God, and if that is the case,
then it will be evident that God has to be born and He has to
die too, for that is how the law of procreation works in our
world. For in human beings, there is always the fear of extinction
and so God has instituted the process of procreation so that
man can be saved from becoming extinct. As plants, animals,
and man too, all have to face death, provision has been made
for the perpetuation of their species through the law of procreation.
On the other hand, things like the sun and the mountains do
not die and so they do not need any father or son. Therefore
if there is a process of procreation in God, then He is bound
to die, and so if you believe that Jesus is the son of God,
then God, the Father will have to die leaving his son to be
His inheritor. That is why the Holy Quran states lam yalid,
that is, that God has no son. This is then followed by the
argument lam yulad, that is, He is not the son of anyone
because if there is a son, there must be a father. On the other
hand, if He has no father and He exists from eternity, then
He cannot have a son for He exists from the beginning and will
remain forever. Thus He does not need a son.”
On hearing this line of argument, the Christian
Father was dumb-founded and replied:
||“No, no, God has no
father. He does not die. He is Eternal and His son is also Eternal.”
||“Then why do you say
God and son? You should say, God and brothers or God and partners,
for you must have a good reason for regarding one as Father
and the other as son.”
||“Hold on, hold on. Let
me explain it in another way. Consider the Father as embodying
Justice and the son, Mercy. For example, let’s say that you
and I have committed a crime and the Judge has passed a sentence
of punishment against us. But if the Supreme ruler of the country
desires to remit the sentence through his mercy, he cannot set
us free because this will go against the demands of justice.
However, if he sends his son to bear the sentence instead of
us, then in this way, he will be able to maintain justice and
at the same time we shall benefit from his mercy.”
|| “The definition of
justice is that the criminal should be punished for his crime
and the definition of mercy is that the criminal is forgiven
for his crime. The definition of wrong-doing and injustice is
that the real culprit should be set free and an innocent person
be punished in his place. Thus according to your proposition,
God, the Father neither showed mercy nor justice but instead
committed a great injustice by putting on the Cross His innocent
son for the crimes of others.”
On hearing this, the Christian Father became speechless.
We now come to the third kind of partnership that of likeness
or equality. The Holy Quran says: Lam yakullahu kufuwan
ahad, that is, none is like Him, and none is equal to Him. In
other words, when there is no likeness to Him in attributes and
in works, how can there be a partner to Him? Likeness can be of
two kinds either God is dependent on means, in which case
He will be in need of someone else, and there will exist the possibility
of someone else like Him or an equal to Him. But since He is not
in need of anything but instead everything is dependent on Him,
how can there be a likeness to Him?
The second kind of likeness is through procreation. That is, if
he is one of a family, then there will be a likeness to Him. But
since that is not the case, then the likelihood of one similar to
Him does not come about and there is no possibility of duality in
Him. In this way, those who believe that God has a wife have been
refuted as well as those sun-worshippers who believe in the existence
of two gods one, the creator of goodness called Yazdan,
and the other, the creator of evil called Ahraman.
The Holy Quran has told us that all these beliefs are erroneous;
for when God is perfect in beauty and goodness, and He is the possessor
of all beautiful and perfect attributes, and He is predominant in
His attributes and actions and also limitless, and all depend on
Him while He is above everything, and He exists from eternity and
will remain forever and is far removed from the law of procreation,
then how can there be an equal to Him, or one like Him?
In short, in this chapter, the Unity of Allah has been explained
in a perfect manner and any possibility of partnership with Him
in His being, in His attributes, and in His actions has been ruled
out and all possible arguments in favour of partnership with Him
have been negated by irrefutable reasons and arguments. Furthermore,
the all-encompassing knowledge and the Unity of Allah have been
portrayed in a pure, perfect and unparalleled manner. That is why
the teaching of the Quran has been brought to an end in this chapter,
for after this there are two more chapters called al-mu’awwazatain,
that is, prayers seeking refuge in Allah. In this petition, protection
is sought against hidden and manifest evils.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas) said that this chapter (Al-Ikhlas)
is one third of the Holy Quran for there is no doubt that one third
of the Holy Quran deals with the Unity of Allah, the essence of
which has been distilled in this chapter.