Surah al-Ikhlas - (Purity Of faith)

Tafseer ibn Katheer (Translated & Abridged by Sameh Strauch)

"Say: He is Allah the One and Only; Allah the Eternal Absolute; He begets not nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. " (Q112: 1-4)

Whatever the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) brought with him, that alone is real. It is obligatory to obey it and forbidden to deviate from it as this alone is the Straight Path which has no curves. The Straight Path is only one and whoever deviates from it he strays onto the wrong path, innovation and injustice. Allah commands in the Qur an:

"And this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow the other paths less they divert you from His way .."(Q6:153)

The Straight Path is that path of the Ummah (community of Muslim believers) which lies in between the two extremes. Hence, the supplication in every rak ah (i.e. unit) of the prayer: "Guide us to the Straight Path", that He should help, assist, guide, support and lead us in those things which will help us to obey Him and keep us steadfast on His Path. This is the Path of those who were favoured by Allah: the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous, and these are the best company to keep. (Q4:69) It is only that path that leads to the Creator, the Lord of the Worlds, described by this surah of purity.

The concept of tawheed has been explained in Surah al- Ikhlaas by separating and purging it from shirk (associating others with Allah, polytheism and idolatry).. Imam Ahmad narrated from Ubayy bin Kaab that the mushrikoon (i.e. pagan idolaters) asked: "Oh Muhammed! Tell us the genealogy of Your Lord", whereupon Allah revealed this surah. This is the surah of declaration of belief from disbelief, the surah of separation of truth from falsehood and the surah of purification of true faith from insincere worship of Allah. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

"Do you. know what Allah's right upon His slaves is? ... It is to worship Him alone and to join none in worship with Him. Do you know what their right upon Him is? ...Not to punish them (if they do so) ".(Bukhari)

It is proven that this surah is equal to one third of the of the Quran. When told of a man who was reciting this surah repeatedly overnight as if one single recitation of it was not enough, the Rasul replied, "By Him in Whose Hands my lift is, it is equal to one-third of the Quran." (Bukhari)

And to another man who used to finish his recitation with this surah whenever he led his companions in salaat "because it mentions the qualities of the Most Gracious"; the Prophet(PBUH) said, "Tell him that Allah loves him" (Bukhari). According to the statement of Ibn Abbaas the Quran consists of three fundamental objectives:

*those commands and prohibitions which contain the laws and practical ways. These form the subject matter of the science of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and Ethics.

*The tales and narratives which include the stories of the Prophets and Messengers of God and their communities. The punishment and disasters which befell those who resisted and denied the Messengers of Allah. Also, the promises and rewards for those who obeyed them.

*the knowledge of Tawheed (the Unity of Allah) and the description of those matters which relate to the Names of Almighty Allah and His Attributes, which to have faith in is obligatory upon the servant of Al-lah (i.e. each Muslim). This has precedence over the first three Surah al-Ikhlaas contains the third objective and a general description of it.

Thus, it is correct to say that this surah is equal to one third of the Qur an. Allahs command "He is Allah, the One" negates partnership with Him in every sense, whether it concerns His self, attributes or His deeds. It also demonstrates the distinctiveness of Allah in His perfection, magnificence and majesty. The word ahad(unique, one) is not used in affirmation for anyone besides Allah, since ahad is more emphatic than wahid (one).

The tafseer of lbn Abbaas (RA) for the verse "Allah! al-Samad ( the Eternally Besought of all).": "The Chief who is best in His Nobility, the Great one who is best in His greatness, the Tolerant one who is best in His toleration. The Omnipotent who is the best in His omnipotence, the All Knowing who is best in His knowledge. The Self which is perfect in all types of nobility and greatness - that Self is only God - the Self who has no fear, around Whom all creatures turn and Whom they seek after for all their needs and actions. He alone has these qualities for they do not apply to anyone save Him. No one is equal to Him and no one is like Him."

Allahu Akbar! Affirmation in His Oneness negates all forms of polytheism and similitude. Affirmation of all the meanings of al-Samad includes all the noble names and the most exalted attributes. This is the tawheed of Affirmation. The tawheed of Purity is in the statement: "He does not beget not nor is He begotten: And there is none comparable to Him". This statement can also be understood from the general statement: "Say! He is Allah! The One". Nothing came out of Him nor did He come out of anything He has no equal, no likeness and no similarity.

TAFSEER. ..SHORT AND SHARP "Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our servants as We have chosen: bit there are among them some who wrong their own souls (al-Dhaalim Ii nafsi-hi); some who a follow a middle course (al-Muqtasid); and some who are by Allahs leave foremost in good deeds (al-Saabiq); that is the highest Grace. "(Q35:32)

We know that al-dhaalim li nafsi-hi refers to those who neglect their obligatory duties and commit what has been forbidden. Similarly, the muqtasid means those who perform their duties and abstain from the forbidden; and the saabiq means those who go beyond others in seeking the pleasure of Allah by doing supererogatory things over and above the obligatory. Hence, the muqtasid are the people of the right hand and the saabiq are the most near and dear to Allah. As He says:

"So those of the Right Hand (i.e. those who will be given their Records in their right hands), - Who will be those on the Right Hand? "(Q56:8)

"And those Foremost (in the life of this world on the very first call to embrace Islam) will be foremost (in Paradise)." (Q56: 10)

The Salaf(the early Muslims of the first three generations: the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH), their successors, and their successors) have explained these points with reference to one or the other act of obedience to Allah. One has said: "The saabiq is the one who offers prayers at the earliest time; the muqtasid is the one who offers them late, but in time; and the dhaalim is the one who defers, for instance, the evening (asr)prayer till the sun turns pale." Another has said that Allah has described all the categories of men: the saabiq, the muqtasid and the dhaalim li nafsi-hi towards the end of the Surah Baqarah (Q2:267-283)

where he has mentioned the muhsin or the generous (who) spend money in charity; the Aadil or the just who trade; and the zaalim or the unjust who charge interest. People are either generous in matters of money, unjust or just. The saabiq are the generous ones who give money in charity over and above meeting their obligations, the dhaalim are those who take interest or fail to pay zakah and the muqtasid are those who pay zakah as well as refrain from taking interest, and so on. (An Introduction to the Principles of Tafseer by Shaykh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah.)


 This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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