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The importance of Surah al-Ikhlas (Part 4)

the holy qur’an

Wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad”‌ {Nor has He any equal}

He has no equal in being, perfection and action. He is One and no one is similar to Him. He is the One and Only and He has neither spouse nor offspring! He has no equal to be His assistant and partner.

How could man dare to regard His creature as His partner and commit this grievous inequity against Him?

”Polytheism is indeed a great injustice.”‌(8)

O praying one! Do not consider others as His partners and associates in the favors that He bestows upon you, nor attribute to other than Him the things you do. Why do you think of attracting the attention of those who are like you””weak and needy? Try to win the favor of God instead who has no equal, weakness and need.

According to the traditions, the verses of this surah are the interpretation of each other. (9) They describe God in a step-by-step process:

First step: Say, ”He is my God. He is beyond the comprehension of the human mind and intellect, and He is hidden and absent from any vision.”‌

At this stage, all the attention is focused on the Essence of God and not on His Attributes. The Essence alone is enough for His being the Beloved {mahbub} and the Worshipped Being {ma‘bud}. Hazrat ‘Ali (A.S) says:

وَ كَمالُ الاِخْلاصِ نَفْىُ الصِّفاتِ عَنْه.

That is, perfect sincerity is that you worship Him without taking into account His Attributes.(10)That is, you worship God for the sake of Himself and not on account of the favors that have been given to you.

Second step: ”He is Allah, the Worshipped Being who possesses all perfection.”‌

In this stage, the Essence and Attributes are considered together. ”Allah”‌ is the Essence that possesses all the good Attributes, and thus He is worthy of worship and devotion. As the Qur’an states,

وَ للَّهِ الأَسمَاءُ الحُْسنى فَادْعُوهُ بهَا.

”To Allah belong the Best Names, so supplicate Him by them.”‌(11)

Knowing God through the Attributes is the second step in which ”Allah”‌ is the comprehensive word for all those Attributes.

Considering God by way of the Attributes is a means that is manifested in the supplications, especially in the Du‘a’ Jawshar Kabir where we address God through a thousand Attributes.

Third step: ”He is One and Unique in Oneness.”‌

In this stage, tawhid is discussed””tawhid in Essence and Attributes. His Essence is One and His Attributes are Unique and Unparalleled. The existence of His Essence and His Attributes are one and the same; not that His Attributes are a separate existence added to His Essence.

He is One who has no second or third. The numerical ”one”‌ {wahid} is different from oneness as a qualitative concept {ahad}. The Qur’an says: ”God is ahad and not wahid.”‌

He is ”One”‌ (ontologically) and not ”one”‌ (numerically) which may have a second or a third of its kind.

Fourth step: ”God is free from want.”‌

In this stage, the freedom from want which is the pivot of the Divine Essence and Attributes is an important description of God. In addition, it is not just in the form of a predicate, stating: ”Allahu samad”‌. It is rather in the form of a fixed description of ”Allah”‌ and because of this, the word ”Allah”‌ is hereby repeated: ”Allahu samad”‌.

He is One but not in need. Other than Him are many, but all the needs and attention of all those who are needy are geared toward that Independent One!

Fifth step:

لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ? وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ

This stage, according to the traditions, is the interpretation of ”الصَّمَد”‌. He is not in need of begetting a child. Neither is He in need of a father and a mother to beget Him, nor of a spouse, associate and partner to assist Him in His work.

If He were ever born, then He would not be the First, and if He ever gave birth, then He would not be eternal because He would be prone to diminish and dwindle. If He ever had an equal and a peer, then He would not be unrivalled. He is free and exempt from all these things.

سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشرِكُونَ

”Clear is Allah of any partners that they may ascribe {to Him}!”‌(12)


 (8): Surah Luqman 31:13.

(9): Tafsir Nur ath-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 714.

(10) Najh al-Balaghah, ”Khutbah at-Tawhid”‌.

(11) Surah al-A‘raf 7:180.

(12) Surah at-Tur 52:43.

By: Hojjat al-Islam Muhsin Qara’ati

Source: al-islam.org

Other links:

Tafsir Surah Abasa-part 1

Tafsir Surah Abasa (part 2)

Tafsir Surah Abasa: part 3

Tafsir Surah Abasa (part 4)

Tafsir Surah Abasa (part 5)

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