Surah Al-Ikhlas 112 Detailed Explanation (Introduction)
EN112-1 - The first address of this Command is the Hoy Prophet (pbuh) himself for it was he who was asked: "Who is your Lord and what is He like?" Again it was he who was commanded to answer the question in the following words. But after him every believer is its addresses. He too should say what the Holy Prophet has been commanded to say.
EN112-2 - That is, "My Lord to whom you want to be introduced is none but Allah." This is the first answer to the questions, and it means: "I have not introduced a new lord who I want you to worship beside all other gods but it is the same Being you know by the name of Allah." "Allah" was not an unfamiliar word for the Arabs. They have been using this very word for the Creator of the universe since the earliest times, and they did not apply this word to any of their other gods. For the other gods they used the word ilah. Then their beliefs about Allah had become fully manifest at the time Abrahah invaded Makkah. At that time their existed 360 idols of gods (ilahs) in and around the Ka'bah, but the polytheists forsaking all of them had invoked only Allah for protection. In other words, they knew in their heart that no ilah could help them on that critical occasion except Allah. The Ka'bah also was called Bait-Allah by them and not Bait-ilahs after their self-made gods. At many places in the Qur'an the polytheistic Arabian belief about Allah has been expressed, thus:
In Surah Az-Zukhruf, it is said that "If you ask them who created them, they will surely say, "Allah." (43-87)"
In Surah Al-Ankabut, it is said that “If you ask them, "Who has created the earth and the heavens and Who has subjected the moon and the sun" they will surely say: “Allah …” (29-61). And if you ask them, "Who sent down rainwater from the sky and thereby raised the dead earth back to life?" they will surely say: Allah …” (29-63).
In Surah Al-Muminun, it is said that "Say to them, "Tell me, if you know, whose is the earth and all who dwell in it?" They will say, "Allah's… (23-84, 23-85). "Say to them, "To Whom do the seven heavens and the Glorious Throne belong?" They will say, "To Allah" …” (23-86, 23-87). "Say to them, "Tell me , if you know, Whose is the sovereignty over everything? And Who is that Being Who gives protection while none else can give protection against Him?" They will surely reply, "This power belongs to Allah"…" (23-88, 23-89).
In Surah Yunus, it is said that: "Ask them, Who provides for you from the heavens and the earth? Who has power over the faculties of hearing and sight? Who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living? Who directs the system of the universe? They will surely reply, "Allah"…" (10-31) "When you set sails in ships, rejoicing over a fair breeze, then all of a sudden a strong wind begins to rage against the passengers and waves begin to surge upon them from every side and they realize that they have been encircled by the tempest. At that time they pray to Allah with sincere faith, saying: "if you deliverest us from the peril, we will become Thy grateful servants." (10-22). "But when He delivers them, the same people begin to rebel on the earth against the Truth…." , (10-23)
The same thing has been reiterated in Surah Bani Israil, thus: "When a misfortune befalls you on the sea, all of those who you invoke for help fail you but He (is there to help you), yet when He brings you safe to land, you turn away from him." (17:v.67)
Keeping these verses in view, let us consider that when the people asked:" Who is your Lord and what is He like to Whose service and worship you call us?" the answer given was "Huwa'l Allah: He is Allah." This answer by itself gives the meaning: "My Lord is He Whom you yourself acknowledge as your own as well as the whole world's Creator, its Master, Sustainer and Administrator, and He Whom you invoke for help at critical times besides all other deities, and I invite you to His service alone." This answer comprehends all the perfect and excellent attributes of Allah. Therefore, it is not at all conceivable that the Creator of the universe, its Administrator and Disposer of its affairs, Sustainer of all the creatures living in it, and the Helper of the servants in times of hardship, would not be living, hearing, seeing, that He would not be an All-Powerful, All-Knowing; All-Wise, All-Merciful and All-Kind Sovereign.
He (about Whom you are questioning me) is Allah, is One and Only."
Thus, keeping in view the questions that the polytheists and the followers of earlier scriptures asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh) about his Lord, let us see how they were answered with ahad-un after Huwa-Allah.
First, it means: He alone is the Sustainer; no one else has any or part in providence. And since He alone can be the Ilah (Deity) Who is Master and Sustainer, therefore, no one else is His associate in Divinity either."
Secondly, it also means: "He alone is the Creator of the universe; no one else is His associate in his work of creation. He alone is the Master of the universe, the Disposer and Administrator of its system, the Sustainer of His creatures, Helper and Rescuer in times of hardship; no one else has any share or part whatever in the works of Godhead, which as you yourselves acknowledge, are works of Allah."
Thirdly, since they had also asked the questions: Of what is your Lord made of? What is His ancestry? What is His sex? From whom has He inherited the world and who will inherit it after Him? -- all these questions have been answered with one word ahad for Allah. It means: (1) He alone has been, and will be, God for ever; neither was there a God before Him, nor will there be any after Him; (2) there is no race of gods to which He may belong as a member: He is God, one and single, and none is homogeneous with Him; (3) His being is not merely One (wahid) but ahad, in which there is no tinge of plurality in any way: He is not a compound being, which may be analyzable or divisible, which may have a form and shape, which may be residing somewhere, or may contain or include something, which may have a color, which may have some limbs, which may have a directions, and which may be variable or changeable in any way. Free from every kind of plurality He alone is a Being Who is Ahad in every aspect. (Here, one should fully understand that the word wahid is used in Arabic just like the word "one" in English. A collection consisting of great pluralities is collectively called wahid or one, as one man, one nation, one country, one world, even one universe; and every separate part of collection is also called one. But the word Ahad is not used for anyone except Allah. That is why wherever in the Quran the word wahid has been used for Allah, He is has been called Ilah wahid (one Deity), or Allah-ul-Wahid-al-Qahhar (One Allah Who is Omnipotent), and nowhere just wahid, for this word is also used for the things which contain pluralities f different kinds in their being. On the contrary, for Allah and only for Allah the word Ahad has been used absolutely, for He alone is the Being Who exists withour any plurality in any way, Whose Oneness is perfect in every way).
Allah is independent of all and all are dependent on HimEN112-4 (112-2).
EN112-4 Allah is perfect in His attributes of Samad in every aspect; the whole world is dependent upon Him in its needs, but He is dependent upon none; everything in the world turns to Him, consciously or subconsciously, for its survival and for fulfillment of the needs of everyone; He is immortal and Ever-living; He sustains others and is not sustained by anyone; He is single and Unique, not compounds so as to be analyzable and divisible; His sovereignty prevails over entire universe and He is Supreme in every sense. Therefore, He is not only Samad but As-Saamad, i.e., the Only and One Being Who is wholly and perfectly qualified with the attributes of samad in the true sense.
Then, since He is As-Samad, it is necessary that He should be Unique, One and Only, for such a Being can only be One, which is not dependent upon anyone and upon Whom everyone else may be dependent; two or more beings cannot be self-sufficient and fulfillers of the needs at all. Furthermore, His being As-Samad also requires that He alone should be the Deity, none else, for no sensible person would worship and serve the one who had no power and authority to fulfill the needs of others.
Neither has He an offspring nor is He the Offspring on anyone;EN112-5 (112-3).
EN112-5 The polytheists in every age have adopted the concept that like men, gods also belong to a species, which has many members and they also get married, beget and are begotten. They did not even regard Allah, Lord of the Universe, as supreme and above this concept of ignorance, and even proposed children for Him. Thus, the Arabian belief as stated in the Quran was that they regarded the angels as daughters of Allah. The prophetic communities too could not remain immune from this creed of paganism. They too adopted the creed of holding one saintly person or another as a son of God. Two kinds of concepts have always been mixed up in these debasing superstitions. Some people thought that those whom they regarded as Allah's children, were descended from Him in the natural way and some others claimed that the one whom they called son of God, had been adopted by Allah Himself as a son. Although they could not dare call anyone as, God forbid, father of God, obviously human mind cannot remain immune against such a concept that God too should be regarded as a son of somebody when it is conceived that He is not free from sex and procreation and that He too, like man, is the kind of being which begets children and needs to adopt a son in case it is childless. That is why one of the questions asked of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was: what is the ancestry of Allah? And another was: from whom He inherited the world and who will inherit it after Him?
If these assumptions of ignorance are analyzed, it becomes obvious that they logically necessitate the assumption of some other things as well.
First, the God should not be One, but there should be a species of God, and its members should be associates in the attributes, acts and powers of Divinity. This not only follows from assuming God begetting children but also from assuming that He has adopted someone as a son, for the adopted son of somebody can inevitably be of his own kind. And when, God forbid, he is of the same kind as God, it cannot be denied that he too possesses attributes of Godhead.
Second, that children cannot be conceived unless the male and the female combine and some substance from the father and the mother unites to take the shape of child. Therefore, the assumption that God begets children necessitates that He should, God forbid, be a material and physical entity, should have a wife of His own species, and some substance also should issue from His body.
Third, that wherever there is sex and procreation, it is there because individuals are mortal and for the survival of their species it is inevitable that they should beget children to perpetuate the race. Thus, the assumption that God begets children also necessitates that He should, God forbid, Himself be mortal, and immortality should belong to the species of Gods, not to God Himself. Furthermore, it also necessitates that like all mortal individuals, God also, God forbid, should have a beginning and an end. For the individuals of the species whose survival depends upon sex and procreation neither exist since eternity nor will exist till eternity.
Fourth, that the object of adopting some one as a son is that a childless person needs a helper in his lifetime and an heir after his death. Therefore, the supposition that Allah has adopted a son inevitably amounts to ascribing all the weaknesses to His sublime Being which characterize mortal man.
Although all these assumptions are destroyed as soon as Allah is called and described as Ahad and As-Samad, yet when it is said: "Neither has He an off-spring nor is He the offspring of another", there remains no room for any ambiguity in this regard. Then, since these concepts are the most potent factors of polytheism with regard to Divine Being, Allah has refuted them clearly and absolutely not only in Surah Al-Ikhlas but has also reiterated this theme at different places in different ways so that people may understand the truth fully. For example let us consider the following verses:
"Allah I sonly One Deity: He is too exalted that He should he a son: whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth belongs to Him." (An-Nisa 4-071)
"They have invented a blood-relationship between Allah and the angels, whereas the angels know full well that these people will be brought up (as culprits)." (As-Saaffat-37-158)
"These people have made some of His servants to be part of Him. The fact is that man is manifestly ungrateful." (Az-Zukhruf 43.v15)
"Yet the people have set up the Jinn as partners with Allah, whereas He is the Creator; they have also invented for Him sons and daughters without having any knowledge, whereas He is absolutely free and exalted far above the things they say. He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth; how should He have a son, when He has no consort? He has created each and every thing." (Al-An'am:006 v.100-101).
"They say: the Merciful has offspring, Glory be to Allah! They (whom they describe as His offspring) are His mere servants who have been honored." (Al-Anbiya:021 v.026)
"They remarked: Allah has taken a son to Himself. Allah is All-pure: He is Self-Sufficient: He is the Owner of everything that is in the heaven and the earth. Have you any authority for what you say? What, do you ascribe to Allah that of which you have no knowledge". (Yunus:10 v.68)
"And (O Prophet) say: praise is for Allah Who has begotten no son nor has any partner in His Kingdom nor is helpless to need any supporter." (17:111)
"Allah has not offspring, and there is no other deity as a partner with Him." (Al-Muminun:23 v91)
In these verses the belief of the people who ascribe real or adopted children to Allah, has been refuted from every aspect, and its being a false belief has also been proved by argument. These and many other Quranic verses on the same theme explain Surah Ikhlas fully well.
And None is equal with Him in rank."EN112-6 (112-4).
EN112-6 The word kufu' is used in the original means an example, a similar thing, the one equal in rank and position. In the matter of marriage, kufu' means that the boy and the girl should match each other socially. Thus, the verse means that there is no one in the entire universe, nor ever was, nor ever can be, who is similar to Allah, or equal in rank with Him, or resembling Him in His attributes, works, and powers in any degree whatever.