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al-Ikhlâs  - The Purity


bismillah

sura

 

  In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

  Say: He is Allah, the One and Only!
   Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
  He begetteth not nor is He begotten.
  And there is none like unto Him.

 
                         
                                 -  translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

 

Al-Ikhlâs is sûrah (chapter) 112 of the Qur'ân, and is said to be one of the earliest revelations that the Prophet Muhammad received from archangel Gabriel.

The Arabic root of the word ikhlâs is kh-l-s which means to be purified, refined, or to express loyal. The very concept of refining and purifying signifies the burning away of all impurities, leaving nothing but the very essence of that which was sought, Allah, the ultimate recipient of our utmost loyalty and sincerity.

Such a purification is the burning away of all of the worldly misunderstandings, concerns and desires that separate us from the One; the One and Only upon whom we depend, the One and Only who is our foundation rock, the Eternal One and Only.

As a further testimony to the unity of the One who has created all of mankind, note the striking similarity in the Bhagavad-Gita written in India a thousand years earlier:

You are the One Creator of all the worlds,
and of that which moves and that which does not move,
You alone are fit for worship, You are the highest Teacher,
In all the worlds there is none equal to You
.
                              
                                 - Bhagavad-Gita 11:43
 

A deeper look into al-Ikhlâs:
 

The following is al-Ikhlâs, line-by-line in Arabic, followed by a simple transliteration, and four well-known English translations.

(Pronunciation guide: i as in sit, a as in bat, u as in put,  â as the a in father, î as the ee in reel, û as the oo in moot.)

 

line1

bismillâh ir-rahmân ir-rahîm

Yusuf Ali:  In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Pickthall:  In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Shakir:  In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Muhammed Ali:  In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

 

line2

Qul huwa Allâhu ahad 

Yusuf Ali: Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
Pickthal:
 Say: He is Allah, the One!
Shakir:
Say: He, Allah, is One.
Muhammed Ali: Say: He, Allah, is One.

 

line3

Allâh s-samad 

Yusuf Ali: Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
Pickthal:
Allah, the eternally Besought of all!
Shakir:
Allah is He on Whom all depend.
Muhammed Ali: Allah is He on whom all depend.

 

line4

Lam yalid wa lam yûlad

Yusuf Ali: He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
Pickthal:
He begetteth not nor was begotten.
Shakir:
He begets not, nor is He begotten.
Muhammed Ali: He begets not, nor is He begotten;

 

line5

wa lam yakul-la-hû kufu-wan ahad

Yusuf Ali: And there is none like unto Him.
Pickthal:
And there is none comparable unto Him.
Shakir:
And none is like Him.
Muhammed Ali: And none is like Him.

 

Going even deeper into al-Ikhlâs:


No simple literal translation can capture the magnificence or the delicate nuances of these Arabic verses. Every word has multiple levels of meaning, and each line brings new insights and inspirations with every reading. To begin to discover the deeper meanings of these verses, let's look at the deeper meanings of the words, line by line:

(Pronunciation guide: i as in sit, a as in bat, u as in put,  â as the a in father, î as the ee in reel, û as the oo in moot. ) 

 

Qul huwa Allâhu ahad 

qul =  say, teach, tell
    root q-w-l ... to speak, say, inspire, point out, tell, relate, teach, assert

huwa =   he
    pronoun, 3rd person, masc, nominative

Allahu =  Allah
    the u at the end indicates that Allah is the subject

ahad =   the one, the only one, one without any partner, one without a second

 

Allâh s-samad 

Allah =  Allah

s-samad = eternal, absolute, one whom all need, one who is the foundation of all, solid, independent

 

Lam yalid wa lam yûlad        

lam =  (particle) did not, was not

yalid =  give birth to, generate, produce, sire, beget
  ya is an imperfect prefix, the root is w-l-d  

wa =  and, and also

lam = (particle) not, did not, was not

yulad =  birthed, born, generated, produced, sired, begotten
  yu is imperfect prefix, the root is w-l-d

 

wa lam yaku llahû kufuwan ahad

wa =  and, and also

lam = (particle) was not, did not

yaku(n) = is, was
    ya is an imperfect prefix, root k-w-n, ( note: the n is not pronounced in this phrase)

llahu = unto Him, with Him

kufuwan = equal, like, comparable, matching, corresponding
    root k-f- ' meaning to be comparable, like, similar to

ahad =   the One, the only One, the One without any partner, the One without a second

 

Interpretation:

Armed with these definitions and your own inner guidance, you can create your own poetic rendering of al-Ikhlâs... just go through al-Ikhlâs word-by-word, inserting the definition of each word that seems to speak to you. For example, here is a poetic rendering that I enjoy:

For the glory of Allah, the Merciful One Who is endlessly Beneficent, and Who Graciously rewards those who live in Divine harmony,

 1)  (Muhammad,) teach them: He, Allah, is the Only One;
 2)  Allah is the Eternal One upon Whom all depend
 3)  He Who creates without a partner, and Who was not created
 4)  and there is none comparable to the One.

                          - a rendering by wahiduddin

 

Recitation:

Click this link to hear al-Ikhlas recited by the renowned Saudi qari Shaykh Saad al-Ghamdi.

 

Hadith relating to the importance of al-Ikhlâs:

According to al-Bukhari, Abu Sa`id narrated that the Messenger of Allah said to his Companions:

Is one of you not able to recite a third of the Qur'an in a single night?

This was something that was difficult for them and they said, "Which of us is able to do that, O Messenger of Allah?''

To which he replied,

hadith

Allah al-Wahid as-Samad is a third of the Qur'an.

References:
   Tafsir Ibn Kathir (10 Volumes; Abridged), commentary by ibn Kathir, in English
   Dictionary of the Holy Quran, by Abul Omar Mannan

     


with love,
        wahiduddin

updated: 18-Oct-2005

quran surah al-Ikhlas
bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim
qul huwa Allahu ahad
Allah s-aamad
lam yalid wa lam yulad
wa lam yakul-la-hu kufu-wan ahad