Explanation of Surah al-Ikhlaas - The Chapter of Purity
by Shaykh-ul-Islam Taqi ad-Deen Ibn Taymiyyah
Born 1263 C. E. / 661 A. H., Died 1328 C. E. / 728 A. H.
The Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah (i.e. the Sunnis) do not deviate
from those things which have been brought by the Messengers, for
that is the Straight Path, the path of those whom God has bestowed
His favour upon from among the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs
and the Righteous. It is in this collection of what has been described
about Almighty God by Himself in Surah al-Ikhlaas (literally: "The
Chapter of Purity") that makes it equal to one third of the
Qur'an. In this surah, Almighty God has said:
"Say! He is God, the One!
The Eternally Besought of all!
He does not beget, nor is He begotten.
And there is nothing comparable to Him."
1. Whatever the Messenger of God, may the peace and blessings of
God be upon him, 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.
2. The Straight Path is only one and whoever deviates from it he
strays onto the wrong path, innovation and injustice. Almighty God
commands (in the Qur'an):
"And this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow
the other paths lest they divert you from His way.
3. 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 God: the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous,
and these are the best for keeping company.
4. The Concept of Tawheed has been explained in Surah al-Ikhlaas
by separating and purging it from Shirk (associating others with
Almighty God, polytheism and idolatry).
5. Imam Ahmad's narration of 'Ubayy bin Ka'ab that the mushrikoon
(i.e. pagan idolaters) asked: "Oh Muhammed! Tell us the geneology
of Your Lordl", whereupon God revealed this surah.
6. From authentic hadiths, it is proven that this surah is equal
to one third of the of the Qur'an. The substance of the statement
of Ibn 'Abbaas (a Companion of the Prophet) is as follows: that
the Qur'an consists of three fundamental objectives:
a) Those commands and prohibitions which contain the laws and practical
ways. These form the subject matter of the science of Fiqh (jurisprudence)
b) The tales and narratives which include the stories of the Prophets
and Messengers of God and their communities. The punishments and
disasters which befell those who resisted and denied the Messengers
of God. Also, the promises, rewards, warnings and dooms.
c) The knowledge of Tawheed (the Unity of God) and the description
of those matters which relate to the Names of Almighty God and His
Attributes, which to have faith in is obligatory upon the servant
of God (i.e. each Muslim). This has precedence over the first three.
7. 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.
8. The answer to the question that how does this surah contain
comprehensively the knowledge of Tawheed and its principles which
form the essence of the belief in Almighty God. God's command "He
is God, the One" negates partnership with Him in every sense,
whether it concerns His Self, Attributes or His Deeds. It also demonstrates
the distinctiveness of God in His perfection, magnificence and majesty.
The word Ahad is not used in affirmation for anyone besides God,
since Ahad is more emphatic than Wahid.
9. The Tafseer (commentary, exegis) of Ibn 'Abbaas for the verse
"God! al-Samad (i.e. 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 Most Revered
and the Most Powerful. 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.
10. The Tafseer is also as follows: The Self who has no fear, around
whom all creatures turn and Whom they seek after for all their needs
11. Affirmation in the 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.
12. 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 God! The One". Nothing came out of Him nor
did He come out of anything. He has no equal, no likeness and no
13. Domination of of the concept of Tawheed in this surah. The
afffirmation of Oneness for the Lord in total and absolute contradiction
to all forms of Polytheism. His character of being "Eternally
Besought of all", which proves all His Attributes, that He
cannot suffer from any defect, negation of father and son which
is an implication of Him being in no need and that all is in need
of Him. All is characterised in the statement of His being besought
and His Oneness. Negation of an equal which includes negation of
similarity, resemblances and likeness. This surah includes all of
these matters and is therefore rightly deserving of being called
equal to a third of the Qur'an.