"VERILY, this Qur'an shows the way to all that is most upright; and gives the believers who do good deeds
the glad tiding that theirs will be a great reward"
[Al Qur'an: Chapter 17,Al Isra: Verse 9]

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

INTRODUCTION - Chapter 112. Al Ikhlaas (The Purity/Sincerity/Absoluteness)





أعوذبِاللَّـهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ
 [I Seek refuge in ALLAH from Shaitan - the accursed one]
 بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
 [In The Name of ALLAH, The MOST GRACIOUS - THE MOST MERCIFUL]

Name of the Chapter:

Al-Ikhlas is not merely the name of this Sura but also the title of its contents for it deals exclusively with Tauhid. The other Suras of the Quran generally have been designated after a word occurring in them but in this Sura the word Ikhlas has occurred nowhere. It has been given this name in view of its meaning and subject matter. Whoever understands it and believes in its teaching will get rid of shirk(polytheism) completely.

Period of Revelation:

Whether it is a Makki or a Madani Sura is disputed and the difference of opinion has been caused by the traditions which have been related concerning the occasion of its revelation.
  •  Hadrat Abdullah bin Masud has reported that the Quraish said to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be be peace): "Tell us of the ancestry of your Lord."Thereupon this Sura was sent down. (Tabarani). 
  • Abul Aliyah has related on the authority of Hadrat Ubayy bin Kab that the polytheists said to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace): Tell us of your Lord's ancestry."Thereupon Allah sent down this Sura. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Abi Harim Ibn Jarir Tirmidhi Bukhari in At-Tarikh Ibn al-Mundhir Hakim Baihaqi). Tirmidhi has related a tradition on the same theme from Abul Aliyah which does not contain any reference to Hadrat Ubayy bin Kab and has declared it to be more authentic.
  •  Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah has stated that a Bedouin (according to other traditions some people) said to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace): "Tell us of your Lord's ancestry."Thereupon Allah sent down this Sura.(Abu Yala Ibn Jarir Ibn al-Mundhir Tabarani in Al-Ausat Baihaqi Abu Nuaim in Al-Hilyah). 
  • Ikrimah has related a tradition form Ibn Abbas saying that a group of the Jews including Kab bin Ashraf Huyayy bin Akhtab and other came before the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and said: "O Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) tell us of the attributes of your Lord Who has sent you as a Prophet."Thereupon Allah sent down this Sura. (Ibn Abi Hatim Ibn Adi Baihaqi in Al-Asma was-Sifat). In addition to these some other traditions also have been cited by Ibn Taimiyyali in his commentary of Sura Al-Ikhlas which are as follows; 
  •  Hadrat Anas has stated that some Jews of Khaiber came before the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and they said:"O Abul Qasim Allah created the angels from light Adam from rotten clay Iblis from the flame of fire the sky from smoke and the earth from the foam of water. Now tell us about your Lord (of what He is made)."The Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) did not give any reply to this question. Then Gabriel came and he said: "O Muhammad say to them: Huwa Allahu ahad." 
  • Amir bin at-Tufail said to the Holy Prophet: "O Muhammad what do you call us to?"The Holy Prophet replied: "To Allah."Amir said: "Then tell us of what He is made whether of gold silver or iron?" Thereupon this sura was sent down. 
  • Dahhak Qatadah and Muqatil have stated that some Jewish rabbis came before the Holy Prophet and they said: "O Muhammad tell us what is your Lord like so that we may believe in you. Allah in the Torah has sent down His description. Kindly tell us of what He is made what is His sex whether He is made of gold copper brass iron or silver and whether He eats and drinks. Also tell us from whom He has inherited the world and who will inherit it after Him." Thereupon Allah sent down this Sura. 
  • Ibn Abbas has reported that a deputation of the Christians of Najran along with seven priests visited the Holy Prophet upon whom be peace) and they said: "O Muhammad tell us what is your Lord like and of what substance He is made."The Holy Prophet replied: "My Lord is not made from any substance: He is unique and exalted above everything."Thereupon Allah sent down this Sura.
 These traditions show that different people on different occasions had questioned the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) about the essence and nature of the God to Whose service and worship he invited the people and on every occasion he recited by Allah's command this very Sura in response. First of all the pagans. of Quraish asked him this question in Makkah and in reply this Sura was sent down. Then at Madinah sometimes the Christians and sometimes the other people of Arabia asked him questions of this nature and every time Allah inspired him to recite this very Sura in answer to them.

Theme and Subject Matter:

A little consideration of the traditions regarding the occasion of the revelation of this Sura shows what were the religious concepts of the world at the time the Holy Prophet began to preach the message of Tauhidzoroastrians were fire worshippers and the Sabeans star worshippers. Under such conditions when the people were invited to believe in Allah the One; Who has no associate it was inevitable that questions arose in the minds as to what kind of a God it was Who was one and Only Lord and invitation to believe in Whom was being given at the expense of all other gods and deities. It is a miracle of the Quran that in a few words briefly it answered all the questions and presented such a clear concept of the Being of Allah as destroyed all polytheistic concepts without leaving any room for the ascription of any of the human qualities to His Being.

Merit and Importance:

The Holy Messenger of Allah (upon whom be peace) held this Sura in great esteem and he made the Muslims realize its importance in different ways so that they recited it frequently and disseminated it among the people. For it states the foremost and fundamental doctrine of Islam (viz. Tauhid) in four such brief sentences as are immediately impressed on human memory and can be read and recited easily.

 There are a great number of the traditions of Hadith which show that the Holy Prophet on different occasions and in different ways told the people that this Sura is equivalent to one third the Quran. Several ahadith on this subject have been related in Bukhari Muslim Abu Daud; Nasai Tirmidhi Ibn Majah Musnad Ahmad Tabarani and other books on the authority of Abu Said Khudri, Abu Hurairah, Abu Ayyub Ansari, Abu ad-Darda Muadh bin Jabal, Jabir bin Abdullah, Ubayy bin Kab, Umm Kulthum bint Uqbah bin Abi Muait Ibn Umar Ibn Masud Qatadah bin an-Numan Anas bin Malik and Abu Masud (may Allah be pleased with all of them). 

The commentators have given many explanations of the Holy Prophet's this saying. But in our opinion it simply means that the religion presented by the Quran is based on three doctrines: Tauhid Apostleship and the Hereafter. This Sura teaches Tauhid pure and undefiled. Therefore the Holy Prophet (upon whom he Peace) regarded it as equal to one-third of the Quran. 

A tradition on the authority of Hadrat Aishah has been related in Bukhari Muslim and other collections of the Ahadith saying that the Holy Prophet sent a man as leader of an expedition. During the journey he concluded his recitation of the Quran in every Prayer with Qul Huwa-Allahu ahad. On their return him companions mentioned this before the Holy Prophet. He said: "Ask him why he did so."When the man was asked he replied: "In this Sura the attributes of the Merciful God have been stated; therefore I love to recite it again and again." When the Holy Prophet heard this reply he said to the people: "Inform him that Allah holds him in great love and esteem."
A similar incident has been related in Bukhari on the authority of Hadrat Anas. He says: "A man from among the Ansar led the Prayers in the Quba Mosque. His practice was that in every rakah he first recited this Sura and then would join another Sura to it. The people objected to it and said to him:"Don't you think that Sura Ikhlas is by itselt enough?Why do you join another Sura to it?You should either recite only this sura or should leave it and recite some other Sura. He said: "I cannot leave it I would rather give up leadership in the Prayer if you so desired."The people did not approve that another man be appointed leader instead of him. At last the matter was brought before the Holy Prophet. He asked the man What prevents you from conceding what your companions desire? What makes you recite this particular Sura in every rakah? The man replied: "I have great love for it."The Holy Prophet remarked: "Your this love for this Sura has earned you entry into Paradise."


Source: Tafheem Al-Qur'an (Meaning of the Qur'an) by Syed Abu Ala' Maududi


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