Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Category: Video

Hiking at Bukit Tabur

Hiking at Bukit Tabur from Amalia on Vimeo.

This was my 6th visit to Bukit Tabur. I still can’t believe that this beautiful hill is just less than 30 minutes from the center of KL. It is definitely a challenging hill to hike, as you need to climb the rocks and walk along some dangerous vertical cliffs. But it’s so worth it and I love it.

Connected, but alone?


I have just discovered this video! It’s been awhile since I watched a TEDTalk and wrote it here on my blog. After watching this talk delivered by Sherry Turkle, I decided to quickly write it here.

I have complained a lot in this blog about the Internet, gadgets, and social networking sites which have done a great deal in changing the way we, the humans, interact with each other. To be honest, they are not entirely bad. Thanks to social networks, I can be connected again to my long lost friends in elementary school or high school. I remember about a half a decade ago, I used to be the one who searched for them on the Internet and made a mailing list group so that we could keep in touch. When only few people used Friendster, I told everyone to create an account there. When Facebook gained popularity in the US (but not in other countries), I told all of my close friends to move to Facebook :P. I was busy making sure that although they’re not physically close to me anymore, I could at least reach them online.

But now, every single person can be easily reached. Virtually reached, that is. Everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, YM, LinkedIn, GMail, aaah…. you name it! People, including me, are addicted to it. Every time we encounter something, we update our status. We no longer call our closest friends to tell them about it, but updating a status seems to be the coolest way to go about it. Hi-by friends or even strangers suddenly become our best “virtual listeners”. Friends or families are busy with their smartphones while having dinner together. It is absurd, if you really think about it (I’m criticizing myself too, you know!). We spend less time to have a real and deep conversation with people because we spend too much time online with people who we think they care (but they are not, really).

So, this talk by Sherry Turkle  is exactly what has been running through my mind for the past few months or years — except that, she explains it more beautifully and persuasively than I do. One thing that struck me is this:

When I ask people “What’s wrong with having a conversation?” People say, “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with having a conversation. It takes place in real time and you can’t control what you’re going to say.” So that’s the bottom line. Texting, email, posting, all of these things let us present the self as we want to be. We get to edit, and that means we get to delete, and that means we get to retouch, the face, the voice, the flesh, the body — not too little, not too much, just right.

This is the major difference between real conversation and “virtual conversation” (texting, email, etc). Real conversation cannot be perfected with technology. There is no rewind or undo button. We can appear as perfect as we can virtually. We can appear as the person we always want to be virtually. We can pretend to care when we have a hard time to show our care to other people in the real world. We get to do things that we cannot do in real life.

What’s more is that, technology seems to be the thing we turn to when we are most vulnerable. As Sherry puts it: “The feeling that ‘no one is listening to me’ make us want to spend time with machines that seem to care about us.” Technology makes us feel connected, somehow. The moment that we are alone, have nothing to do, waiting for the bus, or have nothing to talk about with the person next to us, we immediately try to reach our small device.

For me, social networks are important to keep in touch with friends that are thousand miles apart from me. But to those who are within few km distances, I’d rather have a meaningful one-to-one conversation over coffee, lunch, or dinner. That’s the only way to understand and learn about my friends. No amounts of emails, Skype, and YM messages can beat real conversation. It is hard to loosen up my addiction to social networking, but at least I know that I still prefer the old traditional way of interacting. With the loneliness plaguing my life, talking to friends online in any way cannot heal this feeling. In order for it to disappear, I need friends who are physically here, talking to me. While some chats and emails did help in motivating and encouraging me, all of them are temporary. They are like medicines that can heal the pain but unfortunately, they cannot cure the actual disease.

I’m not suggesting to ban social networks and abandon them all together. But what I’m suggesting is to spend more meaningful time with the people around us. Talk to them. Know them well. Socialize. At least, put our smartphones away when we are with them. I do get annoyed by it when everyone is with their phones!!! 🙂 So, let’s do myself and everyone a favor that when you sit down with your friends, put your mobile phones away. Prove yourself that you can ignore this device, even though it’s merely an hour long.

Start of Something Good

I love this song! I love their new album 🙂

Indeed, I am hoping that this would be the start of something good. Be it in career, spiritual, social, and love life. Amin!

Je Partirai

I’m feeling a little melancholy… not sure how to describe it 😐 A mixture of everything, really.

I found this new song by Anggun. I love the French version more than the Indonesian one. The French lyric kinda fits more to my mood.

Des larmes de sel
Voyage au long cou
L’amour et la mer
L’écume de nos jours
Nos années lumières
Partis en pousières
Des allée-retours
Autour de la terre

Je partirai
Je partirai
Ne rien Garder
Que le meilleur
De nos 2 coeurs
Je partirai

Toucher le soleil
Quitter la forturne
Gomber et plus renaitre
De la lune
Amour éphémère
Eternel retour
De nom des légère
Avant des beaux jours

Je partirai
Que nos secrets
Je partirai
Nouveau de près
Je partirai

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 5)

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is He born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)


Allahu ash-Shamad
Allah, the Eternal Refuge.

Definitions of ash-Shamad

  • The One who is enough, whom we returned to, and who fulfills our needs and answers all of our questions in times of need. When the word shamad is used as a verb, it implies that you turn to someone to ask him/her to fulfill a need. Al-Masmood is what shamad implies; which is the one to whom people turn to in times of need.
  • The One who is attributed as the ultimate goal. He is our ultimate goal of what we do in life. One of the reasons why this surah is called Al-Ikhlas (sincerity) is because of our sincerity to do things for Allah SWT.
  • The One who is not in need of anyone else and nobody can overpower Him or be above Him in status or any attribute.
  • The One who has no blemishes or faults
  • The One who cannot be overcome. This is also used in Arabic literature as someone who cannot be overcome in battle, business, eloquence, etc.
  • The One who is incredible and great in terms of His glory. The One who is Everlasting.
  • The One who everyone needs and He needs none Himself.

Shamad is also used as an adjective which means something that is solid with no holes or emptiness. Something that is absolute without any flaws.

Allah SWT has many names, but they do not lack in anything. They are perfect and these names are fulfilled perfectly. For example, when we call someone a “noble”. It could be that from the outside, he is a noble person, but from the inside, he is not. But because Allah is ash-Shamad, Allah fulfills his names and attributes in an absolute and perfect sense.

Ash-Shamad and Ahad

This ayat further explains the previous ayat (the first ayat), i.e. Allah the Absolute (ash-shamad) is the only One (ahad).

The reason why ash-Shamad and Ahad are mentioned is because the Arab polytheists would describe Allah as the Creator and the Merciful, but they would not say He is Ahad or ash-Shamad.

The word ash-Shamad  has “Al” (alif lam in Arabic) which denotes to absolute.

Connection to Surah Al-Masad/Al-Lahab

Surah Al-Masad talks about Abu Lahab whom he thought he had no equals and he needed no one — because he was very rich and everybody needed him. So Surah Al-Ikhlas refutes this by stating that the only One that needs no one (ash-Shamad) and has no equal (ahad) is actually Allah SWT.


Lam yalid wa lam yulad
He neither begets nor is He born (begotten),

The Explanation of “Lam”(Not)

In Arabic language, the word laa is used for a present tense, while the word lam is used for a past tense. In this ayat, the word lam is used. So the correct translation would be: “He did not beget nor did He begotten.”

If it were in a present tense, then Allah SWT could have said: laa yalidu wa laa yuladu. Note that all of the English translations in this website uses present tense rather than past tense.

Why is past tense used in this ayat? Why is lam used instead of laa? Because it removes all forms of birth associated to Allah in the past. The allegations that Allah had a child had been existed before the Islamic period, e.g. Christianity and some Jewish sects. All of these concepts were made in the past, hence the use of the past tense in this ayat.

In addition to addressing the falsehoods of the religion that already occurred, Allah SWT also made a prediction that there would be no other religion after Islam which claimed that God had a child. All of them were created before Islam. This is one of the miracles of the Qur’an in which a future was predicted. There are no religions today except those who were formed in a pre-Islamic period that made a claim about God having a child.

He did not Beget

Having a son means that Allah has an equal and this is impossible as Allah SWT is ahad (the One). He says:

… How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things?

— Al-Qur’an (6:101)

How can Allah has a son when He does not have an associate or a spouse? The Arabic word for a spouse is either sahibah or kufuw (which is used in the next ayat).

Giving birth, having a child, or being born implies that a person has a beginning and an end. This means that the person is not eternal and therefore it is part of a weakness. This is why it is not an attribute of Allah SWT. Lam yalid wa lam yulad.

One of the definitions of ash-Shamad listed above is the One who we turn to. He is the only One who we should turn to. It is absolutely not necessary for us to turn to other things (like His “son”) or anything that is placed between us and Him.


Wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad
Nor is there to Him any equivalent

The Definition of “Kufuw”

This word means a spouse, an associate, or a counterpart and can also mean an enemy that is equally good in battle. So basically a kufuw is someone who is equal or comparable to you in terms of rank, skills, status, etc. This is used to describe a spouse as you would usually marry someone who is compatible with you and has the same level of intellect as you.

The word kufuw is also used in this ayat to emphasize that Allah SWT never had any counterpart or anyone that can be compared to Him. This word is actually used to explain the word ahad as Allah SWT has no one that is equal in His Uniqueness (ahad).

The Grammatical Sequence

Let’s read this ayat again:
Wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad

This is actually not the expected sequence. In Arabic language, the normal grammatical sequence of this ayat is:
Wa lam yakun ahadun kufuwan lahu

So the sequence of this sentence was rearranged: lahu — kufuw — ahad.
The normal sequence should be: ahad — kufuw — lahu.
To recap, the meaning of these words are as follows: ahad is anyOne, kufuw is a counterpart/equivalent, and lahu is to Him (Allah).

The most valuable word in this sentence is lahu (to Him/Allah). We can see here that in the normal sequence, lahu is mentioned at the end, while in the ayat, lahu is mentioned in the beginning. Why? Because lahu is the most important word and Allah SWT mentioned Himself first for emphasis or stress. It is He who never has a counterpart, i.e. every one other than Him will always have a counterpart.


The first ayat of Surah Al-Ikhlas is about Allah’s Oneness and Uniqueness.

The second ayat shows the grace and mercy of Allah SWT upon us. We turn to him in times of need and He fulfills it.

The third ayat shows that Allah SWT is free from any kind of weakness. To say that Allah SWT has children implies that He has a weakness, because this shows that Allah is not Devine and Eternal. For a human being, having children implies strength, because our legacy will be continued, our name will be passed on, etc. But Allah is different. He does not need to worry about His name being passed on. He does not need to worry about these things because He is a perfection. There are different standards applied for the Creator and the Creation — and we need to understand that!

This is the surah where we can learn to completely submit ourselves to Allah SWT. We are weak, we need guidance all the time, and it is only Him to whom we turn. It is only Him that we want to please.

One of the nicknames of this surah is An-Najaat, the surah of rescue. It rescues us from depression, sadness, hardships, and shirk. Most importantly, it protects us from hellfire. May all of us be one of those who will be protected in the hereafter. Amin.

— the end —

Source: Nouman Ali Khan – can be found on YouTube (this part of the post is explained starting in minutes 1:03:00) or on (the second part).

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 4)

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)

The Explanation of Ayat 1

Qul huwa Allahu ahad
Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One,

Definition of “Qul” (Say)

This word is the command for the Prophet SAW. It is both the lesson for him and the thing that he must preach to others.

The surah begins with the message of tawheed (the Oneness of Allah) and is connected to the message of da’wah (inviting others to Islam).

Definition of “Huwa” (He)

This word implies that you know who the God that is being talked about. He is not a new God.

It is also an answer to the question asked by the disbelievers to the Prophet SAW about Allah SWT. Man huwa? Ma huwa? (Who is he? What is he?). Hence, Allah SWT answered with Huwa Allahu ahad (He is Allah, the One).

Two sentences are fused into one: “Say, He is Allah. Say, He is One.” which becomes “Say, He is Allah , One.”

Note that the word huwa is not needed in this ayat, because the sentence is complete even without it, i.e. Qul Allahu ahad.

Definition of “Ahad” (One)


Differences between “Wahid” and “Ahad”

Both Wahid and Ahad mean “One”. So what’s the difference? Let’s take a look at these examples:

  • Laysa wahid mawjudan fil masjid — literally: there is not one in the mosque (meaning: there are more than one person in the mosque).
  • Laysa ahad mawjudan fil masjid — literally: there is not one person in the mosque (meaning: there is absolutely no one in the mosque; i.e. the mosque is totally empty).

Ahad is used in the negative sense (negation), while wahid  is used in the positive sense.

But in this surah, the word ahad is not used in the negative sense, but in the positive sense. This shows the uniqueness of this word being used to describe Allah SWT, as it does not normally appear in the Arabic language. The only place in Arabic literature where the word ahad is used in the positive without any further attributions is only in Surah Al-Ikhlas. In other words, it is never used for anyone except for Allah SWT.

The word ahad comes from the word wahd or wahad, which means one who is individual by himself and whose tribe, lineage, or origin is not known. But the word wahad is used as a person. Allah SWT did not use this word to describe Himself because it would make Him similar to other persons. Instead, He used the word ahad which is a unique word for Himself that is not used for any other person.

According to Imam Raghib al Isfahani, ahad is a separate root word from wahad. He argued that ahad is a unique sole entity which has no comparisons, competitors, and affiliations. This makes it ahad different than wahad.

The Concept of “Ahad”

One thing that makes our religion different than others is the unique concept of ahad — the fact that God is One and no attributes of Him can be associated with His creation (including human). He cannot be compared or affiliated with anything else. God does not have a son (as in Christianity), nor can He be found in a tree, rock, or stone (as in Hinduism).

But what about Al-Aleem (The Knowledgable), Al-Hakeem (The Wise), or Ar-Rahim (The Merciful)? These are some of the names or attributes that Allah SWT used to refer Himself. But these names or attributes can be referred to humans as well. A human can be knowledgeable, wise, or merciful. So how do we make sure we do not end up in shirk? How do we make sure we see the difference between these attributes used for Allah SWT and the attributes used for the human beings?

There are three things that we should notice in order to avoid ourselves from committing shirk (Let’s take the word Al-Aleem (The Knowledgeable) as an example):

  • Allah’s knowledge has no beginning or no end. It is infinite and timeless, while our knowledge is not.
  • Allah knowledge has no limit — there is nothing that He doesn’t know. As for our knowledge, it has limits.
  • The knowledge that we have is not something that we own, but rather it is something that is given to us by Allah SWT. But for Allah Himself, the knowledge is not given to Him, but it is something that He owns.

The only attributes that are not used for anyone except Allah SWT are the attributes used in Surah Al-Ikhlas: ahad, As-Shamad, lam yalid, and lam yulad (the last three will be explained later). This affirms the fact that this surah is about Allah SWT that is Unique and One.

Why not “Al-Ahad”?

Why does the second ayat of Surah Al-Ikhlas use Al-Shamad to describe Allah SWT, but the first ayat use the word Ahad (without the Al)?


This grammatical difference has some rhetorical benefits:

  • It puts the exclamation mark or emphasis in ahad. “He is Allah, ONE!!”
  • Putting a tanween  at the end (as can be seen in the above image) is used when someone asks a question and ahad was the response to a question “Who is Allah?”. In order to properly answer the question, we have to put a tanween instead of the Al.

Additional remarks from Brother Nouman

When we study world religions, it seems that most religions believe in one God. They all seem the same. We all seem to share the same faith. But when it comes to studying ahad carefully, we realize that those religions do not share the same thing. Our religion is different than theirs, because the concept of ahad is not agreed by them. It is a unique concept that can only be found in Islam.

As a Muslim, our main and only mission of our life is to do what God asks us to do. Everything from sholat, fasting, sacrifices, life, to death is for Allah SWT. Put it simply, our goal is be a perfect slave for Him. But for people who does not have such a specific goal, they would have to find another goal — they would become the slave to something that is worthless. This can be in the form of obsessing with their body, obsessing with their money, being famous or “worthwhile” in the eyes of others, and so on. What happen when those people fail to meet their goals? They often become suicidal or do something that can harm others, be it corruption or violence.

It is easy to say that Allah is One. But is He the One we dedicate our life to? Is there other thing that we put before ourselves? Does our action in life based on what makes Him pleased and happy? Does it worry us that He might not talk to us on the Day of Judgement? *cries*

What used to be something that burned inside the hearts of men, has now turned into something of abstract, philosophical debate.

Muhammad Iqbal

Today, tawheed has become debates and abstract discussions in theology. It is no longer something that burns inside our heart. We no longer have the strong connection with Allah SWT in which the people long time ago used to have.

Continue to Part 5.

Source: Nouman Ali Khan — can be found on YouTube or on

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 3)

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

– Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)

The Love of Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet SAW) for Surah Al-Ikhlas

In the Sahih Al-Bukhari, it was reported that Aishah RA said:

The Prophet SAW sent a man as the commander of a war expedition and he used to lead his companions in prayer with recitation (of the Qur’an), and he would complete his recitation with the recitation of qul huwa Allahu ahad (‘Say: He is Allah, One’).

So when they returned they mentioned that to the Prophet SAW and he (SAW) said, “Ask him why he does that.”

So they asked him and he said, ‘Because it is the description of Ar-Rahman (Allah) and I love to recite it.

So the Prophet SAW said, “Inform him that Allah the Most High loves him.”

Loving Surah Al-Ikhlas only mean one thing: the love of Allah SWT. And if you love Him, He will love you back.

In another narration, it was reported that a man from the Anshar used to lead the prayers by reciting Surah Al-Ikhlas in the beginning, followed by another surah, and he used to do this in every raka’ah. When this man was asked why he did it that way, he said that he loved it. So the Prophet SAW replied, “Your love for it will cause you to enter Paradise.”

The Third of the Qu’ran

There’s a well-known hadith recorded by Bukhari:

The Prophet SAW said to his companions, “Is it difficult for any of you to recite one third of the Qur’an in one night?”

This suggestion was difficult for them, so they said, “Who among us has the power to do so, O Allah’s Apostle?”

Allah’s Apostle SAW replied, “Allah (the) One, the Self-Sufficient Master Whom all creatures need.’ (Surah Al-Ikhlas 112: 1-4) is equal to one third of the Qur’an.”

But why is it a third of the Qur’an? The third of the Qur’an deals with the attributes of Allah SWT. It is what describes who Allah really is and it is the essence of what this deen is supposed to be in terms of imaan (faith). Surah Al-Ikhlas is the most comprehensive summary of it. If you know nothing else from the Qur’an about tauheed but Surah Al-Ikhlas, you are fine and won’t fall into shirk.

Linguistic Explanations of the Word “Allah” (الله)


Ishtiqaq is the Arabic term for “derivation” or etymology. A mushtaq is defined as a word which has an origin from another word.

But there are some words which are original words that are not derived from other words. This is called asmaa al-jamidah. The original word itself is called jamid.

Is the word “Allah” derived from another word (i.e. mushtaq) or is it unique by itself (i.e. jamid)? There is actually a disagreement among linguists about the origin of the word “Allah”.

The argument why it is mushtaq:

The word “Allah” is derived from the word Ilaah إله (for example, in the phrase laa ilaaha illallah). So if we put Al before Ilaah, then it becomes “Allah”:

Al أل + Ilaah إله (hamza, lam, ha) = Allah
[due to hadf, the hamza in Ilaah is removed]

The root letters of Ilaah is hamza, lam, and ha. From these letters, two verbs can be formed:

  • Alaha (to worship), ya’lahu (he worships). So Ilaah is the one who is worshipped.
  • Aliha is used when a child is thirsty and desperately needs his mother for the milk. So the verbal meaning of Ilaah is the one who people desperately turn to.

So the scholars conclude that these are the origins of the word Ilaah, which is the One who is worshipped, obeyed, and who people desperately turn to out of desperation.

The argument why it is jamid:

The word of “Allah” is the universal word for Allah SWT, which is used in every language. It is the proper name for Him which He revealed to all the messengers in every language.

In Arabic language, the word yaa is used to call someone. For example, Yaa Raheem (O Merciful One). Although the word Raheem is originally Al-Raheem, when we call someone, the word Al cannot be used in this context because it is linguistically incorrect. So, saying Yaa Al-Raheem is incorrect.

But when we say Yaa Allah, it can be seen that the word Al is still used. If the word “Allah” was originally from the word Al + Ilaah, then we would not have said Yaa Allah, instead we would have said Yaa Ilaah (removing the Al). This is one of the linguistic evidences why the word “Allah” does not come from another word.

The second linguistic evidence is that the word “Allah” is not used generically anywhere in the Qur’an. Whenever the word “Allah” is used, it’s not used as “the One worthy of worship” but it’s used as “Allah” in its proper form. For example, bismillahirrahmaanirrahim. The words arrahmaanirrahim are the descriptions (adjective) and the word “Allah” (in bismi allah) is the one being described (noun).

The word “Allah” is also unique in the way it is pronounced. When Alif and Lam (= Al) are placed together, it is pronounced in a light sound, i.e. Allah. In contrast, when the word “Allah” is pronounced, it is pronounced with a heavier sound, i.e. Alloh. So we break the norm of the Arabic language for this word. This is the reason why it is considered a universal word.

One may argue that the word “Allah” comes from another foreign language. The general rule is that, when a word comes from another language and enters into an Arabic language, then we cannot put either dammah, kasrah, and fatha on it. But in the Qur’an, we can find the word “Allah” with a kasrah on it, as can be seen in the following ayat (4:122):

wa man asdaqu minAllahi qeela

“Allahi” has the kasrah on it (on the letter ha), so how can it not be an Arabic word?

Continue to Part 4.

Source: Nouman Ali Khan (can be found on YouTube or on

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 2)

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

– Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)


Surah Al-Ikhlas has over 20 nicknames given by the sahabah. These are some of them:

  • Al-Muqashtish — a surah that removes diseases of shirk
  • At-Tafreed (fard means individual) — a surah that explains Allah SWT is one and none is like Him
  • At-Tajreed — a surah that removes all misconceptions about Allah SWT in one shot
  • At-Tauheed — a surah that unifies the attributes of Allah in one and expresses Allah SWT as one and only.
  • Al-Ma’rifah (meaning to know someone) — a surah for one to be acquainted with Allah SWT. If you don’t know the surah, you don’t really know who Allah SWT is.
  • As-Shamad — surah Al-Ikhlas is the only place in the Qur’an where the word shamad is used and no derivatives of this word are used anywhere in the Qur’an, except in this surah. Hence, as-Shamad.
  • Al-Asaas — the surah of essence and core. This surah is the most basic and core mission of the Prophet SAW.

The Surah that Keeps Things Intact

There’s a hadith of the Prophet SAW:

The heavens and the earth are founded upon qul huwa Allahu ahad (Say, He is Allah, [who is] One).

The explanation of this hadith is: as long as there are people on this Earth who still believes in tawheed (the Oneness of Allah), Allah SWT allows the heavens and the earth to continue and exist.

But when people commit shirk or say that He has taken a son, Allah SWT says in the Qur’an (19:90):


The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation

Takaad is used in the verse above which means “almost” — it’s about to happen, but it didn’t. Why doesn’t it occur? Because of the fact that there are people who still follow and believe in tawheed and who worship Him alone. So the only thing to keep things intact is: qul huwa Allahu ahad.


The issue of shirk or the belief of polytheism (multiple Gods) is also mentioned in other parts of the Qur’an (21:22):

Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined…..

So if there were more than one God, there would be conflicts between these Gods — as can be seen in other religion that embraces polytheism. There are many mythological stories in Hinduism and Ancient Greek which show their gods’ fighting with each other for the sake of power.

The Light of the Qur’an

As revealed in the Qur’an 24:35:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth…

There are two hadiths of the Prophet SAW that are related to the above ayat:

He is the Light of the heavens and the earth and this surah lightens your heart.

For everything there is a light. For the light of the Qur’an is qul huwa Allahu ahad (Say, He is Allah, [who is] One).

So, Surah Al-Ikhlas is the light of the Qur’an. This surah is such an amazing gift, because it is one of the shortest surahs in the Qur’an that can be easily memorized with little effort, yet the power of this surah is so powerful and huge and the lessons are so massive.

The Historical Context

There was a debate whether this surah is Makki (revealed in Mekkah) or a Madani (revealed in Madinah).

As has been discussed previously, in Surah Al-Kafirun, the disbelievers who worshipped idols made of gold and silver, referred their gods with the same name: “Allah”, although they actually committed in shirk. So when the Prophet SAW would describe to them about Allah, they were confused because they believed in “Allah” too. So they said, “Describe to us the attributes of your Lord! Is he made of gold? Is he made of silver? What is his lineage?”

In one narration, there was also a polytheist who came to the Prophet SAW and said: “Everything was created by Allah, then who created Allah?”

Upon hearing that question, the Prophet SAW became extremely furious. So angel Jibril AS calmed him down and revealed this surah. This is why the surah is considered as a Makki surah by the majority.

A similar narration is given to a member of Jewish community in the Madani era of the Prophet SAW — which is the reason why some scholars argue this surah is Madani.

However, the majority of the scholars argued that this surah was used to answer the same question asked to the Prophet in the Madani era. Using this surah to answer such question doesn’t necessarily mean that the surah was revealed at that moment in time.

… Continue to Part 3

Source: Nouman Ali Khan (can be found on YouTube or

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 1)

As I’m an extremely forgetful person, I have a habit of writing down the things I learn about Islam. I type them into a word document, because otherwise I’d forget. It’s just too easy for me to forget. Every now and then, I’d read what I have typed over and over again so that I’ll keep on remembering them. So, instead of making them a benefit only to myself, I thought I’d post some of them here too, so that some of you can get a benefit from them :). But if you have the time to listen to these recordings (or if you’re more of a listener than a reader), I’d recommend to listen to them. Brother Nouman Ali Khan explains things in a way that is easy to understand and follow (without making me falling a sleep haha) — and that’s why I listen or watch to most of his speeches.

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)

The Connection between Surah Al-Ikhlas & Other Surahs


Surah Al-Ikhlas and Surah Al-Masad

In Surah Al-Masad (one surah before Al-Ikhlas; also called Al-Lahab), all verses/ayat end with an Arabic character of ba (ب), except the last verse which ends with the letter daal (د). In Surah Al-Ikhlas, every verses end with the letter daal (د). So the rhyme pattern from the previous surah continues in this surah. From the stylistic point of view, there is a cohesion and continuity between the two surah.

Shifting the Focus of Attention

Abu Lahab (which is mentioned in Surah Al-Masad) was a known relative of and a neighbor of the Prophet SAW, so he was a great concerned to the Prophet SAW. He continuously became the focus of the Prophet SAW.

In Surah Al-Kafirun (a Surah before Al-Masad), it was the Prophet SAW who was told to talk to the disbelievers. However, this was not case with Abu Lahab. Allah SWT told the Prophet SAW in Surah Al-Masad that He would deal with Abu Lahab alone and gradually destroyed him because of his continuing denial against the message brought by the Prophet SAW. Why was it the case? The answer can be found in the next surah, Surah Al-Ikhlas. Allah SWT wanted the Prophet SAW to remain focus on the Oneness of Allah SWT and teaching this concept to others (which is expressed in Surah Al-Ikhlas).

The Introduction and the Conclusion

In the first ayat of Surah Al-Fatihah alhamdulillahi rabbil ‘alamin (which is at the beginning of the Qur’an), Allah SWT introduces Himself as Allah (from alhamduli allahi) and Lord of the worlds (rabbil ‘alamin). At the end of the Qur’an, we can find these two things that are described in the first Surah. Surah Al-Ikhlas is the answer to the question of who Allah is:ScreenShot004
… while Surah Al-Falaq and Al-Nas are the answers to the question of who the Lord/Rabb is:
So what initiates in the Fatihah is beautifully concluded at the end of the Qur’an.

The Main Agenda Behind the Conflict

Every single surah from Al-Fil to Al-Masad (total: 7 surah) has something to do with the life of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Al-Masad is considered to be the conclusion of his journey, as the victory is guaranteed and Abu Lahab is considered as the enemy of Islam. The conflict between Abu Lahab (as well as the Quraish) and our Prophet SAW had been going on for so long and Surah Al-Ikhlas serves as a reminder that the reason why the conflict between them occurred in the first place was because of tauheed.

Surah Al-Ikhlas and Al-Kafirun

When the Prophet SAW performed sunnah prayers, he would usually recite two surahs that are paired together in the Qur’an, for example Surah Al A’la (87) and Al-Ghashiyah (88). But for sunnah rawatib (prayers done before or after the 5 compulsory prayers), the Prophet SAW specifically chose to recite  Surah Al-Kafirun and Surah Al-Ikhlas. Those two surahs are not placed one after another in the Qur’an, as Surah Al-Masad come between the two. So,  there’s a unique connection that the Prophet SAW made between Surah Al-Kafirun and Surah Al-Ikhlas.

From the literally point of view, the relationship between those surahs are very obvious. Surah Al-Kafirun made a clear distinction between what the Prophet SAW worshipped and what the disbelievers worshipped. Although they both referred their God as “Allah”, the two had a totally different religion (deen). Which deen is the wrong one? The deen of Abu Lahab that is explained in Surah Al Masad, which worshipped the idols. Which one is the righteous one? The deen that is explained in Surah Al-Ikhlas, which is believing in Allah SWT. In other words, we can look at Surah Al Kafirun as the central/main surah that branches to Surah Al Masad and Al Ikhlas.

Surah Al-Ikhlas (which is about tauheed) is also the central surah which branches to Surah Al-Falaq and Al-Nas. These two surahs talk about the evil influences that can break someone’s tauheed.

The two central surahs (Al-Kafirun and Al-Ikhlas) have other things in common too. In Surah Al-Kafirun, the word “Allah” is not mentioned, instead, the Prophet SAW was asked to say “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.” Who did exactly the Prophet SAW worship? The answer can be found in Surah Al-Ikhlas.

Another connection between Surah Al-Kafirun and Al-Ikhlas is that: both of them were given the same nickname Al-Muqashtish by the sahabah (the companions of Prophet SAW). Muqashtish means “that which removes diseases.” Both surah Al-Kafirun and Al-Ikhlas talk about denying the disease of shirk.

continue to Part 2.

Source: Nouman Ali Khan (can be found on YouTube or in which you can download the mp3 of this)

* Note: I use the word surahs instead of suwar (which is the correct plural Arabic form of surah) to avoid confusion 😀

Arabic Music


When I’m homesick, one of the ways to cure that homesickness is by eating Middle Eastern foods or by listening to Arabic music! 😀

This song, Ally Gara, is one of my favorite songs and probably my only favorite classical Arab music. I don’t know who the original singer was, but this classical song was made popular (again) by Saber Robaei and Asalah Nasri. Saber and Asalah are two of the best Arab singers. Their voice is just amazing. Both of them have performed this song on separate occasions. If you watch this video, you’ll notice it’s a rather  spontaneous performance at a random party attended by many Arab celebrities. You can see how they made gesture to each other to tell whose turn to sing next. But despite the spontaneity, both Saber and Asalah did a great job!! I even think Saber can survive without Asalah there haha.

The song is quite long (more than 10 minutes) — the video that I embed here is the second part of the performance. It’s common for Arab singers to prolong a song by “playing” with their voice (like what Saber did at 2:34 and Asalah at 4:40). They do that quite often when performing a classical Arab music. I’m not sure why. Perhaps, it’s to show the greatness of their voice and how long they can sing without breathing.

You can download the mp3 of this performance from here. Saber and Asalah never recorded this song, so the one from this performance is used and was widely played in the radio across the Middle East when it was first broadcasted on TV. So you can hear the voice of Asala asking for a glass of water in the beginning of the song hahaha. It’s a spontaneous performance, I told ya!