Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 2)

by Amalia

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 Bayyinah.com)