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.

Tag: islam

Take Back Your Heart

This is beautiful. The metaphors she used remind me of those used by Rumi 🙂

[…] If you allow dunya to own your heart, like the ocean that owns the boat, it will take over. You will sink down to the depths of the sea. You will touch the ocean floor. And you will feel as though you were at your lowest point. Entrapped by your sins and the love of this life, you will feel broken. Surrounded by darkness. That’s the amazing thing about the floor of the ocean. No light reaches it.


If you seek Him, God can raise you up, and replace the darkness of the ocean, with the light of His sun. He can transform what was once your greatest weakness into your greatest strength, and a means of growth, purification and redemption. Know that transformation sometimes begins with a fall. So never curse the fall. The ground is where humility lives. Take it. Learn it. Breathe it in. And then come back stronger, humbler and more aware of your need for Him. Come back having seen your own nothingness and His greatness.


And so, this is a call to all those who have become enslaved by the tyranny of the self, imprisoned in the dungeon of the nafs (self) and desires.  It is a call to all those who have entered the ocean of dunya, who have sunk into its depths, and become trapped by its crushing waves. Rise up. Rise up to the air, to the Real world above the prison of the ocean. Rise up to your freedom. Rise up and come back to life. Leave the death of your soul behind you. Your heart can still live and be stronger and purer than it ever was. […] Come back to where you began. Come back Home. Know that when all the other doors have shut in your face, there is One that is always open. Always. Seek it. Seek Him and He will guide you through the waves of the cruel ocean, into the mercy of the sun.

This world cannot break you–unless you give it permission. And it cannot own you unless you hand it the keys — unless you give it your heart.  And so, if you have handed those keys to dunya for a while–take them back. This isn’t the End. You don’t have to die here. Reclaim your heart and place it with its rightful owner:


— Yasmin Mogahed

Read the complete article at


The next time you get upset, remind yourself: is your anger and revenge worth more or is the forgiveness of Allah SWT that He’s offering you [because you forgive someone] worth more?

— Nouman Ali Khan

My Prayers

I’m going to be very frank here. I used to have problems with prayer, sholat, or shalah. It did not give me peace and serenity that it always promised. I could not concentrate. I could not reach the state of khushu’. My mind was always somewhere else, no matter how much I wanted to concentrate. It was more like a “mechanical” ritual, as most of the things were said or recited so frequently that I often forgot what I recited. I did feel like a robot: reciting things without even realizing what came out of my mouth. There was a lack of connection between Allah SWT and I in the sholat.

Yes, my prayers had not been a comfort to my eyes. It’s sad, isn’t it? Something was definitely missing. But I could not figure out why or what was missing! At one point, I blamed myself — maybe I was not devoted enough. Maybe I had to read more Islamic books so that I could improve my sholat. Maybe I had to work hard for it. Or maybe,… maybe, time would tell. Maybe one day it would change like magic.

A few years ago I encountered this video on Why and How to Learn Arabic by Nouman Ali Khan. The whole talk was a slap to my face. I never realized the importance of learning Arabic (except to read the Qur’an) until I watched the talk. Learning Arabic is indeed very important, not to converse, not to order shawerma in Mekkah, but to understand the Qur’an. He gave a lot of reasons why it’s such an important language. I won’t write them here (because you need to watch it), but the video was enough to convince me that I had to start learning Arabic for the sake of understanding Allah’s words — so that I could pay attention to the ayats that were being recited in the sholat.

In the beginning, I did. I tried to learn Arabic language by myself through online resources. I could confidently say that I was not a beginner in Arabic language. I could still understand bits and pieces (i.e. some words) in the Qur’an. So it was not hard for me to learn it, alhamdulillah. I was certain that I could do this by myself. After all, Allah SWT promised us that He would make it easy for us to learn Arabic if we do it for the sake of remembrance to Him :).

Unfortunately, other commitments kept me busy and I started to abandon it completely. I stopped studying Arabic language. Years passed by and I came across a whole complete tafseer of Juz Amma and Tabarak by Nouman Ali Khan and Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda. I listened to the tafseer of Surah Al-Ikhlas and I was amazed by its depth! For the first time of my life, I was able to appreciate the Qur’an not only by its meaning and lessons, but also its linguistic aspect. Every time I recited Surah Al-Ikhlas in my prayer, I felt like Allah SWT told me to say HuwaAllahu ahad. He is Allah, One. It felt like He’s talking to me. Understanding and contemplating His words made so much difference. Subhanallah.

After that amazing experience, I tried to read the translation of the Qur’an, especially the short surahs that I usually recited in my sholat. I had been trying to listen to the tafseer of other surahs but I had not had the time for it yet (I think this is an excuse hahaha). Because I really had to sit down and listen carefully to the recording. I tried downloading it and putting it in my iPod so that I could listen to it on my way to campus, but I could not remember it somehow. So for now, I only read the translations of some surahs so that at least I could understand what I recited in my sholat.

Besides reading the translation, I also listened to this khutbah about Surah Al-Fatiha (again, by Nouman Ali Khan). The khutbah is more about the lessons and reminders from the surah, rather than the in-depth tafseer itself. Surah Al-Fatiha is an important surah as we’re told to recite it every single time we stand in prayers. Since it’s recited so frequently, it’s easy for us to lose our concentration when we recite this surah. The next thing we know, it’s already amin. But upon listening to the khutbah, my sholat greatly improved. Alhamdulillah.

I also discovered not long time ago that Allah SWT is actually conversing with us every time we recite Surah Al-Fatiha. For example, when we say alhamdulillahi rabbil alamin (All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds), Allah SWT responds with “my servant has praised Me”, and so on (read the full hadith).  I did not know that! It’s amazing, isn’t it?! This makes Surah Al-Fatiha the core and primary experience of the prayer. When I read this hadith, I vowed to never miss that chance of speaking with Allah SWT again. I had to make my sholat right this time.

The next video I encountered was The Meaning of the Tashahhud by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda. Tashahhud is the sitting portion of the sholat. Although I understood most parts of the tashahhud, I failed to pay attention to its meaning whenever I said it. Again, I did it mechanically: saying things without realizing what I said. Once I watched the video and understood word by word and the stories behind some words, I could pay attention! It just felt so different and amazing. No words could describe it. After that, I tried to learn and memorize other phrases recited/said in sholat.

By the way, Bayyinah Institute, which was founded by Nouman Ali Khan, offered a weekend seminar called Meaningful Prayer which explains both the linguistic meanings behind each word in the prayer and the literary beauty in them. If I were in the States, I would have definitely taken part in this seminar!! I wish I could find such seminar in my country. Anyway…

Alhamdulillah, by doing my own self-study, my sholat nowadays becomes an amazing experience that I greatly enjoy. I do it not only because Allah SWT told me to, but it’s also because I love it and I find peace and serenity every time I do it. I find that the later reason is much stronger than the former. I find that sholat is a blessing that keeps me connected to Allah SWT and constantly asking for His guidance. I would never say that my sholat is near perfect — in fact, it’s imperfect, but I really hope that… insya Allah… my effort to improve my sholat is counted and my sholat (and yours) will be accepted by Him. Amin.

If you want to improve your daily prayers like I do, it’s never too late to do it. Here are some of the videos/audios that I find very useful:

  • Literary Gems of Prayer by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda — watching this video made me feel SOOOOOO regret that I had been doing sholat without understanding anything I recited.
  • The Meaning of the Tashahhud by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda — the beauty and the meaning of each words of the Tashahhud are explained in great detail
  • Lessons & Reminders from Surah Al Fatiha by Nouman Ali Khan — this one helps you to understand the surah in detail
  • Tafseer of surahs in Juz Amma and Juz Tabarak by Nouman Ali Khan & Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda — in-depth tafseer by Bayyinah Institute. You can download the audios as mp3 or as a podcast (for iTunes).
  • The Salah Series from — everything you want to know about sholat is explained here, including the meaning of phrases recited in sholat
  • Khusu’ in Sholat by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda — this lecture covers the importance and virtues of khushu’ as well as steps to implement it (which are covered in the links or videos above)
  • Extra: Why and How to Learn Arabic for Comprehension of the Qur’an by Nouman Ali Khan — amazing talk which successfully made me regret all my life that I never took Arabic language seriously.

UPDATE: some more links

  • PrayAnywhere — all the supplications in the sholat are explained here! I love them!
  • RamadanPrep — there’s a talk called Your Salah 2.0 by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda explaining about the meaning of takbir, sujud, and one of the concluding supplications.

A Believer’s Response

(Download MP3)

Muslims nowadays are easily threatened and enraged when others try to disgrace Islam. Crazy things have happened, from burning stuffs, causing chaos and riots, death threats, to yet another bombs. These are the sort of reactions that we have in response to (among other things) the burning of the Qur’an and/or the Danish cartoon. But is that how we suppose to react?

It is important to mention that these tactics of insulting our Prophet SAW and the Qur’an are not new. These are the continuation of the Quraishi people. The Prophet SAW was insulted and accused of being crazy and insane by them. They did all sorts of psychological attacks to him. Don’t you think it’s familiar? These acts have been mentioned over and over again in the Qur’an. Did the Prophet SAW or any of his followers at that time start to burn things when they insulted him? No. Not really.

The Qur’an has given the Prophet SAW guidance on how to response to these sorts of stupid and ignorant accusations. So be patient with gracious patience [70:5]. That’s exactly how we should response! We should be patient and calm and response them intellectually. We shouldn’t response it the way they want us to response. We shouldn’t pull ourselves into their trap. This is one of their tactics to portray Muslims as barbaric, mindless, and crazy people. They have done every kind of insults that they could ever imagine. Lo and behold, it will keep on coming. We should get used to it by now.

Don’t worry too much about the Qur’an being burnt by these ignorant people. What they (want to) burn is just an ink and paper. The Qur’an is distinct verses [preserved] within the chests of those who have been given knowledge. And none reject Our verses except the wrongdoers [29:49]. If they want to burn the real Qur’an, they have to burn our chests first. Don’t worry about them insulting Allah’s Book, because … the word of Allah is exalted to the heights [9:40]. The world of Allah is supreme and nothing can bring it down. Allah SWT will take care of them later in the Day of Judgment. What we should do right now is to response intellectually and to keep on spreading and representing Islam in a way that the Prophet SAW used to do. We can’t keep on saying “Islam is religion of peace” when our action does not even resemble that of peace! Prove it. Be civil. This is what Allah SWT tells us to do.

The only people who can violate, not do justice to, and be criminals against the Qur’an — more than anyone else — is ironically the Muslims themselves. The Qur’an that is supposedly in the chest of every Muslims has gone from their chests. It has been recited and read over and over again, yet few of us understand what it really means. It has been put and decorated with frames in every house of all Muslims merely as a “protection” or a decoration. We put a big beautiful calligraphy of Surah Al-Asr, which warns us about the limited time we have, yet next to it is a big screen TV in which we use it 8 hours a day. The Qur’an that is supposedly used to remember Allah SWT and to remind us for our actions on this earth is just a piece of decoration that we do not even care about.

Is this how we suppose to treat the Qur’an? Is this how we think about the Qur’an? Is the Qur’an just a piece of decoration that does not have any meanings to us? What about the remembrance to Allah SWT? What about the reminders and the beautiful messages that once moved us? Are they all gone now?

When the Qur’an has been reduced from remembrance to a piece of decoration, this proves to be not only a total disrespect to the Qur’an, but this is also a serious problem for all Muslims — far more serious than those people who tried to burn the copies of the Qur’an. Before we can blame or insult others for disgracing our Book, we first have to look at ourselves. Have we done justice to our very own Qur’an?

Source: A Believer’s Response to the Qur’an Burning Event by Nouman Ali Khan

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).

The Years of Being Covered

Just like any Muslims around the world, Ramadan is an important month for me. Not only does the month of Ramadan mark the time in which the Qur’an was first revealed, but it was also the month when I decided, for the first time ever, to don a headscarf or a hijab. It was a stepping stone that changed my life forever. It was an oath I made to Allah SWT and for the next 11 years, it has given me an amazing journey that I never regretted.

I gave a detailed account on my other blog on how and why I finally decided to wear a hijab. To put it simply, a hijab for me is an act of obedient to Allah SWT. That is the only primary reason why I wear it until this very day. All other reasons, e.g. protection and identity, are secondary.

But I cannot deny the fact that the hijab is my identity. It defines me about who I am. A Muslim. There is no god but Allah SWT and Muhammad SAW is the Messenger of God. This is the very identity that has led to questions, judgments, abandons, sympathies, curiosities, or even stares. But this is also the identity that has changed perceptions and broken stereotypes. This is the identity that forced me to defend what I believe in, more than my nationality. More than anything else.

Hijab is also about modesty. Or Haya in Arabic. It is about being modest outwardly and inwardly. It is not only about the covering of the hair or your whole body. It is about how you act and present yourself. This is by far the hardest thing to achieve. I do not think I am modest inside out. There are many aspects I have to sort out. There are many things I have to fix. I do not even think that I can represent any respected hijabi sisters out there. I am far below that.

Indeed, I am not a perfect Muslim. I am not and never claimed to be religious. I do not and will never preach you why you do not pray. Or why you do not fast. Because there are still flaws inside me that I need to fix. Before I can correct somebody else, I have to make sure that I am free of those flaws. I have to be judgmental and critical about myself. That is what hijab has taught me all this time.

Hijab is my choice. It is my freedom. No one and nothing in this world can ever change that. Not even Islamophobia. Taking away my freedom to wear a hijab is a clear and definite sign of oppression. Period.

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

Preciously Hidden

Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them. Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.

— Muhammad Ali, a legendary Muslim boxer, giving advice to her daughter.

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