In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 112
In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 112
Surah # 112
Purity of Faith
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful!
Say: He is Allah, the one and only God
the Eternal, the Absolute
He begot none, nor was He begotten
and there is none comparable to Him
In the Shade of the Qur'an
This short surah is "equivalent to one third of the Qur'an". al Bukhari,
the leading traditionist, was told about someone who had heard a man
reciting, "Say: He is Allah ..." repeatedly
and had gone to the Prophet
the following morning and told him disapprovingly about what he had heard.
The Prophet commented, "I swear by Him in Whose hand is my soul that it
(the surah) is equivalent to one third
of the Qur'an."
And, indeed, there is nothing surprising in that. For the unity of Allah
Messenger was ordered to declare to the whole world is a belief
to be ingrained in our beings, an explanation of
human existence and a way
of life in itself. From this standpoint, the surah can be said to have
in the clearest terms the principal and most fundamental ideas
of the great truth of Islam.
Arabic term "Ahad" used here to refer to the unity of Allah is much
more precise than the much more frequently
used term "Wahid" which means
"one". "Ahad" has the added connotations of absolute and continuous unity
and the absence of equals.
The unity of Allah is such that there is no reality and no true and
permanent existence except His. Moreover, every other being acquires what
ever power it possessed from the effective
power of Allah which rules over
this world. Nothing else whatsoever plans anything for the world nor
decides, for that matter, anything in it.
This is the belief that should be entrenched in us. It is
explanation of human existence. Once this belief has become clear and that
explanation has established
itself in the human mind, the heart is
purified of all falsities and impurities and it is released from all ties
except those of the one and unique Being who alone possesses the reality
of being and who is the only
effective power in this world. The human heart
is then released from bondage to anything in this world, if not
attributing existence to anything else altogether. Indeed, why should men's
hearts aspire to something
that has no permanent reality nor has any
independent power to function in this world, since the real being is
of the Divine Being and the truly effective power is the Divine Will?
When the human heart releases
itself from believing in anything but the one
Truth, the Truth of Allah, and upholds this everlasting Truth, it
itself from all shackles, false ideas, evil desires, fear of earthly powers
and from the confusions
that mislead in this life.
For when the human heart finds Allah, it benefits and loses nothing. So why
should it desire anything but the pleasure of Allah? And why should it fear
anything, since there is
no absolutely effective power but that of Allah?
When a conception that sees nothing in the world but the reality
establishes itself in the human mind and heart, it is accompanied by the
vision of this genuine,
permanent reality in every other being that has
sprung from it. This is the stage at which the heart feels the
Allah in everything and beyond which it feels nothing but Allah in the
whole universe. There
would be no other reality to be felt.
It is also accompanied by the attribution of every event and every movement
in this life and in this universe to the first and only cause, that is,
Allah, that brings other causes
about and influences their effectiveness.
The Qur'an takes great care to establish this truth in the Muslims' concept
of faith. It has always put aside apparent causes and associated events
directly with the will of Allah.
When you threw (a handful of dust) it was not your act, but Allah's.
(8:17) There is no triumph except that given by Allah, (8:10, 3:126)
You have no will except as Allah
By disregarding all apparent causes and connecting matters directly with
of Allah, a feeling of relief gently penetrates the human heart
so that it knows the only Saviour from whom it
can ask whatever it wishes
and by whom it is rescued from all it fears. It becomes unimpressed by the
apparent influences, reasons and causes that bear no reality or true
existence in themselves.
are the steps of the way some mystics tried to climb, but they
deviated too far from it. For Islam wants people
to follow this route
struggling with the realities of life with all its varied conditions and
and to lead a human life in which they exercise their role of
vicegerency of Allah on earth with all their resources
and the obligations
laid upon them.
From this concept of the unity of Allah, stems a perfect
path of life based
on the explanation of human existence and whatever outlooks, feelings, and
it stimulates. Such a path is based on the worship of Allah alone,
who is the only real and permanent being, and
whose will is the only
effective power in the world. It is the path that makes its followers turn
Allah alone and seek refuge in Him in time of need and fear,
happiness and discomfort, luxury and hardship. For
what is the use of
turning towards a non-existent or a powerless being? This path has as its
Allah alone. From Him we receive our beliefs, outlook, values,
criteria, legislation's, institutions, systems,
ethics and traditions.
Such qualities must be obtained from the One and Permanent Being and the
It is a path for performing activities, doing work and making sacrifices
and only for Allah, and for wishing to be nearer the truth.
This path also strengthens the links of love, brotherhood,
and responsiveness between all beings and Individual hearts. For when we
speak of the
liberation from complete submission to these feelings we by
no means suggest that people should despise or hate
them or escape from
practising them. They arise from the creative hand of Allah and they all
existence to Him. They are a gift to us from the Beloved and,
therefore, they deserve our love.
It is a sublime and lofty path by whose standards this earth is so small,
life is so short. its enjoyments and
luxuries are worthless; and the
breaking away from the various hindrances and falsifications is a supreme
wish and a great aim for humanity. But in Islam, however, this release does
not mean seclusion and neglect, nor
does it mean contempt for or escape
from life, but it simply means a continuous and sincere endeavor and an
everlasting struggle to lead humanity to the submission of everything in
human life to Allah alone. Consequently,
as was stated earlier, it is the
fulfilment of man's role as Allah's vicegerent on earth with all its
The liberation of the human soul by priesthood and extreme spiritualism is
and easy to achieve but Islam does not approve of it, because,
according to it, man's vicegerency on earth and
the leadership of mankind
are a part of its Divine path of liberation. This is a harder way that
and secures the humanity of man and achieves the victory of the
Divine will within his being . This is the real
liberation, the flight of
the human soul unto its Divine source and the achievement of its sublime
within the scope its wise Creator has chosen for it.
For the sake of all this, the first call to Islam was devoted
establishment of the reality of the unity of Allah in the hearts and minds
of men. For in this
form it is a belief by the human soul, heart and mind,
a full explanation of human existence, a way of life and
not merely a
spoken word or an inert belief. It is life in its entirety and religion
in its totality
and whatever faults follow after it are no more than the
natural fruits of its establishment in the hearts and
minds Of mankind.
All the deviations that afflicted the followers of earlier Divine
which corrupted their beliefs, ideas and life arose, in the
first place, from the deterioration of the concept
of the absolute unity
of God in their minds. But what distinguishes this concept in the Islamic
is its deep rootedness in the entire human life and the construction
of the latter on its basis and its being considered
as s foundation for the
realistic and practical system of human life with its effects clearly
in legislation as well as in belief.
"He is Allah, the one and only God," means that He is "the Eternal and
Absolute," and that, "He begot none nor was He begotten," and that "there
is none comparable to
Him." But the Qur'an states it all in detail for more
emphasis and clarification.
the Absolute" means the supplicated Lord without whose
permission nothing is decided. Allah is the One Lord. He
is One in His
Divinity and all the other beings are but His servants. To Him and Him
alone are addressed
all supplications. He and only He decides everything
independently. No one decides with Him. And since He is the
one and only
God this quality is already His.
"He begot none, nor was He begotten," means that the
reality of Allah is
deep-rooted, permanent and everlasting. No changeable circumstances ever
it. Its quality is absolute perfection at all times. Birth is
descent and multiplication and implies a developed
incompleteness or nothingness. It requires espousal which is based on
similarity of being
and structure. All this is utterly impossible in the
case of Allah. So the quality of "One" includes the renouncement
father and a son.
"There is none comparable to Him" means that no one resembles Him
anything or is equivalent to Him in any respect, either in the reality
of being, or in the fact that
He is the only effective power, or in any
of His qualities or attribute. This is implied in the statement of his
being "One" made in the first verse, but it is repeated thus to confirm
and elaborate on that fact.
It is a renunciation of the two-god belief
which implies that Allah is the God of Good while Evil has its god who,
as the belief goes - is in opposition to Allah, spoils His good deeds and
propagates evil on earth.
The most well-known two-god belief was that of
the Persians, who believed in a god of light and a god of darkness.
belief was known to the people in the south of the Arabian Peninsula,
where the Persians once had
a state and exercised sovereignty.
This surah is a fir establishment and a confirmation of the Islamic belief
in the unity of Allah as was surah 109, "The Disbelievers", a denunciation
of any similarity or meeting
point between the unity of Allah and
anthropomorphic belief. Each surah deals with the unity of Allah from a
different angle. The Prophet used to start off his day reciting these two
surahs in his morning prayer (fajr).
This, surely, was significant.