Al-Ikhlas is not merely the name of this Surah but also the title of its contents, for it deals exclusively with Tauhid. The other Surahs of the Quran generally have been designated after a word occurring in them, but in this Surah the word Ikhlas has occurred nowhere. It has been given this name in view of its meaning and subject matter. Whoever understands it and believes in its teaching, will get rid of shirk (polytheism) completely.
Whether it is a Makki or a Madani Surah is disputed, and the difference of opinion has been caused by the traditions which have been related concerning the occasion of its revelation. We give them below ad seriatim:
Hadrat Abdullah bin Masud has reported that the Quraish said to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be be peace): “Tell us of the ancestry of your Lord.” Thereupon this Surah was sent down. (Tabarani).
Abul Aliyah has related on the authority of Hadrat Ubayy bin Kab that the polytheists said to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace): “Tell us of your Lord’s ancestry.” Thereupon Allah sent down this Surah. (Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Abi Harim, Ibn Jarir, Tirmidhi, Bukhari in At-Tarikh, Ibn al-Mundhir, Hakim, Baihaqi). Tirmidhi has related a tradition on the same theme from Abul Aliyah, which does not contain any reference to Hadrat Ubayy bin Kab, and has declared it to be more authentic.
Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah has stated that a bedouin (according to other traditions, some people) said to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace): “Tell us of your Lord’s ancestry.” Thereupon Allah sent down this Surah.(Abu Yala, Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Tabarani in Al-Ausat, Baihaqi, Abu Nuaim in Al-Hilyah).
Ikrimah has related a tradition form Ibn Abbas, saying that a group of the Jews, including Kab bin Ashraf, Huyayy bin Akhtab and other, came before the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and said: “O Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings), tell us of the attributes of your Lord, who has sent you as a Prophet.” Thereupon Allah sent down this Surah. (Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Adi, Baihaqi in Al-Asma was-Sifat).In addition to these, some other traditions also have been cited by Ibn Taimiyyali in his commentary of Surah Al-Ikhlas, which are as follows;
Hadrat Anas has stated that some Jews of Khaiber came before the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and they said: “O Abul Qasim, Allah created the angels from light, Adam from rotten clay, Iblis from the flame of fire, the sky from smoke, and the earth from the foam of water. Now tell us about your Lord (of what He is made).” The Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) did not give any reply to this question. Then Gabriel came and he said: “O Muhammad, say to them: Huwa Allahu ahad.”
Amir bin at-Tufail said to the Holy Prophet: “O Muhammad, what do you call us to?”The Holy Prophet replied: “To Allah.” Amir said, “Then, tell us of what He is made, whether of gold, silver, or iron?” Thereupon this surah was sent down.
Dahhak, Qatadah and Muqatil have stated that some Jewish rabbis came before the Holy Prophet, and they said: “O Muhammad, tell us what is your Lord like, so that we may believe in you. Allah in the Torah has sent down His description. Kindly tell us of what He is made, what is His sex, whether He is made of gold, copper, brass, iron, or silver, and whether He eats and drinks. Also tell us from whom He has inherited the world, and who will inherit it after Him.” Thereupon Allah sent down this Surah.
Ibn Abbas has reported that a deputation of the Christians of Najran along with seven priests visited the Holy Prophet upon whom be peace), and they said: “O Muhammad, tell us what is your Lord like and of what substance He is made.”The Holy Prophet replied, “My Lord is not made from any substance. He is unique and exalted above everything.” Thereupon Allah sent down this Surah.
These traditions show that different people on different occasions had questioned the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) about the essence and nature of the God to Whose service and worship he invited the people, and on every occasion he recited by Allah’s command this very Surah in response. First of all, the pagans. of Quraish asked him this question in Makkah, and in reply this Surah was sent down. Then, at Madinah, sometimes the Christians, and sometimes the other people of Arabia, asked him questions of this nature, and every time Allah inspired him to recite this very Surah in answer to them. In each of these traditions, it has been said that this Surah was revealed on this or that occasion. From this one should not form the impression that all these traditions are mutually contradictory. The fact is that whenever there existed with the Holy Prophet a verse or a Surah previously revealed in respect of a particular question or matter, and later the same question was presented before him, Allah inspired him to recite the same verse or Surah to the people as it contained the answer to their question. The reporters of Hadith describe the same thing, saying: When such and such a question or matter was presented before the Holy Prophet, such and such a verse or Surah was revealed. This has also been described as repetition of revelation, i. e. the revelation of a verse or Surah several times.
Thus, the fact is that this Surah is Makki, rather in view of its subject matter a Surah revealed in the earliest period at Makkah, when detailed verses of the Quran dealing with the essence and attributes of Allah Almighty had not yet been revealed, and the people hearing, the Holy Prophet’s invitation to Allah, wanted to know what was his Lord like to whose worship and service he was calling them. Another proof of this Surah’s being one of the earliest Surahs to be revealed is that when in Makkah Umayyah bin Khalaf, the master of Hadrat Bilal, made him lie down on burning sand and placed a heavy stone on his chest, Bilal used to cry “Ahad, Ahad!” This word was derived from this very Surah.
A little consideration of the traditions regarding the occasion of the revelation of this Surah, shows what were the religious concepts of the world at the time the Holy Prophet began to preach the message of Tauhid. The idolatrous polytheists were worshiping gods made of wood, stone, gold, silver and other substances. These gods had a form, shape and body. The gods and goddesses were descended from each other. No goddess was without a husband and no god without a wife. They stood in need of food and drink and their devotees arranged these for them. A large number of the polytheists believed that God assumed human form and there were some people who descended from Him. Although the Christians claimed to believe in One God, yet their God also had at least a son, and besides the Father and Son, the Holy Ghost also had the honor of being an associate in Godhead: so much so that God had a mother and a mother-in-law too. The Jews also claimed to believe in One God, but their God too was not without physical, material and other human qualities and characteristics. He went for a stroll, appeared in human form, wrestled with a servant of His, and was father of a son, Ezra. Besides these religious communities, the Zoroastrians were fire worshipers, and the Sabeans star worshipers. Under such conditions when the people were invited to believe in Allah, the One Who has no associate, it was inevitable that questions arose in the minds as to what kind of a God it was, Who was one and Only Lord and invitation to believe in Whom was being given at the expense of all other gods and deities. It is a miracle of the Quran that in a few words briefly it answered all the questions and presented such a clear concept of the Being of Allah as destroyed all polytheistic concepts, without leaving any room for the ascription of any of the human qualities to His Being.
THE HOLY QURAN FACTS
• The Quran is the Holy Books of Muslims.
• The Quran has 114 Chapters also called “Surah” or “Surahs” in the Arabic Language.
• Each Chapter, meaning each Surah has Verses also called as “Ayah” or “Ayahs” in the Arabic Language.
• Each Chapter consists of Verses. In other words, each Surah consists of Ayahs.
• Surah Baqarah is the longest chapter/surah with 286 verses in The Holy Quran.
• Surah Kauther is the shortest chapter/surah with 3 verses in The Holy Quran.
• The longest verse of the Quran appears in Surah Al-Baqarah verse number 282, also commonly known as Ayatul Kursi.
• Surah Yaseen is called the heart of The Holy Quran.
• The Holy Quran has been translated in more than 100 languages in the world.
• The best month among all months is mentioned as Ramadan in The Holy Quran.
• The best night mentioned in the Quran is Laylatul Qadr and has been described as a night better than 1000 months.
• The name Muhammad is mentioned 4 times in The Holy Quran.
• Friday & Saturday are the only days of the week that are mentioned in the Quran.
• The first Chapter/Surah in Quran, Surah Al-Fatiha is known as the Mother of Quran or Ummul Quran.
• The meaning of Quran is “reading” and “reciting”.
• Each Chapter/Surah of The Holy Quran follows a theme and gives a specific message about the fundamentals of faith and practicing of belief.
• Total Chapters/Surahs in the Quran: 114.
• Total Verses/Ayahs in the Quran: 6236.
HOLY QURAN: REVELATION PERIOD
The Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammed (May Peace and Blessings be Upon Him) over the span of 23 years. The revelation of the Quran Started in the Holy Month of Ramadan. The period of revelation of The Holy Quran can be categorized into 2 main parts, that’s is the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s life in Makkah that is 13 years and after His (PBUH) migration to Madinah that is 10 years. Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) received the first revelation in Cave of Hira.
HOLY QURAN: CONTENT
The Quran is the Word of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), and was revealed to mankind.
HOLY QURAN: HOW MAY PROPHETS ARE MENTIONED IN THE HOLY QURAN?
2. Idris (Enoch),
3. Nuh (Noah),
4. Hud (Heber),
5. Saleh (Methusaleh),
6. Lut (Lot),
7. Ibrahim (Abraham),
8. Ismail (Ishmael),
9. Ishaq (Isaac),
10. Yaqub (Jacob),
11. Yusuf (Joseph),
12. Shu’aib (Jethro),
13. Ayyub (Job),
14. Dhulkifl (Ezekiel),
15. Musa (Moses),
16. Harun (Aaron),
17. Dawud (David),
18. Sulayman (Solomon),
19. Ilyas (Elias),
20. Alyasa (Elisha),
21. Yunus (Jonah),
22. Zakariya (Zachariah),
23. Yahya (John the Baptist),
24. Isa (Jesus) and
25. Muhammad (Peace be upon them all).
HOLY QURAN: PRESERVATION
To ease the recitation and memorization of The Quran, it has been divided in to 30 equal parts/portions called the “Juz” or “Siparah”. The Chapters/Surahs of The Holy Quran were arranged in the present order by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself though there was no compiled copy of Quran during Prophet’s life and Sahaba (companions of the prophets) memorized the verses of Quran by heart or scribed the verses on stones, animal skin or palm tree.
WHAT IS THE MEANING BETWEEN TRANSLATION OF THE QURAN AND THE QURAN IN ARABIC LANGUAGE?
The translations of Quran were written to explain the meaning of the Quran in Non-Arabic languages so that the reader can understand the meaning of the Quran in their respective languages.
However, translations are written by various individuals, authors, or translators. One must understand that Quran translations are written by different people and different people have different selection of words to explain the terminologies from Arabic to their respective language. Therefore, translations are a mere effort to explain the meaning of the Holy Quran. On final notes, a translation must only be read for understanding purposes as the true word of Allah is The Holy Quran in Arabic Language Only.
WHAT IS A TAFSEER OF THE HOLY QURAN?
The word ‘tafsir’ stems from the root word ‘fassara’, which means to explain. Therefore, Tafsir of Quran means the explanation or interpretations of the verses of Quran. The Tafsir of Quran is done by people after obtaining in-depth extensive knowledge about Islam and reading the history of Islam in detail. The objective of a Tafsir is to find out the true meanings of the verses of Quran, so that the reader can benefit from it and know the right and true message of The Holy Quran.
It tries to explain Quran so that the understanding of the reader about Quran and its message increases. Where the Translation only provides a word to word meaning of the Holy Quran, TAFSIR on the other end explains a more detailed meaning of the verses and words in the Quran with context and references, it also explains of the revelation period thereby increasing the understanding of the Quran in a greater detail.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRANSLATION VS TAFSIR
TRANSLATION: is a word-to-word explanation of the Quran from Arabic Language (i.e., the original languages it was revealed) to other non-Arabic languages to simplify the understanding of the Holy Quran for the reader.
TAFSIR: is a detailed explanation of the verses of the Quran with context, explanation, reference to get a deeper understanding of the Holy Quran.
On a final note, the beginner should start reading the translation first and then if there is a particular chapter/surah or verse/ayah or word that you do not understand in the translation, then you must refer to the TAFSIR for further explanation. For easing this process, we have a TAFSIR tab labeled as “Detail TAFSIRs” and there are 3 TAFSIRs provided from 3 different authors, you may consult each TAFSIR to understand the meaning in depth.