commentary by Pooya/M.A.
“Say: He, Allah, is One.”
Ahad, one in being, is applied to Allah alone, and signifies the one; the sole; He who has ever been one and sole; or the indivisible; or He who has no second to share in His divinity, nor in His essence, nor in His attributes.
The spirit of the absolute unity of Allah is the foundation of the structure of the religion of Allah, Islam. This surah, which explains the unity (tawhid) of Allah, was revealed to give an idea of Godhead the Holy Prophet preached.
It begins with huwa (He) which refers to the known, known to all, but not identifying any one. Refer to the commentary of Fatihah: 1 and Baqarah: 255. In the Aryan creeds atma and brahma is one, therefore “I” (first person singular) is used by them to refer to the conception of the absolute.
Ahad signifies the unity of His essence. He is free from compositeness. According to Imam Ali bin Husayn Zaynal Abidin samad refers to the supreme being that continues, or continues for ever, or is everlasting, or is the creator of everything of whom nothing is independent, or is dependent on no person or thing but all persons or things are dependent on Him, therefore the eternally besought by all. He cannot be described or defined as one void of any excellence, or any excellence void of Him, He is infinite.
Surah al-Iklaas, ayah 2:
Allah, the Eternal
Many meanings are mentioned for /samad/ in Islamic narrations, commentaries, and lexicons.
Raqib cites in Mufradat that ‘Samad means a Lord; one to whom reference is made in matters of importance’. Some others have said that ‘samad’ means ‘something whose inside is not hollow, but it is full’.
It also means ‘a Lord’,when applied for Allah, because affairs are dependent upon Him. ‘Samad’ signifies one who is high or elevated in the utmost highness, and a Lord to whom one resigns himself, has recourse to, or is in need of, or One above Whom there is no one, or One Who continues, after His creatures have perished.
Imam Husain (a.s) in a tradition, has stated five meanings for ‘samad’:
1. A Lord Whose Lordship has attained its utmost point or degree.
2. An Essence and Being that continues or continues for ever or is everlasting.
3. The Existence that has not a hollow inside.
4. The One Who takes no nourishment, food or drink.
5. One Who does not sleep. (5)
A tradition from Imam Ali-ibn-al Hosain (p.b.u.h.) says: ‘Samad’ is One Who has no partner and it is not difficult for Him to protect things, and nothing is hidden from Him. (6)
The term ‘samad’ has such a vast meaning that we cannot mention them, completely, or in other ,words, the names or the attributes, mentioned to describe its nature, cannot be translated to covey the exact sense to the fullest meaning of the terms.
A tradition denotes that the citizens of Basrah wrote a letter to Imam Husain (a.s) and asked him the meaning of /samad/.
He replied: In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful: Then do not plunge in vain talk about the Qur’an and do not dispute about it and do not speak about it when you do not know (it). Verily, I heard from my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, who said: ‘The person who talks about the Qur’an without knowing (it), his abode will be in fire’. Allah, Himself, has rendered ‘samad’ to mean: ‘He begets not, nor is He begotten’, ‘And there is none like unto Him’… . Yes, Allah is ‘samad’ Who is not from anything and is not in anything or on anything; He is the Creator of everything and all are from Him by His Power; what He has created to perish will perish at His Will, and what He has created to remain will remain in His Knowledge. This is Allah; al – Samad (7)
He begets not, nor is He begotten
In this verse, it rejects the idea of the Christians, the Jews, and the pagan Arabs who declared that Allah had a child or is a father. Different from this is the statement of those who believe in Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
Christians know ‘Jesus’ as the son of God. The Jews believe ‘Ezra’ (‘Uzair) was the son of God: The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the Truth!, (Sura Taubah, No. 9, verse 30).
The Arab pagans believed that angels were the daughters of Allah: …And they falsely having no knowledge, attribute to Him sons and daughters…, (Sura An’am, No. 6, Verse 100).
It Is understood from some of the Islamic narrations that ‘begets’, in the verse under discussion, has a broader meaning. It negates any material and delicate things emerging from Him, or He, the Sacred Essence, emerging from any material and delicate thing.
In the above mentioned letter of Imam Hosain (p.b.u.h.), to the people of Basrah, about the commentary of the term /samad/, he commented on the current verse, saying: /lam yalid/, i.e. there emitted nothing from Him-neither material things nor a child, nor other things that emit from creatures, nor a delicate thing like a soul.
Nothing appears in Him, such as sleep, imagination, grief, sadness, happiness, laughter, tears, fear and hope, courage and discouragement, hunger and satiety.
Allah is more exalted than that something should emit from Him, or that He begets something material or delicate, nor is He begotten from something material or delicate…Similar to a living creature coming out from another one, or a plant from the earth, water from a spring,fruits from trees, nor the like, emitting delicate things from their sources, such as visionfrom the eye, hearing from the ears, smelling from the nose, tasting from the mouth, speech from the tongue, knowledge and understanding from the heart (insight and soul), and particles of fire from stone…. (8)
According to this tradition, ‘begets’ conveys a vast meaning, so that it may envelop any emitting things of any kind from anything else, and this is, in fact, the second meaning of the verse whose first and apparent meaning was the meaning that was mentioned in the beginning. Besides, the second meaning, with the anology of the first meaning, is quite adaptable and understandable; since, if Allah has no children, it is because He is aloof from the qualities of material. This meaning is also right for other qualities of matter.
“And none is like Him.”
The term / kufw / originally means ‘equal from the point of position and rank’, then, it is used for any similarity.
Considering this verse, the Holy Essence of Allah is free from all qualities or obstacles that creatures have, and free from all defects and limitations. This is ‘Unity of Attributes’ that corresponds with ‘Unity of Number ‘.
Therefore, He is One in Essence, in attributes, and in deeds; and He is unique in every aspect.
Amir-al-Mo’mineen Ali (a) has said: “…no change can take place in Him and no lessening, diminishing, dwindling, decay and dissipation of His Mighty and Glory is possible, that He is not begotten from anyone nor does He beget anyone. ..He has no peer and no equal. He can destroy things created by Himself in such a way that they will cease to exist and disappear into nothingness…”.