The Holy Qur'an

Al-Tafsīr Al-Kabīr: A New Chapter

Introducing Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ

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Since February 2019, The Review of Religions has had the fortune of being the first to present the complete English translation of the commentary of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah penned by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), second worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in his magnum opus – Al-Tafsīr Al-Kabīr – The Grand Exegesis.[1]

Originally published in Urdu, the full text of Al-Tafsīr Al-Kabīr has never been fully translated into English. Next month, The Review of Religions is delighted to once again present the complete English translation of commentary of Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ – Chapter 112 of the Holy Qur’an – by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), translated into English and published for the first time.

Sūrah al-Ikhlā, one of the shortest chapters in the Qur’an, discusses the unity of God. But this short chapter contains the essence of the entire Islamic teaching. Just as Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is considered to be an outline of the entire Qur’an, Sūrah al-Ikhlā, together with the two succeeding chapters, Sūrah al-Falaq and Sūrah al-Nās, also contains the themes mentioned in Sūrah al-Fātiḥah

Indeed, the importance of Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ has been outlined by the Holy Prophet (sa) himself. Hazrat Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri (ra) relates that once the Holy Prophet (sa) asked his companions: ‘Is it difficult for any of you to recite one third of the Qur’an in one night?’ Since this is, in fact, a difficult thing to do, they replied: ‘Who among us has the power to do so, O Messenger of Allah (sa)?’ The Holy Prophet (sa) then said: ‘Reciting “Allah is One, the Independent and Besought of all” (that is, Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ) is equal to one third of the Qur’an.’[2]

Similarly, it was the practice of the Holy Prophet (sa) to recite the last three chapters, namely: Sūrah al-IkhlāṣSūrah al-Falaq and Sūrah al-Nās, each night. Hazrat A’ishahra relates that whenever the Messenger of Allah (sa) went to bed, he used to recite Sūrah al-IkhlāṣSūrah al-Falaq and Sūrah al-Nās and then blow on his palms and pass them over his face and those parts of his body that his hands could reach. And when he fell ill, he used to ask her to do the same for him.[3]

The commentary of this great chapter will begin in next month’s edition, followed by the commentaries of the succeeding two chapters.


[1] For an introduction to Al-Tafsīr Al-Kabīr, see the December 2018 issue of The Review of Religions. The commentary of the Sūrah Al-Fātiḥah, the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an, have been serialised every month from February 2019 through April 2020.

[2] Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Qur’an, Hadith No. 5015.

[3] Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tibb, Hadith No. 5748.