The Holy Qur'an

Al-Tafsīr Al-Kabīr: The Grand Exegesis – The Unity of God

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The Review of Religions is pleased to continue our serialisation of the first-ever full English Translation of Al-Tafsīr Al-Kabīr – The Grand Exegesis. This is the magnum opus of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and whilst parts of it have previously been published in other works, such as the five-volume Holy Qur’an with English Translation and Commentary, it has never before been translated in its entirety. Where applicable, this five-volume commentary has also been consulted.

This is one of the most insightful and in-depth commentaries of the Holy Qur’an ever written, and The Review of Religions has the honour to publish it for our English readers for the first time.

By Hazrat Mirza Bashirrudin Mahmud Ahmad (ra)
Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Translated by Murtaza Ahmad

Edited by The Review of Religions Translation Team

Continuation of the exegesis of Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ

Names of the Chapter

A number of names have been cited for this chapter in various commentaries of the Holy Qur’an. These numerous names are indicative of the vast nature of its subject matter. These names are:

  1. Al-Tafrīd [The Unity] – because this chapter mentions the unity and oneness of Allah Almighty, and refutes the concept of trinity, etc.
  2. Al-Tajrīd [The Uniqueness] – because the uniqueness of Allah Almighty has been elucidated therein.
  3. Al-Tauḥīd [The Oneness] – because the unity and oneness of God has not been described in any other book so explicitly.
  4. Al-Ikhlāṣ [The Sincerity] – because it develops sincerity in man and establishes a bond between man and God Almighty.
  5. Al-Najāh [The Salvation] – because by believing that God Almighty is One with absolute certainty, man attains salvation.
  6. Al-Wilāyah [The Sainthood] – because through this chapter, which is a means to perfect understanding, application and spiritual comprehension, man can attain the stage of sainthood.
  7. Al-Ma‘rifah [The Cognisance] – because cognisance of Allah Almighty is attained through these words. It is narrated by Jabir (ra) that someone was reciting this chapter while praying. Upon hearing its recitation, the Holy Prophet (sa) remarked that the one reciting it had attained cognisance of his Lord.
  8. Al-Jamāl [The Beauty] – It is stated in a hadith:

إِنَّ اللهَ جَمِيلٌ يُحِبُّ الْجَمَالَ

‘Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.’[1] The Holy Prophet (sa) was asked what the beauty of Allah is. He replied that Allah’s beauty means His being the One [Aḥad], the Independent and Besought of all [al-Ṣamad], and that He begets not, nor is He begotten [Lam yalid wa lam yūlad].

9. Al-Muqashqishah [The Cure] – The word muqashqishah refers to something that frees one from something. When a patient is cured, the Arabs say تَقَشْقَشَ الْمَرِيْضُ عَمَّا بِهِ [taqashqasha al-marīd ‘ammā bihi] that is, the patient was cured from the ailment that he was suffering from. Thus as this chapter transforms man into a sincere servant of Allah Almighty by freeing him from associating partners with God and hypocrisy, it is entitled muqashqishah.

10. Al-Mu‘awwidhah [The Protector from Evil] – because in the ahadith it states that the Holy Prophet (sa) visited ‘Uthman bin Maz‘un (ra) and recited Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ, Sūrah al-Falaq and Sūrah al-Nās and then blew on him. The Holy Prophet (sa) instructed him to seek the refuge of Allah Almighty by means of these chapters.

11. Al-Ṣamad [The Independent and Besought of all] – because the chapter also mentions the divine attribute Al-Ṣamad [the Independent and Besought of all] which illustrates that each and every particle of the universe is dependent upon Almighty Allah.

12. Al-Asās [The Foundation] – the Holy Prophet (sa) states that:

أُسِّسَتِ السَّمَوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالْأَرْضُوْنَ السَّبْعُ عَلَى

(قُلْ هُوَ اللهُ أَحَدٌ )

That is, the seven heavens and seven earths are established upon the verse قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ [Say, ‘He is Allah, the One’]. This means that the doctrine of trinity is a means of destroying the heavens and earth, as Allah Almighty states:

تَكَادُ السَّمَوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنْشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدًّا

‘On account of this corrupt doctrine, the heavens might well-nigh burst thereat, and the earth cleave asunder, and the mountains fall down in pieces.[2]

It may also refer to the verse:

وۡ كَانَ فِيهِمَآ ءَالِهَةٌ إِلَّا ٱللهُ لَفَسَدَتَاۚ

That is, if there had been other gods in the heavens and the earth besides Allah Almighty, the order of the universe would have completely destroyed.[3] Thus, the doctrine of the oneness of God is the basis for life in this world.

13. Al-Māni‘ah [The Preventer] – because this saves one from the punishment of the grave. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) narrates that during the Spiritual Ascension [Mi‘raj[4]] of the Holy Prophet (sa), Allah Almighty said to him:

،أَعْطَيْتُكَ سُوْرَةَ الْإِخْلَاصِ وَهِيَ مِنْ ذَخَائِرِ كُنُوْزِ عَرْشِيْ

.وَهِيَ الْمَانِعَةُ تَمْنَعُ عَذَابَ الْقَبَرِ وَلَفْحَاتِ الْنِيْرَانِ

That is, I have given you Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ and it is one of the treasures of My Throne. And this chapter saves one from the punishment of the grave and the flames of the fire because he who is established upon true tauḥīd [oneness] cannot be touched by the fire.

14. Al-Maḥḍirah [The Assembly] – because when it is recited, the angels assemble to listen to it.

15. Al-Barā’ah [The Absolution] – because it protects one from hellfire or associating partners with God. Thus, it is narrated in a hadith that the Holy Prophet (sa) heard somebody recite this chapter. The Prophet (sa) remarked:

.أَمَّا هَذَا فَقَدْ بَرِئَ مِنَ الشِّرْكِ

‘This person has been purified of associating partners with God.’ He then said that a person who recites this chapter 100 times in his prayers or at any other time will be safeguarded from the fire.

16. Al-Mudhakkirah [The Reminder] – because it reminds one of the oneness of Allah Almighty.

17. Al-Nūr [The Light] – because the Holy Prophet (sa) said:

إِنَّ لِكُلِّ شِيْءٍ نُوْرًا، وَنُوْرُ الْقُرْآنِ

[قُلْ هُوَ اللهُ أَحَدٌ]

That is, for everything there is a light and the light of the Holy Qur’an is قُلْ هُوَ اللهُ أَحَدٌ [Say, ‘He is Allah, the One’].

18. Al-Amān [The Safety] – because the Holy Prophet (sa) said that the one who believes in the oneness of God [tauḥīd] enters into a citadel, and this chapter mentions tauḥīd. Therefore, it keeps one safe from punishment.

19. Al-Munaffirah [The Repellent] – because it repels Satan.[5]

The serialisation of Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ will continue in the next edition.


[1] Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman.

[2] The Holy Qur’an, 19:91.

[3] ‘If there had been in them (the heavens and the earth) other gods beside Allah, then surely both would have gone to ruin. Glorified then be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, above what they attribute.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 21:23.

[4] Mi‘raj refers to the spiritual journey of the Holy Prophet (sa) to heaven. This incident took place in the 5th year after prophethood whilst the Prophet Muhammad (sa) was sleeping at the Ka‘bah. Some believe this was a physical journey to heaven whereby he ascended with his corporal body, but the Holy Qur’an, authentic testimonies and the fact that the Holy Prophet (sa) woke up right after this journey, prove that the Mi‘raj was in fact a most sublime vision. [The Review of Religions]

[5] Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir, Imam Fakhruddin Radi.