Some Exegesis Of The Blessed Sūrah Of At-Tawhīd
Know that this noble sūrah is the lineage [nasab] of Allah, the Exalted, according to the noble hadīths, one of which is in the noble al-Kāfī, on the authority of Imām as-Sādiq ('a) who said: “The Jews inquired of the Messenger of Allah (s) and said: 'Tell us your Lord's lineage [nasab].' The Prophet remained three days giving no reply. Then it was revealed to him: 'Say: He is Allah, the One,' till the end.”1 Consequently, the human mind is incapable of understanding its facts, subtleties and secrets. Yet, though it is so, the share which the people of knowledge have of it, and what the hearts of the people of Allah know, cannot be understood by mere reasoning.
By the Beloved, this noble sūrah is one of the trusts which the heavens of the spirits, the lands of ghosts and the mountains of I-nesses, are incapable of carrying it. No one is fit to carry it other than the Perfect Man who has crossed the boundary of “the possible” and entered the realm of ecstasy. Nevertheless, there is the good news that would please the people of the End of the Time and offer safety to the people of knowledge.
There is a hadīth in the noble al-Kāfī, which says that, asked about at-Tawhīd, Imām 'Alī ibn Husayn ('a) said: “Allah, the Almighty and Exalted, knew that in the End of the Time there would be people of deep knowledge. Therefore, Allah, the Exalted, revealed the sūrah: 'Say: He is Allah, the One…' and some āyahs of the Sūrah al-Hadīd up to 'He knows what is in the breasts.' Whoever wanted other than that would perish.”2
From this noble hadīth one deduces that to comprehend these noble āyahs and this blessed sūrah is for the scrutinizers and the owners of deep insight. They contain the minute secrets of at-Tawhīd and knowledge. The delicate divine knowledge is descended by Allah upon the worthy. Those who have no share of the secrets of at-Tawhīd and divine knowledge, have no right to look into these āyahs. They have no right to interpret these āyahs according to the common and vulgar meanings which they know, and to which they confine them.
In the first noble āyahs of the blessed sūrah of al-Hadīd there are delicate things of at-Tawhīd, and great information of the secrets of divinity and abstraction, the like of which is unseen in the divine revelations, and the books of the people of knowledge and the owners of heart. Had there been nothing but these āyahs to confirm the truthfulness of the prophethood and the perfection of the religion of the Seal of the Prophets, they would have been sufficient for the people of insight and knowledge.
The highest evidence proving that this knowledge is beyond the capacity of man and out of the limits of human thought is that till the revelation of these noble āyahs and the like, of the knowledge contained in the Qur'an, such knowledge had not been precedented among mankind, and there was no way to those secrets.
Nowadays, there are the books and the writings of the great philosophers of the world, who took their knowledge from the source of divine inspiration the highest and best of them maybe the noble book called Ethology [Theologia],3 by the great philosopher and celebrated wise man, Aristotle, to whom great philosophers, such as the Master Avicenna, the rare wonder of the time, humbly bowed.
Of the emanations of his mind was the logic and its rules, on which basis he was named “The First Teacher.” Avicenna says that ever since this great scholar composed the rules of logic, no one has been able to object to even a single one of his rules or add to them. Despite what has been said, and although he had written that honorable book in order to prove the state of divinity, yet, could the whole of that noble book prove it as the noble āyah at the beginning of the Sūrah al-Hadīd could do, or even something near it with a scent of the great secret of monotheism? Has it anything like the saying of Allah, the Exalted:
“He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Hidden,”4
Or the noble saying: “And He is with you wheresoever you may be.”5
Nowadays the deep thinkers and the people of insight and knowledge do know what secrets there are in these āyahs, and with what noble words and a great secret Allah, the Exalted, has honored and favored the people of the End of the Time!
Whoever refers to the knowledge of the religions of the world and to the knowledge common among the great philosophers of each religion, and compares them, in respect of the Beginning and the Return, with the knowledge of the upright religion of Islam and of the great philosophers of Islam and of the well-versed gnostic teachers of this ummah, will certainly admit that the source of the Islamic knowledge is the light of the Qur'an and the hadīths of the Seal of the Prophets and his Ahl al-Bayt ('a), all of whom receive their knowledge from the light of the Qur'an. Only then will he realize that the philosophy and Gnosticism of Islam are not taken from the Greek, rather, they have no resemblance to theirs.
Yes, some of the philosophers of Islam did imitate the method of the Greek philosophers, such as the Master Shaykh Avicenna. Yet, the Shaykh's philosophy is not so prosperous in the market of the people of knowledge, and it has little value with them, as far as the knowledge about Divinity, the Beginning, and the Return is concerned.
In short, ascribing today's philosophy of the Islamic philosophers, and the great knowledge of the people of knowledge to the Greek philosophy denotes the ascribers' lack of information about the Islamic writings, such as the writings of the great Islamic philosopher, Sadr 'ul-Muta'allihīn (may his soul be sanctified) and his great tutor, Muhaqqiq Dāmād (may his soul be sanctified), and his great student, Fayd Kashānī (may his soul be sanctified), and the great student of Fayd, the great gnostic faithful, Qādī Sa'īd Qummī (may his soul be sanctified).
It also shows their ignorance of the knowledge of the Divine Book and the hadīths of the infallibles ('a), and that is why they ascribed every philosophy to the Greek, and regarded the Islamic philosophers as the followers of the Greek philosophy.
We have related a part of the delicate points of the noble sūrah of at-Tawhīd and some hints about those noble āyahs in our book on explaining The Forty Hadīths. Furthermore, we also gave a brief explanation of this noble sūrah in our book The Secret of the Salāt. Relying on Allah, we give here another short explanation, and so we say:
If the bismillāh of this sūrah belongs to this surah as we supposed it so when explaining the blessed sūrah of al-Hamd it may be a hint at the fact that to explain the lineage [nasab] of Allah and the secrets of at-tawhīd through our selfishness and our own language is not possible. Actually, unless the sālik steps out of his veil, realizes the state of the Absolute Will and of the Holy Emanation and perishes in the Absolute Ipseity [huwiyyat], he will not be able to comprehend the secrets of at-tawhīd.
“Say” is a command from the Collective Oneness [hadrat-i ahadiyyat-i jam'] to the state of the big isthmus [barzakhiyyat-i kubrā] and the mirror of Collectivity [jam'] and distinctness [tafsīl]. That is, “Say, O Muhammad, mirror of the appearance of the Collective Oneness, in the state of essential proximity [tadallī-yi dhātī], or the sacred state of “even nearer”which can be a reference to the state of the Most Holy Emanation with a tongue self-perishing, and subsisting by Allah's subsistence: “He is Allah, the One.”
Do know, O traveler on the road of knowledge and tawhīd, and ascender to the heights of transcendence and abstraction, that Allah's Sacred Essence, in itself, is innocent of external and internal manifestations, and of mark, form, attribute and name. The hands of the hopes of the people of knowledge are short of His Majesty's skirt, and the traveling legs of the people of heart are too slow to reach the threshold of His Holiness.
The ultimate knowledge of the Perfect Friends is “We knew you not,” and the end of the journey of the people of secrets is “We worshipped you not.”6 The head of the circle of the people of knowledge, the prince of the people of at-Tawhīd, Imām 'Alī ('a), in this lofty stance says: “…the perfection of sincerity is to deny Him attributes.”7 And the leader of the people of sulūk, the master of the worshippers and the gnostics, at His mighty threshold says: “The attributes lost their way to you, and the descriptions fell into contradiction about you.”8
The people of the scholarly sulūk and terms, call His Holy Essence “The Immune Ghayb” [ghayb-i masūn], “The Hidden Secret,” “The Wonderful Unknown,” ['anqā'-i mughrib] and “The Absolute Unknown” [majhūl-i mutlaq]. They say that His Essence would appear in no mirror without the veil of Names and Attributes, and would be manifested in no one of the creations nor in any one of the invisible and visible worlds. But according to
“Every day He is in a state,”9
There are, for His Holy Essence, Names, Attributes and states [affairs =shu'ūn] of “Beauty” and “Majesty.” There are for Him Essential Names in the state of Oneness [ahādiyyat], which is the unseen state. They are to be called “the Essential Names,” and, by the individuation [ta'ayyun] of the Essential Names, He would be manifested through the Holy Emanation. From this manifestation in the apparel of the Essential Names, there would be the individuation [ta'ayyun] and the appearance [zuhūr] of the state of “Unity” [wāhidiyyat] and “Names and Attributes,” and the state of “Divinity.”
So, it has become known that after the Holy Essence, as such, there are other three states and scenes: the state of the Unseen “Oneness” the state of the manifestation of “the Holiest Emanation,” which may be referred to by the word 'amā' in the noble Prophetic hadīths;10 to the state of “Unity” [wāhidiyyat], which, according to the Collective Oneness [ahadiyyat-i jam'], is the state of the Greatest Name, and, according to the “distinct multiplicity” [kathrat-i tafsīlī], is the state of Names and Attributes. To go into the details of these states requires an expansion that is out of the capacity of these papers.
Having understood this preliminary, we say that “He” [huwa] may be a reference to the state of the “Most Holy Emanation,” which is the manifestation of the Essence in the individuation of the “Essential Names.” “Allah” points to the state of the Collective Oneness [ahadiyyat-i jam'] of the Names, which is the Greatest Name. ”Ahad” (the One) is a reference to the state of the “Oneness” [ahadiyyat].
Therefore, the noble āyah intends to prove that these three states which, in the instance [maqām] of nominal multiplication, possess plurality [kathrat], actually possess utmost unity at the same time. The manifestation in the “Most Holy Emanation,” according to the state of appearance, is “Allah,” and according to the state of interiority [butūn], is the “One” [Ahad].
Perhaps “He” [huwa] points to the state of the Essence. And, as it is an invisible reference, it is actually a reference to the unknown. “Allah” and “Ahad” are references to the state of “Unity” [wāhidiyyat] and “Oneness” [ahadiyyat]. So, He introduces the Essence which is the Absolute Unknown through the Names of Essence, and the Names of the Unitary Attributes. In fact, it points to the fact that the Essence is invisible and the hands of hopes are short of reaching it, and that spending the life in thinking about Allah's Essence leads to going astray, and that what is known to the people of Allah and to the knowledge of those who know Allah, is related to the states of “Unity” [wāhidiyyat] and “Oneness” [ahadiyyat], the “Unity” being for the common people of Allah, whereas “Oneness” is for the special people of Allah.
Do know that there are for Allah “Positive Attributes” [sifāt-i thubūtiyyah] and “Negative Attributes” [sifāt-i salbiyyah], as the philosophers believe. By the “Negative Attribute” they mean the negation of the negative, i.e. negation of imperfection. Some say that the “Positive Attributes” are the Attributes of “Beauty” [jamāl] and the “Negative Attributes” are the Attributes of “Majesty” [jalāl], and that “The Owner of Majesty and Generosity” includes all the Negative and the Positive Attributes. But this talk, in both stages, is contrary to certainty [tahqīq].
Now the first stage: The “Negative Attributes” are certainly not of the attributes, since concerning the Essence of Allah, there can be neither any negative nor negation of the negative. Allah, the Exalted, is not attributed with negative attributes, because attributing with negative attributes is a privative proposition [qadiyyat-i ma'dūlah], and forming a privative proposition is not allowed in respect of Allah, the Exalted, since it is modification of the possible aspects and it requires admission of composition [tarkīb] in the Holy Essence.
Rather, the negative attributes are through the simple absolute negation, which is a negation of the attribute, not a confirmation of the attribute of negating the negation. In other words, Allah, the Exalted, is deprived of all imperfections in a simple negation, not that the negation of imperfections be confirmed for Him by way of affirmation of privation [ījāb-i 'udūlī]. So, as a matter of fact, the attributes of purification [tanzīh] are not “attributes.” Allah, the Exalted, is only attributed with the positive attributes.
As regards the second stage, the people of knowledge regard the “Attributes of Beauty” to be those which bring intimacy and affection. The “Attributes of Majesty” are those which bring fear, bewilderment and anxiety. So, whatever is affiliated to kindness and mercy is of the “Attributes of Beauty,” such as “Compassionate,” “Merciful,” “Tender,” “Affectionate,” “Lord,” and the like.
And that which belongs to sovereignty and grandeur is of the “Attributes of Majesty,” such as “Owner,” “King,” “Forceful,” “Avenger,” and the like, although in the inside of every Beauty there is a Majesty, too, because every beauty has, in the inside, bewilderment and anxiety, appearing in the heart with the secret of greatness and power, and, every majesty has, in the inside, mercy, and the heart feels, with it, intimacy inside. That is why as the heart naturally is attracted to beauty and the beautiful, it, at the same time, is attracted to power, greatness, the powerful, and the great. Therefore, both of these kinds of attributes are positive, not negative, attributes.
Now, as this subject has been understood, do know that although “Allah” is “The Greatest Name” and that the attributes of “Beauty” and “Majesty” are of its manifestations and are under its custody [hītah], yet sometimes it is used for the attributes of “Beauty” [jamāl] in opposition to the attributes of “Majesty” [jalāl], such that “divinity” [ilāhiyyat] and “godhead” [ulūhiyyat] categorically belong to the attributes of “Beauty,” particularly if they are thought to oppose the attribute of “Majesty.”
In the noble āyah:
“Say: He is Allah, the One,” “the One”
May be a reference to one of the important attributes of “Majesty,” which is the state [maqām] of the perfect simplicity of the Holy Essence, while “Allah” is a reference to the Name of “Beauty.” Thus, the lineage [nasab] of Allah, the Exalted, has been explained in this noble āyah, in respect of the states of “Oneness” [ahadiyyat], “Unity” [wāhidiyyat] and manifestation through “The Holiest Emanation” the three of which are [covering] all the divine affairs [shu'ūn] according to the first possibility which has already been referred to in the previous “Note.”
In accordance with the possibility stated in this “Note,” the lineage [nasab] of Allah, the Exalted, is explained in accordance with the states of the Names of Beauty and Majesty, which encompass all the Names. And Allah is the Knower.
Know that the words of every speaker are a demonstration of his self in accordance with the state of appearance. It is the emergence of his inner faculties on the mirror of words, in proportion to the capacity of the composition of words. If a heart becomes luminous and purged of the pollutions and evils of the world of nature, its words will also become luminous, or, rather, it becomes light itself, and the very luminosity of the heart is manifested in the clothing of words.
Concerning the Imāms of guidance it is said: “Your words are light.”11 It is also said: “He manifested in His talk to His servants.”12 In Nahj al-Balāghah it is said: “His words are but His act.”13 Action is the appearance of the doer's self [dhāt] without “words.” If a heart becomes dark and polluted, its act and words will become dark and polluted, too: “A good word is like a good tree…;”14 “And the likeness of a bad word is as a bad tree.”15
The Holy Essence of Allah, the Most High, according to
“Every day He is in a state [sha'n],”16
Appears to the hearts of the prophets and the guardians [awliyā'] in the clothing of the Names and Attributes, and His manifestations differ in accordance with the differences of their hearts. Similarly, the heavenly Books, which descended upon their hearts by revelation through the Revelation Angel, Gabriel, are different according to the differences of these manifestations and of the Names which are the origins of them as the difference of the prophets and their Sharī'ahs is according to the kingdoms of the Names.
So, the more the Name is comprehensive and embracing, the more comprehensive and embracing its kingdom, its relevant prophethood and its revealed Book, and the more comprehensive and permanent its Sharī'ah. And, as the Seal of Prophethood, the Glorious Qur'an and the Islamic Sharī'ah are of the phenomena, or of the manifestations and appearances of the Collective State of the One and of the Greatest Name of Allah, consequently, they are the most comprehensive prophethood, Book and Sharī'ah, and the most all-inclusive ones, and nothing can be imagined more perfect and more honorable than them, and from the world of the unseen a knowledge loftier than that, or like it, would no longer come down to the expanse of nature.
That is, the last appearance of a scientific perfection, concerning religions, is this, and there is no possibility of the descension of a better one to this world. Hence, the very person of the Seal of the Messengers (s) is the most honored one of the beings and is the complete manifestation of the Greatest Name, and his prophethood is also the most possible complete one, and is the image of the Kingdom of the Greatest Name, which is everlasting and eternal, and the Book revealed to him is also from the stage of the unseen through the manifestation of the Greatest Name.
For this reason, this noble Book has its “oneness of collectivity and distinctness” [ahadiyyat-i jam'u tafsīl], and it is of “The Collective Words” [jawāmi'ul-kalim].17 The words of the Prophet himself were of the Collective Words, too. By saying that the Qur'an, or the Prophet's words, are Collective Words we do not mean to refer to their general instructions and collective principles although considering this, his hadīths are also collective and of the principles, as is known to the science of jurisprudence.
The Qur'an is collective because it is revealed for all the human classes, during all the stages of the human life, and it meets all the needs of the human race. The reality of this race is the same as the reality of the society, with all its stations, from the lowest earthly ones up to the highest spiritual, heavenly and mighty ones. Therefore, the individuals of this species in this low, mundane world are so different, and they are so diverse that the like of it is not seen in any other species.
It is this species that includes the completely wretched and the completely happy. It is this species in which there are some individuals who are lower than all kinds of animals, while there are some others who are more honored than all the favored angels. In short, as the individuals of this species are different in respect of their understanding and knowledge, the Qur'an has been revealed in such a way as to be benefited by everybody in accordance with the degree of the perfection or weakness of his understanding and knowledge.
For example, the noble āyah:
“Had there been in them [the heavens and the earth] any gods except Allah, they would have surely been in [a state of] disorder.”18
As the common people, the people of letters, and the lexicographers understand, each a certain concept, the theologians understand something else, similarly the philosophers, men of wisdom understand a different meaning, as well as the gnostics and the godly men who benefit from it differently. The common people take it to be a speech addressed to them according to their own tastes. They say, for example, two kings cannot rule a single kingdom, or two chieftains in a tribe cause corruption, or two headmen in a village would lead to disputes and quarrels.
So, had there been two gods in the world there would have been corruption, disputes and litigation. But as there is one God, this difference of the heavens and the earth and their systematic order are preserved. So, the Manager of the world is One. The theologians use this as mutual antagonistic demonstration, while the philosophers and the wise men use it for establishing a decisive reasoning argument based on: “The one does not issue but the one, and the one is not issued but by the one.”19
The people of knowledge [ahl-i ma'rifat] get to recognize Unity, in a different way through it, by way of knowing that the world is the mirror of appearance [zuhūr] and the place of manifestation of the Haqq (Allah); and so on, which makes it too lengthy to expand on each of those ways.
Now that this introduction is understood, you may know that the noble sūrah of “Say: He, Allah, is One” is, like the other parts of the Qur'an, of “Collective Words,” and, being so, every one makes use of it in a way.
The men of letters and of form take “He” to be a pronoun of state, and “Allah” to be a proper noun, and ”ahad” to mean “the One,” or an exaggeration of “Oneness,” i.e. Allah is One, or He has no partner in Divinity, or
“There is nothing like Him,”20
or in the divinity and Essential Eternity He has no partner, or His Acts are One, that is, all of them are based on practicality and benevolence, with no benefit for Himself. Allah is as-Samad, i.e. He is the Great Master who is sought by the people for their wants to be fulfilled, or He is as-Samad, meaning that He has no inside, and, being such, nothing can be born of Him, nor can He be born of anything, and no one is like Him or comparable to Him.
This is a statement on the part of the common people intended to counter the disbelievers who had many gods, all of which had possible attributes. The Messenger of Allah (s) was ordered to tell them that his God was different from theirs, and His attributes are those which have been mentioned.
That was the explanation of this sūrah in a traditional and common way, and suitable for one group, and it is not incompatible with this fact that there may be another meaning or other scrupulous meanings, as we have already mentioned some of them.
It is possible that for the blessed sūrah of “at-Tawhīd” which was revealed for the deep thinkers of the end of the Time there may be a wise explanation based on theological criteria and philosophic proofs. This explanation has been revealed to me by the great gnostic Shaykh Shāhābādī (May he live longer).21
So, “He” [huwa] is a reference to mere existence and absolute Ipseity [huwiyyat] a fact which proves, in the blessed sūrah, six lofty philosophic subjects:
First: The state of “Divinity” [ulūhiyyat], which is the state of containing all perfections, and the “Collective Oneness” [ahādiyyat-i jam'] of “Beauty” and “Majesty,” as in the relevant states of philosophic findings it has been proved that pure existence and absolute Ipseity are pure perfection, otherwise it would not be pure existence, either. As explaining these subjects require lengthy expansion and further preliminary steps, I suffice myself with the above-mentioned hints.
Second: The state of “Oneness” [ahadiyyat], which is a reference to complete intellectual, external and existential essential simplicity, and to being above all intellectual compositions, whether genus and differentia, or matter and mental image, or external, whether matter and external image or measured parts. The evidence proving this subject is the same proof of pure existence and absolute Ipseity, because if the “pure” [sirf] is not one in itself, it will by necessity quit its being pure and part with its identity [dhātiyyat].
Third: The state of “being the One sought for help” [samadiyyat] which points to negation of quiddity [māhiyyat]. Having no inside and being not empty also point to having no quiddity and no possible imperfection, for in all the possible beings, their essential degree which is their inside is empty. But as the Holy Essence is the pure existence and absolute Ipseity, He has no possible shortcoming, whose origin is quiddity, since quiddity is extracted from the existential limit, and its conventional status is derived from the existential individuation, whereas the pure existent is free from limit and individuation [ta'ayyun], because every limited is a fixed [muqayyad] identity [huwiyyat] and a mixed existence. It is not absolute nor pure.
Fourth: Nothing separates from Him, because the separation of something form something denotes materiality, or even measured parts, which is contrary to absolute identity [huwiyyatv] and pure existence. The existence of the caused from the cause does not happen, however, by way of separation, but by way of manifestation, appearance, consequence and issue. And it happens in such a way that nothing is reduced from the cause, and nothing is added to the cause by its return to it.
Fifth: He (Allah) has separated from nothing, which, besides the formerly stated depravity, is contrary to pure existence and absolute identity, as otherwise it would necessitate that there should be something prior to the pure existence, while high philosophy has already proved that “purity” [sirf] is the most ancient, and that individuation comes later than the absolute.
Sixth: Having no match and no equal, and negating His resemblance and like, which is proved by the proof that the pure existence has no repetition. So, no dual absolute identity can be imagined, and the absolute and the limited are neither equals nor matches.
To each of these subjects there are preliminaries and principles which cannot be explained in these few papers.
Know that this blessed sūrah, so brief as it is, includes all the Divine Affairs [shu'ūn] and the stages of praising and glorification. In fact, it is the correlation between Allah, the Exalted, and whatever can be put into the mould of words and the construction of expressions, such as: “He, Allah, is One” which covers all the Attributes of Perfection, as well as the Positive Attributes.
And from the word “as-Samad” up to the end of the sūrah, the words cover the “Attributes of purity” and denote negation of shortcomings. Furthermore, the sūrah proves being out of “the two limits”: ta'tīl (devesting Allah of all Attributes), and tashbīh (assimilation), both of which are going beyond the limit of moderation and the reality of at-tawhīd.
The first noble āyah refers to the negation of ta'tīl, and other parts of the sūrah refer to the negation of tashbīh. It also includes the Essence as it is, and the state of “Oneness” [ahadiyyat], which is the manifestation by the Names of Essence, and the state of “Unity” [wāhidiyyat], which is the manifestation by the Names of Attributes, a suitable explanation of which has already been related.
Shaykh as-Sadūq (may Allah be pleased with him) quotes Abū 'l-Bukhtarī, Wahab ibn Wahab al-Qurashī, quoting Imam as-Sādiq ('a), quoting his great father, Imām al-Bāqir ('a), that in Allah's saying: “Say: He, Allah, is One,” “Say” means: “Make known what We revealed to you and informed you about it by the constructed letters recited to you, so that he may be guided by them whoever lends his ears and sees.
“Huwa” (He) is a pronoun of indication referring to the third person, in which “hā'” [ﻫ] denotes an affirmed concept, and the “waw” [و] refers to what is absent from the senses, unlike “hādhā” [this] which refers to what is present before the senses. This pointing to the absent is because the disbelievers pointed to their gods by the pronoun indicating a thing present and perceivable.
They said: “These are our gods, who are tangible and perceivable by the eyes. So, you too, Muhammad, point out to your god that we may see him and understand him, so that we may not feel bewildered about him.” Hence, Allah sent down that: “Say, He,” in which the “hā'” [ﻫ] confirms what is affirmed, and the “waw” [و] points out to what is absent from sight and other senses, for Allah is the Most High, or rather, He is the Conceiver of the eyes and the Creator of the senses.”22
Imām al-Bāqir ('a) said: “Allah is a Worshipped Diety about whom the creatures are perplexed as unable to understand His truth and how He is. The Arabs, when confused about someone and lack concrete knowledge about him, say: Aliha-r-rajul (The man became a deity). They also say: Walaha when they try to take refuge in something from a frightening thing, while al-ilāh denotes that which is covered from the human senses.”
He also said: “Ahad means the One, and Ahad and wāhid both have the same meaning, which is the One Who is unique and has no match. At-tawhīd means the acknowledgement of monotheism, that is, uniqueness. One is a heterogeneous [mutabayyin] which does not issue from anything and does not unite with anything. Thus, it is said that the number is formed of the one, while the one is not a number, as it is not called a number, but two is a number.
So, the meaning of Allah's saying: “Allāhu ahad” is that the Worshipped, Whom the human beings are confusedly incapable of understanding and of getting comprehensive knowledge about Him, is Unique in divinity and far above the creatures' attributes.”23
Imām al-Bāqir ('a) has also said: “My father Zayn 'ul-'Ābidīn ('a) told me, quoting his father al-Husayn ibn 'Alī ('a), that as-Samad is that which has no inside, and as-Samad is the one whose mastery has reached its maximum, and as-Samad is the one who neither eats nor drinks, and as-Samad is the one who does not sleep, and as-Samad is a permanent that has always been and will always be.”
Imām al-Bāqir ('a) said that Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah used to say: “As-Samad is that which is self-existent and self-sufficient.” Someone else said: “As-Samad is above becoming and decaying. As-Samad is that which does not change.”
Imām al-Bāqir ('a) further said: “As-Samad is the commanding chief above whom there is no commander to bid and forbid.” He said: ”'Alī ibn al-Husayn, Zayn 'ul-'Ābidīn ('a), asked about as-Samad, said: “As-Samad is the One who has no partner, and preserving of nothing is difficult or heavy for Him, and nothing is concealed from Him.”24
Wahab ibn Wahab al-Qurashī says that Zayd ibn 'Alī said: “As-Samad is the One Who when desires a thing, He says to it 'Be,' and there it is. As-Samad is the One Who innovates the things, then creates them in forms unlike each other, or similar to each other, and in pairs, while He alone is the One Who has no antonym, no shape, no equal and no likeness.”25
Wahab ibn Wahab further quotes 'Alī ibn al-Husayn ('a) explaining as-Samad. He also reports Imām al-Bāqir's explanations concerning the secrets of the letters of as-Samad. He says that Imām al-Bāqir ('a) said: “Had I found bearers for the knowledge which Allah has bestowed upon me, I would have spread knowledge about at-Tawhīd, Islam, faith, religion, and the laws out of as-Samad.
But how can I find bearers of such knowledge, while my grandfather, Amīr al-Mu'minīn, could find none to carry his knowledge, such that he used to painfully sigh and tell his followers, on the minbar (pulpit): 'Ask me before you miss me. Behind the ribs of my bosom is a great knowledge. Alas! That I can find no carriers for it.”26
In concluding this chapter, we relate some noble hadīths concerning the merits of this blessed sūrah, as they are too many to be all contained in these few pages.
The noble al-Kāfī quoting Imām al-Bāqir, says: “Whoever recites 'Say: He, Allah, is One' once, will be blessed. Whoever recites it twice, he and his family will be blessed. Whoever recites it thrice, he, his family and his neighbors will be blessed. Whoever recites it twelve times, Allah will build for him twelve palaces in Paradise, such that the keepers [hafazah] say: 'Take us to the palaces of our brother so-and-so to see them.'
Whoever recites it a hundred times, Allah will forgive his sins for twenty-five years, except [sins concerning] blood and property. Whoever recites it four hundred times, his will be the rewards of four hundred martyrs, the horses of all of whom were killed and their blood shed. Whoever recites it a thousand times in a day and a night, will not die unless he sees his seat in Paradise, or it is shown to him.”27
In the same noble al-Kāfī, on the authority of Imām al-Bāqir ('a) it is said that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: “Whoever recites 'Say: He, Allah, is One' a hundred times on his going to bed, Allah will forgive his sins of fifty years.”28
Imām as-Sādiq ('a) is quoted to have said that his father said: “[The sūrah of] 'Say: He, Allah, is One' is one-third of the Qur'an, and [the sūrah of] 'Say: O you, disbelievers' is a quarter of the Qur'an.”29
He also is quoted to have said that the Messenger of Allah (s) performed the salāt over [the body of] Sa'd ibn Ma'ādh, then said: “Seventy thousand angels, including Gabriel, came down and performed the salāt over Sa'd's body. I asked Gabriel: 'What for did Sa'd deserve that you performed the salāt over him?” He said: 'Because he used to recite: 'Say: He, Allah, is One', standing, sitting, riding, walking on foot, in coming and going.”30
Wasa'il ash-Shī'ah, quoting al-Majālis wa Ma'āniy al-Akhbār, on the authority of Imām as-Sādiq ('a), says that the Imām has quoted his great fathers on the authority of Salmān (al-Fārsī may Allah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (s) say: “Whoever recites [the sūrah of] 'Say: He, Allah, is One' once will be as if he has recited one-third of the Qur'an. Whoever recites it twice, he will be as if he has recited two-thirds of the Qur'an. And whoever recites it three times, he will be as if he has completed reciting the Qur'an.”31
In Thawāb al-A'māl it is said: “If a Friday [a week] passes over somebody without his reciting [the sūrah of] 'Say: He, Allah, is One,' and he dies, he dies on the religion of Abū Lahab.”32
In al-Mustadrak there are many lengthy hadīths relating the merits of this noble sūrah. For further information refer to it and to the Wasā'il.33 And praise is for Allah.
- 1. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol.1, p.122, “Book of at-Tawhīd,” ch. on “Lineage,” hadīth 1.
- 2. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 125, “Book of at-Tawhīd,” ch. on “Prohibition of Talking on the Quality,” hadīth 4.
- 3. Dehkhudā's Lexicon, under the entry Aristotle, takes Theologia to be among the books written by Aristotle, and says: Theologia is a discourse about Divinity, explained by Porphyrius (Prophyry) of Tyre, and translated into Arabic by 'Abdul Masīh ibn 'Abdullāh the Nā'imī of Hims. Then Abū Yūsuf Ya'qūb ibn Ishāq al-Kindī corrected it for Ahmad ibn al-Mu'tasim. It was printed in Berlin in the year 1882. It was also printed in Iran in the margin of al-Qabasāt by Mirdāmād, in the year 1314 H. (Lunar year). And under the entry Theologia it says: Theologia is derived from Greek, meaning “theology.” Mayāmīr is a book by Plotinus, who is known by the Muslims as ash-Shaykh al-Yūnānī (the Greek Oldman). This book covers the 4th to 6th book of the ”Enneades.” Some of the ancients mistakenly ascribed this book to Aristotle. In the year of 1314 H. the book of Theologia, was printed in the margin of al-Qabasāt, by Abū 'l-Qasim ibn Ākhūnd Mullā Ridā Kamarbunī. The date of composing the book is mistakenly stated in Dehkhudā's Lexicon to be the date of its printing.
- 4. Sūrah al-Hadīd 57:3
- 5. Ibid. 57:4
- 6. This refers to a narrative quoted from the Messenger of Allah (s), saying: “We knew You not as You should be known, and we worshipped You not as You should be worshipped.” Mir'āt ul-'Uqūl, vol. 8, “Book of Faith and Disbelief,” ch. on “Thank-Giving,” p. 146.
- 7. Nahj al-Balāghah, edited by Fayd ul-Islām, Sermon 1.
- 8. As-Sahīfah as-Sajjadiyyah, Invocation 32.
- 9. Sūrah ar-Rahmān 55:29.
- 10. When the Prophet (s) was asked, “Where was our Lord before creating the heavens and the earth?” he said, “He was in the 'amā” [high].” Awāli al-La'ālī, vol. 1, p. 54, ch. 4, hadīth 79.
- 11. 'Uyūnu Akhbār ar-Ridā, vo1.2, p. 277, quoted from the invocation of ”Al-Jāmi'ah al-Kabīrah.”
- 12. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 89, p. 107.
- 13. Nahj al-Balāghah, edited by Fayd ul-Islām, p. 737, sermon 228.
- 14. Derived from Sūrah Ibrāhīm 14:24.
- 15. No reference
- 16. Sūrah ar-Rahmān 55:29.
- 17. It is a reference to a Prophetic hadīth, saying: “I have been given the Collective Words.” Al-Khisāl, ch. 5, hadīth 56.
- 18. Sūrah al-Anbiyā' 21:22
- 19. A philosophic principle. Al-Ishārāt wat-Tanbīhāt, (explained by Khājah Nasīr), vol. 3, p. 122. Al-Asfār al-Arba'ah, vol. 2, p. 204, ch. 13
- 20. Sūrah ash-Shūrā 42:11
- 21. Refer to footnote 97
- 22. At-Tawhīd, p. 88, ch. on “Commentary on: “Say, He, Allah, is One,” hadīth 1.
- 23. Ibid., hadīth 2.
- 24. Ibid., hadīth 3
- 25. Ibid., hadīth 4
- 26. Ibid., hadīth 6
- 27. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 4, p. 425, “Book of the Merit of the Qur'an,” ch. on “The Merit of the Qur'an,” hadīth 1.
- 28. Ibid., hadīth 4
- 29. Ibid., hadīth 7
- 30. Ibid., hadīth 13
- 31. Wasā'il ash-Shī'ah, vol. 4, p. 868, “Book of the Salāt,” chs. on “Reciting the Qur'an,” ch. 31, hadīth 5. Ma'āniy al-Akhbār, p. 234, ch. on “The Meaning of Salmān's Saying.”
- 32. Thawāb al-A'māl, p. 156, “The Reward of Reciting 'Say: He, Allah, is One,' hadīth 2.”
- 33. Wasā'il ash-Shī'ah, vol. 4, pp. 866 and 870, “Book of the Salāt,” sec. on “Reciting the Qur'an,” chs. 31 and 33; Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, “Book of the Salat,” sec. on “Reciting the Qur'an,” chs. 24 and 26.