Sūra al-Ikhlāṣ (Arabic: سورة الإخلاص) or al-Tawḥīd (Arabic: التوحيد) is 112th sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura located in juz' 30. This sura is called al-Tawhid or al-Ikhlas because it speaks about the unity of God and releases human being from polytheism.
The content of Sura al-Ikhlas is about unity of God and His needlessness of anything and the need of all beings to Him. Many merits are mentioned for Sura al-Ikhlas, including that it is equal to one third of the Qur'an and three times recitation of it equals to a complete recitation of the Qur'an. Its recitation in daily prayers is emphasized in hadiths. In a hadith, the noble Prophet (s) likened Imam Ali (a) to Sura al-Ikhlas and said that the same way three times recitation of Sura al-Ikhlas equals to complete recitation of the Qur'an, loving Imam Ali (a) by the tongue, heart, and hand (in practice) is loving Islam.
This sura is known as Sura al-Ikhlas and al-Tawhid. About the cause of naming, it is mentioned that it is named as al-Tawhid (monotheism) since God is ascribed with unity and it is named as al-Ikhlas, because reflecting upon its content purifies human being from polytheism and thus makes people released from the hellfire. Also, in hadiths and old sources, it is called Sura "Qul huwa Allah-u ahad" (Say, 'He is Allah, the One') because this statement is the first verse of this sura.
Place and Order of Revelation
Al-Tabrisi considered Sura al-Ikhlas, Makki and wrote that it is also said that it was Madani. Al-Suyuti, among Sunni scholars, believed that Sura al-Ikhlas was revealed twice: once in Mecca and once in Medina; but, 'Allama Tabataba'i wrote that according to the events mentioned about the occasion of the revelation of Sura al-Ikhlas, it seems that it was Makki. In the order of revelation, Sura al-Ikhlas was 22nd sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the current order of compilation in the Qur'an, this sura is 112th sura located in juz' 30.
Number of Verses and other Feature
Sura al-Ikhlas has 5 verses, 15 words, and 47 letters. This sura is among Mufassalat suras (having several short verses). Sura al-Ikhlas and the three suras of Sura al-Kafirun (Qur'an 109), Sura al-Nas (Qur'an 114), and Sura al-Falaq (Qur'an 113) which begin with "qul" (say) are called Four Qol. Sura al-Ikhlas is considered among Jam'i al-Nuzul suras, all the verses of which were revealed together and at once.
In Tafsir al-Mizan, 'Allama Tabataba'i wrote that Sura al-Ikhlas praises God with unity and that all beings are needful of Him in all their affairs and no one is His partner in essence, in attributes, nor in actions. This type of unity is special to the Qur'an; and all (principal, secondary, and moral) teachings of the Qur'an are established based on it.
Occasion of Revelation
About the occasion of revelation of Sura al-Ikhlas, it is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that a group of Jews asked the Prophet (s) to describe God for them. The Prophet (s) didn't answer for three days until Sura al-Ikhlas was revealed and he (a) answered them. It is also said that it was a request of some of the polytheists of Mecca, the People of the Book of Medina or other people.
Position of Imam Ali (a) and Sura al-Ikhlas
In a hadith from the Prophet (s), Imam Ali (a) is likened to Sura al-Ikhlas. There, it is mentioned that the example of Ali b. Abi Talib (a) among people is like Sura al-Ikhlas in the Qur'an. The same way a person recites Sura al-Ikhlas three times, it is as if he has recited the Qur'an completely, anyone who loves Imam Ali (a) by the tongue, heart, and hand (in practice) he is actually loving Islam. Finally, the Prophet (s) says that by the One Who chose me for prophethood, if the people on the earth love Ali (a) like the people of heavens, God does not punish anyone of them by the hellfire.
Al-Qunduzi, the Sunni scholar, mentioned the above hadith in his Yanabi' al-mawadda. Also, in other Sunni sources, there are hadiths with the same message which introduce the position of Imam Ali (a) the same as the position of Sura al-Ikhlas.
Merits and Benefits
It is narrated from the Prophet (s) and Imam al-Baqir (a) that Sura al-Ikhlas is equal to one third of the Qur'an. It is also narrated from Imam al-Rida (a) that whoever recites Sura al-Ikhlas and believes in it, [truly] knows the unity of God. It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that he (s) advised, "recite this sura a lot, because it is the light of the Qur'an." It is narrated from Imam Ali (a) that whoever recites Sura al-Ikhlas and Sura al-Qadr during the day or at night a hundred times, God will give him a light in the grave which stays before and after him and accompanies him to the Paradise. Also, Imam al-Sadiq (a) says, whoever passes a day and does not recite Sura al-Ikhlas in daily prayers, he will be told that 'you are not a [true] prayer!'.
In hadith sources, some benefits are mentioned for it such as alleviating sore eyes, guarding a person in his travel (if recited 11 times) and guarding by 50 angels during sleep, removing poverty, forgiveness of sins (if recited 200 times at night or in two-rak'a prayers on Friday) and fulfillment of supplication (if it is recited after Sura al-Fatiha (Qur'an 2) in the first rak'a of the prayer).
The recitation of Sura al-Ikhlas is highly recommended in obligatory prayers. It is said that it is makruh(reprehensible) to recite the same sura after Sura al-Fatiha in both rak'as of the prayer, unless it is Sura al-Tawhid. Contrary to other suras of the Qur'an which the prayer can give up before reaching its half and can recite another sura, Sura al-Ikhlas and Sura al-Kafirun are exempted from this ruling and if the prayer begins recitation of either of these suras, should finish it.
Recitation of Sura al-Ikhlas is recommended in many recommended prayers such as the first two rak'as of night prayer, one rak'a of al-watr prayer, nafila of fajr prayer, first rak'a of the nafila of noon and maghrib prayers, ihram and tawaf prayers, and when staying in 'Arafat. It is recommended to recite Sura al-Tawhid 11 times when passing by the cemetery and gift its reward to the dead.
The Sura has been interpreted in comprehensive books of the exegesis of the Qur'an, but it has also been interpreted separately.
|For the full text, see text:Sura al-Ikhlas.|
- Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from سوره اخلاص in Farsi WikiShia.