The Holy Qur'an (Maulana Muhammad Ali)/112. The Unity

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Revealed at Mecca

(4 verses)

General remarks.

This is really the concluding chapter of the Holy Qur-án—the two chapters that follow only show how the protection of the Lord is to be sought—and it gives the sum and substance of the teachings of the Holy Qur-án, which is the declaration of the Unity of the Divine Being, the chapter receiving its title from that circumstance. All other objects are secondary as compared with this. The chapter is one of the earliest revelations, and contains a refutation not only of idolatry and Christianity, but of every polytheistic doctrine.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ ۝
1 Say: He, Allah, is One. قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ ۝١
2 Allah is He on whom all depend. اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ ۝٢
3 He begets not, nor is He begotten: لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ۝٣
4 And none is like Him.[1] وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ ۝٤
  1. It is noteworthy that this earliest Meccan chapter points out the fundamental errors of many religions, including Christianity, in its four short sentences. It proclaims in the first place the absolute Unity of the Divine Being, and thus deals a death-blow to all forms of polytheism, including the doctrine of the Trinity; for the Unity it enjoins is absolute and admits of no plurality of gods of any kind.
    In the second verse Allah is said to be Aṣ-Ṣamad, of which a large number of significances is given, but the best is the one adopted here, because the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, when asked what Aṣ-Ṣamad was: هو السيد الذي يصمد اليه في الحوائج i.e. He is the Lord to whom recourse is had in every need (AH, Rz). The statement that nothing is independent of Him aims at the correction of the error of those who consider certain things, such as matter and soul, to have existed independently of the Creator. This doctrine prevails in India, and could not have been known to the Holy Prophet, for it was not known to any of the religions with which he came in direct contact.
    The third verse points out the error of those religions which describe God as being the father or son, such as the Christian religion, which teaches both forms of this doctrine, or as the Meccan idolatry, according to which angels were daughters of Allah.
    The fourth verse negatives such doctrines as the doctrine of incarnation, according to which a mere man is likened to God.
    Again, shirk, or the setting up of equals with the Divine Being, is of four kinds, viz. a belief in the plurality of gods, a belief that other things may possess the perfect attributes of the Divine Being, a belief that any thing may be related to him, and a belief that others may do what is ascribable only to the Divine Being. These four kinds of shirk are rejected in the four verses of this chapter.