Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Surah al-Ikhlas-Sincerity, the 112th Chapter of the Glorious Qur’an

     Ikhlas is a Concept of Purity that is NOT Tainted with Pride.

    I seek refuge in Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala, from the Shaitan.
      Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala’s name I begin, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
      All praise be to Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala, Lord of the worlds, who has disposed all matters through His arrangements thereof,
Who has fairly composed His creation and given it excellent form, good structure and proportion.
And may blessings and salutation be invoked upon Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), the bondsman of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala,
His Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), loved one and chosen one, who was His bearer of good tidings and His Warner, from the lines of whose brow the radiance of Prophet  Hood, shone forth.
Auspicious prayers are on Ahl-e-Bait and on all his just and devoted Companions.
There are certain Suras or Ayahs of the Qur'an which, it is reported, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), used to recite more often in particular Prayers or on specific occasions, or which he especially extolled by describing their excellent merits and special rewards. You should know them.

The Hadith given below are not meant to prove the superiority of one part of the Qur'an over another. Nor should you ignore the rest of the Qur'an and occupy yourself in reading and memorizing these at the expense of the rest.
These selections are useful only because one cannot memorize and read everything every day and because one usually needs to habituate oneself to the reading of a definite portion regularly. What could be better than to follow the
 Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and hope for the rewards he has promised.

Surah at-Tawhid (The Unity)
This Surah was revealed in Makkah and it has 4 verses.
It is also known as Surah al-Ikhlas.

Surah Al- Ikhlas – Sincerity, the 112th Chapter of the Glorious Qur’an is a pure description of the Creator and to acknowledge the total state of belief in Him and His Uniqueness.

    Say: He is Allah, Absolute Oneness,

    Allah, the ever lasting Sustainer of all.

    He has not given birth and was not born.

    And no one is comparable to Him.

It is narrated from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that whoever recites this
Surah once will get the reward equal to ten times the number of people who have believed in the Islamic teachings.
This Surah has many other rewards and its recitation is compared to reciting a third of the Holy Qur’an.
Reciting it once is a means of blessings for the reciter, if recited twice then the blessings are also showered upon the children of the reciters.
Reciting it thrice brings blessings on the entire family of the reciters.
If Surah al-Ikhlas is recited 11 times, the recite will have palaces built for him in Jannah.
When a person recites this Surah 100 times, all his sins for the past 25 years are forgiven (accept the sins of killing an innocent person or usurping the property of people). The one who recites it 1000 times will not die unless he sees his place in Jannah.
The constant recitation of Surat al-Ikhlas increases the presence of the angels at the time of death.  
   In a hadith narrated by Abu Umaamah (Radiyallaahu anhu), the angel Gabriel came to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) whilst in Tabuk and said: "o Mohamed!   Go and attend the funeral of mu-a'weyah al-Muzani (Radiyallaahu anhu)."   The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) went and the angel Gabriel A.S. came down amongst 70,000 angels.  
Then the angel Gabriel stretched his right wing over the mountains and they lowered themselves in humbleness, and he stretched his left wing over the earth and it lowered itself in humbleness to the point where he could see Mecca and medina. 
Then the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), Gabriel and the angels offered prayer on that companion and when the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) finished the prayer, he said: 'o Gabriel!   How did mu-a'weyah reach this status?'  And angel Gabriel replied: 'by reading Surat Qul hu-wallaahu 'Ahad whilst sitting, walking and riding.'" (Subhanallah).

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once advised a poor person to always say ‘salaam’ when entering his house, even if there was nobody there, and then recite Surah at-Tawhid. After a little while, the man became abundantly wealthy.

 Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith in his Book of Tawhid. Muslim and An-Nasa'i also recorded it. In his Book of Salah,
Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas (Radiyallaahu anhu) said, "A man from the Ansar used to lead the people in prayer in the Masjid of Qubbah'.
Whenever he began a Surah in the recitation of the prayer that he was leading them, he would start by reciting `Say: He is Allah, One' until he completed the entire Surah. Then he would recite another Surah along with it (after it). And he used to do this in every Rak’ah. So his companions spoke to him about this saying; `Verily, you begin the prayer with this Surah. Then you think that it is not sufficient for you unless you recite another Surah as well. So you should either recite it or leave it and recite another Surah instead.' The man replied, `I will not leave it off. If you want me to continue leading you (in prayer), I will do this; and if you all do not like it, I will leave you (i.e., I will stop leading you).' They used to consider him to be of the best of them to lead them in prayer and they did not want anyone else to lead them other than him. So, when the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) came they informed him of this information and he said,

(O so-and-so! What prevents you from doing what your companions are commanding you to do, and what makes you adhere to the recitation of this Surah in every Rak’ah) The man said, `Verily, I love it.' Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied,
(Your love of it will cause you to enter Paradise.)

There are three levels of Ikhlas – Sincerity. The first is darajah al Awam –
The level of the common people: - those who ask for earthly desire and for the Hereafter. The second is darajah al khawass – The level of the special people, - those who ask for heavenly favors and the third is darajah khawass al khawass – The level of the elect of the special people - those people whose sole purpose is to be good servants of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala, – Uboodiyyah.

Anas, Radiyallaahu anhu. Mentioned that a man said to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), ‘I really love this Surah’ .Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, ‘and your love for it will enable you to enter paradise’

Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) appointed a man to lead a battalion, the man always recite Al-Ikhlas in Salat,
 The people complained to the prophet when they got back and the prophet asked the man why he always recites Al-Ikhlas. 
The man replied because he loves the Surah since it tells him who Allah is. Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) told him that Angel Jibril informed him that Allah had forgiven him all his sins and granted him Jannah because of this!

The Arabic root of the word Ikhlas is kh-l-s, which means to be purified or refined. The very concept of refining, purifying and leaving nothing but the very essence of that, which was sought, which, in this case, is Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala.  Ikhlas is also explained as a simile that is as pure as honey or as pure as milk, which is direct from the udders of a cow and is not tainted with anything? Ikhlas is a concept of purity that is not tainted with pride – Riya or anything else.  That is not to do anything in our life, other then for the sake and pleasure of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala.

The underlying purpose to understand the meaning of the Arabic concept word Ikhlas is to establish in our hearts, its characteristic and value as a state and to keep firm to the submission, obedience and devotion of the Creator and not to worship anyone but Him.

Sahih Bukhari
Volume 9, Book 93, Number 471:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri (Radiyallaahu anhu):
A man heard another man reciting (in the prayers): ‘Say (O Muhammad): “He is Allah, the One.” (112.1) and he recited it repeatedly.
 When it was morning, he went to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and informed him about that as if he considered that the recitation of that Sura by itself was not enough.
Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, it is equal to one-third of the Quran.”

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mentioned that Surah al Ikhlas is equal to one third of the Glorious Qur’an because it explains in a concise manner the principles of the Oneness of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala – Tawhid, which is the cornerstone of the Din of Islam.  By reciting this Surah repeatedly, having faith in it and living its meaning in our constant worship of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala, helps us develop and instill the value of Ikhlas.

How to attain these high levels of Ikhlas: - sincerity. Firstly, correcting one’s deeds through Ikhlas – sincerity and actively taking part and contributing in righteous deeds and secondly, correcting one’s sincerity by vigilantly keeping away from fame. To be distant: from showing off and ostentation in ones intention and conduct. Other factors as extra prayers that are most essential to instill the value of Ikhlas in our hearts, as it is with these prayers that a servant of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala draws closer to Him.
In the Qur'an in Surah 26 as Shu’ara –The poets, Verse 87-89, Allah says that on the Day of Judgment, nothing will be of any use to us, except a sound heart – Qalbun Salem

    87. And do not disgrace me on the Day they are raised up,

    88. The Day when neither wealth nor sons will be of any use –

    89. Accept to those that who came to Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala with a sound and flawless hearts.

His Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that to nourish a seed, it requires good soil to germinate it in and so Hikma – wisdom and Ikhlas - sincerity are required to groom a pure heart.

The fine words of Jalaluddin Al Rumi advices that:
        “You should be sincere in your deeds, So that the Majestic Lord may accept them.
         Sincerity is the wing of the bird of the acts of obedience.
         Without a wing, how can you fly to the abode of prosperity?”

The following words Sheikh Bayazid Al Bistami (Rahmatullahi) are also very appropriate:
      “I worshipped my Lord for thirty years with all my strength.
      Then I heard a voice saying: O Bayazid! The treasures of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala,        Almighty are full of acts of worship.
      If you intend to reach Him, see yourself as small at the door of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala and be sincere in your deeds.”
Self supervision is an essential dimension of Ikhlas – sincerity, and a truly sincere person does not consider any possible spiritual pleasure that may be derived, or speculate upon whether it will ensure entrance to Paradise.  Sincerity is a secret between Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala and the Abd – servant, who worships Him as He should be worshipped.

These levels of Ikhlas - sincerity can be achieved by active effort, total obedience, watchfulness, mindfulness, and devotion to Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala, the Ahad - One, the Samad - Eternal.
Ikhlas - sincerity and fame cannot be together in the same heart. 
One needs to be strong to get rid of hypocrisy, which is the direct opposite of sincerity.
Our heart must be free from our lower desires – Hawa and must be pure for a union between Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala and our spirit – the Ruh.

A Hadith Qudsi further shows us, how our characters are affected by not being sincere. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “I fear for my Ummah a hidden shirk and that shirk is Riya – Pride, Hypocrisy. Beware of this Shirk Khafiya – Hidden Shirk, as it is like a black ant walking on a black rock on a dark moonless night. We have to be careful that we do not place anything in our hearts other then Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala - we must be aware that our lower ego places itself before everything including The Creator, thus committing this hidden Shirk.

As Riya - Pride, Nifaq - hypocrisy etc are diseases of the heart,  advices for an active antidote, which is to practice Ikhlas – sincerity to Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala, Siddiq – to be truthful to  Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala and to make Zikr Allah – to remember and invoke  Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala.  To condition and nourish the heart with these three characteristics and methods will be a step forward to achieve a Qalbun Salem – a tranquil and sound heart.  Qalbun Salem is the state of a pure heart that is a guiding principle in worshipping and achieving closeness to Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala.

Ikhlas must reflect in everything we do – our intentions, our Salah, etc.

A Hadith of The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) speaks of Ikhlas - sincerity in the time of giving charity. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that your left hand must not know what your right hand gives.

    This Surah show us that Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala is Unique and allows us to perhaps visualize His light and Majesty. If we are sincere to the Creator then He will share with us His sincerity.

Mukhlis means to be sincere and a Mukhlis is a sincere one chosen by Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala. These are the people who achieve the highest stage of Ikhlas and are Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala’s dedicated friends - awliyâ.
The Mukhlis is the one in whose sight there is always a meeting with his Lord.

“Abu Darda (Radiyallaahu anhu) reported Allah's messenger as saying, "Is any of you capable of reciting a third of the Qur'an in a night?" On being asked how they could recite a third of the Qur'an he replied, " 'Say, He is God, One' is equivalent to a third of the Qur'an." Muslim transmitted it, and Bukhari transmitted it from Abu Sa'id."

Hadrat Ali (Radiyallaahu anhu) said that that there is no interpretation for this Surah because its meaning is not veiled. [4] The Surah is sometimes called The Surah of Unity and is said to encapsulate the essence of the whole Qur'an

Asbab al nuzul- cause of revelation (history behind the revelation)
The Arabs of Makkah came to the prophet and said we already know Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala, who is this Allah you are talking about?
 The Arabs knew about Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala because Prophet Ibrahim alaihi salaam. Had taught them and built the Kabba for the worship of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (the prophet’s father was Abdullah”)

Lucaya ibn Amr came back from Syria with an idol named “Hubbal” and so the Arabs abandoned what Ibrahim alaihi salaam. Had taught them and began worshiping the idol to the extent they were worshipping 365 idols!
 The Prophet had to come to bring them back to the religion of Ibrahim alaihi salaam.

In Arabian Peninsula:  some Arab tribes were Christians/Jews/pagans
In Madinah: 5 tribes: 3 Jewish (Banu kanaka, Banu Nadir and Banu Qutaadah)/ 2 Arabs (al-aws and al-Khazraj)
Jews didn’t have a problem accepting Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala’s unity but they are racist
 Pagans knew Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala, but wouldn’t single him out for worship
 When kafirs (atheists or pagans) are in trouble they call on Allah but then revert to disbelief when they feel secure again.  Kafirs are opportunists [29:65]
 If there had been more than one god governing the universe, both the heavens and earth would have been destroyed.  If there would be conflict who would back down?  And God doesn’t back down

 Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala has no beginning or end
 Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala didn’t ever come into existence, he has always existed it is we who have come into existed, there was a time when we didn’t exist creation has a beginning and an end.
 Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala doesn’t have any systems/needs/and he cannot die

 He cannot beget (this is a human act and above the dignity/majesty of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala)
This is to refute the Christians
 Almost the seven heavens burst and the earth cleft asunder and the mountains reduce to powder/dust when they utter this lie! [19:88-91]
 Subhanallah- Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala is above all Human Imperfections
   Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala has the capacity to do all things, but there are some things it is haram for Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala to do (Lie, Oppress people). 
One of the things haram for Ibrahim alaihi salaam is to beget.
 How can he beget when he tells us he has no consort [6:101]
 Goes against text/intellect (naql or aql)

The Prophet Peace and blessings of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala be upon him, passed by a person reciting Surah Al – Kafirun and remarked, “He has been saved from shirk”. He passed by another reciting Surah Al – Ikhlas and remarked. Paradise has become obligatory for him.   Reported by Muslim.

 These two chapters have both been given the title Al-Ikhlas, or purity of faith, because they deal with the topic of Tawhid in all its various aspects. Al – Ikhlas concentrates on the pure, essential faith in Allah that all mankind is required to have. Al – Kafirun deals with purity of deed and disavowal of disbelief and paganism. Both chapters lay out the parameters of mans relationship with his/her lord and creator, as well as his/her relationship those around him/her.

Pure, unblemished monotheism combined with sincerity in belief and deed defines the relationship with Allah. He is one and only true God, unique, without peer, equal or opposite, and nothing is like on to him. He is the one who stands in need of nothing whereas everything is in dire need of him.

 Maintaining the essential Muslim identity and character defines the relationship between the Muslim and his fellow man. The Muslim is unambiguous about his religion, truthful and upright in speech, deed and his dealings with those around him. Hi is proud of his faith and has unshakable conviction in it. He loves his lord, his Messenger and the Muslims and is loyal to them. Because of this, the dearest thing to him is his religion and he will not compromise it, pleasing Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala comes before pleasing the people.

The prophet would frequently recite these two chapters in prayer because of the commonality of their theme and to stress that success is achieved, in this life and the next, by internalizing their message and living by it.

This is an awesome Surah, it is so easy and small to recite but so much value we will get on the Day of Judgment.
May Allah Ta’aala make us all from those whose deeds are done in accordance with the Sunnah, deeds that are done sincerely for the sake of Allah?

May Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him?
May Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) make our efforts sincere and keep us all on the straight path...........
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