Monday 1 July 2019

99 Attributes of Allah: Al Ahad - The One and Only

Al Ahad "الأحد" is one of the 99 attributes of Allah. In Arabic, Ahad means One, Unique or matchless. Thus when it comes to describing the attribute of Allah, Al Ahad means The One and the Only One for there Allah's attributes can never be DUPLICATED. Allah is the symbol of Unity for it is He alone Who unites the entire universe and keeps it perfectly timed and tightly under control.

This attribute is very meaningful for He the Only One does not any second [that shares] in the Lordship, nor in the essence, nor in the attributes. The One who was not begotten and has never begotten. That is why His attributes and powers can neither be shared nor duplicated.

The ancient roots of Ahad point toward to the essential qualities which describe Unity, while the ancient roots of Wāhid point toward the manifestations which arise from that Unity. That which is Ahad cannot be divided into parts, or any parts distinguished. That which is Wāhid has the appearance of being divisible into separate parts, or being comprised of separate parts.

Allah Himself proclaims Him to be the Only One in Surah Al Ikhlas:

قُلۡ هُوَ اللّٰهُ اَحَدٌ​ ۚ‏ 
Say: “He is Allah, the One and Unique

The explanation of the above said verse is "that Huwa is the subject and Allahu its predicate, and Ahad-un its second predicate. According to this parsing the sentence means: He (about Whom you are questioning me) is Allah, is One and only one. Another meaning can also be, and according to language rules it is not wrong either: He is Allah, the One.
Here, the first thing to be understood is the unusual use of ahad in this sentence. Usually this word is either used in the possessive case as yaum ul-ahad (first day of the week), or to indicate total negative as Ma jaa a-ni ahad-un (No one has come to me), or in common questions like Hal indaka ahadun (Is there anyone with you), or in conditional clauses like Injaa-ka ahad-un (If someone comes to you), or in counting as ahad, ithnan, ahad ashar (one, two, eleven). 
Apart from these uses, there is no precedent in the pre-Quranic Arabic that the mere word ahad might have been used as an adjective for a person or thing. After the revelation of the Quran this word has been used only for the Being of Allah, and for no one else. This extraordinary use by itself shows that being single, unique and matchless is a fundamental attribute of Allah; no one else in the world is qualified with this quality: He is One, He has no equal.
In fact the entire four versed Surah Al Ikhlas explain the Oneness of Allah. Please read exegesis of Surah Al Ikhlas already posted.

Thus, Ahad is used to refer to the One, the sole One, the One who was not begotten and who has ever been alone, the One who has no second, the Indivisible. He alone is the Sustainer: no one else has any share or part in providence and since He alone can be the Ilah (Deity) Who is Master and Sustainer, therefore, no one else is His associate in Divinity either.

Likewise the attribute "Wāhid" indicates the solitary Starting Point, the One Source, the First of the Many, from which all of creation has arisen as manifestations of Unity. From a human point of view, the manifestations may appear separate and diverse, but in reality they are One.

In Surah Al Baqarah 2:163, the attribute Wāhid is used, conveying the meaning of Oneness of Allah:

وَاِلٰهُكُمۡ اِلٰهٌ وَّاحِدٌ  ۚ لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ الرَّحِيۡمُ  
Your Ilah [God] is One Ilah [God], there is no god but He; the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
In this Ayah, Allah mentions that He is the only deity, and that He has no partners or equals. He is Allah, the One and Only, the Sustainer, and there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. He is the Most Gracious ـ Ar-Rahman, the Most Merciful ـ Ar-Rahim. We explained the meanings of these two Names in the beginning of Surat Al-Fatihah. 

Shahr bin Hawshab reported that Asma' bint Yazid bin As-Sakan narrated that Allah's Messenger said: (Allah's Greatest Name is contained in the following Ayat): 
وَإِلَـهُكُمْ إِلَـهٌ وَحِدٌ لاَّ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الرَّحْمَـنُ الرَّحِيمُ
(And your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God ـ Allah), La ilaha illa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.) 

The clearly explains that Allah is alone as the deity, that He is the One who created the heavens and the earth and all of the various creatures between them, all of which testify to His Oneness.  The meaning of al-Ahad is the Unique, who is forever One and has never and will never have another alongside Him. (al-Nihaayah, 1/35).

Ahad dtems from the root a-h-d whichin classical Arabic means: (1) to be one, (2) to be the only one, one alone, sole, (3) to unite, unify. The ancient roots of Ahad point toward to the essential qualities which describe Unity, while the ancient roots of Wāhid point toward the manifestations which arise from that Unity.

The Oneness of Allah thus ruled out there being anything else that could be like Him. Allah has no peer and no rival. He is the One God, the One Lord, and no one other than Him deserves to be obeyed; no one other than Him should be worshipped. 

You may refer to our post "99 Attributes of Allah" for complete list of 99 attributes of Allah Almighty with meaning and explanation.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 
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