Allah is al-Ahad – the One and Only

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Allah says: “And your God is One God; there is no god save Him, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” [Sūrah al-Baqarah: 163] 

Allah also says: “Say: He is Allah, the One.” [Sūrah al-Ikhlās: 1]

Allah is al-Ahad – the One and Only 
In the first of these verses, Allah is referred to as al-Wāhid (the One), whereas in the second verse, He is referred to as al-Ahad (the One). What is the difference between these two names? 

Both names share a common etymological origin, and both refer to “oneness”. The word wāhid is simply the Arabic word for the number “one”. As a name of Allah, it refers to His being the one and only true God. It also refers to His being the First, before whom nothing existed. This in turn, communicates that no one deserves to be worshipped besides Allah, and that He has no partner in divinity. 

The word ahad, by contrast, conveys an uncountable oneness. It is not one in a series. It cannot be added to or divided into fractions. Its stands for a singular, unique entity. Also, in Arabic grammatical usage, it is the form of the word “one” used to distinguish an individual from others, like in the phrase “one of them” in “Only one of them showed up.” 

Consequently, the name al-Ahad, it is more exclusive in its meaning than the name al-Wāhid, referring specifically to Allah’s essence, communicating that Allah is absolutely singular in His essence and utterly unique in His attributes. No one is like Him in any way. As Allah says elsewhere in the Qur’ān: “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Seeing, the Hearing.” [Sūrah al-Shūrā: 11] 

Allah’s name al-Wāhid (the One) appears in twenty-two verses of the Qur’ān. The name al-Ahad appears only once, in the short chapter of the Qur’an entitled al-Ikhlās:

Say: He is Allah, the One. Allah, the Self-Subsisting. He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him. [Sūrah al-Ikhlās: 1-4]

The name al-Ahad that appears in the chapter entitled al-Ikhlās is more emphatic and eloquent in expressing the concept of “oneness” than the name al-Wāhid, though both names convey essentially the same meaning: “the One”. Allah is the One and only Lord, the One and only Creator, the One and only Provider. He alone lives without dying. He alone gives life and causes death. 

He is the One (al-Wāhid) who has no partner. He is the One (al-Ahad) who is unique and incomparable in His attributes and His actions and in every way. 

Allah alone is worthy of worship. All other worship is false. Our hearts should turn to Him alone in reverence and devotion, and in hope. 

Allah is One in His names and attributes. Some names belong to Him alone, like the name Allah and the name al-Rahmān (the Beneficent). Other names might be used to describe human beings as well, like “merciful” and “kind”. However, there is no comparison between the application of these names on the human level and their meaning with respect to Allah. No one is comparable to Allah. This is why Allah says: “He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.” [Sūrah al-Ikhlās: 3-4] 

Allah also says: “Do you know of any who is worthy of His name?” [Sūrah Maryam: 65] 

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

Source: (Nov. 28, 2013)