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Al-Ahad & Al-Wahid – Know the One and Only True God

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to God, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. (Quran 7:180)

In this article we are discussing God’s name, the One. In the Quran, in chapter 112 God refers to Himself as the One.

Say (Oh Muhammad) ‘He is God, the One (Al-Ahad). (Quran 112:1)

Whenever discussing God’s names, particularly this name, it is important to remember the symbiotic connection that exists between God’s names and attributes. Scholars have explained that the name includes the attribute and that the attribute implies the name.

In the Arabic language God describes Himself as the One; however He uses two different Arabic words Ahad and Wahid. The word wahid is the Arabic word for the numeral one.

When used as God’s name, it refers to His being the One (God). It also refers to His being the First, before whom nothing existed, thus He is the One Who deserves to be worshiped. God reminds us of this in Chapter 2, when he tells the believers that He (their God) is One and that nothing else has the right to be worshiped.

And your God is One God… (Quran 2:163)

Al-Ahad is the One and Only who was, is, and will always be alone in His divinity. He is incomparable and indivisible, and nothing or no one can ever be equal to Him. He depends on no one and His likeness can never be replicated.

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Al-Ahad (the One and Only) is the One who is unique in his Oneness. He is consistently One and there is not, nor can there be, any other with Him in His essence, lordship and divinity, or in His names and His attributes.

The aforementioned verse from Chapter 112 is one of the most well-known and well understood verses in the Quran. It is the opening verse of the chapter named Al Ikhlas or the Purity. Prophet Muhammad said that:

Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad (Say, He is God, the One) is the equivalent of one third of the Quran. (Sahih Muslim and Ibn Majah)

This means that understanding this chapter is equivalent to understanding the one third of Quran that teaches us about the fundamentals of faith.[1] The fact that God is One forms the basis of our belief. The One is an enormous and important name.

In other places throughout the Quran, God refers to Himself as One (Al Wahid):

Say, [O Muhammad], ‘I am only a warner, and there is not any deity except God, the One, the Prevailing.’ (Quran 38:65)
Oh my two companions of the prison! (I ask you): are many lords differing among themselves better, or the One God, Supreme and Irresistible? (Quran 12:39)

When explaining the One and Only, Sheikh as-Sa’di (1889 – 1956)[2] said:

“God is the One Who is unique in all His perfect attributes, and no one else or anything can share that with Him. The believers must affirm His Oneness in belief, word and deed, by acknowledging His absolute perfection, affirming that He is unique in His oneness, and devoting all kinds of worship to Him alone.”

There is nothing like Him… (Quran: 42:11)

Abu Hanifa, the well-respected an eighth century theologian who founded the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, said:

“God is one, and not only as in numbers but in that there are no partners with Him”.

God is One. He is Al-Ahad and Al-Wahid. Scholars have clarified that the name Al-Ahad has the same meaning as Al-Wahid, but with more emphasis on Unity.

Al-Ahad, they say, is also a name used only for God while encompassing all the meanings in Al Wahid. Other scholars have said that the word ‘Ahad’ has only even been used in this grammatical way by God. It means unique, singular, the sole entity.

There is nothing comparable; Ahad has no competitor, no antonym or synonym. Ahad is the one for whom a second is impossible.

Imam Al Bukhari remarked that Al-Ahad is the One who is not similar or equal to anything. When Bilal ibn Rabah, the man destined to be the first person to call the Muslims to prayer, was being tortured by the unbelievers in a most gruesome way, he called out to God, knowing that He alone could relieve his pain. He called out:

‘Ahad, Ahad’.[3]

The story of Bilal reminds us that whenever we need help, there is only one reliable source of help and that is God. He is the only One to whom we need turn because He controls all things. Remember always that not even a leaf falls from a branch without God knowing, and giving permission for it to do so.

And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it… (Quran 6:59)

God has named Himself the One and Only and He expects us to call on Him by that name. Using the names that God has taught us is a way of showing respect and devotion. It demonstrates that we are listening and pondering Gods words and commandments.


[1] The other two thirds of Quran are concerned with firstly, the rules and regulations pertaining to a functioning Muslim society and secondly, tales and narratives.

[2] Sheikh As Sa’di was a prominent Islamic scholar, jurist, exegete, and Arabic grammarian with an interest in poetry. He contributed many works on a variety of subjects, including his famous Tafsir.

[3] The story of Bilal can be found in the biographies of Prophet Muhammad, particularly Ibn Hisham.

(From Discovering Islam archive)

About Aisha Stacey
Aisha Stacey is the mother of three adult children. She embraced Islam in 2002 and spent the next five years in Doha, Qatar studying Islam and working at the Fanar Cultural Centre. In 2006 Aisha returned to university for a second time and completed at Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Writing. Aisha is also a published writer in both internet and print media and in 2009 -10 she was the Queensland editor at a national Australian Islamic newspaper ~ Crescent Times.