The verse " قل هو الله احد"
If you are a Muslim, certainly you know this verse.
If we check the existing translations of the Quran, we will see that this verse is translated as:
Say, He is Allah (the) one.
If we know Arabic, even at primary level, we should know that /huva/, is a demonstrative pronoun for addressing far things.
So, if we want to translate it literally, it means:
Say, that is God. He is ’/Ahad/'.
But could the terms “near” or “far” be applied to God?
Being confined in space and time is a necessary condition to be far or near.
And who is confined in the space and time is limited; since it cannot be present everywhere at the same time.
However, in Arabic, the word /huva/, other than referring distance, is also used to express the dignity and status.
In fact, the use of this demonstrative, is not only for mentioning a far place, but it refers to being far from the perception and knowledge.
This means that no creature can understand or know God. Therefore, God is far from being understood or known.
So here is the meaning of the verse:
Say that God, who is far from being perceived, is /ahad/.
But what about /ahad/?
The biggest problem in translation and interpretation of ’/Ahad/’ is to consider its meaning as ‘/Vāhid/’.
While the /Ahad/ is different from /Vāhid/.
In Arabic, /Vāhid/ means unit or "one" and it refers to something which is countable.
Numbers are an expression of differences in space and time between two things or more.
Even the number one, shows the difference between object and context in which it is placed (which is space). In fact, we can only count something that is distinct from its context.
However, the meaning of the word “/Ahad/” is “uncountable”; being that number and count does not apply to it.
God is uncountable, so even knowing him as “one” is a mistake.
It is interesting that, since old days in Middle Eastern all fairy tales were opening with this verse of Quran, but in different words as “There was one, who was not one”. Means there was someone, who was not countable. Here the first “one” refers to a being but the second “one” refers to numbers.
So the meaning of the verse is:
Say that the Lord (Allah) who is far from understanding of creatures is uncountable.
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