Question 32: Assalamu alaikum shaikhs, mashallah there are two shaikhs now, May Allah reward you and the Hikmah Way staff for this initiative and put baraka in your endeavors.

There are a lot of great ideas for maximising the last 10 days of Ramadan floating around. One idea is to read Surah Lkhlaas 3 times so it is like you have read the whole Quran on Laylatal Qadr. Is this the correct application of this hadith ?

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

A man heard another man reciting (Surat-Al-Ikhlas) ‘Say He is Allah, (the) One.’ (112. 1) repeatedly. The next morning he came to Allah’s Apostle and informed him about it as if he thought that it was not enough to recite. On that Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, this Surah is equal to one-third of the Qur’an!”

Shahih Al Bukhari :: Volume# 6 :: Book# 61 :: Hadith# 534

Answer:  Walaikumussalam Dear Brother,

Scholars had two similar understandings with some difference as follows.

Understanding One:

Some scholars such as Sh Ibn Baz who was asked if reciting Surah Ikhlas thrice was like reading the whole Quran, he said:

من كررها ثلاثا كان بمثابة من ختم القرآن

“Whoever repeated it thrice is in position similar to someone who completed the Quran.”

So this understanding seems to say that reciting it thrice, with all its status, gives position of one who recites the whole Quran. But these scholars also said that although reciting Surah ikhlas 3 times is increased in reward to the one who recited the whole Quran, yet the recitation of the whole Quran with its own multiplied reward for example for each letter the reweard of 10 times it is, after its own multiplying of reward, far more in eventual total reward than reciting Surah Ikhlas three times. And even if reciting surah ikhlas 3 times may get the reward equal to that of reciting the whole Quran but it still does not suffice and in fact we must still recite the whole Quran as well at some time (ie the difference between al-jazaa and al-ijzaa).

Understanding Two:

Whereas many more other scholars said that the particular hadith was mentioned by the Prophet (s.a.w) when a person who didn’t seem to know much Quran by memory, while praying night prayer repeated Surah Ikhlas over and over again and so the another person considered it not much only repeating such a small short surah many times!

So the Prophet (s.a.w) to show that Surah Ikhlas is not anybshort small surah, he (s.a.w) mentioned that Surah ikhlas “equals a third of the Quran”.

What the Prophet (s.a.w) was saying was that this Surah though it is so short, yet it covers ONE of the THREE main fundamental messages of the Quran (1. About Allah, 2. About Stories & Lessons/Rulings from them, 3. About Description of Aakhirah; or 3. Another similar type of subject matter). And so do not consider recitation of this foundamentally important subject containing Surah Ikhlas as just little deed, rather its message despite its brevity equals is so centrally important that its message equals a third of the Quran.

So this 2nd understanding of the scholars holds that its MESSAGE is equal to a third but its REWARD or position is NOT like reading the whole Quran.

Putting it together:

Scholars all generally seem to agree that reciting Surah Ikhlas three times does not suffice from reading the whole Quran. We should read yhe whole Quran. But as for its reward, a few scholars only seem to say that reading Surah Ikhlas thrice is same high reward or position as reciting whole Quran whereas many other scholars said it is same as reading one third of the fundamental MESSAGE of the whole Quran and NOT its REWARD.

Three repeats of same part or the whole done once?

This Ramadan, if someone does not know much Quran and they memorised the short surah ikhlas and repeated only that surah all night, no one should look down on that because that Surah despite its short length contains one third the message of the whole Quran. So that is indeed a big benefit and achievement to repeat again and again one third the message of the Quran. But the one knows Quran reading and memorising should and must try to read the entire Quran during Ramadan. During the last ten nights read as much of the Quran asbwe can, especially in Taraweeh because it is the entire message of the Quran and Islam whereas Surah Ikhlas is equal to one third of the message of the whole Quran. It is not the same as reading the whole Quran, rather it is like a summary of the one third of the fundamental message of Quran.