Surah 112 Al-Ikhlas: Our Creator, with Dazzling Details

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The 112th Surah of the Quran is entitled “Al-Ikhlas” which is usually translated “Sincerity”, or less commonly, “Devotion.” The word itself shares a root with the word khalasa which means the essence of something. One could say sincerity or devotion is the essential attitude we should bring to Allah. This attitude begins with the understanding of Who He Is, to Whom shall we be sincere, described in this Surah as essentially and indivisibly One in the first two verses. This understanding is completed in the next two verses which describe Who Allah Is Not. We shall examine the original Arabic closely to show how this Surah literally embeds the words that express how Allah creates from nothing, the capability of none but Allah the One Creator.

Analyzing those words further reveals connections to the genetic code, the basis of all life, of which the Creator alone has full knowledge. That such a complex code and system can be referred to meaningfully in so few words and letters in this Surah while conveying a most basic message about Allah’s very Being is certainly astounding.

The entire Surah’s 4 ayat (verses) can be translated in the form of word-for-word explanation as follows:

  1. Say “He, Allah, (is) One.” – the “is” in Arabic is implied by the placement of  the Name Allah next to the word One. The word “He” does not imply gender, as it is well-known to all Muslims that Allah the Exalted has no gender, but rather it “points to” the name Allah, in the sense that this Surah came as an answer to the question “Who is your Lord and what is He like?” asked of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Although the word “say” was a command to the Prophet, it is also now a directive to all of us, especially “every believer,” to “say”/ declare and tell others Who Allah the Exalted is: categorically One. It is impossible for anyone or anything else to be, share power with, or become part of, Allah the Exalted. To worship Allah with any other understanding would be a violation of the First Commandment and invalidate one’s worship, a blurring of the sacred categorical separation of Allah the Creator and His creation. 
  2. “Allah (is) Al-Samad.” –  This Name Al-Samad is not used anywhere in the Quran except here. (Every Surah in the Quran contains words exclusive to it, by the way.) It means “Indivisible in time (as Eternal, with no beginning and no end) and space (cannot be separated into “parts”, “incarnations”, or broken/divided in any way), hence often translated as “Eternal Refuge” or sometimes “Rock” (of course not proper to be compared to something He created) to indicate “solidity” or being “unbreakable”. Note that time and space are ways we break things or divide them into sections as we are mainly familiar with creation, whereas the Creator is in a category by Himself. Another interpretation of Al-Samad is “Who is in need of none and of Whom all are in need.” This is another aspect, but an important one, of being “Indivisible” or one could say Whole, entirely self-sufficient, complete. By adding the Al- to make it a name for Allah, this word becomes the infinitive of all those qualities, or the ultimate manifestation of them, making this Name entirely unique to Allah the Exalted.
  3. “(He) does not procreate nor was (He) procreated.”  I use the word “procreate” instead of the usual “beget/ begotten” because not only it is a more modern term, but it also is more scientifically specific for reproduction by various means, all of which require a “breaking apart” which it was just made clear can’t apply to Allah the Indivisible. Furthermore, and importantly, it also distinguishes “procreation” from creation. Allah alone creates by the initiation of something previously non-existent. In contrast, procreation is “replication” of an already existing entity by a process “programmed” or “written into” that entity’s DNA. In fact, Allah created procreation itself as a part of what he creates. This is mentioned frequently in the Quran, using the expression (saying He alone) “creates (a thing) and repeats/ reproduces it.” In fact, as we shall show below, reproduction is a capability Allah embeds in the very genetic code of living things, which are His creations. Thus Allah creates, and as Creator of the heavens and the earth, procreation is merely to Him a small part of that. He originates, initiates what didn’t previously exist, and is in a category of One: nothing at all is like Allah the Exalted. Which brings us to the final aya. 
  4. “Nor is there for Him a single equal.”  –  To show you how this final aya is written in the original, it begins with the Arabic letter “waw” و which means “and” as a single-letter word (some do not count it as a separate word, but I do per the researcher Abduldaem Al-Kaheel). The next word is a negating word “lem” لم (used like an emphatic “not”), which negates the word that follows, “yakun,” meaning “is”. This is followed by lahu which means “of/ to/ for Him” (the letter lam ل is a single-letter preposition that could be used for any of these English prepositions, according to context in English, but basically connotes a range of meanings for “relating/ connected to” in a more general sense in Arabic). The expression “single equal” is expressed in Arabic with “equal” first, followed by the same form of ahad or “one” as at the end of the first verse in reference to Allah. So the last word ending this verse (and Surah) referring in the negative to any single “one” matches the word “ahad” at the end of the first verse proclaiming Allah is One. This formulation contrasts the unfathomable Oneness of Allah as His very Being and nature, with a mere number referring to the non-existence of any “one” in creation equivalent to Allah the One. Verses 1 and 4 ending on the same word ahad places its meaning implied for each verse in stark contrast: in verse 1, a positive One contrasted with verse 4 negating any one “equivalent,” indicating “in the same category”, stronger than merely “comparable.” Below are two verses showing how the Quran distinguishes creation, as initiation followed by reproduction, from procreation itself, which is the included capability God-given to His creations. Technically, humans “make” and “invent” but cannot “create” in the true sense.

أَمَّن يَبْدَؤُا۟ ٱلْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُۥ وَمَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ أَءِلَٰهٌ مَّعَ ٱللَّهِ ۚ قُلْ هَاتُوا۟ بُرْهَٰنَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَٰدِقِينَ   “Or, Who originates the creation, then reproduces it and Who gives you sustenance from the heaven and the earth? Is there a god With Allah? Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful.” 

Surat Al-Naml 27:64

Have they not considered how Allah initiates creation and then reproduces it? Indeed that, for Allah, is easy.

Surat Al-‘Ankabut 29:19

Now we get into the “dazzling details” part (although the above in fact is dazzling enough). Among other methods, I analyzed this Surah by counting the unique letters (the actual letters not counting their repetitions in the text) as they are introduced into this Surah verse by verse. The Surah has a total of 13 unique letters, but what surprised me was not the numbers, but rather the letters, when I examined each verse to see which letters are uniquely introduced there. When it came to the 4th verse, I discovered the letters that were first introduced to this final 4th verse were “Kaf,” “Noon,” and “Fa.” This was stunning, because the letters Kaf Noon كن spell the actual Arabic word “Kun” by which Allah creates! 

The third unique letter introduced here, fa ف , is also the 3rd letter used in the “creation statement” Kun fayakoon — “Be, and it is” —that describes how Allah the Exalted creates from nothing by a word Kun, meaning Be! and in this case fa is a prepositional letter meaning “and then” attached to the word “yakoon” يكون meaning “it is/ becomes.” This expression contains 7 letters, a significant number in the Quran, mentioned 8 (eight) times in the Quran this entire statement, referring to how He creates, for example:

“Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He says to it “Be,” and it is.” In Arabic: بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَإِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُون

Surat Al-Baqara 2:117

Now look again at Surah 112:4, which we are discussing, in Arabic below:

وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَد

كُن فَيَكُون   “Kun fayakoon” – “Be, and it is.” (literally “becomes & is.”) – the “creation statement” for comparison with 112:4 above.

Above are the two references: on top is Surah 112:4 showing in bold the letter “waw” و at the far right, then the word “yakun” يكن in bold which includes the unique letters “kaf” (k) ك and “noon” (n) ن in bold, then the unique letter “fa” (f) ف as the last letter in bold. All 3 unique letters are introduced for the first time in this Surah in this verse, and form the word “kun” كن or “Be!” with which Allah creates, followed by the letter “fa” ف , a prepositional letter (“and then”) described above, followed by the word “yakun” يكن in bold above, which means “is,” in a passive sense, into which the “waw” و is placed between the “kaf” and “noon” to make it “yakoon” يكون (with a longer “ooh” sound) which means “becomes/ comes into being,” the actual word used in the “creation statement” referring to Allah’s initiating creation from nothing but His will, in bold below the 112:4 reference for comparison, as well as in the passage below repeated in its entirety.

بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَإِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُون

Originator of the heavens and earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it “Be!” and it is. (Surah Al-Baqara 2:117)

So the “unique” letters in aya 4 of Surah 112 are “Kaf” “Noon” and “Fa” which are the word “Be!”, the actual command Allah uses to create (as expressed in the Quran), and the prepositional letter Fa which attaches to the word “is” which already exists in this aya in the form of “yakun”, which means “is” but in order to be “yakoon” (the active form of “is” or “becomes”) it needs a “waw“, the same letter which also is the single-letter word “and”, which when placed between the “Kaf” and the “Noon” of the “yakun”, changes it from the passive “is” to the dynamic living “is” of “becomes/ comes into being”. It changes the passive “yakun” (Ya Kaf Noon) version of “is” to Ya Kaf Waw Noon, spelling “yakoon” which lengthens the word in pronunciation (the “oo” sound) but more importantly, the word “and” here represents the repetition of reproduction, thus giving to the newly created being, the “procreation” included in creation, particularly in this Surah, which literally embeds Allah’s creative process as expressed in the Quran here in the Surah describing our Creator, who He is and who He is not!

These words, expressing the creation capability only Allah alone possesses, reveal a most significant distinction of Allah as sole Supreme Power, God, Almighty, All-Merciful, the power to create merely from His will out of nothing, thus adding the most powerful evidence and logic of Allah’s having no equal.

And if that was not dazzling enough, let’s count the letters and words as they exist in this Surah. It has 17 words and 47 letters, which added together equal a total of 64. Now what’s so important about the number 64? Aside from the fact that it is the square of 8, and 8×8 can be written 4 to the 3rd power (4,3 or 3,4 pairing also relates to the 3 letters spelling the 4-letter Name Allah), beside the fact that there are 64 hexagrams in the Yi Jing (I Ching), the Chinese Book of Changes, used in ancient China by emperors and their knowledgeable advisors as a divining and planning tool (more on this below), it is more immediately significant that  64 is the number of possible combinations of the genetic code for all life, the units called “codons.” From this code is derived the DNA and RNA of all living things, their essential “signature.” This knowledge has only recently (in modern times) been discovered, and scientists are constantly learning more, as it is an immense field of knowledge.

This alone suggests a possible connection between the basic genetic code for all life, and this Surah wherein is embedded a reference to the “words” and “letters” (2 “elements” of writing, to “write” being a word used in the Quran to refer to Allah’s decrees, including that of creation) showing Allah as sole Creator of all that exists, who simply says to an idea/ “a matter” Be! and it is. The fact that the total of numbers and letters in this Surah matches the total codons in genetic code, suggests perhaps more details insofar as letters and words are two different “elements” of text.

So indeed I looked deeper into genetics, and discovered a possible connection to other more complex details in that code. First, the number 17, the number of words in Surah 112, is associated with the number of codons which code for hydrophobic (water-rejecting) properties (important to their function), and the number of letters in Surah 112, 47 letters, is associated with coding for non-hydrophobic properties, which are either hydrophilic (water-accepting) or neutral. Although there are technically only 20 amino acids, of which only 8 (and functionally 9) are classified as hydrophobic, 6 as hydrophilic, and 6 as neutral, there are, as mentioned above, 64 possible combinations of amino acids and the four bases on which the whole system is “based”. All hydrophobic amino acids are also non-polar while all hydrophilic amino acids are polar, and the neutral amino acids could go either way. What this suggests is that hydrophobicity and its associated non-polarity is functionally significant in the formation of DNA. Of course, the opposite properties of hydrophilicity and polarity, as well as the neutral properties, are also functionally significant. (Incidentally, if you count the differently-colored section in the genetic code diagram above, including the two white sections for start and stop codons, you get the number 17. But more accurate details are below.)

Again, I am not a scientist, although I am interested in science, but prior to this investigation, my knowledge of genetics was basically zero, and the subject is extremely complex, and furthermore discoveries are continuously being made as this is unfolding knowledge in a relatively new field. Hence, my assertions are based on a few pieces of information I have gleaned from sites, whose interest was never in finding connections to specific numbers. This scholarly paper was instrumental in my making the above assertions regarding the numbers associated with Sura 112’s word and number counts, showing literally the functionally significant properties of codons as they can be grouped accordingly. 

Below is a quote from this technical site (with a different perspective than the one above) which gives definite numbers (6+4+3+2+1), adding to 16 codons to which must be added a “start” codon, which I have assigned to the word “say” in 112:1, a command that begins the Surah but does not participate in its meaning (hence appropriate to represent a “start codon”). Alternatively, the word “ahad” at the end, being negated at the beginning of aya 112:4, could be functionally a “stop” codon which doesn’t code for amino acids but only acts as a “period” on a genetic sequence or “sentence”. See illustrations below (at the end of this post) where you can count the hydrophobic codons including the “start” codon “MET” at the vertex of the triangle showing a graphic for hydrophobic codons, which shows 16 codons plus the MET, or 17. The other 3 triangles illustrate the non-hydrophobic codons. Note “codons” are not the same as Amino Acids, although they code using amino acids, the total of which are 20, a system referred to scientifically as “degenerate” (no bad connotations here). It seems definitively one would add a start codon not a stop codon to the 16 hydrophobic codons as indicated by a quote below, stating the stop codons are not included in the count. Nonetheless further study is needed.

“The second nucleotide of the codons is the core of stability; for example, U at the center is present only in codons for the hydrophobic essential amino acids: Leu, Val, Ile, Phe, and Met. The six codons for the hydrophobic Leu, the four codons for Val, the three codons for Ile, the two codons for Phe, and the single codon for Met, all of them have U in their center.” This would give us 16 hydrophobic codons, since the codons far outnumber the amino acids and therefore hydrophobic codons would outnumber hydrophobic amino acids. 

This confirms the study referred to above whose author had created 3D graphics (included in the illustrations of triangles below) to assist researchers in the field of genetics, as a kind of “infographics” consisting of tetrahedrons based on the functions represented by various codons, placing them accordingly on different faces of the 3D graphic, with the 16 combinations involving hydrophobic amino acids on one face and one “start codon,” which is essential to initiating any particular genetic code, on the vertex of that face. Here we have the number 16+1=17 referring to the “hydrophobic” elements of the code, which I had counted on the graphic; the remaining 47 elements including 3 different types of non-hydrophobic elements (varies from the description of another site), some being hydrophilic and others not.

In other words, exactly 17 codons, the exact same number of words in Surah 112, are related to the hydrophobic codons, 16 amino acid combinations/  and one start codon, represented by the word “say” which “starts” Surah 112, as described above. The remaining 47 codons, whose number matches the number of letters in Surah 112, are non-hydrophobic. Hydrophobicity is directly related to polarity in this matter, and is a crucial part of functionality in the genetic code, thus these number correspondences suggest that indeed the connection of 64 letters and words is not mere coincidence.

And yes, there’s a Quranic aya for that:

 وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِن وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعْلَمُهَا وَلَا حَبَّةٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا رَطْبٍ وَلَا يَابِسٍ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِين

And with Him are the keys to the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and on the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there in the darknesses of the earth, and no moist or dry (thing) but that it is (written) in a clear record.

Surat Al-An’am 6:59

And thus we show that in the final verse of Surat Al-Ikhlas, right where the final distinction between Who Allah Is and Who He is Not, showing us the categorical difference between Creator and creation, right here we not only find the Quranic words Allah uses to create embedded in the text in a findable way, but also the number, 4 to the 3rd power (64) to be exact (remember the “3,4” pairing I mentioned before, where Allah’s name is spelled using 3 unique letters for a 4-letter word, and the name Al-Raheem is mentioned 34 times and the adjective raheem mentioned 3 to the 4th power  or 81 times), but we also find the number that matches the number of possibilities for the genetic code of all living things. And not only that, the words and letters of this Surah possibly distinguish between the “hydrophobic” or “water-rejecting” elements of that code (16 amino acids and one “start codon” or 17 elements), shown in the number of words in Surah 112, and the “water-accepting” or hydrophilic and other non-hydrophobic elements of the genetic code (47), shown in the number of letters in Surah 112, relating to the very function of the elements in that code!

Plus, the Quran itself mentions specifically that there is not a “moist or dry” thing but that it is “written” into a clear “record”, or code, thus specifying the hydrophobic/ hydrophilic properties basic and essential to the genetic code in an unmistakeable way. And the number of this aya? 6:59, whose digits add to 20, the number of amino acids in the genetic code. Regardless if one considers these Quranic references as significant, the fact is unequivocal that Allah is the sole Creator and omniscient, fully knowledgeable of all things.

Another quote from Wikipedia further emphasizes the importance of hydrophobicity in the genetic code:

The genetic code is so well-structured for hydropathicity that a mathematical analysis (Singular Value Decomposition) of 12 variables (4 nucleotides x 3 positions) yields a remarkable correlation (C = 0.95) for predicting the hydropathicity of the encoded amino acid directly from the triplet nucleotide sequence, without translation.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_code

The word “hydropathicity” refers to the scale of hydrophobicity to hydrophilicity (polarity and water-rejecting or accepting), thus the above statement tells us how important this difference is to the marvelous success of the genetic code and its preservation. This correlates directly with the preservation and significance of the Quranic text itself: a textual “balance” of meaning and the properties of text that prevents alteration or adulteration.

The stunning connections in this quote to Quranic numbers took me aback: “12 variables”—look at the significance of 12 months, tribes, springs, and more; taken from “4 nucleotides”, the number 4 signifying Surat Al-Ikhlas 112 itself, the number of letters in the name Allah in Arabic, the number of chambers in the human heart, the number of words in the Bismallah; multiplied by “3 positions”—3 Names of Allah in the Bismallah, 3 unique letters in Allah’s Name and in the basic shahada, 3 paths listed in Al-Fatiha; which elements “yield” this astounding number: “a remarkable correlation” which is (C=0.95) — “95” being a number whose factors are 5×19, and 19 being a significant number in the Quran, starting with the number of letters in the Bismallah, and other correlations, and 5 being a significant number associated with “hands” (5 fingers), which are, along with uprightness (incorporated into salat), significant advantages/ qualities given to humans. And here we learn that this number can be used to determine the “hydropathicity”—that same distinction described above in reference to Surah 112—as relating to “no moist or dry thing but it is written in a definite record” per the Quran (6:59).

And don’t forget that the entire genetic code is based on only four (4) bases, the number four (4) strongly associated with this Surah 112: 4 ayat (verses), number 112’s digits add to 4, the Surah is about Allah the Exalted whose Arabic Name contains 4 letters, and the number 112 is divisible by 4, the quotient of which is 28, a number also divisible by 4, whose quotient is 7, one of the most sacred and significant numbers in the Quran. Also the number 112 is divisible then by 16 (whose digits add to 7), which is the exact number of hydrophobic-related amino acids, to which we added the “start” codon of “say”. And of all such things, Allah the Exalted knows best. 

******************

Illustrations of genetic code 3D tetrahedrons for reference below: first 3 illustrations (triangles) of non-hydrophobic codons; final large illustration (triangle) of hydrophobic codons. I copied these here so anyone interested can count the codons in the 3 non-hydrophobic triangles shown first, and separately the number of hydrophobic codons in the single triangle below, which I counted as 16 small colored triangle/codons plus MET, which I presumed to be the start codon. 

Figure 5: Placement of hydrophobic amino acids in central sections of each tetrahedral face. The single codon for Met occupies an apical cell, as shown in Figure 4. doi:10.5048/BIO-C.2012.2.f5
Hydrophobic codons

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575644/

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