In Arabic every letter has a corresponding gematrical value where each letter can interpreted either as letter or a number, similar to roman numerals.

Gematrical Values of the Arabic Alphabet

While there are many Quranic phenomenon based on the gematrical value of the Arabic letters, the item that I want to discuss in this article is the Arabic word for the word one in the context of one of the names of God, One. In Arabic the word One is واحد (w-a-h-d). If we take the gematrical value of this word we see that its total equals to 19, which is the foundation of the mathematical structure of the Quran.

Some people argue that واحد is actually written without an “ا” (alif), in the Quran. And therefore, the total gematrical value should be 18 as opposed to 19. While the word واحد can be written without an alif and is written in this style in many manuscripts, is this always the case and is this even correct? In order to determine this let’s look at a variety of verses where the word “one” is contained and see how is it written in some of the most ancient manuscripts of the Quran.

[2:61] Recall that you said, “O Moses, we can no longer tolerate one kind of food. Call upon your Lord to produce for us such earthly crops as beans, cucumbers, garlic, lentils, and onions.” He said, “Do you wish to substitute that which is inferior for that which is good? Go down to Egypt, where you can find what you asked for.” They have incurred condemnation, humiliation, and disgrace, and brought upon themselves wrath from GOD. This is because they rejected GOD’s revelations, and killed the prophets unjustly. This is because they disobeyed and transgressed.

 وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَامُوسَىٰ لَنْ نَصْبِرَ عَلَىٰ طَعَامٍ وَاحِدٍ فَادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُخْرِجْ لَنَا مِمَّا تُنْبِتُ الْأَرْضُ مِنْ بَقْلِهَا وَقِثَّائِهَا وَفُومِهَا وَعَدَسِهَا وَبَصَلِهَا قَالَ أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِي هُوَ أَدْنَىٰ بِالَّذِي هُوَ خَيْرٌ اهْبِطُوا مِصْرًا فَإِنَّ لَكُمْ مَا سَأَلْتُمْ وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ وَالْمَسْكَنَةُ وَبَاءُوا بِغَضَبٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ النَّبِيِّينَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوْا وَكَانُوا يَعْتَدُونَ

Berlin, State Library: Minutoli 296 (Ahlwardt 304)

Some may argue that since the use of the word “one” in 2:61 is not in reference to God, therefore it should cannot justify that واحد ,when in reference to God, should include the alif. So let’s look at another example.

[14:48] The day will come when this earth will be substituted with a new earth, and also the heavens, and everyone will be brought before GOD, the One, the Supreme.

(٤٨) يَوْمَ تُبَدَّلُ الْأَرْضُ غَيْرَ الْأَرْضِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ وَبَرَزُوا لِلَّهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ

Gotthelf Bergstrasse Archive: Meknes, private library of the Sherif SchAbdarraḥmān b. 
Zīdān: Kufic Koran code

Again, some may argue that despite the use of the word in 14:48 being in reference to God the word is الْوَاحِدِ “Al-Wahd (The One)” as opposed to just وَاحِدِ “Wahd (One)”. So let’s look at one more verse.

[16:51] GOD has proclaimed: “Do not worship two gods; there is only one god. You shall reverence Me alone.”

(٥١) وَقَالَ اللَّهُ لَا تَتَّخِذُوا إِلَٰهَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَإِيَّايَ فَارْهَبُونِ

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France: Arabe 337 (d)

From this analysis we see that the word واحد (wahd) was most certainly written in many ancient manuscripts with the alif and therefore confirms that the gematrical value of this word is 19. We see this written in this style in the above three manuscripts; once in the context of the number one, once in the context as the name of God as in “the One,” and lastly in the context of the name of God as just “One.”

One thought on “W-A-H-D in the Quran

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