The Prophet (saws) used to read Surah Al-Kafiroon in the first Rak’a and Surah Al-Ikhlas in the second one in the sunah prayers of dawn (Al-Fajr), Al-Dhuha, Al-Maghrib and in the morning of the travel day. That is because these two Surahs contain the pure essence of monotheism, that there is not any god but Allah (swt) the Only One. Allah’s saying in Surah Al-Kafiroon: (I do not worship what you worship.) is a negative declaration while this verse of Surah Al-Ikhlas is an affirmative declaration.
However, the monotheism phrase consists of a negative statement represented by (No God) and an affirmative one in (except Allah) which comes after according to the Islamic (shari’ah) ruling which says: “Warding off corruption takes precedence over bringing benefits”.
The monotheism phrase (There is No God except Allah) has status and secrets with the people of knowledge of Allah (swt), who used to ask Allah (swt) to keep them alive until they would finish uttering this sentence, in afraid to die while saying (No God) before completing it. That was out of their extreme awareness of it and their fear of sudden death while saying it. One of the scholars said that the worship begins with (No God except Allah), this is the general beginning.
هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ (He is Allah, [who is] One): Allah (swt), The One is telling us that He (swt) has no peer and no rival to dispute over His decision. This Surah confirms that the judgment against Abo Lahab and his wife in unquestionable.
Surah Al-Ikhlas has many indicatons and it has may names as well, such as: Al-Ikhlas, Al-Iman, Al-Bara’a, Al-Tawheed, At-Tafreed, Al-Mubari’ah, Ma’refah, Al-Assass, Al-Muawazzah, Al-Jamal, An-Najat, Al-Wilayah, At-Tajreed, An-Nubuwah and Noor-Al-Qur’an. Ecah name has its significances.
Surah Al-Ikhas, this is the most famous name. When there is Ikhlas (sincerity) a Muslim directs his aims to what the religion requires, as such, Allah (swt) says in the sacred (Qudsi) hadith:
“Allah (swt) says: “Sincerity is one of my secrets, I deposit it within the heart of whom I love of my servants”
As such, the sincerity, no close angel can know about it so that he may write it down, neither any prophet can.
This Surah is called Al-Assass (The foundation) because it contains the fundamental that the heavens and the earth are founded upon. But how? The scholars said that this refers to Allah’s (swt) saying:
﴾لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا ﴿
(Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined.) (Al-Anbiyaa: 22)
Because both the heavens and the earth had not been ruined, this is a proof that there is no god but Allah (swt), had this specific principle of doctrine not exist, the heavens and earth could not have been founded. Allah (swt) says:
﴾إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُمْسِكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ أَن تَزُولَا ۚ وَلَئِن زَالَتَا إِنْ أَمْسَكَهُمَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ مِّن بَعْدِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا ﴿
(Indeed, Allah holds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease. And if they should cease, no one could hold them [in place] after Him. Indeed, He is Forbearing and Forgiving..) (Fatir: 41)
This Surah is called also Surah Al-Bara’ah (The freedom) because it grants its reciter the freedom from idolatry in life and it grants him the freedom from the hell fire in the hereafter as well. Abu Hurayrah has narrated that:
“I passed with the Prophet (saws) by a man reciting: (Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One), so the Prophet (saws) said: “It has become certain” I asked him (saws) what is it O’ Rassullalah? He (saws) said: “The Paradise””
The one to whom the Paradise has become certain is surely free from the Hell fire, and the one who is free from the Hell fire is certainly free from polytheism. A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:
Messenger of Allah, (saws) appointed a man in charge of an army unit who led them in Salat (prayer); he always concluded his recitation with Surat Al-Ikhlas: “Say (O Muhammad (ﷺ)): ‘He is Allah, (the) One. Allah-us-Samad (Allah – the Self-Sufficient). He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none equal or comparable to Him.”‘. Upon their return to Al-Madinah, they mentioned this to Messenger of Allah (saws), who said, “Ask him why he does so?” He was asked and he said, “This Surah contains the Attributes of Allah, the Gracious, and I love to recite it. Messenger of Allah (saws) then told them, “Tell him that Allah loves him”.”
And in other narration, the Prohet (saws) said to him: “Your love for this surah will make you enter paradise”
Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
“A man heard another reciting Surat Al-Ikhlas repeatedly. The next morning he came to the Messenger of Allah (saws) and informed him about it as if he considered it to be of little reward. On that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, this Surah is equal to one-third of the Qur’an.”
Uqbah bin ‘Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
“I met the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and he said to me, “O Uqbah ibn Amr, maintain relations with those who cut you off, give to those who deprive you, and pardon those who wrong you.” Later, I met the Messenger of Allah and he said to me, “O Uqbah ibn Amr, control your tongue, weep for your sins, and keep to your house.” Later, I met the Messenger of Allah and he said to me, “O Uqbah ibn Amr, shall I teach you some chapters the like of which have not been revealed in the Torah, nor the Psalms, nor the Gospel, nor the Furqan? Do not let a night go by without reciting them: He is Allah the One (112:1), and: I seek refuge in the Lord of the daybreak (113:1), and: I seek refuge in the Lord of the people.” (114:1)
Another name of this Surah is Surah At-Tawhid (Pure Islamic Monotheism), Surah At-Tajrid (On its own, free from anything else) and Surah At-Tafrid (The Unique). These three names lead to same meaning, that is to deny the existence of something from the essence of a thing.
It is called as well Surah Al-Jamal (The beauty). Beauty is relative; people differ in identifying it and we may say: It is the harmony in the formation of something in a way that satisfies the healthy mood. The beauty also is when the results come in coincidence with the introductions. For example, the beauty of silk lies in its smoothness whereas the beauty of the racket lies in its roughness, similarly, the beauty of the eye lies in its wideness whereas the beauty of mouth lies in its small size.
The beauty in this Surah lies in the fact that Allah (swt) is The Only One God for all; God of the rich and the poor, God of the strong and the weak, His judgements are applied justly on His creation, His scale is according to His wisdom. When man believes in this fact he lives with satisfaction and acceptance.
This Surah is called as well Al-Mu’awwidhah (The Refuge) because it is associated with the two Mu’awathat (Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak0 and (Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind). Seeking refuge requires something that you are afraid of and a power that gives you protection. As if this Surah precedes the two Mu’awathat to clarify Whom you should ask refuge in, He is the Only One God.
Another name of this surah is Al-Muqashqashah (It removes disease of polytheism and hypocrisy).
It is as well Surah An-Najah (The Salvation) because it saves from disbelieving in life and from the Hell in the hereafter.
Its name An-Nisbah (The Connection with Allah) is connected to the question of Quraysh. It is narrated by Ubay bin Ka’b (may Allah be pleased with him) that the polytheists asked the Prophet (saws) to describe his God, so that this Surah was revealed. Thus, Allah (swt) denied the two connections that they know, the father and the son.
It is Surah An-Nur (The Light of the Qur’an) because it establishes the doctrine from which the method is taken from it.
It is also Surah Al-Wilayah (The Ally) since the one who believes in Allah’s oneness becomes His believer ally who does not ally except with Allah (swt).
After that, five attributes to Allah (swt): The One, The Eternal Refuge, Neither begets nor is born and to Him there is no equivalent. All will be explained.
The speech in this Surah is directed to the Prophet (saws) and his is the messenger. Here we see the honesty in conveying the message of Allah (swt), the Prophet (saws) did not omit the word (Say).
هُوَ (He): it is in the third person pronoun form, that is He is absent from you. As known the subject pronouns have three forms: first, second and third person pronouns. When the 1st person pronoun is used, for example when the speaker says: I did so and so, no one ask: Who are you because he is in front of you. However, for the 2nd person pronoun is used there has to be proceeded by any reference that indicates him. So that, we may ask here: Where is the reference? The reference is the faith and certainty of the servant that it is only applied to Allah (swt). So that, (Say, He is) the pronoun refers to the sublimity name of Allah (swt). For us Allah (swt) is unseen, but we witness Him by His creations.
اللَّهُ (Allah): The sublimity name of His Al-Mighty.
أَحَدٌ (The One): The Arabic nickname of Ahad means that He is unique in His oneness, He is a sole unique entity. No one is described by it except Allah (swt)
Allah (swt) is unseen light and cannot be percepted. Hence the pronoun (He) indicates that Allah (swt) is The One who cannot be seen in the way the creation can be seen. He is the One from whom nothing is hidden and who surrounds all things. He knows even the inner states, yet He is veiled from the creation’s perception.
 Jami’ Al-Ahadith Al-Qudsyah, hadith No. 42.
 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Oneness, hadith No. 6940.
 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of the prayer, hadith No. 741
 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of virtues of Qur’an, hadith No. 4726
 Musnad Imam ahmad, hadith no. 17372.