[Tafsir Ibn Katheer] Explanation of the verse "You we worship, and You we ask for help from"

Posted on October 8, 2010

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Explanation of the Verse “You we worship, and You we ask for help from”

The Merit of stating the Object of the Action before the Doer of the Act, and the Merit of these Negations



“You…”, means, we worship You alone and none else, and rely on You alone and none else. This is the perfect form of obedience and the entire religion is implied by these two ideas. Some of the Salaf said, Al-Fatihah is the secret of the Qur’an, while these words are the secret of Al-Fatihah,

﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴾
(5. You we worship, and You we ask for help from.)
The first part is a declaration of innocence from Shirk (polytheism), while the second negates having any power or strength, displaying the recognition that all affairs are controlled by Allah alone. This meaning is reiterated in various instances in the Qur’an. For instance, Allah said,
﴿فَاعْبُدْهُ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَيْهِ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ﴾
(So worship Him (O Muhammad ) and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you (people) do.) (11:123),
﴿قُلْ هُوَ الرَّحْمَـنُ ءَامَنَّا بِهِ وَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا﴾
(Say: “He is the Most Gracious (Allah), in Him we believe, and in Him we put our trust.”) (67:29),
﴿رَّبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلاً ﴾
((He alone is) the Lord of the east and the west; La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He).
So take Him alone as Wakil (Disposer of your affairs)), (73:9), and,
﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴾
(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).
We should mention that in this Ayah, the type of speech here changes from the third person to direct speech by using the Kaf in the statement Iyyaka (You). This is because after the servant praised and thanked Allah, he stands before Him, addressing Him directly;
﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴾
(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).
So take Him alone as Wakil (Disposer of your affairs)), (73:9), and,
﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴾
(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).
We should mention that in this Ayah, the type of speech here changes from the third person to direct speech by using the Kaf in the statement Iyyaka (You). This is because after the servant praised and thanked Allah, he stands before Him, addressing Him directly;
﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴾
(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).


Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah (Oneness in Worship)

Ad-Dahhak narrated that Ibn `Abbas said,

﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ﴾

(You we worship) means, “It is You whom we single out, Whom we fear and Whom we hope in, You alone, our Lord, and none else.


Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah (Oneness in Lordship)

﴿وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ﴾

(And You we ask for help from), to obey you and in all of our affairs.” Further, Qatadah said that the Ayah,

﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴾

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from) “Contains Allah’s command to us to perform sincere worship for Him and to seek His aid concerning all of our affairs.” Allah mentioned,

﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ﴾

(You we worship) before,

﴿وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ﴾

(And You we ask for help from), because the objective here is the worship, while Allah’s help is the tool to implement this objective. Certainly, one first takes care of the most important aspects and then what is less important, and Allah knows best.


The Summary of Surah Al-Fatihah

The honorable Surah Al-Fatihah contains seven Ayat including the praise and thanks of Allah, glorifying Him and praising Him by mentioning His most Beautiful Names and most high Attributes. It also mentions the Hereafter, which is the Day of Resurrection, and directs Allah’s servants to ask of Him, invoking Him and declaring that all power and strength comes from Him. It also calls to the sincerity of the worship of Allah alone, singling Him out in His divinity, believing in His perfection, being free from the need of any partners, having no rivals nor equals. Al-Fatihah directs the believers to invoke Allah to guide them to the straight path, which is the true religion, and to help them remain on that path in this life, and to pass over the actual Sirat (bridge over hell that everyone must pass over) on the Day of Judgment. On that Day, the believers will be directed to the gardens of comfort in the company of the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs and the righteous. Al-Fatihah also encourages performing good deeds, so that the believers will be in the company of the good-doers on the Day of Resurrection. The Surah also warns against following the paths of misguidance, so that one does not end up being gathered with those who indulge in sin, on the Day of Resurrection, including those who have earned the anger and those who were led astray.


Ref: http://www.qtafsir.com

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