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      Tafseer - Explanation of the Qur'aan

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        ·           The saying of the Exalted, "You Alone we worship, You Alone we seek help”

 Recitation - It is prohibited to recite ‘Iyaka’ because the meaning of ‘Iyaka’ is the light of sun, instead, it should be recited as ‘Iyyaka’ with a Shaddah on the Yaa. [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

 Meaning of the Word Ebadah - Linguistically ‘ibaadah’ is derived from ‘abada’ which in Arabic Language means to be low or humbled, while in the Islamic Terminology (Islamic Laws) it is a comprehensive term referring to the utmost love of Allah with utmost submission. Its consists of seven Pillars:

         ·         Knowledge - Ilm – Knowledge of its meaning – Negation and Affirmation  
Certainity - Al-Yaqeen – Certainity that it is the perfect knowledge of it that counteracts suspicions and doubt.  
Sincerity - Al-Ikhlas - Sincerity that negates Shirk  
Truthfulness – Al-Sidq – The truth that permits neither falsehood nor hypocrisy.  
Love – Al-Muhabbah – Love for this statement (Kalima), its meaning and happiness with it. 
Submission – Al-Inqiad – Sincerity to its rightful requirements, which are the duties that must be performed with sincerity with Allah (Alone) seeking His pleasure. 
Acceptance – Al-Qubool – Acceptance that contradicts rejection. 


Mentioning ‘You Alone do we worship’ before ‘You Alone do we ask for help’

This is because of Two reasons:  
1. Worship is the intended goal of the creation of mankind and Jinn and the Aid (help) of Allah is the route (way) to attaining that goal, hence the most important thing has been mentioned first. This has been clearly mentioned in the Final Revelation: "I have created the jinn and mankind only for My worship" [Soorah Az-Zaariyaat (51): 56]

2. Another reason given is that the wording is by a way of mentioning the general before the specific and to show that attention should be given to Allah's Right over the right of His servant.

General - is the Right of Allah, which is general (common) on all His Slaves that they worship Him Alone 
- Specific is the right of those slaves on Allah, those who worship Allah Alone and do not set up rivals with Him in His worship. In accordance to the following hadeeth: Narrated Muadh bin Jabal (radiyallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said, "O Mu'adh! Do you know what Allah's Right upon His slaves is?" I said, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet said, "To worship Him (Allah) Alone and to join none in worship with Him (Allah). Do you know what their right upon Him is?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet said, "Not to punish them (if they do so)." [Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol.9, # 470]

 Mentioning of Allah as a second person - This verse employs an address to Allah in the second person and this is most fitting at such an occasion because when one praises and supplicates to Allah, then He is near and responsive. As Allah says in the Qur’aan:  "When My servants asks you concerning Me then I am close. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me." [Soorah Al-Baqarah (2): 186]

The previous verses were in the third person as they were informing us about Allah. Another explanation given is that the style of the verses has changed from the third person to second person in order to stimulate (arouse) and awaken the reciter such that his attention is drawn to the content of the verse

 Referring the reciter as 'we worship'

 The answer lies in the fact that the wise Sharee`ah has legislated many actions of worship to be done in congregation, and Indeed the congregational prayer is from the greatest of means to removing sectarian differences and prejudice based upon ones color, race or land. Through the congregational prayer the Muslims attain mutual love, respect and brotherhood.

Furthermore, it has also been recommended for the servant of Allah to supplicate for his Muslim brothers, and glad tidings are promised as known from the following ahadeeth:

Narrated Abu ad-Dardaa (radiyallahu anhu): “Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: "There is no Muslim who supplicates for his brother in his absence except that the Angels say: the same for you as well." [Saheeh Muslim Eng. Trans v 4 # 6588]

Narrated Abu ad-Dardaa (radiyallahu anhu): “Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: "The supplication of a Muslim for his brother in his absence is answered. At his head is the Angel commissioned [for conveying the supplication to Allah], whenever he supplicates for good for his brother the Angel says: & for you is the same. [Saheeh Muslim 4 #6590]

 We Learn – Fundamentals of Negation and Affirmation

This verse points to the fulfillment of the meaning of Laa ilaaha illaa Allah (there is none worthy of worship except for Allah) for its meaning is comprised of two pillars: A Negation and an Affirmation.

 Negation: Denying every single object of worship to be worthy of any kind of worship except Allah, contained in the words ‘laa ilaaha.’

Affirmation: Affirming all the worship for Allah Alone, contained in the words ‘illa Allah.’

 Explanation: This negation in the laa ilaaha illaa Allah was indicated by placing the object of worship first in the verse such that it reads "You Alone…”. It is established in the rules of the Arabic language that placing the object first in a sentence is one of the ways of confining the meaning of the verb to the object alone.

The affirmation part of the kalima was indicated in His saying, ‘we worship’. 

 Allah, the Exalted, has explained this meaning which is indicated here in detail elsewhere. For example His saying: 'O Mankind! Worship your Lord who created you. "So do not set up rivals with Allah while you know.’ [Baqarah (2): 21]

Affirmation - ‘worship your Lord’ Negation "So do not set up rivals with Allah"

 He said: ‘We have indeed sent a Messenger to every people saying: “worship Allah and leave all that is worshipped besides Him’ (16:36)

Affirmation -‘worship Allah. Negation ‘& leave all that is worshipped besides Allah’.

 He says: "And whosoever rejects all that is worshipped besides Allah and believes in Allah has held onto the most trustworthy handhold’ [Soorah Al-Baqarah (2): 256]

Negation - ‘whosoever rejects all that is worshipped besides Allah’ and Affirmation - ‘and believes in Allah’.

 Allah has set similar examples in no uncertain verse of the Qur'aan for example refer to these verses of the Qur’aan: [Az-Zukhruf (43): 26-27] [Al-Anbiyaa (21): 25] [Az-Zukhruf (43): 45]

 Two conditions for the worship to be accepted - There are two conditions for the acceptability of an action. Firstly that is purely for Allah Alone and secondly that it is correct, i.e. confirming to Share’ah (Islamic Laws i.e. according to the way of Prophet Muhammad)

         ·          Worship should be done with the intention of worshipping Allah Alone. (Ikhlas)

Any kind of worship: actions similar to the prayers like standing with forded arms, bowing, offering charity, retreat (Itikaaf), complaint, seeking help, reliance should be done for Allah Alone.

Because of the saying of the Prophet Muhammad " All actions are tied to the itentions. And every person will get that which he intended…" [Saheeh al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim]

        ·          Worship should be in accordance to the commands of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an and the Sunnah). 

Everything should be according to the Commands and Laws of Allah Alone. To ignore the Commands and Laws of Allah and follow the commands of other then Allah, be it one’s own or of one’s own ancestry religion, will be polytheism in worship: As Allah says in the Qur’aan: “Have you (O Muhammad) seen him who has taken as Ilah’ (god) his own desires?” [Soorah Al-Furqan (25): 43]

By the hadeeth reported in Saheeh Muslim from Aa`ishah (radiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: Whosoever does an action that we have not commanded then it must be rejected.” [Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 3/931 no. 4266]

"So whosoever hopes for the meeting with His Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of His Lord " [Soorah Al-Kahf (18): 110] [1]

If someone is obeyed while he makes Haraam what Allah has made Halaal or vice-versa, it is worship:

Adee Ibn Hateem (radiyallahu anhu) narrated that he heard the Prophet reciting the verse: “They (Jews and Christians) have taken their rabbis and monks to be as Lords besides Allah.” [Soorah at-Tawbah (9): 31] He said ‘We didn’t worship them” the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “Did they not make Haraam what Allah made Halaal and you all made it Haraam, and they made Halaal what Allah made Haraam and you all made it Haraam?” He replied “Certainly.” The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “That is your worship to them” [At- Tirmidhee, vol. 3, no. 2471]

Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah OR Tawheed al-Ebadah - Maintaining the Unity of Allah in Worship

Unity in worship is to believe that He is without rivals in His Divinity and Worship. To direct all forms of worship oral, fiscal and of body should be for Allah Alone such as supplication, oblation (offerings, sacrifice), seeking help, prostration and obedience. Allah emphasized the importance of directing worship to Him alone by pointing out that this was the main purpose of man’s creation. As Allaah says in the Qur’aan: “ I did not create Jinn and mankind except for My Worship” [Soorah Ad-Dharia (51): 56]

        ·           The saying of the Exalted, ‘You Alone we ask for help’

Meaning - that we do not seek aid from anyone but You because the affair in its totality is under Your control Alone, no one else has even an atoms weight of control over it. Again the object of the verb has been brought before the verb to stress this fact.


Mentioning ‘You Alone we ask for help’ after, ‘You Alone we worship’ lies an indication that it is not permissible to put our trust in anyone except the One Who deserves worship because no one else has control over the affairs. This meaning which is indicated here is clearly explained in other verses, like His sayings:

“So worship Him and put your trust in Him’ [Soorah Yusuf (12): 123]

“But if they turn away, say: Allah is sufficient for me, none has the right to be worshipped but Him, in Him I put my trust’ [Soorah Tawbah (9): 129]

 ‘The Lord of the East and the West, none deserves to be worshipped but Him, so take Him as the Disposer of your affairs’ [Soorah Al-Muzzammil (73): 9]

 ‘Say: He is the Most Beneficent, we have believed in Him and put our trust in Him’ [Soorah Al-Mulk (67): 29][2]

[1] It is in this respect that Imaam Ahmad said that the foundation of the religion is built upon three ahaadeeth:

1. "Verily actions are by intention."

2. "Whosoever introduces into this affair of ours that which is not part of it then it is rejected."

3. "The halaal is clear and the haraam is clear."

For the whole religion is based upon doing the commanded actions and staying away from the forbidden actions and stopping at the doubtful matter. Fulfilling two matters perfects all of this:

1. That outwardly the action be done as taught by the Sunnah, and this is to be found in the hadeeth of Aa`ishah, "whosoever introduces into this affair of ours that which is not part of it then it is rejected."

2. That inwardly the action be done seeking the Face of Allah, as is contained in the hadeeth, "verily actions are by intention." Ibn Rajab, ‘Jaami al-Ulum wal Hikam’ [1/29]

[2] The whole of the religion of Islaam revolves around these two principles: we do not worship except Allah and we do not put our trust in anyone or anything except Allah. These are the means to everlasting bliss and security from all evils – so there is no path to victory except by establishing these two pillars. It is for this reason that some of the Salaf said,

The secret of the Qur`aan lies in al-Faatihah and its secret is the verse, ‘You Alone do we worship and You Alone we ask for help.’

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