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ARBNDEENIDTRUR
إِيَّاكَ
You Alone
نَعْبُدُ
we worship,
وَإِيَّاكَ
and You Alone
نَسْتَعِينُ
we ask for help.

Iyyaaka na'budu wa lyyaaka nasta'een

Sahih International:

It is You we worship and You we ask for help.

Ahmed Ali

You alone we worship, and to You alone turn for help.

Ahmed Raza Khan

You alone we worship and from You alone we seek help (and may we always).

Ali Ünal

You alone do We worship and from You alone do we seek help.

Amatul Rahman Omar

(Lord!) You alone do we worship and You alone do we implore for help.

A. J. Arberry

Thee only we serve; to Thee alone we pray for succour.

Abdul Majid Daryabadi

Thee alone do we worship and of Thee alone do we seek help,

Faridul Haque

Guide us on the Straight Path.

Hamid S. Aziz

Guide us in the Straight Path,

Hilali & Khan

You (Alone) we worship, and you (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).

Talal Itani

It is You we worship, and upon You we call for help.

English Literal

(Only) You we worship, and (only) You we seek help from .

Abul Ala Maududi

You alone do we worship, and You alone do we turn for help

Maulana Mohammad Ali

Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.

Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

You we worship, and You we ask for help.

Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help.

Ali Quli Qarai

You [alone] do we worship, and to You [alone] do we turn for help.

Qaribullah & Darwish

You (alone) we worship; and You (alone) we rely for help.

Muhammad Sarwar

(Lord), You alone We do worship and from You alone we do seek assistance

Mohammad Habib Shakir

Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.

Wahiduddin Khan

You alone we worship, and to You alone we turn for help.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.

Tafsir jalalayn

You [alone] we worship, and You [alone] we ask for help; that is to say, we reserve worship for You [alone] by way of acknowledging Your Oneness (tawhd) and so on, and we ask for [Your] assistance in worship and in other things.

Tafseer Ibn Kathir

You we worship, and You we ask for help.

Linguistically, `Ibadah means subdued.

For instance, a road is described as Mu`abbadah, meaning, `paved'. In religious terminology, `Ibadah implies the utmost love, humility and fear.

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 وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
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)

and,

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)

and,

رَّبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لَا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلً

(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 وإِيَّاكَ 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 وإِيَّاكَ 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 وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
You we worship, and You we ask for help from.

Al-Fatihah indicates the Necessity of Praising Allah. It is required in every Prayer

The beginning of Surah Al-Fatihah contains Allah's praise for Himself by His most beautiful Attributes and indicates to His servants that, they too, should praise Him in the same manner. Hence, the prayer is not valid unless one recites Al-Fatihah, if he is able.

The Two Sahihs recorded that Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Messenger of Allah said,

لَاا صَلَاةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ

There is no valid prayer for whoever does not recite Al-Fatihah of the Book.

Also, it is recorded in Sahih Muslim that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى

قَسَمْتُ الصَّلَةَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ فَنِصْفُهَا لِي وَنِصْفُهَا لِعَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ إِذَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ

Allah said,

`I divided the prayer into two halves between Myself and My servant, one half is for Me and one half for My servant. My servant shall have what he asks for.' When the servant says,
الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists,

Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.'

When the servant says,
الرَّحْمـنِ الرَّحِيم
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.'

When the servant says,
مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
The Owner of the Day of Recompense,

Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me.'

If the servant says,
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
You we worship, and You we ask for help,

Allah says, `This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asked.'

If the servant says,
اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيم
-

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّين
Guide us to the straight path. The path of those on whom You have bestowed Your grace, not (that) of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray,

Allah says, `This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he asked.'

Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah

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

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.

Allah called His Prophet an `Abd

Allah called His Messenger an Abd (servant) when He mentioned sending down His Book, the Prophet's involvement in inviting to Him, and when mentioning the Isra' (overnight journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and then to heaven), and these are the Prophet's most honorable missions.

Allah said,

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى أَنْزَلَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَـبَ

All praise and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His servant (Muhammad) the Book (the Qur'an), (18;1)

and,

وَأَنَّهُ لَّمَا قَامَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ يَدْعُوهُ

And when the servant of Allah (Muhammad) stood up invoking Him (his Lord ـ Allah in prayer), (72;19)

and,

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِى أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلً

Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) (above all that they associate with Him) Who took His servant (Muhammad ) for a journey by night. (17;1)

Encouraging the Performance of the Acts of Worship during Times of Distress

Allah also recommended that His Prophet resort to acts of worship during times when he felt distressed because of the disbelievers who defied and denied him.

Allah said,

وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضِيقُ صَدْرُكَ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ

فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَكُنْ مِّنَ السَّـجِدِينَ

وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ

Indeed, We know that your breast is straitened at what they say. So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death). (15;97-99)

Why Praise was mentioned First

Since the praise of Allah, Who is being sought for help, was mentioned, it was appropriate that one follows the praise by asking for his need. We stated that Allah said,

فَنِصْفُهَا لِي وَنِصْفُهَا لِعَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ

One half for Myself and one half for My servant, and My servant shall have what he asked.

This is the best method for seeking help, by first praising the one whom help is sought from and then asking for His aid, and help for one's self, and for his Muslim brethren by saying.
اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيم
Guide us to the straight path.

This method is more appropriate and efficient in bringing about a positive answer to the pleas, and this is why Allah recommended this better method.

Asking for help may take the form of conveying the condition of the person who is seeking help. For instance, the Prophet Moses said,

رَبِّ إِنِّى لِمَأ أَنزَلْتَ إِلَىَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ

My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me! (28;24)

Also, one may first mention the attributes of whoever is being asked, such as what Dhun-Nun said,

لااَّ إِلَـهَ إِلااَّ أَنتَ سُبْحَـنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّـلِمِينَ

La ilaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) be You (above all that they associate with You)! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers. (21;87)

Further, one may praise Him without mentioning what he needs.

The Meaning of Guidance mentioned in the Surah

اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيم
(