The next verse we come across is إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ “You alone we worship.” This is following the previous verse “Master of the day of the day of requital.” Following on logically from the previous verse it is now telling us that Allah being the master we should only worship him in order to pass the test. And once you realize that there is only one God, and only Allah can fulfill whatever your needs may be then it is only natural to turn to Allah only for help, hence the 2nd part of the verse وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ meaning “To You alone we pray for help.” This verse teaches us that we should only be worshipping Allah and to not even think about turning to anyone else, begging anyone else or even thinking that anyone else is capable to help us other than Allah.
This may sound very harsh however Allah says that he will forgive any sin besides Shirk, and shirk is associating others with Allah thinking they are capable of helping you whereas the ultimate help comes only from Allah. This doesn’t go against the principle that when you are praying to Allah that you mention the name of a Prophet or someone beloved to Allah in your prayer as a means of وصيلة (intercession) as a medium to ask for mercy.
Another point to take into consideration is that the 2nd part of the verse وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ (“To You alone we pray for help”) doesn’t indicate anything specific which we should ask help for, therefore the esteemed Ulama have come to the conclusion that it is asking for help generally whether it be about worldly things or not, about the deen, dunya or akhirah.
So from that we can take that acts of worship (‘Ibadah) are not limited merely to prescribed prayers or fasting. Imam al-Ghalzali says in his book Arba’in’ has enumerated ten forms which worship can take:
- Prescribed Alms-giving
- Hajj or pilgrimage to Makkah
- Reciting the Holy Qur’an
- Remembrance of Allah in all possible situations
- Earning one’s livelihood in accordance with the regulations of the Shariah
- Fulfilling one’s obligations towards one’s companions and neighbours
- Persuading people to act righteously and dissuading them from what is reprehensible and forbidden
- To follow the Sunnah, or the practice of the Holy Prophet
Therefore, not associating anyone with Allah in worship means that one should not love or fear or depend on anyone else as one loves , or fears or depends on Allah, nor should one repose one’s hope in anyone else, nor should one consider obedience or submission or service to another as obligatory as the worship of Allah, nor make a votive offering or consecrate or dedicate anything to anyone or take a vow in the name of anyone similar to the way one does these things in the case of Allah, nor should one show complete self-abasement and total humility before anyone as one is required to do before Allah, nor should one engage in the particular God-oriented acts of worship for anyone other than Allah, acts which symbolize the farthest limits of self-abasement, such as, ruku’ and sajdah (the bowing and prostrating in salah).
And Allah knows best.
I’m back after a long break