You Alone We Ask for Help

“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 atom’s weight of control over it. Again the object of the verb has been brought before the verb to stress this fact. “You Alone” has been repeated twice in the verse to emphasise that both worship and asking for help are matters that should be directed to Allah Alone; were the verse to read, ‘You Alone we worship and ask for help,’ it would then admit the possibility of asking other than Allah for help. (al-Kirmani, p112)

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask Allah, if you seek help, seek help with Allah…” (Ahmad)

To ask for help means that one has trust in, and dependence upon, the one being asked; this is none other than the meaning of tawakkul. (ibn al-Qayyim, p66)  Therefore in this statement following His saying, “You Alone we worship” lies an indication that it is not permissible to put out tawakkul in anyone except the One who deserves worship because no one else has control over the affairs. (ibn Kathir, vol 1, p48) This meaning which is alluded to here, is clearly explained in other verses: “So worship Him and put your trust in Him” (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…” (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.” (al-Muzzamil 73:9) “Say: He is the All-Merciful, we have believed in Him and put our trust in Him…” (al-Mulk 67:29)

The whole of the religion of Islam revolves around theses two principles: we do not worship any save Allah and we do not put our trust in anyone, or anything, save Him. These are the means to everlasting bliss and security from all evils, there is no path to success and everlasting felicity except by establishing theses two pillars. (ibn Kathir, vol 1, p48) It is for this reason that some of the Salaf said, ‘The secret of the Quran lies in al-Fatihah and its secret is the verse, “You Alone do we worship and You Alone we ask for help.” 

“You Alone do we worship” has been mentioned before “You Alone we ask for help” because worship is the intended goal and the help of Allah is the route to attaining that goal, hence the most important thing has been mentioned worst. It is as if the servant is saying, ‘I have commenced this action of worship and I seek your help in completing it.’ If it is asked, ‘Why mention seeking help after mentioning worship when it is known that seeking Allah’s help to perform an action of worship should occur before that action?’ The answer to this is that what is required before the action of worship is the tawfiq, or divine accord, of Allah, whereas help is required for the duration of the action of worship. Another reason given is that the wording is by way of mentioning the general before the specific, (i.e. seeking help is part of worship) and to show that attention should be given to Him, Exalted is He, right before the right of His servant. This is because worship is something that Allah commands of us whereas help is something we require from Him. (as-Sama’ani)

In this verse the asking of aid has been mentioned, but exactly in what has been left unmentioned, (i.e. the objects of the verb ‘we ask for help’ have been omitted) this is so as to generalise the meaning of the verse to all actions, in the same way that we previously discussed for the basmAllah. The same applies to the statement, ”we worship”.

Ibn Taymiyyah said, ‘I pondered the most beneficial supplication and I found it to be asking Allah to help us in doing that which pleases Him; this I found in the verse, “You Alone do we worship and You Alone we ask for help.” (ibn al-Qayyim)

Those who are closest to Allah are those who fulfilled this verse the most. The Prophet, peace be upon him, out of love for him, said to Muadth,

“O Muadh! By Allah! I love you and I enjoin you never to leave saying these words at the end of every prayer, ‘O Allah! Help me in remembering You, thanking You and making good my worship of You.'” (Abu Dawud 1522)

The Spiritual Cure: An Explanation of Surah Al-Fatihah prepared and translated by Abu Rumaysah Pages 120-124