Seeking the divine (1:5)

seeking the divine

How do we seek help from Allah? Can we invoke help from the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him)?

You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help. (1:5)

Once we have praised Allah Almighty and recognised that He is the source of everything we have, we turn to Him in worship and need. There is an emphasis on the fact we worship Allah exclusively inherent in the structure of the sentence: ‘You alone do we worship, from You alone do we seek help.’ The alternative construction would be ‘na’buduka’, we worship You, but this does not imply that we could not also worship others, whilst ‘Iyyaka na’budu’ is literally: ‘You we worship (and none other than You).’ Allah Almighty is reinforcing tawheed (His oneness).

How understanding one ayah can change the value of ordinary deeds

Worshipping Allah Almighty is not limited to the five pillars. Everything we do becomes a form of worship with the right knowledge and correct intention. Even going to work and looking after our children, relaxing or meeting friends can count. We worship Allah Almighty through our words, thoughts, actions and ‘tafakkur’ (reflection), which is a commonly forgotten form of worship. Allah Almighty asks us over and over again in the Qur’an, ‘Afala tatafakkarun?’

In Surah Al An’am:

‘Do you not reflect?’ (6:50)


The core of this ayah is, therefore, tawheed. It links belief in the Oneness of Allah Almighty with the purity of our ibadah and all our actions through worshipping Him alone.

Regarding iyyaka nasta’een, we are asking Allah Almighty alone for His help. We may receive assistance through other means, such as through people, but who has enabled them to help us? It is none other than Allah Almighty. We should be grateful to people, however, when we feel indebted to others for doing this for us without connecting this favour back to Allah Almighty, this is wrong.

Taking the example of medicine, we should believe that the cure is from Allah Almighty and know that He could cure us without any medicine. The medicine is just a means to achieving the cure, while the true cure and help derive from Allah Almighty. We are dealing with the means, with cause and effect, but He Almighty is the ultimate Cause, the Creator of the means, supporting us and facilitating our affairs.

How and whom can we ask for help?  Can we ask the Prophet (peace be on him)? In his lifetime, it was acceptable to address him as ‘Ya Rasoolallah!’ meaning ‘Oh Messenger of Allah!’ Tawassul refers to the concept of seeking intercession and help through the Prophet (peace upon him) both in his lifetime and after his death. We can use whatever is authentic about tawassul.

Tawassul was practiced during the lifetime of our blessed Prophet (peace be on him). Following his death, there was disagreement regarding its permissibility. To believe that the Prophet (peace be on him) can influence a situation because of his supernatural power is incorrect. However, to consider that, due to his status (maqam), Allah Almighty will amplify His mercy towards you is acceptable. Sadly, there are two extremes in the practice of tawassul. There are those who will make tawassul through the awliyaa (friends of Allah Almighty) and even ask at graves, which may constitute shirk, for we ask from none other than Allah Almighty.  The other extreme is those who have even replaced the tahiyyatus salah with ‘As salamu ‘ala an nabiyyi’ instead of the authentically narrated ‘As salamu ‘alayka ya ayyuha an nabiyyu.’ We should not take risks with our ibadah. In this dunya, we must seek tawassul through the limits prescribed by Allah Almighty and through the love Allah Almighty has for our blessed Prophet (peace be upon him).  Of course he was strengthened above ordinary men by the Will of Allah, we do not believe that anyone has the power to influence our lives but Allah Almighty.

When we worship Allah Almighty with sincerity and follow His commands with obedience, He gives us the guidance that we seek and through it the remedy for all our problems. If we work hard, co-operate with each other and connect with Allah Almighty we can change the mind set of younger generations. And it is possible that we can change the course of history, bringing hope in our troubled world.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Tafseer Class. Transcribed by Saania Bhatti

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.