If you were asked to pick out 1 Ayah [verse] from the Qur’an to summarize Islam, which one would you choose? Which Surah would you turn to for that single Ayah that will offer Islam in nutshell? If I were you, I would look in the Surah that serves as the table of contents to the Qur’an– the Fatihah [Opening Chapter of the Qur’an].
Indeed, according to scholars a “quotation” [Ayah] from the book of Allah [SWT] that is befitting to appear on the flap to its dust cover, because it beautifully summarizes Islam is the ayah:
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِين
“You alone do we worship. And from You alone do we seek aid.” [Al Fatiha:5]
The Ayah speaks of Tawheed [montheism]–the belief in One God [Allah] alone. A God with no associates! No partners! No one but Allah! Yet, the ayah does not use the word “belief” in expressing this Tawheed, but rather uses the word “worship”. Makes you realize that the depth and breadth of our belief in Allah [SWT] does not stop at merely believing, for many believe in the existence of Allah [SWT] today as did the idol worshipers of Quraysh. But does that mean that they worship Him [SWT] alone? No. Rather healthy belief in Tawheed [monotheism] will translate into the comprehensive action called “worship”. Worship is putting belief into action. It is the manifestation of belief lodged in the heart. It is proof that belief exists in the heart. Furthermore, the word in Arabic for “Worship” comes from the root word ” ‘Abd” which means “Slave”. So in other words, not only are we slaves to Allah [SWT] but our actions should show [manifest] give evidence of that enslavement to Him [SWT]. We worship Him the way He wants to be worshiped. We do not turn to our whims and desires for counsel on how He [SWT] wants to be worshiped. That, believe it or not, is associating a partner with Allah [SWT]–that partner is you.
The second part of the ayah says ” And from You alone do we seek aid”–and the word “aid” [ Nasta’een ] in Arabic refers to aid/assistance in small matters. For as you know, at times of distress every human being turns to Allah [SWT] despite themselves, even atheists:
هُوَ الَّذِي يُسَيِّرُكُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا كُنتُمْ فِي الْفُلْكِ وَجَرَيْنَ بِهِم بِرِيحٍ طَيِّبَةٍ وَفَرِحُوا بِهَا جَاءَتْهَا رِيحٌ عَاصِفٌ وَجَاءَهُمُ الْمَوْجُ مِن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ أُحِيطَ بِهِمْ ۙ دَعَوُا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ لَئِنْ أَنجَيْتَنَا مِنْ هَٰذِهِ لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الشَّاكِرِينَ
“[Allah] it is who causes you to travel over land and sea; until, when you are in the ships, and they sail with [their passengers] with a fair breeze, and they are glad therein, a tempestuous wind reaches them, waves are coming at them from everywhere, and they think that they are overwhelmed therein; [then] they call to Allah, making their faith pure for Him [alone], ‘If You save us from this, we will surely be among the thankful!'” (Yunus, 10:22)
Islam calls for a believer in the Oneness of Allah to realize that he/she is a slave of Allah [SWT], who manifests that enslavement through worshiping Allah [SWT] the way He wants to be worshiped [as expressed through revelation in the Qur’an and the Narrations and Life of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)], and in the process seek His aid in every matter of his/her life–even those matters that he/she consider small and the trivial.
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