Question: I have seen in some translations of the fifth verse of Sura al-Fatiha the following: “You ˹alone˺ we worship and You ˹alone˺ we ask for help.” Does that mean we cannot ask other people for help, or does this mean that we only make dua to Allah?
Asking For Help
Thank you for your question. There is no harm in asking for the help of others, but one must understand that all help originates from Allah, and Allah uses His servants as instruments to send His help.
Kashf al-Asrar (a Tafseer) explains the verse like this:
“Thee alone we worship. It has been said that this is sheer tawhid, and that it is the belief that nothing other than God is worthy of worship. The worshipper knows that Lordhood is fitting for God and that He is an object of worship without peer, for He is unique and one.
And Thee alone we ask for help. This is an allusion to the recognition of the recognizers. It is recognizing that He is solitary in all acts and that the servant cannot get along by himself without His help. The root of this tawhid and the basis of this recognition is that you recognize the Real’s being and oneness; then His ability, knowledge, and loving kindness; then His beautiful doing, friendship, and nearness. The first is the foundation of the submission, the second the foundation of faith, the third the foundation of self-purification.”
Taseer al Jalalayn (a shorter Tafseer) explains it like this, “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 (tawhīd) and so on and we ask for Your assistance in worship and in other things.”
Hadith About Asking For Help
Consider the position of those who refrain from asking out of humility and trust in Allah. See their reference here:
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri narrated that some of the Ansar asked the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, (for help) and he gave them. Then they asked him and he gave them, then when he had run out he said, “Whatever I have of good, I will never keep it from you, but whoever wants to refrain from asking, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, will help him to do so, and whoever wants to be patient, Allah will help him to be patient. None is ever given anything better and more far-reaching than patience.“ [Nasa’i]
Please consider taking the following free courses to better understand the Fatiha:
Also, please see this link about the virtues and meanings of the Fatiha:
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.