Dear brothers/sisters, Assalamu Alaikum. I was thinking of writing on this inspiring topic since a long time and today, alhamdulillah, I am able to make it. Please read on, Inshaa’Allah.
Can there be any Salah (prayer) without the recitation of Surah al Fatihah? NO, right?
Do you know that every time we recite Surah al Fatihah, we Muslims make a commitment to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala: That we worship Him Alone and we seek help from Him Alone!
“You alone do we worship, and You alone do we turn for help” (Surah al Fatihah, 1:5)
Isti’aanah is an important concept in Islam. It is, in fact, an act of worship.
Musta’aan, Ta’awun, Nasta’een. Let us learn these words first before understanding the imaan-boosting Qur’anic phrase/concept: Wal-laahul Musta’aan. Don’t worry, this post is not going to be long, Inshaa’Allah
The Arabic words mentioned above come from the root word ‘awana, ‘awn, ayn-waw-noon. It means ‘to assist, help, aid, support’.
Isti’aanah means ‘seeking help’. Islamically, it means ‘seeking help exclusively from Allah’.
Nasta’een means ‘we seek help, assistance’. Islamically, it means ‘We seek help from Allah Alone’.
Ta’aawun means ‘help one another, co-operate with one another’.
Musta’aan means ‘one whose help is sought’.
So Wal-laahul Musta’aan means ‘Allah is the One Whose Help is Sought’.
We need to say Wal-laahul Musta’aan very frequently, especially when someone utters any blasphemy or when falsehood is presented as truth. It is also to be said when one is faced with any calamity or difficulties.
We come across this phrase in two places in the glorious Qur’an.
1. It was said by Prophet Yaqoob (alaihis salam) when his evil sons came lying at his face showing false blood on the shirt of his beloved son, Yusuf:
“And they brought upon his shirt false blood. [Yaqoob] said, “Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe.” (Surah Yusuf: 12: 18)
That is to say: You have described something that surely did not take place. No wolf ate up my son Yusuf. I will turn to Allah to help me against what you have described.
Yaqoob felt helpless, but at the end of the day what can he do? These were his sons, and he loves them. And they take care of him. All that he could do was to turn to Allah and seek His help in finding Yusuf. This shows us that the believer is never alone and that the believer is never without help.
2. It was said by Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) when the unbelievers uttered blasphemies:
“[The Prophet] has said, “My Lord, judge [between us] in truth. And our Lord is the Most Merciful, the One Whose help is sought against that which you describe.” (Surah al Anbiyaa: 21: 112)
In the first ayah, it is Wal-laahul Musta’aan. In the second ayah, it is Wa Rabbunar Rahmaanul Musta’aan. See the connection. Subhanallah!
Allah is al Musta’aan: Allah is the One Whose help is sought. And He Whose help is sought, is our Lord. And He Who is our Lord, is full of Compassion and Mercy.
Whoever turns to Allah for help, Allah will be sufficient for him. Whoever asks Allah for protection, Allah will be sufficient for that person. There must not be any iota of doubt whatsoever in this regard!
Read this inspiring hadeeth:
عن ابنِ عباسٍ رضي الله عنهما ، قَالَ : كنت خلف النَّبيّ يوماً ، فَقَالَ : « يَا غُلامُ ، إنِّي أعلّمُكَ كَلِمَاتٍ : احْفَظِ اللهَ يَحْفَظْكَ ، احْفَظِ اللهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ ، إِذَا سَألْتَ فَاسأَلِ الله ، وإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ باللهِ . وَاعْلَمْ : أنَّ الأُمَّةَ لَوْ اجْتَمَعَتْ عَلَى أنْ يَنْفَعُوكَ بِشَيءٍ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوكَ إلا بِشَيءٍ قَدْ كَتَبهُ اللهُ لَكَ ، وَإِن اجتَمَعُوا عَلَى أنْ يَضُرُّوكَ بِشَيءٍ لَمْ يَضُرُّوكَ إلا بِشَيءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللهُ عَلَيْكَ ، رُفِعَتِ الأَقْلاَمُ وَجَفَّتِ الصُّحفُ » . رواه الترمذي ، وَقالَ : « حديث حسن صحيح »
Ibn Abbas (R.A) said: One day, I was riding behind the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said:
“O boy! I will instruct you in some matters. Protect the commandments of Allah, He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights, He will be ever with you. If you seek help, seek help from Allah alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to Allah Alone for help. And remember that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which Allah had foreordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allah had pre-destined against you. The pens had been lifted and the ink had dried up”. Read Hadeeth No. 62 Riyadhus Saliheen here
The phrase in the above hadeeth ‘If you seek help, seek help from Allah alone’ needs some explanation.
Seeking help from someone other than Allah is shirk, which is a heinous sin, in certain cases, and in certain cases, it is not a shirk. The phrase in the above hadeeth ‘If you seek help, seek help from Allah alone’ has two meanings:
1. If we need to ask from things concerning the sole right of Allah, then we need to ask from Allah alone. And none else!
What is specific to Allah alone, must be sought from Him alone. Like for example: seeking provisions, seeking blessings, seeking ease in one’s affairs. All of these things are for Allah alone. So we need to seek these things from Allah alone.
2. We are permitted to seek help from people, the creation of Allah. Like for example: seeking teacher’s help in understanding a lesson. Borrowing money from friends.
Co-operation and mutual help in matters of virtue and righteousness is in fact enjoined upon Muslims.
“And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression” (Surah al Maa’idah: 5:2) Read the ayah here
Please note that the need to turn to Allah first before turning to His creation in seeking help in a permissible matter, is very significant in Islam.
Seek help. Extend help. Cooperate and be cooperative – all in the perspective of Tawheed. That is, If you need to ask someone for something, for example: to help you find a lost item or to assist you in doing something that you cannot do it by yourself, then ask Allah first. O Allah, make this easy for me. O Allah help me complete this task. Turn to Allah first, before you turn to the creation of Allah. And if you turn to the creation of Allah in seeking help in permissible matters, then it must be from someone who is alive, present and capable of doing what you ask for.
Remember: And any help that comes from people, can only come through Allah!
Now you understand why we need to say Wal-laahul Musta’aan very often.
Allah is al Must’aan. Allah alone is worthy of seeking help. And His help alone must be sought in all matters of our life.
Let me conclude on an interesting note.
The Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage mentions one meaning of ‘awana to be ‘tall palm tree’.
What is palm tree doing here, you will be thinking, right?
Interestingly, there is this beautiful hadeeth in which our glorious Prophet sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam likens a Muslim to a palm tree.
The One Who Seeks Help From Allah, Stands Tall. As tall as a date palm tree!
The ones who worship others and seek help from taghoot, ‘false gods’, cannot stand at all – forget the question of they standing tall!!
Barakallahu Feekum and Jazakallahu Khayra for reading this post.