1:5 You alone we worship

… إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ

Iyyaaka na’budu …
Thee (alone) we worship;…

-Surah Al-Fatihah, Ayah 5


After teaching His servant to praise Him and mentioning His superior attributes and roles, Allah continues with this phrase stating the specific relationship between Him and His servant.

Iyyaaka Na’budu

Iyyaaka means You alone.

Na’budu is derived from the word ‘abada which mean to serve, worship, adore, venerate, obey, accept the impression of a thing, submit and devote.

Na’budu means we worship.

Thus the phrase means You alone we worship.

The reason Allah mention the object (i.e Allah) before the subject (i.e we) is to emphasise that the worship is for Allah and Allah alone.

In previous ayahs, the speech is referring to Allah as the third person. Now it changes to second person because after praising Allah, the servant now will continue with his request and this phrase is the transition.

Allah instructed His servants to use plural i.e. we, instead of I, indicating that Islam or religion in general is not a strictly personal matter but will affect society as a whole.

Although the ayah is not strictly in command form, indirectly Allah is instructing His servants to worship Him alone and never ascribe partners to Him.

On another note, Allah uses the word ‘abd (servant) for his prophet a few times in the Quran. This indicates that serving Allah is one of the most important roles of the prophets.

Tawhid Uluhiyyah

The third dimension of God’s singularity is Tawhid uluhiyyah: belief in Allah’s oneness in His right to be worshipped.
The logic behind this is due to His oneness in ownership, power and all other attributes i.e tawhid rububiyyah and asma wa sifat.

Uluhiyyah refers to:
1. Worship in awe and adoration
2. Servitude
3. Submission

Worship, servitude and submission to Allah are the main objectives of Islamic laws, our relationships with society and environment, our ethics and value system.

Allah should always be prioritised. Sometimes we put work or family before Allah, which indirectly shows how we positioned Allah in our hearts. Forgive us God.

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