The Key to Salvation
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
“It is You we worship and You we ask for help.”
If we take the time to contemplate upon “Maliki Yaumi-Deen”, it is a verse that should truly shake us! Many when they stand in prayer pay no attention to the words they utter. Those words never reach their hearts, but are an unconscious recitation of what they’ve memorized. “Will they not seek to understand this Quran or are there locks upon their hearts?” It is said that those focused and whose hearts are truly humbled in prayer are like a fish in water, and those who are not…are like a bird in a cage. So what will save us from the horrors of that terrifying day? The answer lies in the next verse, for the next verse summarizes Surah al-Fatihah - The greatest Surah in the Book! And al-Fatihah summarizes the Quran! “Iyyaka na’budu wa Iyyaka nasta’een” [You alone we worship, and unto You alone we turn for help] Every Prophet gave his people this key to salvation, “I have come to you with a plain warning, that you worship none but Allah; for verily, I fear for you the punishment of a grievous day!”
So what should be our ultimate goal in this life? To worship Allah and nothing else. For this is the reason we were created. And what are our means to attaining this goal? It is through seeking Allah’s help. And what is the most important aspect of worship? It’s sincerity of heart! That all that we are and all that we do is for Allah alone and no one else. To seek His pleasure only. Without that sincerity of intention, it would be as if you are a traveller journeying with bags of sand - carrying a heavy load, but a completely useless load! Make Allah alone your focus, not people, for what they think and say is irrelevant and cannot harm nor benefit you.
So if you were to be asked why you did what you did for any given deed/task, you can firmly answer ‘for Allah!’ and if asked ‘Sure, and for what else?’ You will affirm with certainty, “for nothing else!” “Shall we tell you who are the greatest losers in respect to their deeds? It is those whose labour has been wasted in this life while they thought they were doing good work...”
Sincerity pure to Allah will change your life! The time has come to correct our
intention in everything we do. The time has come to teach it to our children, so that every new thing they learn to do “is because Allah likes it!” and everything they are to refrain from doing “is because Allah doesn’t like it!” To learn that their rewards are with Allah alone, not with people. Indeed however, pure sincerity of intention is not easy to attain, but it is not impossible either because we have been taught the magic words “wa Iyyaka nasta’een” [and unto You alone we turn for help].
If Allah helps you, there is nothing you cannot do. It is all in His hands. Ask and He will grant you. After all, doesn’t He remind us that “you are all astray save for whom I guide!” “Iyyaka na’budu wa Iyyaka nasta’een” was a verse over which those who came before us would weep for hours. One of them was once praying in Makkah, his friend went ahead and did the tawaf and when he returned to him, he was still at this verse, repeating it and crying, till the sun came up.. “Iyyaka na’budu wa Iyyaka nasta’een”...let us pause and reflect on it for a while, let it cleanse any hypocrisy that has ever tainted our hearts.