You I worship and You I seek strength from

In surah al-Fatiha, iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nasta’in. What does iyyaka na’budu mean? You we worship. What does iyyaka nasta’in mean? Iyyaka means what? Just the word iyyaka. You. Na’bud means what? Worship, we worship. You, we worship – that’s if you want to translate it literally. Iyyaka na’bud – na’bud is from ibadah right? Iyyaka na’bud – You, we worship. Have you ever contemplated that? Isn’t it supposed to say, “We worship you,”? Why is He saying iyyaka na’bud? You, we worship. Is there a message? What’s the message? It’s You. Not “we worship” that matters. It’s You! If we don’t see You, it makes no difference what we worship. It’s You. Iyyaka. Then comes na’bud, then na’bud. If you don’t see Him, what do you worship? You’re not worshipping anything. What is the definition of ihsan? That you worship Him as if you are seeing Him. Seeing who? Him. What do you mean iyyaka na’bud – You, we worship. Does that make sense? Because if you worship Him as if you’re seeing Him, are you seeing anything else but Him? No, you are worshipping Him as if you are seeing Him. Only Him. There is only iyyaka na’bud.

And then you say what? Iyyaka nasta’in. And that is also strange. You’re saying, “I seek strength from You”. You we worship, You we seek strength from. It’s like the salaah. What’s the secret of the salaah? What’s the most important part of the salaah? The sir (secret) of the salaah. Sincerity! Ikhlaas – you have no sincerity, you have no salaah. Iyyaka na’bud – You we worship, but wait, Wa iyyaka nasta’in. You we seek strength from so we can do iyyaka na’bud. “Iyyaka nasta’in”, so we can do “iyyaka na’bud.” Does that make sense? Because the salaah is there, iyyaka na’bud, but the secret of the salaah is “iyyaka nasta’in” – You I seek strength from so I can do iyyaka na’bud. Without you I cannot even do iyyaka na’bud. You I worship, but if it wasn’t You that gave me the strength, I couldn’t do “You I worship.” If it wasn’t You that taught me, I couldn’t do iyyaka na’bud. If it wasn’t You that sent me the Prophet, I couldn’t do iyyaka na’bud. If it wasn’t You that showed me how to do things, I couldn’t do iyyaka na’bud. If it wasn’t You that is in charge of everything and because of You I am here, I couldn’t do even iyyaka na’bud.

-Sayyidi Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al Husayni al Ninowy