One translation of Surah Fatiha mentions the fifth verse as translated: “You alone do we worship and you alone do we turn to for help.” This made me ponder about the the closeness in this translation and the idea of being alone with Allah. We often hear that humans are alone in the universe, but in a sense, we are alone only with Allah–that is, I am alone with Allah alone. Being alone is awful but alhamdulilah being alone with Allah is such a blessing, so unlike anything else in this world.
“Alone” has all the connotations of tawhid, of love, of direct attention and uniqueness.
So I thought about this verse and kept ponder over the translation and translations. Say the below out loud and pause at the commas to help you think about the meanings of our relationship with Allah:
“You alone, do we worship and You alone, do we turn to for help”–only to Him, only Him.
You, alone do we worship, and You, alone do we turn to for help”–implies weakness, helplessness and loneliness; bi ghayrillah–my heart is empty of others, our heart is full of remembrance of Him.
“You, alone, do we worship and You, alone, do we turn to for help”–meaning, me and my Lord, are alone together
You alone.–we only turn to you alone, a statement
You alone–I turn to you all alone, and you alone, us alone. In prayer and in my heart.
Wa huwa ma’akum ayna ma akuntum
Allah is with you wherever you go (57:4)
La illaha–Qabd (contraction of one’s heart or soul–al-Qabid)
illallah–Bast (expansion of one’s heart or soul, for He is al-Basit, the Expander, God’s Name is Expansion)
Everything that is not Allah (la illaha), is (ilallah) solitary and alone connected to Allah. “Allahu nuras samawati wa’l ardh- Allah is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth” (Quran). Everything is alone with Allah–everything glorifies Allah–how could anything glorify Him continually unless it were solely focused on Him, always, alone. Only through Allah would anything have its life and itsself.
I feel as if that the idea of “but, except, save,”–the idea of an exception or outlier, were created for Allah- so we would understand His Magnificence, many are exceptional but all excellence/exceptionalism leads to the Most Exceptional, is Allah- like a Path to Him. If there was no idea or notion of an exception…we would have difficulty valuing anything or valuing our relationship with Allah. ‘Except’ is the Sirat al-Mustaqeem, it denotes distinguishing, distinctions, aql, and hidhr (anxiety), and wara (caution), it denotes justice and the putting of things in their proper place and it denotes intellect, with conviction and sincerity. ‘Except’ is the exceptional nature of the Quran, the Prophets, the salihin…all of whom are exceptional but for the sake of Allah. “If you obey most of those on earth, they will lead you astray from the path of Allah” (Quran, 6:116)
ilallah– but Allah, when the earth quakes, when tornados happen, when death comes, when the la illaha of normality/Reality is interrupted with the Real, illallah (but God).
Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, ameen.