In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
The Islamic religion enjoins two affairs at the same time: it enjoins that one employs the beneficial means to (attaining goals), complete dependence upon Allaah for its benefit, acquiring benefits and repelling harms according to one’s ability.
Commentary: The author (i.e. Imaam As-Sadi) said that the Islamic religion enjoins two things at the same time: it enjoins that one employs the beneficial means to (attaining goals), complete dependence upon Allaah for its benefit, acquiring benefits and repelling harms according to one’s ability. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Be eager for what benefits you, seek help from Allah, and do not be frustrated. If something befalls you, then do not say: If only I had done something else. Rather say: Allah has decreed what he wills. Verily, the phrase ‘if only’ opens the way for the work of Satan”. [Ṣaḥeeh Muslim. Hadeeth Number 2664]
Therefore, what is required is that a person should always be eager for what benefits him (or her) in both the religion and worldly affairs, seek Allaah’s help and rely upon Allaah. Allaah said: [فَٱعۡبُدۡهُ وَتَوَڪَّلۡ عَلَيۡهِۚ – So worship Him (Allaah) and place your reliance on Him]. [Surah Hud. Aayah 123] [ إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ – You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)]. [Surah Al-Faatihah. Aayah 5] (1) (see footnote a)
Footnote a: [ إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ – You (Alone (i.e. Allaah) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)].
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: This Aayah necessitates knowledge of the path leading to (servitude), which is nothing else other than worshipping Allaah alone through what He loves and is pleasing to Him, and seeking His help to worship Him alone. (2)
[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ – You alone we worship] is based on four foundations: Fulfilling what is beloved and pleasing to Allaah and His Messenger- through speech of the tongue, belief in the heart, deeds of the heart and actions of the limbs. Therefore, [إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ – You alone we worship] is compliance with the rulings (attached) to these four foundations and consenting to them. On the other hand, [ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ – And you alone we ask for help] is to seek Allaah’s Aid and Assistance in these affairs and asking to be blessed with the ability to (act upon them). (3)
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy upon him) also said, “I used to hear Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] often saying: [إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ – You alone we worship] repels showing off, and [ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ – And you alone we ask for help] repels pride.(4)
Imaam Ash-Shanqeetee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: [إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ – You (Alone) we worship]: This statement actualises (or establishes) the meaning of [لَا إله إلا الله – There is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah] because its meaning is built upon two affairs- negation and affirmation. Negating all types of worship [devoted] to other gods besides Allaah (The Most High) and affirming that all legislated types of worship (i.e. in the Sharee’ah) are to be directed to the Lord of the Heavens and the earth (i.e. Allaah) alone. The meaning of the statement [إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ – You (Alone) we worship] has been affirmed (or established) in detail in other Aayaat, such as the statement of Allaah: [يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ – O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you]; so Allaah made that clear (i.e. affirmation that He alone has the right to be worshipped) in His statement, [اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ – Worship your Lord], and at the end of the Ayah He negated (worship directed to others besides Him) in His statement [فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ أَنْدَادًا وَأَنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ – Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped)] [Al-Baqarah 21-22]
Likewise Allaah’s statement: [وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ – And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah)]. So Allaah made it clear (i.e. that He alone has the right to be worshipped) in His statement [اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ – Worship Allah (Alone)] and He negated worship directed at others in His statement [وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ – avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah)] [An-Nahl Ayah 36]
Likewise Allaah’s statement: [ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انْفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ – Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break]. [2:256] He negated (worship directed at others) in His statement: [فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوت – Whoever disbelieves in Taghut] and He affirmed (that worship should be directed to Him alone) in His statement [وَيُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ – and believes in Allah].
Likewise Allaah’s statement:
وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ إِنَّنِي بَرَاءٌ مِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ
إِلَّا الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي
And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said to his father and his people: “Verily, I am innocent of what you worship, Except Him (i.e. I worship none but Allah Alone) Who did create me… [Az-Zukhruf Aayaat26-27]
And likewise Allaah’s statement: [ وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ – And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We inspired him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah)], so worship Me (Alone and no one else)]. [Al-Anbiyaa Ayah 25]
And likewise Allaah’s statement:
وَاسْأَلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رُسُلِنَا أَجَعَلْنَا مِنْ دُونِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ آلِهَةً
And ask (O Muhammad) those of Our Messengers whom We sent before you: “Did We ever appoint aliha (gods) to be worshipped besides the Most Beneficent (Allah)?”[Az-Zukhruf Ayah 45] And other Aayaat besides the above. (5)
[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ – You (Alone) we worship] is an fulfilment of the statement [لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ – There is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah], and the statement [وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ – and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything] is a fulfilment of the statement [لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِٱللَّٰهِ- There is no power nor might except with Allah]. (see footnote b) (6)
Footnote b: [لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِٱللَّٰهِ- There is no power nor might except with Allah]. Abu Moosaa Al-Ash’aree [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “The Messenger of Allaah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said to me, ‘O Abdullaah Bin Qais! Shall I tell you a word which is one of the treasures of Paradise? It is [لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ – (i.e. There is neither might nor power (to alternate from one state to another nor move from one thing to another) except by Allaah’s Will]'”. [Bukhaari 6384 & Muslim 2704]
Al-Harwee [may allaah have mercy upon him] said that Abu Haytham [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Al-Hawl (i.e. might) is Al-Harakah (movement), meaning, there is neither movement nor ability except by the Will of Allaah”. And it is said, “There is no might to repel evil nor any power to reach good except by the Will of Allaah”. (7)
Listen to: The levels of Reliance upon Allah by Shaikh Abu Hakeem Bilal Davis [may Allaah preserve him]: https://soundcloud.com/masjidassunnahaston/sets/the-levels-of-reliance-upon
[Ref 1: From 59mins 43 secs to 1hr 1min: 36secs. https://www.al-badr.net/detail/6y71LsHDZr paraphrased]
[Ref 2: Al-Fawaa-id: page: 41]
[Refs 3 and 4: Badaa-I At-Tafseer Al-Jaami Limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah: pages: Vol 1. pages 41 and 53]
[Ref 5: An Excerpt from ‘Tafseerul Qur’aan Bil-Qur’aan Min Adwaa Al-Bayaan’ pages 32-33. Daar Hady An-Nabawiy]
[Ref 6: Sharh Ad-Duroos Al-Muhimmah Li-Aammatil Ummah’ page15]
[Ref 7: Sharh Saheeh Muslim 4/87]