“And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out, and will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” Holy Qur’an, 13:28.ʿAbd Allah Ibn Mas’ud describes this verse as the greatest reliance on Allah and submission of one’s affairs to Him.
In a Hadith, the Prophet is reported to have said “If you all depend on Allah with due reliance, He would certainly give you provision as He gives it to birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with [a] full belly at dusk.”
We can extract many life lessons from the beautiful hadith. The foregoing hadith teaches us that tawakkul begins with the heart’s firm reliance on Allah. Strengthened with tawakkul, the believer sets forth on the path to attain his goal, be it safety, sustenance, knowledge, etc. One may not know where that path will take him, nor have the knowledge of how or when he will reach his goal, but his reliance on Allah keeps him steadfast with the certainty that Allah will provide, just as He does for the birds. No doubt this example depicts heightened vulnerability and need. The nest appears feeble and unable to withstand harsh weather and predators. The eggs are fragile and the bird has limited capacity and significant responsibility to shoulder. Yet, we see Allah’s perfection in His plan, His mercy, and generosity for all of His creation such that none who seeks from Him is returned empty-handed.
Tawakkul involves the coming together of both one’s spiritual and material means. AbūḤātim Al-Rāzī noted that the foregoing hadith teaches us that not only is tawakkul an essential component of faith, but it is also of the utmost importance in acquiring sustenance. It begins in the heart, and manifests in action, be it for survival, well-being, or any benefit. The means are those actions that are within the bounds of permissibility, beginning with seeking the help of Allah through acts of worship along with practical steps within one’s capacity. This may include seeking counsel and the help of trustworthy people: family, friends, and specialists in a particular field, such as medical professionals. Placing one’s trust in another person is called tawkīl, which is a category of the means one takes, while relying on Allah to provide both the means and the end result.
“And cooperate [assist one another] in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” Holy Qur’an 5:2.Thus, one carries out the actions while the heart remains firmly reliant on Allah. Trust that your provision is guaranteed, but you may have to struggle and strive for it. Every action and effort exerted with tawakkul is an action on the Path of Allah and is being recorded and rewarded. Hence, tawakkul supports the believer’s confidence, courage, strength, motivation and productivity because of their reliance on Allah to help them achieve their goals. “And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” Holy Qur’an, 62:10.
Duʿāʾ(Supplication)is the greatest act of worship and a significant component of tawakkul. “…so worship Him and rely upon Him. And your Lord is not unaware of that which you do.” Holy Qur’an, 11:123. Call upon Allah and when you do, pray with certainty that you will be heard and answered. “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Holy Qur’an, 40:60.Develop a meaningful connection with Allah, asking Him sincerely and with an understanding of the supplications in the Qur’an and Sunnah, along with your own heartfelt words. Internalize your du’a the way you may have internalized your anxiety and fear, and trust that Allah will turn your du’a into a means of relief and comfort. Duʿāʾ is the weapon of the believer, but it is only as strong as the one who recognizes how to best use it to maximize its benefit. We often make the mistake of limiting our duʿāʾ to our own limited perception. Don’t be afraid to ask Allah for anything, no matter the quantum or the size of the request. For He moves mountains for those who ask. Hence, tawakkul leads to a life of confidence and certainty. Tomorrow is not certain, but Allah surely is!
One may have the impression that tawakkul is only required during adversity. Rather, tawakkul is a constant state of the believer’s heart. All of us are in a constant need of Allah, and whether the test be that of prosperity or difficulty, all tests from Allah are opportunities for us to rely on Him. Tawakkul is a way of life for the believer—one that combines certainty of faith and contentment.
No doubt humanity is experiencing great turbulence today, both economic, health, instability and strife. We pray for the help of Allah to come soon with relief for all those affected. As difficult as it is to balance between staying informed of the current state of affairs and staying productive in trying times, when the news cycle is perpetual and distressful, when the afflictions are extreme,tawakkul in Allah is the greatest of gifts which reassures us and reminds us of exactly how to stay the course until we reach our ultimate destination. (Concluded).