Tawakul is my strength: Trust and reliance in Allah

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As I struggled through my Covid illness (last week), I was resigned to the fact that it will take its course as designed by its creator. So, just turn to Him. I did so by reciting the prayer of Prophet Ayyub (alayhi salam) as he was struggling with a devastating illness, he said “My Lord, sickness has afflicted me, you are the Most Kind”. Notice how he doesn’t even say ‘heal me’, He knows the true definition of Tawakul. That’s what you call trust!

In English, trust means having a firm belief in the reliability of a person who is truthful, a confident expectation, a person or thing confided in. Imam Ghazali remarks that Tawakul has three meanings:

  1. It refers to accepting predestination, being satisfied with Divine providence and believing that whatever Allah has planned for one cannot be changed. Allah says in The Majestic Quran And in Allah let the believers, put their trust” (Ibrahim:11).
  2. It means to always rely on Allah’s help and support.
  3. It refers to putting trust in Allah to provide livelihood, provisions and your daily needs: “And whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him” (At Talaq:3) and “Once you have taken a decision then put your trust in Allah” (Ale ‘Imran:159).

Tawwakul is about trusting Allah with regards to your livelihood, health, well-being, honour and dignity, such that whatever happens you know that it is Allah’s will. One is convinced that the vital needs are in the control of the Lord. A heart full of confidence is the heart of a Mutawakil (the one who trusts Allah).

The one who puts his trust in Allah is like a bird

We depend on material possessions like our career, house, car, gadgets, wealth, reputation, family and friends. Therefore, our dependence on Allah lessens as our dependency on these material things increases. Shariah has discouraged us from being too materialistic, so it forbids hoarding things, taking interest (riba) and encourages giving charity to overcome our love of Dunya.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab reports that the Messenger (peace be upon him) discouraged us from being money-orientated and said: “If you trust Allah, He will provide for you as He provides for the birds, they leave their nests in the morning hungry and return with a full belly at dusk” (Tirmidhi). In another hadith, Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A group of men and women with hearts like the birds shall enter Paradise” (Muslim).

Another great example of Tawakul is the trust that Prophet Ibrahim had in his Lord, it is said that when he was about to be thrown into Nimrod’s pit of fire, Angel Jibrael offered to save him. But Prophet Ibrahim declined saying ‘My Lord is fully aware of my circumstances’. Ibn Abbas relates that when Ibrahim was thrown into the pit of fire, he said: ‘Allah alone is sufficient for us, and He is the best disposer of affairs’.

Putting your trust in Allah is a very powerful way to free your mind of worldly needs and worries, as well as showing your profound belief in the Divine providence. It is therefore an important pillar of spiritual intelligence as it reflects deep faith, a sense of dependency and trust in Allah.

Is Tawakul blind?

Narrated by Imam Tirmidhi this hadith outlines the story of a Bedouin man who was leaving his camel without tying it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah”. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then replied, “Tie your camel first, and then put your trust in Allah”.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah, who said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it…” (Hadith Qudsi).

In conclusion, Allah will treat you the way you think of Him, so be hopeful of Him. This is also teaching us not to be reliant on others or seek handouts. Finally, pray for me and all those affected by this illness. May Allah heal us, protect us and put an end to this pandemic. Ameen!