- Salah Al-Ummah Fii Uluw Al-Himmah, by Sayyid bin Husain Al-Anani.
- Mafaatih Al-Rizq Fii Dawu’ Al-Kitab was-Sunnah, by Fadl Ilahi.
- An-Nahj Al-Asma Fii Sharh Asma’ Allahul-Husna, by Shikh Muhammad Al-Humoud Al-Najdi.
Meaning of Tawakkul
The word التَّوَكُل (Tawakkul) is derived from the word Wakala (وَكَلَ) which literally means to entrust something with someone, to put him in charge of a matter and rely on him in that.
التَّوَكُل على الله, At-Tawakkul ’Alaa-Allaah, according to the Islamic terminology means: Truthful reliance (of the heart) on Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala), al-Wakil (the Guardian, the Disposer of affairs, etc.), in bringing good and driving away harm (evil) (of this world and the Hereafter), getting the provisions, defeating the enemies, curing the sickness, etc.
In other words, to submit to Allaah Alone and consider Him sufficient for you as a Reckoner, He is the Disposer of affairs, the Rich, the One Able to do everything. This is one of the characteristics of the believers, one of the conditions of Islamic faith, and one means of strengthening the heart, creating calmness in one’s self, being at rest and at peace. The one who has Tawakkul in Allaah is called Al-Mutawakkil.
Evidences from the Qur’an and the Sunnah
Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) urged the believers to have Tawakkul, putting all their trust in Him and relying only on Him. He (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) joined between Faith (Iman) and Tawakkul when He (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Ma’idah:
وَعَلَى اللّهِ فَتَوَكَّلُواْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“And put your trust in Allaah if you are believers indeed.” 5:23
Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) also said in Surat al-Anfal, praising the believers:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَاناً وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ
“The believers are only those who, when Allaah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts, and when His verses are recited unto them, they (the verses) increase their faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone).” 8:2
This indicates the negation of Iman (faith) at the absence of Tawakkul. The one who does not put his trust in Allaah, has no faith.
In Surat Al-Imran Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) says:
وَعَلَى اللّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
“And in Allaah should the believers put their trust.” 3:122
Also in Surat Al-Imran, Allah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) says:
فإذا عزمت فَتَوَكَّل على الله . إِنّ الله يُحِبُّ المُتَوَكّلين
“Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allaah, certainly, Allaah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” 3:159
The Qur’an is full of verses urging the believers with Tawakkul.
Evidences from the Sunnah urging Tawakkul:
Narrated Ibn Abbas (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “….. Seventy thousand (of this nation) shall enter Paradise without reckoning, and he said (describing them): ‘Those people are those who do not (ask others to) treat them with Ruqyah, nor do they believe in bad or good omen, nor do they get themselves branded (cauterized), but they put their trust (only) in their Lord.’”[Al-Bukhari, Book of Medicine]
Narrated ’Umar bin al-Khattab (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) that he heard the Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) say: “If you put your faith (trust) completely in Allaah, He will arrange for you your sustenance in the same way as He provides for the birds. They go out in the morning with their stomachs empty and return full in the evening.” [Reported by Ahmed and at-Tirmidhi]
The reality of Tawakkul:
Imam Ahmed (Rahimahullaah)said: “Tawakkul is an action of the heart, i.e. it can neither be attained by the utterance of the tongue nor by the limbs.”
Ibn Rajab (Rahimahullaah)said: “It is the complete (sincere) reliance of the heart on Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) in bringing the good, and driving away the evil matters of this life and the Hereafter.”
Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah)said: “Tawakkul is half of the religion (faith), the other half is Inabah, which is to turn unto Allaah in all of our affairs and in repentance.” Some people said that Tawakkul is the knowledge of the heart that Allaah is Sufficient for His slaves and others interpreted Tawakkul as satisfaction with what is decreed.
You have to know that Religion is based on two matters: Isti’aanah (seeking help) and Ibaadah (worshipping) [إياك نعبد وإياك نستعين] “You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and every thing).” al-fatihah1:4. Tawakkul, putting ones’ trust in Allaah, is Isti’aanah, seeking help and turning to Allaah in repentance and in all our affairs is worship.”
Some of the Salaf used to say: “If it pleases you to be the most powerful or the strongest amongst people, then put your trust in Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala).”
Sheikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah)said: “Putting one’s trust and faith in Allaah is more general than just putting one’s trust in Allaah for worldly interests. The real Mutawakkil is the person who puts his faith in Allaah, hoping to reform his heart and faith, and to protect his tongue and will, which is why he invokes Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) in every prayer and says, “إياك نعبد وإياك نستعين, You (Alone) we worship and from You (Alone) we seek help.”
How can we attain the truthful reliance on Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala)?
(1) By knowing Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) and His Attributes (Qualities).
We need to know that every existing creature, provision, favor, blessing, good or evil, poverty or richness, sickness or good health, death or life etc., are from Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala).
Why wouldn’t the believer then put his trust in Allaah, while He is:
خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيلٌ
“The Creator of all things, and He is the Wakil (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, the Gardian, etc.) over all things.” Az-Zumar 39:62
“And All-Sufficient is Allaah as a disposer of affairs,” An-Nissa’ 4:171, for those who rely on Him in all their affairs.
We must know with all certainty that Allaah is Al-Qawiyy, the All-Strong, Al-’Aalim and Al-’Aleem, the All-Knower, Whose Knowledge comprehends in the most perfect manner all things, hidden or open, the small and the great, nothing is absent from His knowledge. We must know and have complete faith that He is neither heedless nor is He errant. He is Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum, the Ever Living, Who has a free hand in the disposal of all affairs. All that is in the heavens and the earth stand in need of Him, and He stands in need of none.
The more a person knows Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala), the more his Tawakkul (reliance on Him) will increase and become stronger, and as he accepts that Allaah’s Mercy is wide and embraces all things, his reliance will increase.
Therefore, Tawakkul increases by increasing the faith and decreases by decreasing the faith.
(2) The affirmation (confirmation) of the means and causes.
We need to bear in mind that putting one’s trust in Allaah doesn’t mean leaving the means of earning one’s living or getting what one wishes, and it doesn’t mean that one should not exhert his utmost effort (try his best) to get what he wants.
* e.g. Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) has made the Du’aa (invocation) a cause (means) of getting what was asked or invoked for.
* e.g. one cannot perform Hajj or reach Makkah except by traveling; if someone stays at his house, he will never reach Makkah.
* e.g. one will not enter Paradise except by becoming Muslim, and performing righteous deeds. If anyone left Islam and did not do righteous deeds, then he would never enter Paradise. Those who deny taking the means, claim that “If it is decreed for me to go to Hajj, or have children, etc. I will get it and it will reach me, whether I moved or stayed in my place, and if it is not decreed for me, then I will not get it, whether I worked for it or not.” They think that Tawakkul means to leave earning or taking the means. Of course this is a wrong understanding of Tawakkul.
This is like the Sufis, who, when they travel, refuse to provide themselves with food, thinking that this negates (contradicts) Tawakkul. This is in contrast to the fact that when the Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to travel for Jihad, Hajj or ’Umrah, used to carry his food with him.
Also the Companions used to work on their farms and trade, and we should take them as examples.
Imam Ahmed (Rahimahullaah)was asked about a man who stays in his house or in the mosque and says: “I don’t want to do anything till my provision comes to me.” Imam Ahmed remarked, “This man has no knowledge of the Prophet’s (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) statement: ‘Allaah has made my provision under the shade of my sword.’”
Ibn Rajab said: “Know that accomplishment of Tawakkul never negates taking the means which Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) has decreed. Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) ordered us to make an effort; do our best and seek the means in addition to placing one’s trust in Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala). The endeavor or the attempt of taking the means is an act of obedience to Allaah, and putting ones trust in Allaah with all ones’ heart is believing in Him, as He (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) said in Surat an-Nisaa’:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ خُذُواْ حِذْرَكُمْ فَانفِرُواْ ثُبَاتٍ أَوِ انفِرُواْ جَمِيعاً
“O you who believe! Take your precautions, and either go forth (on an expedition) in parties, or go forth all together.” 4:71
And in Surat al-Anfal:
وَأَعِدُّواْ لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدْوَّ اللّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِن شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تُظْلَمُونَ
“And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, etc.) to threaten the enemy of Allaah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know, but whom Allaah does know.” 8:60
And in Surat Al-Jumu’ah:
فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَانتَشِرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَابْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيراً لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
“Then when the (Jumu’a) prayer is finished, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allaah (by working, etc.) and remember Allaah much, that you may be successful.” 62:10
Narrated Anas (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) that a man said: “O Allaah’s Messenger (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) shall I fetter (shackle) the she-camel and then rely on Allaah or shall I let her loose (release her) and then rely on Allaah?” The Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) replied: “Fetter her (the she-camel) and then rely and put your trust in Allaah.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Narrated Ibn Abbas (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu): “The people of Yemen used to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) without (taking) any provision with them, and they used to say, “We put our trust in Allaah,” and when they performed Hajj, they came to the people of Makkah asking (begging) them for provision. Thereupon Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) revealed the following verse of Surat al-Baqarah 2:197:
وتزودوا فإنّ خيرَ الزّادِ التّقوى
“And take provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is ‘At-Taqwa’ (piety, righteousness, etc.).’” [Al-Bukhari]
The real Tawakkul of a Muslim is an action and hope, with a calm heart, a peaceful self, and a truthful faith that whatever Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) wills, will happen and whatever Allaah does not will, will not happen. And Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) allows not to be lost the reward of the good doers.
Islam always urges earning by one’s own effort, and refraining from asking (begging).
Narrated Abu Hurairah (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) that Allaah’s Messenger (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, it is better for any one of you to take a rope, cut the wood (from the forest), carry it over his back and sell it (as a means of earning his living) than to ask a person for something and that person may give him or not.” [Al-Bukhari]
The Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “No one has eaten better food than that obtained through the hard labour of his hands. Prophet Dawoud (David) (‘Alayhissallam) would never eat except from the earnings of his own labour (manual work).” [Al-Bukhari]
Also he (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Prophet Zakariya (‘Alayhissallam) was a carpenter by profession (i.e. he earned his living through carpentry).” [Muslim]
(3) Tawhid At-Tawakkul (Uniqueness of Tawakkul). The reliance of the slave will not be correct until his faith in the Oneness of Allaah is correct. That is, the slave shouldn’t turn to other than Allaah. And the heart shouldn’t be occupied with others than Allaah; otherwise this will nullify his Tawakkul.
(4) Seeking help from Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) in bringing peace, calmness and tranquillity.
We must rely upon Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala), trust Him and feel at rest with Him (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) such that we do not depend only on the means rather than in Allaah. Thus putting ones trust in these means is removed from one’s heart, and replaced by reliance on the One Who brought these means (Allaah).
Whoever puts his trust in Allaah, will not turn towards anything or anybody except his Lord (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala), like the baby who depends and feels at rest with the breast of his mother, who doesn’t know anyone else besides her, and in whose heart there is no turning to other than his mother. In this way, the Mutawakkil never turns to anybody except to his Lord (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala).
This is why some people say that the Mutawakkil, the one who puts his trust in Allaah and relies on Him, is like a baby.
(5) Thinking good of Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala), and expecting the best from Him, the All-Mighty, the Exalted.
Your reliance on Allaah will be according to how much good you think of Him..
(6) Submission of the heart to Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala).
We submit our heart to Allaah and His Will, even if it is not what we want or expect.
(7) At-Tafwid: (Authorization)
Giving full power and authorization to Allaah in all one’s affairs. This is like the helpless son who gives his father full authorization in all his affairs.
The Fruits of Tawakkul:
1. Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) informed us about His love for the one who has Tawakkul, as He (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) addressed His Messenger Muhammad (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in Surat Aal-Imran:
فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
“Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allaah, certainly, Allaah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” 3:159
2. Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) promised them a great and abundant reward. He (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala)? said in Surat ash-Shura:
وَمَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ
“But that which is with Allaah (Paradise) is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord.” 42:36
3. Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) will be All-Sufficient as a disposer of affairs for those who put their trust in Him. As He (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) said in Surat az-Zumar:
قُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللهُ عَلَيْه يَتَوَكّلُ المتوكّلون
Say: Sufficient for me is Allaah, in Him those who trust (i.e. believers) must put their trust.” 39:38
Also in Surat at-Talaq:
وَمَنَ يَتَوَكّل على الله فهو حَسْبُه
“And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him.” 65:3
4. Satisfaction (contentment).
If one accomplished the real Tawakkul on Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala), then he will be pleased and satisfied with all what His Trustee (or Disposer of affairs, Guardian) does.
Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah)said: “Whoever puts his trust in Allaah before taking (or doing) any action, and then he is pleased or satisfied with what is written for him after the action, he has established the servitude, and this is the meaning of the statement of the Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in Du’aa al-Istikharah (seeking Allaah’s Guidance):
اللهمّ إِنّي أَسْتَخِيركَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُك بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِن فَضْلِكَ العَظِيم ……..
“O Allaah! I ask You of the good through Your knowledge and I solicit strength (ability) from You because You have power and I ask You of Your magnificent graciousness and compassion……..”
This is the Tawakkul and Tafwid, “Putting ones trust in Allaah and leaving the matter to Him.”
Then he says, “For You have the power and I have none; and You have knowledge and I have none; and You are the Great Knower of all that is unknown.”
Here, the person is freeing himself from the complete and perfect power and knowledge that Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) is attributed with and he is begging Allaah with the matters most beloved to Allaah, as one should beg and ask Him with.
At the end of the supplication one says, “and decree for me good wherever it may be and then make me content with it.” Asking Allaah to bestow upon him the contentment with what He (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) will decree for him.
This Du’aa consists of Tawakkul and Tafwid before the occurrence of what is decreed for the person, and is followed by contentment which is the fruit of the Tawakkul. If the person is not satisfied with what is decreed for him, then his Tawakkul is defective and not complete.
5. Putting trust in Allaah (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) is one key of provision, as the Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
لو أَنّكم تَوَكّلْتُم على الله حَقَّ تَوَكُّلِه لَرَزَقكُم كما تُرزق الطير
“If you put your faith completely in Allaah, He will arrange for you your sustenance in the same way as He provides for the birds. They go out in the morning with their stomachs empty and return full in the evening.” [At-Tirmidhi]
The person who relies on Allaah will be provided with provision like the birds. Because he puts his trust in the One Ever Living, Who never dies, and whoever puts his trust in Him, surely He will suffice him, as He (subhanaahu wa Ta’aala) said in Surat at-Talaq:
وَمَن يَتَوَكّل عَلى الله فهو حَسْبُه . إِنّ اللهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِه . قد جعل اللهُ لِكُلِّ شيء قدراً
“And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allaah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” 65:3
Check out these related posts:
- The Attributes of the Successful with evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah
- Truthfulness (Part 5) : The Categories of As-Sidq (Truthfulness)
- Truthfulness (Part 4) : The Categories of As-Sidq (Truthfulness)
- Truthfulness (Part 3) : The Merits of Truthfulness
- Truthfulness (Part 2) : The Importance of Truthfulness
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