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Tawakkul and Seeking Means: The Secret is in the Balance

In the world that we live in, we must take the necessary precautions and employ the necessary means. Allah has made the world a ‘dar al-asbaab’, a place of cause and effect, a place where we must use the resources provided to us. We must put our trust in Allah, but as the hadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) states:

Anas ibn Malik narrates “One day Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin,“Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, and put your trust in Allah.” (Tirmidhi)

Putting our trust in Allah does not mean that we are absolved of all our responsibilities to see to fulfilling the needs. “Leaving it in the ‘Hands of Allah’ does not imply that we must not prepare or be prepared. Without taking the necessary precautions or doing our duties, we cannot expect the help of Allah. Allah (azza wa jalla) says:
“And that man can have nothing but what he strives for.” [An-Najm:39]

Making use of the means and considering relevant measures does not contradict tawakkul or trust in Allah. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) hid in the cave when undertaking the journey of hijrah, he instructed the companions to make hijrah in small groups and the Prophet wore discarded his regular clothes for armour when going to battle.

At the same time, it must also be remembered that ‘tying the camel’ is only a means. We must not depend on the tying of the camel. The means are only a means. The source of all results is Allah.

Ibn Abass narrated that one day he was riding behind Allah’s Messenger and the Prophet said, “Young man, if you are mindful of Allah, He will be mindful of you, and if you are mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. When you ask for anything, ask it from Allah, and if you seek help, seek help in Allah. Know that if the people were to unite to do you some benefit, they could benefit you only what Allah has recorded for you, and if they were to unite to do you some injury, they could injure you only with what Allah has recorded for you. The pens are withdrawn and the pages are dry. Ahmad and Tirmidhi (sahih).

Allah says: says:
“And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.”[65:3]

The secret is in the balance. We must be careful that, in our attempt to give weight to employing the means, we do not tilt the balance against tawakkul. We should be careful that we do not stumble into the stupor of intoxication with the visible and forget that the visible is only the means and the not the source.

 Jamiat SA

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