By: Mawlana Ashraf Ali al-Thanawi
The belief that everything which happened, is happening and will happen is according to the knowledge, will and command of Allah Ta’ala is called Taqdeer. Belief in Taqdeer is compulsory.
The advantages of belief in Taqdeer and Tawakkul (Trust in Allah) are as follows:
- No matter what hardship or misfortune befalls one, it will be accepted without panic and the heart will remain strong in the face of such hardships. Strong belief in Taqdeer will indicate that Allah’s wish is in this occurrence and it cannot be opposed. The hardship will disappear only when so desired by Allah Ta’ala. Thus the man of Taqdeer accepts what comes his way with contented resignation.
- One who has understood and accepted this conception of Taqdeer will not be overcome with frustration at the delay in the passing of the hardship. He will not become despondent and lose hope when the misfortune endures for any length of time. He will banish weakness.
- The adherent of Taqdeer will not adopt unlawful ways and means of combating the difficulty, for he knows that the adversity has been brought about by Allah Ta’ala. He understands well that elimination of the hardship is not possible without the Will of Allah Ta’ala. He therefore realizes the futility of his efforts in trying to eliminate what Allah Ta’ala has willed. He will thus not unnecessarily court the displeasure of Allah by the adoption of unlawful measures. Why court Allah’s wrath when one’s purpose cannot be achieved even after having displeased Him?
- The believer in Taqdeer and Tawakkul will not rely solely on material and mundane measures, but will resort to du’a as well. He believes that nothing can be gained without His Will. He thus derives greater hope and strength by supplicating to Allah Ta’ala. An additional benefit of engaging in du’a is the strengthening of one’s relationship with Allah Ta’ala. A strong bond of love with Allah Ta’ala is the basis of peace and all comfort.
- The believer in Taqdeer will not attribute success, accomplishment and excellence to his efforts. He will attribute everything to the Will and Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. He will thus be imbued with humility. Such a man will not be arrogant and haughty.
The summary of what has been said above is:
The believer in Taqdeer and Tawakkul will be grateful in times and occasions of success and prosperity, and he will be patient when failure and adversity overtake him. This is the great advantage which Allah Ta’ala points to in the following verse:
“…so that you do not lose hope over what you have lost nor do you become elated because of what you have gained.” (Surat Hadeed)
The Islamic conception of Taqdeer should not be misconstrued and the essential and correct ways and means for worldly affairs should not be discarded on the pretext of resignation to Taqdeer. Discarding the lawful means and agencies which Allah Ta’ala has created for worldly affairs is weakness as well as erroneous. Such error and weakness have been criticized in the hadith. Hadhrat `Auf Bin Malik (R) narrates that once when Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam decided a dispute, the one against whom the verdict went, exclaimed:
حسبنا الله و نعم الوكيل
“Sufficient for me is Allah and He is a good Protector.”
This exclamation was intended to convey that Allah’s pleasure was the cause of the setback which he suffered. Hearing this, Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“Allah Ta’ala does not like weakness. Be alert!”
Here Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam exhorted that one should harness the correct means for one’s case and activity. However, if despite instituting the correct measures, failure results, then one will be justified in saying: حسبنا الله و نعم الوكيل . This hadith appears in Abu Dawood.
Ahadith on Taqdeer
Hadhrat Jaabir (R) narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “You can never be a Mu’min as long as you do not believe in Taqdeer — in its good and its bad — to such an extent that whatever is to happen will not be warded off and whatever is not to happen will not occur.” (Tirmidhi)
Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (R) narrates, “I was (once) behind Nabi sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam when he said to me: ‘O son! I shall inform you of a few things. Remember Allah and He will protect you. Remember Allah and you will find Him close to you. When you have to ask for something, ask of Allah Ta’ala. When you require aid, seek His Aid. Believe firmly that if all creation desires to benefit you in anything, they can never benefit you but that which Allah has decreed for you. If they all unite to harm you, they will not be able to harm you in anything, but that which Allah has decreed for you.” (Tirmidhi)
Hadhrat Abu Dardaa (R) narrates that Allah Ta’ala has already predestined five things for all people, viz., age, sustenance, deeds, place of burial and final salvation or condemnation. (Ahmad, Bazzaaz, Kabeer, Awsat)
Hadhrat Mu’aawiyah (R) narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “Do not advance to acquire something, thinking that you can acquire it by your efforts even though Allah Ta’ala has not predestined it for you nor retreat from something, thinking that you will be able to obviate it by your efforts even though Allah Ta’ala has predestined it for you.” (Kabeer and Awsat)
Whatever Allah Ta’ala has predestined, will come to pass no matter what efforts are made by man to gain or ward it off.
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (R) narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “Strive to acquire what is beneficial for you; seek the aid of Allah; do not lose courage and if a setback overtakes you, do not say: ‘If I had done this then it would have happened like this (i.e. not what had happened).’ Instead, say: ‘Allah has ordained this. Whatever He has willed, has happened.’” (Muslim)
The above Ahadith have been extracted from Jam’ul Fawaaid. These Ahadith pertain largely to Taqdeer. The narrations which will appear hereunder pertain more to Tawakkul.
Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’an,
“After you have consulted) and when you have firmly decided, then have trust on Allah (and proceed to do what you have decided to do). Verily, Allah Ta’ala loves those who place reliance (on Him).” (Surat Aale Imraan)
What greater wealth does one require than the love of Allah? Those whose trust and [have] reliance [upon] Allah, have secured His love. There is no doubt in the success of such people. From this verse it is also manifest that along with Tawakkul should be Tadbeer (i.e. employment of the correct agencies, means and ways). Consultation which is mentioned in the ayah is in fact a way for deciding an affair. However, one should not repose reliance on Tadbeer. Even after having instituted the ways and means, reliance must be placed on Allah Ta’ala.
Allah Ta’ala says in the Noble Qur’an,
“They (the Sahabah) are such (sincere) people that when some persons said to them: ‘These people (i.e. the kuffaar of Makkah) have made (great) preparations for you (i.e. for fighting you) You should therefore fear them’, their (the Sahabah) Iman became stronger. Allah is sufficient and is best. Unto Him affairs are assigned. Thus these people (the Sahabah) returned loaded with the bounties of Allah. No grief overtook them and they remained following the Pleasure of Allah. Verify, Allah is most Munificent.”
In these verses is a reference to a particular incident from which the Sahabah (R) benefited both materially as well as spiritually. Allah Ta’ala indicates here that both these benefits were the consequence of Tawakkul.
Allah Ta’ala orders Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam in the Noble Qur’an to say,
“Say (O Muhammad!) Nothing can overtake us, but that which Allah has ordained for us. He is our King. All Believers should assign their affairs to Allah. (Ask the kuffaar) What are you awaiting for us one goodness out of two, while we are awaiting with regards to you, that Allah inflicts you with a punishment, from His side, or at our hands. So await, we too are awaiting.” (Surat Taubah)
Since Allah Ta’ala is the King, the servant should be pleased with whatever the King chooses. This should be the condition of all Muslims. Both prosperity and adversity are beneficial for Muslims. Times and conditions of hardship prove beneficial for Muslims in relation to the end result. In enduring the hardships, ranks increase and sins are forgiven. Thus, it matters not which condition a Muslim is in. Both, viz., prosperity and adversity, are advantageous for Believers. This shows that even if a Muslim is overtaken by difficulty and hardship, he is not reduced to despondency and frustration, for he considers the state of adversity also beneficial to him. If the benefits of adversity do not manifest in this world, then for a certainty, these will be manifested in the Aakhirah. The Aakhirah is our actual and original home and goodness and benefit there will be to our perpetual advantage.
Allah Ta’ala says,
“Musa (when he saw Bani Israeel in fear and suffering because of the cruelty of Fir’awn) said: ‘O my people! If you have (true) Iman on Allah, then have trust in Him, if indeed you have submitted to Him.’
They said: ‘We have reposed trust on only Allah.’ (They then supplicated): ‘O our Rabb! Do not make us the target of these oppressors; save us by Your mercy from these unbelievers.’” (Surat Yunus)
From this verse it is learnt that, along with Tawakkul, Du’a is very efficacious.
Allah Ta’ala says,
“Whoever has trust on Allah, He is sufficient for him.”
Allah Ta’ala dispenses all affairs of those who have trust on Him, be the affairs of a physical or spiritual nature. This is indeed a wonderful promise made to those who adopt Tawakkul.
Hadhrat Sa’d (R) narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“The good fortune of a person is that he remains pleased with what Allah has ordained for him. The misfortune of a person is that he refrains from asking Allah for goodness and that he is displeased with what Allah has ordained for him.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)
Hadhrat Amr Bin ‘Aas (R) narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“The heart of man lingers after everything. Allah does not care for a man who puts his heart at the disposal of everything; he may be destroyed in any place (and way – Allah cares not for him). Whoever has trust on Allah, Allah suffices for him in all affairs.” (Ibn Majah)
This hadith points out that such a man whose trust is reposed in Allah does not become despondent and is not smitten by worry.
Hadhrat Imran Bin Haseen (R) narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“Whoever remains aligned to Allah with his heart, Allah will be sufficient or him in all his affairs. Allah will bestow on him sustenance from such quarters which he did not even think of. Whoever aligns himself with the world, Allah hands him over to the world.” (Targheeb wa Tarheeb)
Hadhrat Anas (R) narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said to a man,
“Tie your camel and trust in Allah.”
Thus, Tawakkul does not envisage the abandonment of the lawful means and agencies which Allah Ta’ala has created for the execution of activities. One has to trust in Allah and not repose confidence in the means and ways.
Hadhrat Abu Khuzaamah (R) narrates that someone asked Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, “Do incantations and medicine alter Taqdeer?”
Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“This too is included in Taqdeer.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
According to this hadith, the benefit which will result from medicine, etc. is also dictated by Taqdeer.
The sum total of this discussion is that Muslims should never become despondent and frustrated in difficult situations. Take lesson from what has been said in these verses and Ahadith and do not become weak in your Deen. Repose all your trust on Allah Ta’ala.
Extracted from Hayat al-Muslimeen