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Tawakkul ‘alallah.

Every day I get closer to our Meeting.
I feel like I’ve been walking this path for a thousand years
towards You…
and yet I’m still not there.
So close, and yet so far still

But I keep walking,
despite the tears,
despite the wind,
despite the skinned knees and broken bones,
despite the bruises and scars that make this heart what it is today,
I keep walking…
toward You.
There’s only one direction,
one direction:
towards You.
From You, to You.
I have nothing else.
Nothing.
That is my poverty.

I keep walking
because behind every sun’s setting is a rising,
Behind every storm is a Refuge,
Behind every fall is a rise,
Behind every tear is a cleansing of the eyes.
And in every spot you’ve ever been stabbed, is a healing,
and the creation of skin stronger than it was.

I keep walking
because wallahi I have nothing but Your mercy.
I have nothing but Your promise
Your words
Your promise
that:

“Oh mankind, indeed you are ever toiling on towards your Lord- painfully toiling,- but you shall meet Him.” (84:6)

— Yasmin Mogahed,

In this day and age we have drowned ourselves in various worries and depressions. What we don’t realize is that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has not created us to handle all of these worries on our own and so people are trying various means to seek refuge from these anxieties. Some are living on drugs, antidepressants to keep them stable and some even go to the extent of committing suicide out of sheer hopelessness.

The thing which we lack, even as Muslims, is complete reliance upon Our Creator, Our Sustainer, Our Rabb – Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for each and every one of our affairs. We claim to have Tawakkul in Him but the reality is that we have not even understood what doing tawakkul upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) truly means.

Let us first clarify what the prevalent misconceptions about Tawakkul are:

Misconceptions about Tawakkul

There are two misconceptions about Tawakkul:

1. Tawakkul upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) means to leave everything upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), without exerting any effort on our own. i.e. leave all asbaab[means] to attaining a goal on our own.

 

Clarification: However, that is not true at all. Tawakkul actually means to exhaust all the asbaab that you have, do everything permissible you can and then have complete faith in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) over the outcome.

2. We think that asbaab [means] only consist of the worldly resources that we have in order to attain something.

Clarification: We don’t even know what asbaab we have, all of which have to be used to the best of our abilities in order to have complete tawakkul upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

So, what are those asbaab [means] that we have in order to attain anything?

Three different asbaab that we have to use:

1. Worldy/Dunyawi asbaab: For whatever it is that we want to attain, be it success in studies or job etc. We have to make sure we utilize all the permissible means that are available to us as best as we can.

 

For e.g. If a student wants to get good grades, he should attend all the classes, do all the assignments, work hard i.e. he should make sure that he exerts all these efforts to the best of his ability.

2. Aakhirwi asbaab – Taqwa & Amaal-e-salih: Being firm upon Shari’ah, Sunnah and staying away from sins. Having fear of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and performing amaal-e-salih are all part of our asbaab that we have to use along with the material efforts that we’re putting forth. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an-e-karim, ‘And whoever fears Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), He will make for him a way out and provide for him from whence he never imagined.

3. Complete faith & absolute reliance upon Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

After having exerted all that was in our ability with all the asbaab that we had, we submit the matter unto Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) i.e. having complete faith and absolute reliance upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

So, sometimes we don’t get something because we don’t entirely use the asbaabs that we have. We usually apply only the first kind of asbaab and upon failure we think that even though we worked so hard, we didn’t get what we wanted. It means that we didn’t apply the 2nd and 3rd kind of asbaab. Similarly we might have applied the 1st and 2nd type of asbaab but we fail to have complete tawakkul upon Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and therefore don’t succeed.

The fact is that we have no real entitlement to anything except that Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) blesses us with it  due to His Mercy.

So, what can we do once we have failed?

  1. Istighfar/Taubah: Firstly, we should seek Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)‘s forgiveness for not applying all those asbaab and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in His infinite Mercy would forgive us and bless us with what we want.
  2. Sabr/Shukr: Moreover, if we do Sabr[have patience] on this temporary failure and along with that do shukr[be thankful] on the countless blessings of Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), He may bless us with that which is even better than what we lost. Allah-o-Akbar kabira.

When we have complete Tawakkul upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), then Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) suffices for all our needs. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an –e-karim:

“And whosoever puts his trust in Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then Hesubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will suffice him.”

But this is in the unseen and we have to have complete faith even though we might not be able to see anything happening apparently i.e. iman-bil-ghaib

There is a very famous story of Khalifa Harun-al-Rashid[rahimahullah] and a waliullah of the time Bahlool[rahimahullah]. Once the Khalifa and his wife Zubaida Khatoon went for a walk at the beach. While walking, they saw that Bahlool was sitting there making castles in the sand and saying that whoever buys this sand castle from me, I will pray to Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to bless him with a Palace in Jannah. The Khalifa listened to him and  laughed it off. But, his wife Zubaida was a very simple and pious woman. She went upto Bahlool and asked him the price of the sand castle, Bahlool told her that it is for one dirham. So, she gave him a dirham and asked him to make dua for her. That night, Khalifa Harun-al-rashid saw in his dream that he was in a very beautiful place and there he saw an extremely beautiful Palace. The Palace was labeled with his wife’s name. He became happy and started to go inside of the castle but he got stopped at the gate by a guard, when he told the guard that this was his wife’s castle the guard said that this Palace can only be visited by the one who owns it. When the Khalifa woke up, he became very sad.  so, the outcome of failing to do Tawakkul is that our heart becomes extremely sad. The Khalifa then made an intention to go to Bahlool again that day so that he could buy the castle too. So, in the evening he went to the beach again and there sat Bahlool[rahimahullah] making the same sand castles. The Khalifa went upto him and asked him what he was doing. Bahlool[rahimahullah] said that I’m making sand castles and whoever buys it from me will get a Palace in Jannah. When the Khalifa asked him about it’s price Bahlool[rahimahullah] said, “The Kingdom of the entire world”. The Khalifa got stunned at the response even he was the king of only the Muslim Ummah and could not give so much, he asked him that yesterday he was selling the same castle for a dirham, why did he change the price now. Bahlool[rahimahullah] said that yesterday you had not seen it, now you have seen it therefore you can’t have it for the same price. Thats where the story ends, he didn’t believe Bahlool[rah] at first and now that he’d seen for himself he couldn’t get the dua of Bahlool[rah].

Just like Firown refused to believe, even though he saw so many miracles of Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) with his own eyes. Even when he saw the parting of the sea, he failed to profess iman but at the end when he saw his destruction, he said that I believe in the Rabb of Musa, but at that time it didn’t help him.

The greatest blessing of Tawakkul

The greates blessing that we attain from doing tawakkul is that Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grants us His love. As, Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has stated in the Qur’an-e-karim,

Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.’ [3:159]

So, from the smallest to the largest of matters we should rely and do tawakkul solely on Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and not only will Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) suffice for us in that matter. He will grant us His love. Allahu akbar kabira.

This is the beauty of our deen.

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