Would you kindly explain the quality of having tawakkul in Allah and its relationship to taking means as mentioned in this Hadith:
Narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas narrates: Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,
“Nations were displayed before me, one or two prophets would pass by along with a few followers. A prophet would pass by accompanied by nobody. Then a big crowd of people passed in front of me and I asked, “Who are they? Are they my followers?” It was said, “No. It is Musa (alayhis salam) and his followers. It was said to me, “Look at the horizon.” Behold! There was a multitude of people filling the horizon.
Then it was said to me, “Look there and there about the stretching sky! Behold! There was a multitude filling the horizon,” It was said to me, “This is your nation out of whom 70,000 shall enter Jannah without reckoning.” Then the Prophet entered his house without telling his companions who they were.
So the people started talking about the issue and said, “It is we who have believed in Allah and followed His Apostle, therefore those people are either ourselves or our children who are born m the Islamic era, for we were born in the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance.” When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) heard of that, he came out and said,
“Those people are those who do not treat themselves with Ruqya, nor do they believe in bad or good omen [from birds etc] nor do they get themselves branded [cauterized] but they put their trust [only] in their Lord ” On that ‘Ukkashah ibn Mihsan said. “Am I one of them, O Rasulallah?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Yes.” Then another person got up and said, “Am I one of them?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Ukkashah has preceded you.”
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 606)
The Hadith commentators have mentioned that there are two levels of Tawakkul;
1. Where one adopts the means, but places his reliance on Allah Ta’ala alone and not on the adopted means. Although at times, such a person’s attention might shift towards the means he has adopted, but he quickly reverts to relying solely on Allah.
2. This is a higher level than the previous, where one relies solely on Allah Ta’ala and hardly even uses the permissible means of the world. If they do utilise the means, their attention never diverts from Allah Ta’ala for even a moment. Whilst the first group may experience temporary diversion at times.
Many people have a false notion about tawakkul. They perceive it to be total abandonment of the worldly means. This is incorrect. One Hadith encourages us to have the tawakkul of the birds; who go out [in search of their sustenance and do not remain in their nests] during the day. This proves that one should make the effort, and then leave the outcome upon Allah.
The first level of tawakkul is to indeed adopt the means, but not to rely upon it.
(References for all of the above: Al-Minhaj of Nawawi, Hadith: 523, Al-Mufhim, Hadith: 163 and Fathul Bari, Hadith: 6541)
The Hadith in question is referring to this second type of people; those who do not treat themselves despite being ill, due to their contentment with Allah Ta’ala’s decision on their behalf.
This is the preferred explanation of this Hadith according to Imam Khattabi, Qadi ‘Iyad and ‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahumullah)
(Al-Minhaj of Nawawi, Hadith: 523)
The Scholars also caution, that this status isn’t really achievable by everyone. One’s level of Iman has to be on a very high level to be able to implement this.
One who isn’t of that required level, will actually be endangering himself and possibly even his iman, by shunning the permissible means at his disposal.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar