Tawakkul or Reliance upon God

     قال الله تعالى: { فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ} آل عمران 159.  ـ

        God -the Exalted- says: { Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in God, certainly God loves those who put their trust and rely (on Him)} (surah 3, verse 159).

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     عنْ عمرَ رضي اللَّهُ عنه قال: سمعْتُ رسولَ اللَّه صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقُولُ: « لَوْ أنَّكُم تَتَوَكَّلُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ حَقَّ تَوَكُّلِهِ لَرَزَقَكُمْ كَمَا يَرْزُقُ الطَّيْرَ؛ تَغْدُو خِماصاً وتَرُوحُ بِطَاناً» .  رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه وابن حبان والحاكم. ـ

         Narrated Omar -may God be pleased with him- said: “I heard the Messenger of God-prayer and peace be upon him- say: “If you rely upon God the true reliance, He would have provided for you like He provides for the birds; they go out in the morning hungry and come back in the evening with full stomachs.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Imam Ahmad, and Ibn Hibban.

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Narrated Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “It is from the reliance (Tawakkul) of the slave that he trusts God fully.”

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     وعن أبي قُدَامَةَ الرَّمْلِيُّ، قال: ( قَرَأَ رَجُلٌ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ { وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لا يَمُوتُ}  سورة الفرقان آية 58، فَقَالَ سُلَيْمَان الْخَوَّاص: مَا يَنْبَغِي لِعَبْدٍ بَعْدَ هَذِهِ الآيَةِ أَنْ يَلْجَأَ إِلَى أَحَدٍ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ فِي أَمْرِهِ). رواه ابن أبي الدنيا.  ـ

      It is related that Suleiman Al-Khawaas heard a man reciting the verse: {And put your trust in the Ever Living One Who never dies} (surah 25, verse 58) to the end of the verse, so he said: “The slave should not after this verse resort to anyone other than God -the Exalted.”  Related by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya.

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As mentioned above, Tawakkul or Reliance upon God is a great Treasure for the believer.  It has a great reward or thawab, and it is a major means that Muslims use when faced with a difficulty or problem.  So what is Tawakkul?

Tawakkul means to depend on God in all matters.  That is to rely on God to make things easier for us.  More specifically, like Al-Hasan defined it, Tawakkul means having good trust in God to do everything that is good for us.  That is, we must have husn dhun or trust that God will give us success to accomplish the things we want in the best way.

That was the apparent meaning, now we go to the deeper and religious meaning.  Tawakkul means to realize that God has written everything before we were even created, and then to hope and accept that what God has already written for us is the best for us in the circumstances.  That is to believe and affirm that God is the Most Knowledgeable and the Most Wise, and that God has written the qadr or destiny of everything, so everything has been written already.  So Tawakkul is to accept that fact and to have full trust that God has written what is best for me, so I hope I will succeed in this thing and I accept it whichever way it turns out.

God -the Exalted- has praised those who make Tawakkul.  God says in the above-mentioned verse that He loves those who make Tawakkul on Him, and whomever God loves then undoubtedly will have a great reward and status.  And the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- has promised those who make tawakkul that God will certainly help them just like the birds.  The birds go out in the morning with full tawakkul and so they find food with no difficulty.  And the same will happen to Muslims if they have full tawakkul.

Some might say: I always make tawakkul and yet I don’t have that thing yet.  For example, someone wants to become a ruler or a judge, and so he has tawakkul and tries but he can’t find that job.  Why is that?

The answer to that question lies in two parts.  First, maybe it is better for you Not to have that thing.  God -the Almighty- knew that the thing you are asking for is not good for you and so it is out of good tawakkul that He didn’t give you that particular thing, but He will grant you something else, better for you than it.

The second reason is that your tawakkul is deficient or is not complete.  There are five conditions of tawakkul and if you don’t fulfill them then you will not get what you are asking for so eagerly.  The conditions of tawakkul are: 1) Saying Tawakkul with the heart and the tongue.  2) Understanding and accepting the real meaning of tawakkul.  3) Doing fara’id (like prayer and fasting) and avoiding haram.  4) Praying God. And 5) Trying your best.

 

In the first case, you might not get something even if you have full tawakkul because God, the Most Wise, knew that if you get this thing it would harm you.  Suppose, a person wants to become a ruler or a judge, and he always prays and has tawakkul on God to make that happen.  But maybe if he did become a ruler or a judge, he would become bad and heartless, ignore poor people or worse put people in jail unjustly, and so this person will go to Hell or naar!  So from the start his good tawakkul leads him to not getting that thing, but finding something else that is better for him!  While another person who doesn’t have tawakkul might become judge but will be punished in Hell.

An example of that is this true story:

A righteous salih man owned a farm in a village.  He used to grow fruits, and then one day he decided to buy chickens and cows for eggs and milk.  He prayed God a lot, and had full tawakkul, but he couldn’t get any chickens and cows.  So he didn’t have any cows, while most of his neighbors had cows.  Anyway, one year later, a group of thieves came to the village and stole all the cows and chickens in the village.  Not only that, but they also killed their owners.  This salih man was the only one who wasn’t killed.  He didn’t have any cows so the thieves didn’t come to his house and so he was saved.

So you see his tawakkul led him to the best thing that was for him even if he didn’t get what he was looking for.  Therefore, tawakkul also means to accept.  You hope and then you accept the result believing that it is the best thing for you!

 

In the second case, one must fulfill the conditions of tawakkul before he gets what he was looking for.  The conditions of Tawakkul are five:

The first condition is: to say tawakkul with tongue and heart.  Say: tawakultu Alallah, or Hasbiya Godu Wa Ni’ma Al-Wakeel, with your tongue and believe it fully with your heart.  Fully believe that if you have trust in God, God will fulfill your need.

The second condition: understand its real meaning.  That is the result will be what is best for you, not necessarily what you wish and eagerly want!  For that might be harmful for you, but you will get what is good for you with tawakkul.

The third condition: do the wajibat and avoid sins.  Should someone miss the prayers and fasting, or do bad things and then complain I made tawakkul but I didn’t get what I was looking for?  Of course not, because your tawakkul is incomplete.  You must obey God, and then you will have full tawakkul.  You can’t do all sins and then have full tawakkul.  Therefore, it is important to say istighfar and make towbah before you have tawakkul.

The Fourth condition: Pray God.  You must pray God to grant you what you are looking for.  Pray God often, and choose the best times, like in tahajjud or before fajr, after the prayer, after ‘athan, between ‘athan and iqamah, when it rains, after finishing the Qur’an, and before maghrib on Friday.  Also ask others to pray for you.

The fifth condition is: You must try your best.  You must do something and not just wait for it to happen by itself.  When Maryam -peace be upon her- gave birth to Prophet Isa aleihi wasallam, she was tired and anxious.  So God ta’ala told her to shake the palm tree she was leaning against and then eat the dates that fell down.  The ulama’ said the dates could have fallen to her by the wind, but she was asked to shake the tree to prove that one must try his best.

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In summary then, Tawakkul is a great deed in Islam and has a great reward.  Tawakkul will always, if fulfilled with all of its conditions, yield or give the best result.  The conditions of Tawakkul are: 1) Saying Tawakkul with the heart and the tongue.  2) Understanding and accepting the real meaning of tawakkul.  3) Doing fara’id (like prayer and fasting) and avoiding haram.  4) Praying God. And 5) Trying your best.

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