Written by guest writer, Umm Yusuf.
I used to think that tawakkul was just making dua for good to happen in your life and expecting good to happen with certainty (no matter how uncertain the situation may be). I realize now that tawakkul is also a belief in the Grand Plan of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and that, in the worst times of your life when you think you have been abandoned, when you are tested, tawakkul is to also believe there is good in the test that you are going through…and even that test is a mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Remember Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) loves you more than your mother does and, although you cannot imagine doing this, one day you will thank Him for giving you that test because through it you gained so many blessings.
“And Allah is predominant over His affair, but most of the people do not know.” Qur’an(12:20)
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) mentions this ayat to us in Surah Yusuf after Yusuf (‘alayhisalaam) is thrown down a well by his own brothers, separated from his beloved father by their envy and sold as a slave, and this is BEFORE the test of the women and prison…why? Whereas the majority of people when placed in difficult times would lose hope in the mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and despair and give up on making du’a we musn’t be fooled by the difficult times in our life – that things may get worse and continue to, but we have to remember Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is completely in control of our affairs and that with this difficulty there is some ultimate benefit for us both on the day of Judgement and also in this world.
“…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (2:216)
Since He (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has placed us in this difficulty, He, too, will remove us from this difficulty just as in the same way as with Yusuf (‘alayhisalaam). Had Yusuf (‘alayhisalaam) not been thrown down the well by his brothers, he would not have become the financial minister of Egypt. The day he was thrown in the well was the day that his path to blessings was made easy for him. The blessing of becoming financial minister of Egypt, the blessing of wealth and honour and provision. The blessing of prophethood and the blessing of Jannah. Yusuf (‘alayhisalaam) eventually saw the fruits of his patience. Similarly, we have to have patience because the day our test began is the day our path to honour, blessings and ease had also similarly begun.
The Prophet (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said “…“Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him in front of you. Become beloved to Allah during times of prosperity, He will know you in times of adversity. Know that what has passed you by was never to befall you. And (know that) what has befallen you was never to have passed you by. And know that victory accompanies perseverance, relief accompanies affliction and ease accompanies hardship”. (At-Tirmidhi Hadith #19 in An-Nawawi’s 40 Hadith)
The Arabic word “ma’” means “with” and when this word connects victory with perseverance, relief with affliction and so forth, then this means (according to explanations from scholars as explained in Zarabozo’s explanation of An-Nawawi’s 40 Hadith) is not that one follows the other after some time but that one thing follows the other very closely as if they are coming together. So as the trial starts, so does the relief – giving us comfort that whatever problems we may face, we have to be patient for a little while because the relief is also on its way.
One of the most painful experiences in life is to lose someone you love. When this happens, sometimes the thought may enter our mind – who could be better than this person? This was the exact thought that entered the mind of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), Umm Salamah when her husband Abu Salamah died. She had shared so much with him and she couldn’t imagine who could be better than this man.
Umm Salamah narrated that the Prophet (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “There is no Muslim that is afflicted with a calamity, and he says what Allah has commanded him to say: “To Allah we belong and to him we will return! O Allah! Give me the rewards (of being patient over) this calamity, and grant me something better than it to replace it,” except that Allah will give him something better to replace it.”
Umm Salamah said “So when (my husband) Abu Salamah died, I said this du’a, but could not help thinking, “Who is better than Abu Salamah (i.e. no one can replace Abu Salamah)?” Then the Prophet (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself sent me a messenger proposing to me, so Allah blessed me with someone better than Abu Salamah” (Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi).
And who did Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) replace Abu Salamah with? Someone who was so much better than him in worldly status and in the status of the akhirah – Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Prophet Muhammad (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) approached her. She didn’t have to get his attention or compromise her faith or herself for him. He came to her even though she was old, widowed with children and he accepted her even though she admitted to having character deficiencies. And had Umm Salamah not gone through the pain of losing Abu Salamah, she would never have had the honour of being the wife of the final Messenger of Allah (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in this world or the next.
When we face difficulties or we lose something, and we equally say the above mentioned du’a and have patience, insha’Allah, whatever we have lost, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) will compensate us in this world and the next with that which is abundantly better. When we experience that blessing we will thank Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for taking us through that test and we will understand that we were never abandoned, our dua’s were heard (every single one of them) and Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) was always in control of our affairs.