Tawakkul (Reliance on Allah)

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)

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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.

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13 responses to “Tawakkul (Reliance on Allah)”

  1. troubled says:

    i am going through a crisis of faith at the moment. my iman has been week for quite a while and i thought an umrah trip would be the tonic. My father went with me and unfortunately fell so ill i thought he was going to die. It was the worse week of my life. I appreciate it was a test from Allah but I know I failed. i lost trust in allah whilst i was there and afterwards. I continue to believe in allah but am having trouble accepting Islam completely. i am troubled.

    • Amman Abdul Adl says:

      Salaam “Troubled”,

      Even though you’ve mentioned a particular situation, I could only give you some general advice. I have been through whatever you are feeling, and Alhumdulillah i’m slowly getting out of it. If you want to know details then also read this thread:

      We lose faith in Allah (SWT). Our faith is at a complete low and then we start questioning it. You’re reading articles and listening to lectures and still nothing is happening to you. We tell ourselves that we have given up everything for this religion and nothing good is coming out of it. But are we really giving our 100%? Its a serious question to ask.

      Think about other things you did in your life. Whenever we are in this situation, it is a time of reflection. And yes it is a cliche statement, “But things happen for a reason”. Maybe Allah (SWT) wants you to acknowledge something yourself that you are heedless of. All the things you’ve said and done. Allah (SWT) is testing you. But like all test we take in our lives, don’t we come out learning something new? How well or not we knew the subject being tested. And brother (or sister), if you failed then know that Allah (SWT) will always be ready to give you a “make up” exam. Allah (swt) does give up on anyone until he/she gives up on Him.

      I really hope this helps…

      Allah Knows Best

    • Aadish says:

      Dear troubled,
      Do dua to Allah to strengthen your imaan and to remove all your doubts.

  2. Aalia says:

    Excellent article, mashallah. Highly appreciated

  3. Ayesha says:

    BarakAllahufeeki sister…amazing post!!…jazakAllahukhairan

  4. Mariam E. says:

    Asalamu Alikum

    Great article, jazaki Allah khayr.

    Some nice poetry on tawakul:

    :توكلت في رزقي على الله خالقي *وأيقنت أن الله لا شك رازقي

    وما يكون من رزقي فليس يفوتني *ولو كان في قاع البحار العوامق

    سيأتي به الله العظيم بفضله *ولو لم يكن مني اللسان بناطق

    ففي أي شيء تذهب النفس حسرة *وقد قسم الرحمن رزق الخلائق

    For my sustenance, In my Creator I relied …… Certain, without doubt that He would grant me

    And what is of my rizq, shall not pass me ……. Even if it lay in the depth of the seas

    Allah, by His Grace, will bring it ……. Even if my tongue does not speak

    So, for what reason should the soul distress …..If the creation’s sustenance is upon the Most Merciful

  5. SabrunJameel says:

    Barakallahu feeki

  6. Someone says:

    This was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. Jazakallu khayr for sharing this. It made my day :) and it was an extremely beneficial reminder!

  7. Citrine says:

    my brothers and sisters,
    The article is good and understandable.
    There are many people who are like me a born Muslim, Alhamdillillah, but I feel I am not good practicing muslim. It does not mean that my Iman has got weak, no not at all, my faith and Iman on Allah is highly steadfast, alhamdullillah. But the pains that are given as tests to me from Allah, I feel that I do not accept and fulfill it whole heartly, I complaint over every single pain that O Allah why me? what have I done? I never hurt people, I offer salah` , recite Quran, why me? Why not those people who totally do not listen to your commands and still they are happy, what they want they get it.., WHy me.. I cry, make dua , do appeals to Allah for his forgiveness but I feel that He is so angry to me or he is testing me. I then, sometimes, feel so deprived, so empty that nobody can understand my condition. Relaince on Allah is there but I think patience is not there which is the most important part of Tawakul. How can I convert my restless and anxious soul to a patient soul? I want peace in my heart and soul.

  8. Ameerah says:

    This was truly amazing…..masha’Allah! Thanks for sharing it with us, Jazak Allahu Khayran! Theres a couple things I wanted to point out though…..we do not know Allah’s Plan and I don’t think we should say things like “if this did not happen then that would not have happened”. i think we should say that it “may not” have happened….because the same things could have happened in ANOTHER way. Do you get what i’m saying? For example….you said:

    “Had Yusuf (‘alayhisalaam) not been thrown down the well by his brothers, he would not have become the financial minister of Egypt.”

    Well, perhaps he STILL would have become the financial minister of Egypt, through another route.

    Another thing you also said:
    “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.”

    You said “would never have had” i don’t think you should use such words, instead you should say “she may not have had”.

    Do let me know what you think, if you agree or not. Or support with any evidence. So that I can also be aware of whether or not to say such things is alright or not. Thank you!

    And thanks again for sharing the article!

  9. Ameerah says:

    Some more suggestions:

    Perhaps you can add in these few ayat from the Quran.

    From Surah Al-Imran, translated by Muhsin Khan:

    3:156
    O you who believe! Be not like those who disbelieve (hypocrites) and who say to their brethren when they travel through the earth or go out to fight: “If they had stayed with us, they would not have died or been killed,” so that Allah may make it a cause of regret in their hearts. It is Allah that gives life and causes death. And Allah is All-Seer of what you do.

    3:159
    And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).

    3:160
    If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust.

  10. Zahira says:

    Praise and thanks be to ALLAH…

  11. MR B says:

    I had been committing vices for over 15 years ….and I used to give sadaqa pray fast umrah etc but still had the vices on and off. Always having the thought one day ill stop n change. when I got arrested my sin was no more hidden. I realised that Allah wanted me to stop on his terms and not on my own. Prison opened my eyes to All the blessings Allah had provided to which I took for granted, all through life there was signs n times to have turned back. Test n trials and loses brought me closer to Allah. When u reach rock bottom there is only one way out. …
    Man is in either in state of shukar(apprecation) or Sabr (apprecation) I’d rather be in the state of Shukar and obey his laws and try hard not to sin. APPRECIATE what u do have. Dnt wait to hit rock bottom

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