TAWAKKUL: RELY UPON ALLAH IN HARDSHIP AND IN EASE

Tawakkul: An action of the heart:
Tawakkul lives in the heart of the believer. It is at the very core of our spiritual well-being and practice. It provides the lens through which to form one’s outlook and actions to bring about the best outcome. Allah commands us, “And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].”[1] It is human to struggle, to be thrown off track, to be troubled with doubt, to complain when there is no end in sight, and to even become consumed with fear at times. Tawakkul is the means by which we right our course and stay on it, and bring about resolve and contentment. The benefits of tawakkul are many, among them that you hand over to Allah that which burdens your heart and mind. Realize that you are not broken, abandoned, or forgotten, but that Allah has actually given you exactly what you need. Knowing this, the believer acknowledges with certainty and confidence, “And my success is not but through Allah. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return.”[2]

The concept of reliance on Allah is a familiar one, given its frequent mention in the Qur’an and Sunnah. We recite these verses and supplications ardently, yet we may not comprehend the scope of tawakkul, such that we have yet to connect our hearts fully to these consoling and empowering words from Allah. The question is, “How do I live tawakkul? How do I implement it in my daily life to achieve its benefits?” Tawakkul involves placing complete trust in Allah, above and beyond all others, including oneself. As Ibn Rajab stated, “Complete reliance on Allah is the sincere dependence of the heart on Allah in the servant’s endeavors in pursuing his interests and safeguarding himself against anything that may be harmful to his well-being both in this life and in the ākhirah.”[3] However, when one’s inner voice resonates loudly and becomes further emboldened by Shaytan’s whispers, one may erroneously place one’s emotions, logic, and that which seems immediately tangible ahead of reliance on Allah, on what is often beyond one’s perception and knowledge of divine wisdom and His decree. Tawakkul is a leap of faith into that very unknown. Hence, the answer to this question lies in the two key aspects this trust hinges on. Ask yourself: First, how well do I know Allah? Second, what is my relationship with Him?

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To know Allah is to place your trust in Him:
To know Allah is to know and acknowledge His names and attributes. Pause and reflect when reciting them and call upon Him by these names. Only then can one develop a meaningful connection to Allah—one that will inculcate complete reliance on Him. He is Eternal (al-Ḥayy) and the Sustainer of all that exists (al-Qayyūm). His knowledge is All-Encompassing (al-ʿAlīm). He is the Most Powerful (al-Qadīr), the One who is Self-Sufficient (al-Ghanī), the One who provides abundantly (al-Razzāq), and the One who is most Noble and Generous (al-Karīm). Allah is our Guardian (al-Wakīl): “To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.”[4] He is always in control over all of His creation. Thus, the greater our awareness of Allah, the greater our certainty in Him and our love for Him—and the stronger our tawakkul.

The fruits of tawakkul:
Just as supplication (duʿāʾ) is a means to the desired outcome, so it is with tawakkul. Allah answers the call of those who place their trust in Him. He repeatedly commands us in the Qur’an to place our trust and reliance on Him. Hence, tawakkul is also an act of submission to the Master. It is the foundation and perfection of our belief and worship in the Oneness of Allah (tawhīd) by not relying on anyone else: “But if they turn away, [O Muhammad], say, ‘Sufficient for me is Allah; there is no deity except Him. On Him I have relied, and He is the Lord of the Great Throne.’”[5] By submitting one’s heart and giving complete authority to Allah, the believer gains the love of Allah: “Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].”[6] Thus, tawakkul brings calm to the heart—it is no longer perturbed by the tremors of life. Tawakkul is the source of contentment, ease, and protection Allah grants to the believers, relieving them from fear and doubt. It is a means to come closer to Allah and to raise one’s level of faith (imān) and certainty (yaqīn).

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No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah, He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things. And obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn away, then upon Our Messenger is only [the duty of] clear notification. Allah—there is no deity except Him. And upon Allah let the believers rely.[7]

Thus, if one is tested with hardship, should worldly provision be taken away, or if one does not see the desired or immediate outcome of a particular duʿāʾ, one remains optimistic that Allah’s treasures are boundless and He will remove that hardship and replace any loss with something better. Abū Saʿīd al-Khuḍrī, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “No Muslim makes supplication—unless he is someone who has cut off his relatives—but that he is given one of three things: either his supplication is answered quickly, or it is stored up for him in the next world, or an evil equal to it is averted from him.” It was said, “Then many supplications will be made.” He replied, “Allah has more still to give.”[8] Hence, perhaps the greatest fruit of tawakkul is that one is satisfied with the outcome, regardless of its specifics, knowing that it comes from the One who loves His servants and knows what is best for them.

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[1] Qur’an 3:159.

[2] Qur’an 11:88.

[3] Ahmad Farid, The Purification of the Soul (London: Al-Firdous, 1996), 105.

[4] Qur’an 4:171.

[5] Qur’an 9:129.

[6] Qur’an 3:159.

[7] Qur’an 64:11–13.

[8] Al-Bukhārī, Al-Adab al-mufrad, bk. 1, hadith 107, https://sunnah.com/adab/31/107.

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