Tawakkul means to rely upon another, to appoint a trustee and to put one’s trust in that trustee.
One of the beautiful names of Allah is ‘Al-Wakeel’. This name has the meanings of ‘the one who takes care of matters which have been referred to Him, (in a most suitable way), and the One who takes care of affairs in the best way, the One who is relied upon, and the One who controls and who rules over everything’.
It is a must that the sole Source to be relied upon in all matters is the immortal, everlasting Absolute One of Power. It would be meaningless to trust somebody who is in fact the opposite.
Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an:
‘Put your trust in the Living who does not die and glorify Him with praise’ (Al-Furqan, 25:58)
Allah Most High desires that we, His servants, rely upon Him only. He says in the Qur’an:
‘So let the believers put their trust in Allah’. (Ibrahim, 14:11) ‘Whoever puts his trust in Allah – He will be enough for him’ (al-Talaq, 65:3)
The Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings) has said:
“If you were able to rely on Allah properly, you would be pro- vided for just like birds who leave their nests hungry and return full” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 33/2344; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 14).
When it comes to submission, this has the meaning of acquiescence and acceptance of whatever events befall one without objection and thus arriving at peace. Submission is an act of the heart, and it is to be free of any doubts that arise in matters that have come from Allah. It is to be free of carnal desires that are contrary to divine commands, desires that are not compatible with sincerity, and the curse of resisting divine decree and Islamic law. It is stated in a verse from the Qur’an:
‘No, by your Lord, they are not believers until they make you their judge in the disputes that break out between them, and then find no resistance within themselves to what you decide and submit themselves completely.’ (An-Nisa, 4:65)
The word ‘teslimiyet’ or submission has the same root as the word ‘islam’. This is why to truly live Islam and to be a true servant of Allah is only possible through submission. This is because Allah (exalted and glorified be He) is not pleased when His servant yields to any other than Him.
Submission is an act of obedience based on love. It was through the blessings of this obedience and submission that nothing – not his life, his property or his son- could hinder the Prophet Ibrahîm (Abraham) (upon whom be peace) from the path of his exalted Lord. Thus his act of worship, of which the pilgrimage is the best symbol for his reliance and submission to his Lord, will continue until the end of time. The tongue of Ibrahîm was an interpreter of what was in his heart and he would constantly pray:
‘I am a Muslim who has submitted to the Lord of all the worlds.’ (Al-Baqara, 2:131)
The aim of tasawwuf, which takes love as its foundation and which is the essence of Islam, is the establishment of feelings of submission and contentedness with Allah by allowing the servant to live under divine guidance and move closer to Allah with every breath. The effects and deceits of the soul that arise from the thousand and one worries, anxieties and pains that are rife in this fleeting world, will only begin to abate as a result of contentment and submission to Allah. How beautifully Ibrahim Hakki Erzurumi puts it:
Rely upon Allah
Submit and find peace
Be content with all His affairs
And let us see what Allah has in store; For whatever it is, it will be for the best
Scenes of Virtue
Once a Bedouin came to the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings) and asked him:
“O Messenger of Allah! Shall I tie my camel and then trust in Allah or should I trust in Allah without tying my camel?”
The Prophet replied:
“Tie your camel first, and then trust in Allah”. (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 60/2517)
According to reports by Ummu Seleme (May Allah be pleased with her), whenever the Messenger of Allah (upon whom be peace and blessings) would leave the house he would always make sure to turn his face to the heavens and say the following prayer:
“In the name of Allah! I put my trust in Allah. O Allah, I seek refuge in You that I should stray or be led astray, that I should slip, or be made to slip, that I should oppress or that I be oppressed, and that I should show ignorance or be subject to others ignorance” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 102-3/5094; Tirmidhi, Deavat 35).
One day Abdullah ibn Zayd al-Ansari (RadiAllahu Anhu) came to the Messenger of Allahﷺ and said, in tears:
‘O Messenger of Allah! You are dearer to me than my own soul, my property, my children and my family. If I were not able to come and see you I would wish to die”.
Upon this the Messenger of Allahﷺ said: ‘Why are you crying?”
Abdullah ibn Zayd (RadiAllahu Anhu) answered:“O Messenger of Allah! I cried because I was thinking that one day you will die and we will die. You will be in a high state with the other prophets in Paradise while we will be in a lower place, even if we do go to Heaven and so I was crying thinking that I was not going to be able to see you”.
“O Messenger of Allah! I cried because I was thinking that one day you will die and we will die. You will be in a high state with the other prophets in Paradise while we will be in a lower place, even if we do go to Heaven and so I was crying thinking that I was not going to be able to see you”.
The Prophetﷺ, that ocean of compassion was silent for a while and did not reply. At that point the following verse was revealed:
‘Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be with those whom Allah has blessed: the Prophets and the truthful ones, the martyrs and the righteous. What excellent company such people are!’ (Nisa 4:69)
One day when Abdullah ibn Zayd (RadiAllahu Anhu) was working in his garden his son came running breathlessly and brought the news that the Prophet had passed away. Abdullah’s world turned upside down. He made the following prayer:
“O Allah! Take away my sight so that I do not see anything other than the only thing I love, the Messenger of Allah”
The prayer of Abdullah was answered and he lost his sight there and then. (See Qurtubi, V, 271).
Usually our good deeds, sacrifice and donations appear to be substantial to us. This mistaken impression deceives us and engages our mind. It fills us with contentment. A mere urn of water appears to be an ocean to us.
Our mundane desires never cease. We presume that what we own is our natural birthright. When we are asked to make a sacrifice our behavior changes as if we have been asked for something from our own personal possessions. Consequently, the bright, crystal clear and delicate mirror of trustworthiness and generosity becomes stained.
However, as Almighty Allah has revealed in the Qur’an: “As to the orphan do not oppress him. Nor refuse the one who asks for help” (Duha, 9-10).
Mawlana Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said:
Just as physically beautiful people search for bright and clear mirrors, for generosity to be seen poor and powerless people are required. As a beautiful person’s face may be reflected in a mirror, so too the beauty of those who help the needy through their generosity is reflected in the poor and the miserable.
Mawlana Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said: “Thus, the poor are the mirror of divine mercy and generosity. Those who are with Allah or lost in the existence of Allah are in a state of continuous generosity.”
Tafsir-i Hazin, a commentary on the Qur’an, reports the following from the great companion Jabir (RadiAllahu Anhu):
A small child came to the Prophet Muhammadﷺ . He told him that his mother had asked for a shirt. At that time the Prophet Muhammadﷺ owned only the shirt that he was wearing. He told the child to come back another time. The child returned to his home. But, soon he came back and told the Prophetﷺ that his mother wanted the shirt he was wearing. The Messenger of Allahﷺ went to his room, took off his shirt and gave it to the child.
At that moment, Bilal (RadiAllahu Anhu), the muadhdhin of the Prophetﷺ began reciting the Adhan, or the call to prayer. The Messenger of Allahﷺ could not come out of his room to lead the communal prayer because he did not have a shirt. Some of the companions came to his room since they were worried about him and they discovered that the Prophet no longer had a shirt to wear.
Wealth is a trust of Allah given to our care. The only way to enjoy it and feel happy about it is by sympathizing with the suffering of the needy by opening a window of mercy and compassion from our heart to them.
The great Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said:
Act like the sun in mercy and compassion!
Act like the night in covering the mistakes of others!
Act like a river in generosity and sacrifice!
Act like a dead one in anger and fury!
Act like the soil in humility and selflessness!
Act in accordance with the way you look!
Look in accordance with the way you act!
We should keep in mind that regardless how one presents oneself, what will come out of him is what he has in the urn of his heart. It is true that many urns that have claimed to be full of love have only produced eventually the water of indiscretion and heedlessness. Likewise, many people who have spoken about the elixir, or the water of life, could not drink a drop of it nor could they offer any to others. On the other hand, many people who hide themselves in humility and externally look like empty urns are special servants of Allah and carry endless oceans in their hearts. And they unhesitatingly offer water to burning lovers like the water of al-Kawthar, a river in Paradise.
May Allah raise all of us to be of His sincere and pure- hearted servants, so that we may too offer to all of humanity drops from the water of al-Kawthar and Tasnim(*) while still in this world.
(*) al-Kawthar (literally, ‘The Abundant’) is a river of Jannah and Tasnim (literally, ‘Nectar’) is a spring of Jannah.
-An excerpt from the book, “Tears of the Heart’