Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research
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In Hardship and in Ease: How to Rely on God

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For additional resources on dealing with the Coronavirus, click here.


Introduction

…But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.[1] 

This life is a test, both in good times and bad. As I write this, one story is currently dominating the news cycle—that of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19.[2] Emerging just weeks ago, it has proven to be a new form of a deadly and highly contagious disease. Having rapidly spread across continents, this phenomenon is no doubt a humbling sign from Allah, the All-Mighty (Al-ʿAzīz) that a microorganism invisible to the naked eye can multiply so rapidly, wreaking havoc along its path. In one fell swoop, it is taking lives and depleting resources. It has crippled global markets, causing financial distress, and has brought many activities we take for granted to a grinding halt, with the forced closure of businesses, schools, places of worship and leisure. It has yet to be brought under control. Unlike localized natural disasters, war, and oppression history has witnessed many times over, pandemics do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, nations, politics, or social status. As we face these unprecedented circumstances with uncertainty, fear, and the anticipation of loss, it is our relationship with Allah that remains constant. With every hardship, Allah has promised ease. As the saying goes, the light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion—the tunnel is!

Our faith teaches us that this too will pass, but as we go through this test (fitnah) we must seek ways to purify ourselves and to nourish our souls. The believer sees in every moment an opportunity to reap blessings and rewards. And, we remain optimistic in Allah, the All-Merciful (al-Raḥmān) Eternal Refuge (al-Ṣamad) who never lets us down, and brings us out of darkness into light, time and time again. Allah does not send us trials without also giving us the means to seek relief and to make our success easy. The real test of hardship goes beyond worldly concern and discomfort—to how we choose to respond to it. So, how do we overcome what seems beyond our comprehension and control? How do we overcome anxiety, fear of the unknown, and feeling isolated, while finding purpose and solace?

Let’s take a step back and make sure we are not absorbed in the news cycle and logistics of this crisis, as important as it is to be informed, to remind ourselves that today is yet another step along the journey back to Allah. The Straight Path we seek demands faith, gratitude, and patience on our part—and placing one’s trust in Allah. Reliance on Allah, tawakkul, is among the greatest acts of worship along this Path and one required of us, “…and upon Allah rely, if you should be believers.”[3] It is a means to His pleasure and reward.[4] It is among the greatest blessings we have that enable us to nurture and maintain our faith. It is the source that inspires hope, contentment with divine decree, and confidence during all times and situations, particularly during moments of fear and uncertainty. Allah promises to “provide for the believer from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him.”[5] Hence, Ibn al-Qayyim said, “Tawakkul [reliance on Allah] is half of the religion. As for the other half, it is inābah [to return to Allah in all affairs and repentance].”[6]

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].”[7] 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.”[8] 

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.”[9] 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?

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.”[10] 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.’”[11] 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].”[12] 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).

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.[13] 

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 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.”[14] 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.

Three types of people

Scholars divide people into three categories in terms of their approach to tawakkul. The first type of person is one who relies wholly on Allah, without personally asserting any effort toward the end goal himself. The term used to describe this concept is tawākul. This is contradictory to tawakkul as understood from the Qur’an and Sunnah. The noble Companion, ʿAbd Allah Ibn ʿAbbās, reported that the people of Yemen traveled for Hajj without sufficient provision, claiming to depend solely on Allah to provide for them. When they resorted to begging the people of Medina to take care of them, Allah revealed the verse, “And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah.”[15] This is exemplified in the context of the current global pandemic by those who claim to trust Allah to protect them from its harm, while they themselves refrain from taking the necessary prescribed precautions of social distancing and sheltering in place in order to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The second type of person takes the means to achieve the desired outcome, while relying solely on those means, and not on Allah. Nūḥ (as) could not convince his own son to seek refuge in Allah from the flood, in the safety of the ark. His son defiantly said, “I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water.” [Noah] said, “There is no protector today from the decree of Allah, except for whom He gives mercy.” And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.[16] This action is sinful because it goes against tawḥīd for one to rely on other than Allah, and therefore, it contradicts tawakkul. This is likened to one who seeks the recommended or necessary medical treatment for an ailment. However, he places his trust solely on the means—the medicine and the doctor—but does not acknowledge or trust in Allah as the One who ultimately provides the cure through those very means, giving them their effectiveness and potency.

The third group of people are those who take the necessary means to achieving the desired outcome and place their trust in Allah to grant them success. This is the correct understanding of tawakkul as taught and practiced by the Prophet ﷺ and every prophet before him. One might wonder why Maryam was instructed to shake the date palm as she was in the throes of giving birth. “And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be content.[17] It was, no doubt, her reliance on Allah and His divine wisdom in directing her to that action that provided her with the necessary means to give her ease in her time of difficulty. Likewise, during any time of uncertainty and fear, the people of tawakkul are those who remain steadfast in their hope in Allah to bring them through the test, while they use every permissible means to achieve that end. Hence, in the context of our current circumstances, we must remain optimistic and completely trust that Allah will bring us relief from this pandemic. At the same time, we must make every effort to take the prescribed precautionary measures and use this time wisely to engage in and increase our acts of worship like duʿāʾ, seeking forgiveness (istighfār), giving charity (ṣadaqah), and being of service to others to the best of our ability.

The great scholar, Ibn Taymīyah summarized this concept as: “Tawakkul comprises of reliance on Allah, in order for Him to help the person do what they are ordered to do, as well as reliance on Allah in giving the person what they cannot achieve. Istiʿānah (seeking help) is in actions, and tawakkul is broader than that.”[18] Therefore, making duʿāʾ is an important and ever-present aspect of the means one takes in exercising tawakkul. It is also important to note that reliance on Allah is essential for all matters, both worldly and religious—to seek a good outcome in this world and in the Hereafter.

Follow in the footsteps of the ones who led by example

The Qur’an and Sunnah are replete with accounts and valuable lessons about tawakkul, illustrating how our greatest role models understood and implemented it in their lives. Ibrāhīm (as) found coolness and tranquility in the middle of the fire when he placed his trust in Allah, reciting the words, “Allah (Alone) is sufficient for us and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.” These were also the words of the Prophet ﷺ when he and his companions were informed of a great army gathering against them at Uhud.[19] He ﷺ made sure to take the necessary means available—strategic planning, armor, and duʿāʾ as the means to seek the help and protection of Allah.

When faced with the imminent danger of migrating to Medina (hijrah), the Prophet ﷺ placed his complete trust in Allah to guide him to safety. He then meticulously carried out protective measures to achieve it. Along with his companion, Abū Bakr, he escaped from Makkah, taking a guide with them, and choosing an alternate route to avoid capture. They made arrangements for sufficient provision and sought refuge in a cave until it was safe to resume the journey to Medina. Seeing Abū Bakr’s concern for his safety, the Prophet ﷺ reassured Abū Bakr of their unwavering trust in Allah to protect them.

If you do not aid the Prophet—Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his tranquility upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah—that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.[20]

The sea itself was made the path to safety for Mūsá (as) when he was commanded to strike it with his staff. We see the certainty and tawakkul of Mūsá (as) when he said, “Nay, surely! With me is my Lord, He will guide me.”[21] As difficult as it is to imagine, the mother of Mūsá (as) was divinely inspired to place her infant in a river in order to save his life. How amazing is His wisdom that Allah then kept Mūsá (as) safe, raising him in the home of the very same tyrant from whom she was desperate to secure his escape.[22] These are historic accounts. Although we may be blessed with the comforts of life and, therefore, not fully comprehend the extent of the adversity these exemplary believers overcame with tawakkul, they provide consolation and hope to us all. To those among us who find themselves in the midst of a storm, be it calamity, injustice, loss of life or provision, place your trust in Allah and stay the course with hope and confidence to weather the storm, and know that Allah is with you too.

Life lessons

We can extract many life lessons from the beautiful hadith in which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “If you all depend on Allah with due reliance, He would certainly give you provision as He gives it to birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with [a] full belly at dusk.”[23] This hadith teaches us that tawakkul begins with the heart’s firm reliance on Allah. Strengthened with tawakkul, the believer sets forth on the path to attain his goal, be it safety, sustenance, knowledge, etc. One may not know where that path will take him, nor have the knowledge of how or when he will reach his goal, but his reliance on Allah keeps him steadfast with the certainty that Allah will provide, just as He does for the birds. No doubt this example depicts heightened vulnerability and need. The nest appears feeble and unable to withstand harsh weather and predators. The eggs are fragile and the bird has limited capacity and significant responsibility to shoulder. Yet, we see Allah’s perfection in His plan, His mercy, and generosity for all of His creation such that none who seeks from Him is returned empty-handed.

Tawakkul involves the coming together of both one’s spiritual and material means.[24] Abū Ḥātim Al-Rāzī noted that this hadith teaches us that not only is tawakkul an essential component of faith, but it is also of the utmost importance in acquiring sustenance.[25] It begins in the heart, and manifests in action, be it for survival, well-being, or any benefit. The means are those actions that are within the bounds of permissibility, beginning with seeking the help of Allah through acts of worship along with practical steps within one’s capacity. This may include seeking counsel and the help of trustworthy people: family, friends, and specialists in a particular field, such as medical professionals, for example, who are currently serving on the frontlines to help save lives during this crisis. Placing one’s trust in another person is called tawkīl, which is a category of the means one takes, while relying on Allah to provide both the means and the end result.

And cooperate [assist one another] in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.[26] 

Thus, one carries out the actions while the heart remains firmly reliant on Allah. Trust that your provision is guaranteed, but you may have to struggle and strive for it. Every action and effort exerted with tawakkul is an action on the Path of Allah and is being recorded and rewarded. Hence, tawakkul supports the believer’s confidence, courage, strength, motivation and productivity because of their reliance on Allah to help them achieve their goals.

And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.[27]

Taking the means – daily checklist

The following is by no means exhaustive. However, it outlines and briefly touches on a few key reminders and practices one can use to nurture one’s tawakkul on a daily basis.

1. Duʿāʾ  

Duʿāʾ is the greatest act of worship and a significant component of tawakkul. “so worship Him and rely upon Him. And your Lord is not unaware of that which you do.”[28] Call upon Allah and when you do, pray with certainty that you will be heard and answered.[29] Develop a meaningful connection with Allah, asking Him sincerely and with an understanding of the supplications in the Qur’an and Sunnah, along with your own heartfelt words. Internalize your duʿāʾ the way you may have internalized your anxiety and fear, and trust that Allah will turn your duʿāʾ into a means of relief and comfort. Duʿāʾ is the weapon of the believer, but it is only as strong as the one who recognizes how to best use it to maximize its benefit. We often make the mistake of limiting our duʿāʾs to our own limited perception. Don’t be afraid to ask Allah—He moves mountains for those who ask. Hence, tawakkul leads to a life of confidence and certainty. Tomorrow is not certain, but Allah surely is! Among the numerous prescribed duʿāʾs taught by the Prophet  is the duʿāʾ of istikhārah, to ask Allah to guide one to the best action:

O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter (or said: If it is better for my present and later needs),Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get and then bless me in it. And if You know that this job is harmful to me In my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter (or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs), then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me and make me satisfied with it). The Prophet ﷺ added that then the person should name (mention) his need.[30]

Ibn al-Qayyim reported from his Shaykh, Ibn Taymīyah that he said: “Predestined issues are enveloped by two things: reliance on Allah before it happens, and contentment with Allah afterwards; whoever relies on Allah before the action, and is content with that has been decreed after it, has completed servitude.”[31] 

2. Firm resolve

The Prophet ﷺ was instructed by Allah, “And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely upon Him.”[32] This verse arms us with confidence to proceed with the tasks ahead. It allows one to remain focused on the goal, and to maintain stability, day after day. Imagine riding a jet-ski into open water. Keep moving at a steady speed, and the water will become a firm highway, but stop and go, and you will be rocked by the waves onto an unsteady and undefined path. Hence, tawakkul closes the door to questions and doubts, to inaction, stress, and dissatisfaction with oneself and others. Drop the baggage that slows you down and busy yourself with good deeds to avoid wasting time and regret. Remember that tawakkul has two actions—one is in the heart and the other involves seeking the means available.

Anas ibn Mālik reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.”[33]

3. Trust in Allah that you will be forgiven

Musa (as) struck a fatal blow to a man while trying to save the life of another. He turned to Allah and sought forgiveness—and Allah forgave him: “‘My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me,’ and He forgave him. Indeed, He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”[34] The door to repentance is open but it demands of us sincerity and that we place our complete trust in Allah that He will forgive us. It is one’s level of tawakkul here that will generate hope and motivation toward good deeds. The prescribed daily duʿāʾ for istighfār embodies this trust in Allah.

The Prophet ﷺ said, “The best supplication for seeking forgiveness (Sayyid al-Istighfār) is to say: ‘O Allah! You are my Rabb. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favors that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon.’ He who supplicates in these terms during the day with firm belief in it and dies on the same day (before the evening), he will be one of the dwellers of jannah; and if anyone supplicates in these terms during the night with firm belief in it and dies before the morning, he will be one of the dwellers of jannah.”[35]

The more one humbles himself as a servant of Allah, the more noble one becomes in the sight of Allah. Our repeated falling down and getting back up become badges of honor when we return to Allah sincerely with tawbah.

4. The five daily prayers are a reminder

Allah gives us the opportunity to converse with Him and to unburden our hearts and minds at least five times a day. Salah contains praise of Allah, affirmations of His greatness, reminders from His Book, and an immense opportunity to make duʿāʾ and strengthen tawakkul. Reflect on the words we recite in every unit of prayer, “It is You we worship and You we ask for help”[36] and even just the meaning of “Allāhu Akbar.” Prayer is a means to stay on course, gain reward and forgiveness, and to increase one’s faith and tawakkul.

5. The reality of the unseen 

This is the very essence of belief in the unseen: “the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah, who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them.”[37] We don’t always have the knowledge or the insight to make sense of a situation, such as the pandemic that has befallen us. We may feel trapped in the dense trees and thorny bushes with no end in sight but with tawakkul, Allah will guide us out of the forest into the clear. Some things may seem unfair or counterintuitive, but Allah, in His infinite knowledge and wisdom, is steering us to good. It may be beyond our rational minds to comprehend. Reflect on the stories in Surah al-Kahf. Each of the encounters of Mūsá (as) appeared to be the exact opposite of what was actually so.[38] What comes from Allah is the truth, and that which contains the greatest wisdom and good. This aspect of tawakkul gives us the confidence and the ability to accept His decree as the best outcome, no matter how things may appear at the time.

6. Yes, you can

Have tawakkul and find comfort in that Allah will never burden you with more than you are capable of. “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.”[39] Knowing this brings ease that we will get through what is ahead because our Master knows us like no other. He wants ease for us and will provide us ease even during the most challenging situations.

7. Patience

The topic of patience is a very comprehensive discussion, but for the purpose of this daily checklist, we remind ourselves that we are to exercise patience every day and in all situations of prosperity and adversity. Tawakkul helps one to remain patient, and to stay persistent, consistent, and engaged in action. It helps one develop and maintain self-control and to not complain or indulge in negative self-talk that might lead to one giving up.  

Man is not weary of supplication for good [things], but if evil touches him, he is hopeless and despairing.[40] 

8. Gratitude

As is the case with patience, much can be said about gratitude. There is ample and extensive discussion in the Qur’an and Sunnah urging the believers to develop this beautiful quality in their outlook on life, with gratitude to Allah for all that He has blessed His creation with. Gratitude can flourish and manifest from within when one places complete trust in Allah and has reliance on Him that He has blessed us and answered our call.

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.”[41]

9. Stay optimistic

Pessimism is contradictory to tawakkul. It’s about changing our perception. We often see the world through a lens colored over time by our own experiences. What has not come our way today may await us in the future. Think of the positives we are experiencing today. Both gratitude and patience, with a strong level of tawakkul will help us to acknowledge and accept the blessings that come with all situations, good and bad, and to actively seek the best of what is yet to come.

Remember, that with every hardship, Allah has promised ease.[42] Allah’s Messenger ﷺ visited a sick Bedouin and said to him, “Don’t worry, ṭahūr (i.e., your illness will be a means of cleansing of your sins) if Allah wills.” The Bedouin said, “Ṭahūr! No, but it is a fever that is burning in the body of an old man and it will make him visit his grave.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Then it is so.”[43]

10. Have a good opinion of Allah

Tawakkul is to know Allah and to trust Him in every aspect of our journey through this life to our final return to Him. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Allah said, ‘I am to my slave as he thinks of Me’ (i.e., I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him).”[44] Learn, study, and reflect on the names and attributes of Allah to nurture your relationship with Him and tawakkul in Him.

11. Know that Allah loves you

At times, we erroneously interpret a test from Allah as an indication that He doesn’t love us, or that we have been abandoned. Tests come to all people, in all stations of life, whether by way of prosperity or adversity, and regardless of one’s level of faith. Every test is designed to bring us closer to Allah because He loves His servants and wants the best outcome for us. Tawakkul involves using these tests to seek Allah and to be closer to Him. We have the beautiful verse: “Your Lord (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) has neither forsaken you nor hated you.”[45] Did Allah not love His Messengers? Yet, they endured what seemed like unsurmountable losses, challenges, and setbacks, raising them to the greatest heights of nobility.

12. Daily adhkār

The Prophet ﷺ has taught us a number of duʿāʾs to make at prescribed times throughout a twenty-four hour period as well as on specific occasions. Developing a daily regimen that includes these serves as a frequent reminder to seek the protection of Allah and to help one entrust all affairs to Him. For example, when leaving home, one is to recite, “In the Name of Allah, I have placed my trust in Allah, there is no might and no power except by Allah.”[46] 

13. Dhikr brings tranquility 

The more we engage in the remembrance of Allah (dhikr), the more awareness we have of Allah and His presence in our lives. Allah tells us to find tranquility in remembrance: “Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”[47] This reassurance is a sign of and a means of strengthening one’s tawakkul.

Conclusion

ʿAbd Allah Ibn Masʿūd stated that the verse in the Qur’an containing the greatest reliance on Allah and submission of one’s affairs to Him is: “And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out, and will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.”[48] One may have the impression that tawakkul is only required during adversity. Rather, tawakkul is a constant state of the believer’s heart. All of us are in a constant need of Allah, and whether the test be that of prosperity or difficulty, all tests from Allah are opportunities for us to rely on Him.  Tawakkul is a way of life for the believer—one that combines certainty of faith and contentment. Hence, Saʿīd ibn Jubayr said: “Reliance on Allah is what gathers the whole of the religion together.”[49] No doubt humanity is experiencing great turbulence today. We pray for the help of Allah to come soon with relief for all those affected. As difficult as it is to balance between staying informed of the current state of affairs and staying productive in trying times, when the news cycle is perpetual and distressful, tawakkul in Allah is the greatest of gifts which reassures us and reminds us of exactly how to stay the course until we reach our ultimate destination.

Our Lord, upon You we have relied, and to You we have returned, and to You is the destination.[50]


[1] Qur’an 2:216.

[2] “Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak,” The New York Times, last updated March 31, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-maps.html.

[3] Qur’an 5:23.

[4] “So whatever thing you have been given, it is but [for] enjoyment of the worldly life. But what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who have believed and upon their Lord rely.” Qur’an 42:36.

[5] Qur’an 65:3.

[6] Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, Reliance on Allaah (n.p.: Zad Group, n.d.), 3, https://d1.islamhouse.com/data/en/ih_books/single2/en_Reliance_on_Allah.pdf.

[7] Qur’an 3:159.

[8] Qur’an 11:88.

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

[10] Qur’an 4:171.

[11] Qur’an 9:129.

[12] Qur’an 3:159.

[13] Qur’an 64:11–13.

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

[15] Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no. 1523, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/25/11.

[16] Qur’an 11:43.

[17] See Qur’an 19:23–26.

[18] Al-Munajjid, Reliance on Allaah, 9.

[19] Riyāḍ al-ṣālihīn, bk. 1, hadith 76, https://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/1/76; also reported by al-Bukhārī.

[20] Qur’an 9:40.

[21] Qur’an 26:62.

[22] See Qur’an 28:7–13.

[23] Riyāḍ al-ṣālihīn, bk. 1, hadith 79, https://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/1/79; also reported by at-Tirmidhi.

[24] Abū Bakr Jābir al-Jazāirī, Minhāj Al-Muslim: A Book of Creed, Manners, Character, Acts of Worship and Other Deeds, vol. 1 (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2001), 301.

[25] Farid, Purification of the Soul, 105.

[26] Qur’an 5:2.

[27] Qur’an 62:10.

[28] Qur’an 11:123.

[29] “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’ ” Qur’an 40:60.

[30] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, bk. 19, hadith 45, no. 1166, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/19/45.

[31] Al-Munajjid, Reliance on Allaah, 41.

[32] Qur’an 3:159.

[33] Sunan at-Tirmidhī, no. 2517, https://abuaminaelias.com/dailyhadithonline/2012/11/17/trust-allah-tie-your-camel/.

[34] Qur’an 28:16.

[35] Riyāḍ al-ṣālihīn, bk. 20, hadith 7, https://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/20/7; also reported by al-Bukhārī.

[36] Qur’an 1:5.

[37] Qur’an 2:2–3.

[38] Qur’an 18:60–82.

[39] Qur’an 2:286.

[40] Qur’an 41:49.

[41] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, bk. 55, hadith 82, no. 2999, https://sunnah.com/muslim/55/82.

[42] Qur’an 94:5–6; also see Roohi Tahir, “Overcoming Pessimism with Faith,” Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, April 17, 2017, https://yaqeeninstitute.org/roohi-tahir/overcoming-pessimism-with-faith/

[43] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, bk. 97, hadith 96, no. 7470, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/97/96.

[44] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, bk. 97, hadith 130, no. 7505, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/97/130.

[45] Qur’an 93:3.

[46] Abū Dāwūd vol. 4, hadith 325; At-Tirmidhī vol. 5, hadith 490; see also Al-Albānī, Ṣaḥīḥ at-Tirmidhī, vol. 3, hadith 151.

[47] Qur’an 13:28

[48] Qur’an 65:2–3; also al-Munajjid, Reliance, 41.

[49] Al-Munajjid, 3.

[50] Qur’an 60:4.

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Roohi Tahir

Roohi Tahir has a BS with honors in Computer Engineering from Boston University and is a graduate of the BMAIS higher Bridge to Masters diploma and currently pursuing a Masters degree in Islamic Studies from the Islamic Online University. She is also the Founder and instructor of Nourish Your Soul, a platform for Islamic education.