[He is] the Lord of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs. (Quran 73: 9)
Have you ever had that feeling of anxiety in your heart?
What if it doesn’t work out?
What if you never get over it?
The truth is that we have all felt this way at some point in our lives. Sometimes, the uncertainty is just too much to bear, or the hardship of a moment prevents us from seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. At times we desperately want some kind of medicine, a pill perhaps, to miraculously take these worries away.
But we do have that. This pill is called tawakkul (reliance on God). Like any pill, it’s sometimes hard to swallow. There are moments when we wonder whether this medicine even works, or if it is just some tool to make us simply believe we can be better. But God, the one – the only one – in control of this universe has said:
…And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. (65: 3)
What is Tawakkul?
So what does it mean to rely on God; to have tawakkul in Him?
It means to be firm in your heart. On this concern, the Muslim scholar, Ibn Ata’illah stated:
“Relieve yourself of worry after you have planned; do not concern yourself with what Allah has undertaken on your behalf.”
With tawakkul (reliance on God), our external burden or outward struggle is to plan, to use our means, and to work hard, but in our heart there is no longer the worry of this burden.
If you are sick, you seek out the best option: a professional doctor. If you are applying to university, you take your time in preparing your application to meet the criteria. But also know that after you have done your daily work and faced struggles, you should feel a resounding rest in your heart. Why?
God is Al-Wakeel; this means that it is He who controls His worshipers’ affairs and takes care of them. He never abandons them nor leaves them to another source. He has given Himself this name and made it known to us, so that we know this is an essential attribute of His; thus, we will never be let down. Even if things do not go according to plan, we know that God will give us something that is better.
We could not have entrusted our affairs to anyone better than Him. This is why, whenever the idea of relying on God is mentioned in the Quran, God reminds us of His power:
[He is] the Lord of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs. (73: 9)
And God says:
…Rely upon the Ever-Living who does not die… (25: 58)
God is telling us in chapter Al-Muzzammil that He is the Lord of the East and the West, so will our needs ever go outside of the East and the West? He tells us in chapter Al-Fuqan to put our complete trust in Him, Who never dies, so how can we put our trust in people who do?
But if the condition of tawakkul (reliance on God) is that we use our provisions and resources, what if we lack the means?
Imam Ahmad said the happiest day of his life was when he woke up one morning only to find no food in his home, because he knew that on this day he had to rely completely on God. Imam Ahmad was very, very poor since he didn’t have the means as we do to just go to the market and buy what his heart desired.
Reliance on God requires training. We are human, and every now and then, we will feel this uncertainty, loneliness, this knot in the stomach that maybe our situation won’t work out. And it’s ok to feel like this because it is about reminding ourselves to trust God at that precise moment.
If we truly rely on God, in the way we rely on our doctor when we know we have the best one around, this trust can only give us the peace of mind and tranquility of heart knowing that God is always doing the best for us.
This tranquility is developed when we face situations of discomfort and uncertainty. When we truly have tawakkul (reliance on God), we will never seek haram (unlawful) means to escape our situation, because we believe it is only God who determines the result.
Whenever we feel uncertain, let’s take a dose of “reliance on God”. Do what you can, but have trust in the guarantee that God will give you the result you need.