Third Step on the Journey to Allah: Relying on God

(Ibn Ata’s Words of Wisdom: Part 4)

“Save yourself from worrying. Someone else already took care of your affairs for you.”

This wisdom is about the verse in which Allah Almighty said:

Whoever relies on Allah, Allah is enough for them. (65:3)

This is the inspiration of that wisdom, in addition to many places in the Quran and the name of Allah Al-Wakeel (the one who is taking care of our affairs).

So relying on God (tawakkul) is actually a very important concept. It’s mentioned many times in the Quran and it’s often understood by people who claim to be Sufis.

Some of them believe that tawakkul is to be lazy, is to beg from people, and to be useless and sit in the mosque all day and night…

Tawakkul vs. Tawaakul

But actually, there is a difference between tawakkul and tawaakul.

Tawakkul means relying on God, whereas tawaakul means apathy. We’re not talking about apathy, here. We’re not talking about leaving the dunya for the immoral or the non-pious, we’re talking about being in the dunya, living life to its full, but to rely on Allah Almighty.

Allah Almighty, when we decide upon a course, we should put our trust in Him.

Now, concerning yourself with the means is desirable and essential, but you should not rely on the means. The means are supposed to be in your hands and not in your heart. Because what’s in your heart should be that Allah is in control of everything:

Who is that who is in control of all that exists? (23:88)

One must remind him or herself of this clear question raised in the Quran.

It is Allah who controls everything.

Tawakkul is actually a universal law as well. It’s not just only us who do tawakkul, but everybody does tawakkul, birds, animals, jinn…

Birds in the Hadith

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is teaching us from the example of the birds. He said:

If you rely on Allah in the best way you could rely on, He will provide you as He provides for the birds. They wake up hungry in the morning and they return with full stomachs at dusk. (At-Tirmidhi)

The bird doesn’t stand still, and moves from branch to branch and from tree to tree. The bird tries to find its food, its rizq, its providence… and then the bird returns full. We never see birds dead on the streets because birds are provided by Allah.

Read: How to Use Tawakkul in Relieving Our Anxieties and Worries

Similarly, we are provided by Allah Almighty, all what we need to do is to think about our providence, how can we acquire that providence. And that providence by the way is not only the material providence, but is also the providence on the journey to Allah Almighty and this is more important providence that Allah gives you steps towards Him.

You think how you can please Him, but you rely on Him and He will open the ways that will please Him.

So relying on God is not inconsistent with planning and strategizing and doing market analysis… But relying on Him is inconsistent with unrest in your heart when you feel that He is not going to provide for you but He will, in the material and the nominal sense.

This is the next step in the journey…

May Allah give us tawakkul, reliance, in our hearts…

A Journey to God (Folder)

About Dr. Jasser Auda
Jasser Auda is a Professor and Al-Shatibi Chair of Maqasid Studies at the International Peace College South Africa, the Executive Director of the Maqasid Institute, a global think tank based in London, and a Visiting Professor of Islamic Law at Carleton University in Canada. He is a Founding and Board Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, Fellow of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of India, and General Secretary of Yaqazat Feker, a popular youth organization in Egypt. He has a PhD in the philosophy of Islamic law from University of Wales in the UK, and a PhD in systems analysis from University of Waterloo in Canada. Early in his life, he memorized the Quran and studied Fiqh, Usul and Hadith in the halaqas of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. He previously worked as: Founding Director of the Maqasid Center in the Philosophy of Islamic Law in London; Founding Deputy Director of the Center for Islamic Ethics in Doha; professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Alexandria University in Egypt, Islamic University of Novi Pazar in Sanjaq, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the American University of Sharjah. He lectured and trained on Islam, its law, spirituality and ethics in dozens of other universities and organizations around the world. He wrote 25 books in Arabic and English, some of which were translated to 25 languages.