The first and foremost important part of our faith, as Muslims, is firm and unconditional faith in Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. So, when we have firm belief and faith in Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, we agree that everything we have or will have in the future in this world and the life hereafter is from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
Once we agree that everything in our life, good or bad, comes from Him, that’s where the most important concept in Islam, reliance on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, for all our deeds, starts. The concept of complete dependence or reliance on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى is known as Tawakkul in Islam. It is one of the basic parts of the Islamic faith. The 3rd verse of Surah Al-Talaq in the Quran explains this concept:
and provide for them from sources they could never imagine. And whoever puts their trust in Allah, then He ˹alone˺ is sufficient for them. Certainly Allah achieves His Will. Allah has already set a destiny for everything.
That means for a Muslim, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى is the only and the ultimate support for all he needs in his life in this world and the life hereafter.
Tawakkul – The Concept and Meanings
Tawakkul is an Arabic word (تَوَكُّل). It is generally translated in English as “Trust in God” or “Reliance on God”. In the Islamic ideology, it is more elaborately described as “complete reliance and perfect trust in Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. Sometimes, it is also referred to as “Complete Trust in Allah’s Plans.”
So, the basic theme of the word Tawakkul is to rely on the Will and Plans of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, trusting that He is the One Who has all the Powers and Authority. Various Islamic scholars have interpreted the concept of Tawakkul in their research work. They define it as a “Spiritual State”. Here the word state denotes the Arabic word “Hal.”
Some scholars believe that Tawakkul is the ultimate or extreme form of “Zuhd.” Zuhd is an Arabic term described as self-discipline and self-denial that would lead to obtaining Allah’s liking. Being in a state of self-denial practically means that everything will come our way with the Will and Command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
However, Tawakkul does not mean that one should do nothing and expect everything to happen from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. The concept of Tawakkul is that one should do his best to accomplish a task and then leave the outcome to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and, more importantly, be ready to accept it without any hesitations.
Tawakkul Explained in Hadiths
This concept is also explained in Hadiths. It is stated in the Hadith Books that once a man requested Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, whether I should tie my camel and then rely on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى or should I leave her untied and then rely on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. The Prophet said, tie her and then rely on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, as narrated in Hadith number 2517 in Jami Tirmidhi.
Anas bin Malik narrated that a man said: “O Messenger of Allah! Shall I tie it and rely (upon Allah), or leave it loose and rely (upon Allah)?” He said: “Tie it and rely (upon Allah).”
Similarly, another Hadith quoted at serial number 79 in Riyad as-Salihin, with reference of Al-Tirmidhi, explains the concept of Tawakkul as under.
‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: “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 full belly at dusk”.
Tawakkul – Emphasized in the Quran
Tawakkul, reliance and trust in God, is repeatedly mentioned in the Quran. This concept is narrated for 38 times in different parts of the Quran. Additionally, many Hadiths on this topic are narrated in different reliable Hadith Books. That reflects the importance of Tawakkul in Islam. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى likes this gesture from His believers and guarantees His mercy and blessings on those who trust and rely upon Him.
Some of the relevant verses from the Quran are quoted hereunder:
- 21st to 23rd verse of Surah Al-Ma’idah explains the concept of Tawakkul while narrating the conversation of Prophet Musa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ with his followers.
O my people! Enter the Holy Land which Allah has destined for you ˹to enter˺. And do not turn back or else you will become losers
They replied, “O Moses! There is an enormously powerful people there, so we will never ˹be able to˺ enter it until they leave. If they do, then we will enter!
Two God-fearing men—who had been blessed by Allah—said, “Surprise them through the gate. If you do, you will certainly prevail. Put your trust in Allah if you are ˹truly˺ believers.
So, that’s the level of trust expected from the believers.
- In the 9th verse of Surah Al-Muzzammil another level of Tawakkul is mentioned. Here Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has ensured His believers that He is their Wakil (An Arabic term that can be translated as “the Trustee”).
He is the˺ Lord of the east and the west. There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him, so take Him ˹alone˺ as a Trustee of Affairs.
- 58th verse of Surah Al-Furqan reflects yet another emphasis on Tawakkul.
Put your trust in the Ever-Living, Who never dies, and glorify His praises. Sufficient is He as All-Aware of the sins of His servants.
- 12th verse of Surah Ibrahim narrates the importance of Tawakkul under:
Why should we not put our trust in Allah, when He has truly guided us to ˹the very best of˺ ways? Indeed, we will patiently endure whatever harm you may cause us. And in Allah let the faithful put their trust.
- In 216th verse of Surah Al-Baqara, Allah tells the believer that He knows better what is good or bad for you:
Fighting has been made obligatory upon you ˹believers˺, though you dislike it. Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.
- 286th verse of the same Surah tells us that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى do not put to task a man that is beyond his capacity:
Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford. All good will be for its own benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss. ˹The believers pray,˺ “Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord! Do not place a burden on us like the one you placed on those before us. Our Lord! Do not burden us with what we cannot bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our ˹only˺ Guardian. So, grant us victory over the disbelieving people.
In these two verses, another level of Tawakkul is taught to us. Allah knows better what is good for us, and He does not expect anything beyond our capacity. Hence, we should keep the highest of our trust in Allah, rely upon His Will and Command, and accept the outcome happily.
Benefits of Tawakkul
- By having a high level of Tawakkul or trust in Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, the heart and soul of a person remains calm under any circumstances. When we completely rely on the Will of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, there will be no sorrow or grief even if the outcome is not in our favor, as He knows what isgood for us and what’s not.
- Tawakkul keeps us relaxed and calm in case of failure and beefs up our Trust at times of success.
- Tawakkul can be a source of direct relation with Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. When one expresses his complete reliance on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and follows the guidance given by Him, there are higher chances of success in every endeavor in one’s life. It develops a sort of direct connection between the Creator and the believer.
- Tawakkul strengthens our faith (Imaan).
Three Levels of Tawakkul
As explained by scholars, there are three levels of Tawakkul:
- Tawakkul of the believers – This is the simplest of the different levels of Tawakkul. Here the believer only thinks of the current day and does not worry about tomorrow, firmly believing that whatever comes up tomorrow will be better for us.
- Tawakkul of the select – At this level of trust in Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. No desires, no motives, all want to be set aside.
- Tawakkul of the select of the select – This is the highest level of trust in Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. Here the believer completely hands himself at the Will of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, so His Will becomes the will of the believer.
Being Muslim, we believe that everything we had, everything we have, and everything we will have all come from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. So, it is a part of our Imaan (faith) that whatever comes our way, either good or bad, is from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and He knows what’s good for us and what is not. So, we totally rely on the Will of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, with unconditional trust in Him that whatever comes our way is with His Command and we leave our destiny on Him.
That is the concept of Tawakkul or Reliance and Trust on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. The concept is that one should try hard to the best of his abilities and leave the result to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. Going forward, he must accept the outcome without any doubts. That’s the completion of one’s Trust and Reliance on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.