“When you are firm (in making a decision), then have tawakkul in Allah, for surely Allah loves the people of tawakkul. Quran 3:159
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Trust in Allah, but tie your camel.” This comes from a hadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi. There was a Bedouin man who was leaving his camel without tying it. The Prophet PBUH asked, “why don’t you tie down your camel?” The man answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet replied, “Tie your camel first and put your trust in Allah.
Tawakkul is trusting in Allah, and although it may seem simple, it’s integral to Islam and not always easy. Trust means realizing that we are letting go of control and someone else has it.
For example, putting your trust in people like friends is giving up control.
The Prophets of Islam faced many trials and tribulations in their lives that would test their trust in Allah. Some were harder than others. Below are some stories we can look to as examples that may help us have tawakkul.
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) faced some of the most challenging tests one could imagine. Idolaters were angry with Ibrahim, so they dug a deep pit, filled it with firewood, and ignited it. The fire burned so intensely that a catapult was brought in to cast Ibrahim into the fire because the people could not get too close to it. When the order was given to throw him, the angel Jibreel came near and asked, “O Ibrahim, do you wish for anything?” to which Ibrahim replied: “Nothing from you.”
Ibrahim was cast into the fire, but the flames did not burn him because Allah commanded: “0 fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrahim.” Quran Ayah 21:69. Ibrahim sat as if he were sitting in a garden; the fire cooled and became safe to him, and he praised Allah. Ibrahim only had a love for Allah in his heart, so he did not fear anything.
Another trial that Prophet Ibrahim (AS) faced was when Allah came to him in a dream and instructed him to sacrifice his son Ismail. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) told Ismail about the dream, and they both agreed that the task must be carried out. Agreeing to Allah’s will, Ismail kneeled, placing his forehead on the ground as Prophet Ibrahim, blindfolded, held a knife to Ismail’s neck. When Prophet Ibrahim took the blindfold off, Ismail was standing beside him, unharmed, and there was a ram in his place on the ground. Allah rewarded them for their faith in Him.
Many prophets faced great trials but exhibited great tawakkul ala Allah. Prophet Muhammad PBUH demonstrated this during the Battle of Badr. The leader of the Quraish tribe, Abu Jahl, waged war against Muslims and the soldiers were ill-equipped and severely lacking in numbers compared to the Quraish. Yet, they marched on. Prophet Muhammad PBUH asked Allah for his assistance, to which Allah replied, “Remember, when you cried out to your Lord for help, He answered, “I will reinforce you with a thousand angels—followed by many others. And Allah made this a sign of victory and reassurance to your hearts. Victory comes only from Allah. Surely Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.”
The Muslims marched towards Badr, fought the battle, and defeated their opponents. Despite being outnumbered, the Muslims won their battle, and it was all because they had tawakkul ala, Allah.
Applying tawakkul to our lives is essential, but understanding can take time. We must do whatever we can, put in the effort, and then leave the rest to Allah SWT. It’s like meeting Allah halfway. As children, we probably prayed for help on tests at school, but you can’t expect Allah to do all the work if you didn’t study. As adults, for example, we rely on ourselves and Allah to keep us safe. To stay safe, we must lock our doors and allow Allah to do the rest. We take precautions and then trust Allah that all will be well.
“And whoever has tawakkul in Allah, He is sufficient for them.” Quran 65:3