The first question is what is Tawakkul? Tawakkul is Trusting in Allah subhanahu wa taala.
Allah says in the Glorious Quran:
‘And He will provide him from (sources) he could never imagine. And whoever puts their trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed, Allah has set a measure for all things’. [65:3]
The origin or the root of Tawakkul is ‘reliance’ on Allah subhanahu wa taala in everything that we do: our affairs, our Deen, our families and any other commitments. We need to believe that all matters of both worlds: Duniya and Akhirah are in Allah subhanahu wa taala’s hands. This is part of the characteristics of the believers as Allah subhanahu wa taala said in the Glorious Quran:
‘The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses are recited to them, they increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord.’ [8:2]
We can trust individuals whether family, friends or colleagues but not really depend on them; and we may depend on some individuals but not really trusting them fully. However, when it comes to Allah subhanahu wa taala; both trust and reliance co-exist together like a perfect jigsaw.
Many when doing Istikharah; a prayer asking for Allah’s guidance whether for marriage or a job or by any other reason, they get confused as they think they need to wait to feel or dream something in order to proceed. Instead they should have Tawakkul and continue as Allah subhanahu wa taala is the one who can protect you from harm and provide you with blessings.
I would like to share with you one of the Du’a (supplications) that our Beloved Prophet peace be upon him said:
‘O Allah! To You I have submitted, and in You do I believe, and in You I put my trust, to You do I turn, and for You I argued. O Allah, I seek refuge with You through Your Power; there is none worthy of worship except You Alone; that You safeguard me against going astray. You are the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists; the One Who never dies, whereas human beings and jinn will all die’. [Al-Bukhari, Muslim]
Steps of Tawakkul
Level 1: Knowing Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala
Knowing Allah’s qualities and His 99 names will demonstrate how He is sufficient to be relied on and is All-Knowing.
Level 2: Every matter has an origin/cause or means
Some individuals believe that they should wait for Allah subhanahu wa taala to send their provisions while they sit down doing nothing. Rather the scholars have advised us the following:
‘Tawakkul in reality does not deny actually working and striving for provision, for Allah Almighty has decreed that we should work and it is from His ways that he gives people when they strive. In fact, Allah Almighty ordered us to both depend upon Him and to work, to take the necessary steps needed to achieve our goals, and so the act of striving for our sustenance is an act of physical worship while trusting and depending upon Allah is faith in Him.”
[Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts, Fatawa Islamiyah, Vol. 7, Pages 172-174]
Thus, we should work to reach our goals just like how we are striving working hard to reach our ultimate goal Jannah.
Level 3 – Firm in relying and depending in Allah subhanahu wa taala.
Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let the believers put their trust’ [3:160]
Once both has achieved, we can then realise that the essence of reliance on Allah subhanahu wa taala is to entrust all matters to Him.
When we try to achieve these levels of Tawakkul; there will be many advantages such as the following:
1. Increasing one’s Imaan (faith) by increasing our connection and communication with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
2. Our balance of responsibility– we rely on Allah subhanahu wa taala but at the same time trying our utmost in utilizing the means.
3. Allah will grant what is best for us.
"If you had all relied on Allah subhanahu wa taala as you should rely on Him, then He would have provided for you as He provides for the birds, who wake up hungry in the morning and return with full stomachs at dusk." [At-Tirmidhi]
A beautiful story!
Umm Salamah radia Allahu anha when her husband Abu Salamah radia Allahu anhu passed away. She said ‘Ina Lillahi wa ina ilayhi raji'oon -Surely to Allah we belong and surely to Him we will return'.
'And give good news to those who persevere, those who say, when a misfortune strikes them, Surely to Allah we belong, and surely to Him we will return, these are the ones on whom blessings from their Lord descend, and mercy, and these are the ones who are rightly guided'. [Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 155-157]
Allah subhanahu wa taala gave her the best husband anyone could want – Our Beloved Prophet peace be upon him in response for her Tawakkul in Allah subhanahu wa taala. She did not hesitate to reject the proposal.
Always remember - if you truly trust in Allah with every corner of your heart – Allah will provide you in manners more than you could ever have imagined.
I start of by the following hadith that describes Salah Al-Istikharah that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Salami (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach his companions to make istikhaarah in all things, just as he used to teach them soorahs from the Qur’aan. He said: ‘If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say: Allaahumma inni astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa anta ‘allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini bihi
(O Allaah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allaah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it.”
[Reported by al-Bukhari, 6841; similar reports are also recorded by al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad].
In relation to this hadith, Ibn Hijr rahimahullah said:
“Istikharah is a word which means asking Allah to help one make a choice, meaning choosing the best of two things where one needs to choose one of them.''
After the Istikharah prayer
The answer to one's prayer does not come in the form of feelings nor dreams of ease in the heart but it is how Allah subhanahu wa taala aids and unfolds events that one strives to do whats best which involves a sunnah of Mushawarah (consultation).
In relation to dreams, there are three types according to the following hadith:
“Dreams are of three types: some are terrifying things from the Satan, aimed at causing grief to the son of Adam; some are things that a person is concerned with when he is awake, so he sees them in his dreams; and some are a part of the forty-six parts of Prophecy.” [Ibn Maajah, 3155]
It may be that we may be inclined to something and we see a dream about it but we should rely on dreams as it can be due to our subconscious.
In other words you don't wait to see a dream or feel something in order to continue. So for instance, if one does Istikharah and does not feel anything or does feel something, and consulted others and goes ahead with it then it is hoped that this will be best for him even if he or she does not feel at east in his or her heart at the beginning. There may be issues at the start or worry or anxious but Allah may be testing your patience – to reach your goal – it is not always smooth. Thus, always remember that Allah is the All-Knowing.
It is important to note that one needs to be patience as peace be upon him said:
“The supplication of everyone is granted as long as he does not show haste and does not say that he made a supplication but it was not accepted.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]
My dear brothers and sisters, have trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala when doing an Istikhara prayer and go for whatever the task is. Know that with His wisdom (hikmah), love (hob) and mercy (rahma) He will grant us what is good for us. So the next time you stand before Allah subhanahu wa taala and consult Him in your affairs, don't think He'll give you what is good for you; know with certainty that He subhanahu wa taala will:
'Say: "Nothing will befall us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Protector. In Allah let the believers put their trust." [Surah Al-Tawbah: 51]