“ And to Allah belongs the unseen (aspects) of the heavens and the earth, and to him return all affairs. So worship Him, and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.” (Quran 11: 123)
We were all in a state of total surrender when we were born. We couldn't do anything by ourselves. So we depended on our parents and our guardians, to take care of all our needs. They helped us with things that we never knew and needed help with. They protected us against harm. They kept us warm. When we were unwell, they cared about us. And we were taught everything we had to know to succeed in life. Our lives were totally dependent on our parents.
Similar is the concept of Tawakkul on Allah.
Tawakkul (Arabic: توكُّل) in the Arabic language is the word used to imply one’s act of reliance on God or "trusting in His plan." It is also seen as “perfect trust in God, and complete reliance on Him alone."
From another point of view, Tawakkul also means knowing that there is a Wakeel who helps us in matters that are of considerable importance for us. If a man wants to marry a woman, the man sends a representative to her house first in some cultures, as a Wakeel. Typically this person will be someone we trust or know to be highly confident to accomplish this important task.
True surrender demands that we do it all by ourselves, which means that our efforts are required. The late Imam As-Sya’rawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his regard: “Al-jawaarihu ta’mal (the external body parts work), wal-quloobu tatawakkal (while the hearts surrenders).” And that is the essence and meaning of letting God be in charge.
Yet, we have formed a tendency to leave God out of the equation because of life's busyness or tension due to our logic and ego. When the thing we do is a little too routine, we leave Him out. We know where to begin, where to stop, and what to do if the situation gets stuck. We have been taught in difficult conditions to know what to do. But there is no blessing in anything that is done without the mention of God, in the beginning, the direction of God in the middle, and the acceptance of God’s outcomes in the end.
Sometimes we don’t consider involving God, let alone surrendering our affairs over to Him because we have tried and failed, so we feel that we’re better off on our own.
One day, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed that a Bedouin had left his camel alone without tying it. Prophet Muhammad then asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” Then the Prophet replied, “Tie your camel first and then put your trust in Allah.” (Narrated by at-Tirmizi)
Have we been guilty of trusting before “tying”? Trusting before trying, trusting before working, trusting before exploring, trusting before going, trusting before studying.
Or are we the opposite? Do we do all that needs to be done, but fail to involve Allah in the process? Allah is not part of the process. He is the process. To leave Him out in life is akin to driving a car without an engine that would give you the power to drive, or without brakes which would give you the ability to stop when you need to.
In other words, life without Allah will cause us to lead a life that is either stationary, regressive, or simply reckless.
He alone is loving enough to send us beautiful reminders that will help us to slow down when we’re moving too fast. He’ll cause us to stop in our tracks, even though we are reluctant to, just to protect us from imminent danger.
And regardless of how detailed our plans are in life, we always need to remind ourselves of who is the Master Planner. The outcomes in our lives always rely on our choices and behavior. We must surrender and place our complete faith in Allah’s grand master plan for our lives. The execution will be a challenge. Because Tawakkul (surrendering), and trust are two complicated subjects that require a great deal of effort, experience, and unshakeable faith.
Surrendering to Allah is:
1. Releasing and letting go - of the past that’s been holding us back
2. Trusting Allah - to bring us through what He’s brought us to
3. Not letting things be, without first taking focused and faithful action
So, when one thing breaks down in our life, we have to deal with what remains. Grieve if we must, but we shouldn't mourn forever. Because we don’t need anything we lost to bless us.
Even if everything we have leaves us, and Allah is all we have left to turn to - one day we will realize that He is all that we’ll ever need to see through - all of our dreams to come true.
Al Allysha Alkhadi is a student in the Faculty of Science and Technology, Islamic Science University of Malaysia.