Al-Isti’aanah and Tawwakul

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله وسلم على رسول الله وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن اهتدى بهديه إلى يوم الدين أما بعد

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الاستعانة و توكُل‎

– Al-Isti’aanah and Tawwakul –
Appealing for Aid and Assistance and Putting one’s
Reliance upon Allaah

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Ibn ‘Abbaas رضي الله عنه said: “One day I was riding behind the
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and he said to me:

يا غلام احفظ الله يحفظك احفظ الله تجده تجاهك وإذا سألت فلتسأل الله وإذا استعنت فاستعن بالله واعلم أن الأمة لو اجتمعوا على أن ينفعوك لم ينفعوك إلا بشيء قد كتبه الله لك ولو اجتمعوا على أن يضروك لم يضروك إلا بشيء قد كتبه الله عليك رفعت الأقلام وجفت الصحف

“O young boy, be mindful of Allaah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allaah and you will find Him in front of you, and if you ask, ask from Allaah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allaah. And know that if all the people gathered and intended to harm you then they cannot do so except that which Allaah has destined for you. The Pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”

[Musnad Ahmad, 1/293, 303, 307, At-Tirmidhi, 2/84; Musnad Abi Ya’ala, 2/665; Al-Haakim, 3/541; Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 11/11416; Ibn as-Sunni, ‘Amal al-Yawm wal-Laylah’, 1/136 no.419;  Abu Nu’aym, ‘Hilyat al-Awliyah’, 1/314 and others – At-Timidhi classed it as hasan saheeh (see also ‘Saheeh Sunan Tirmidhi’, 2516)]

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1. Sh. Muhsin al-Abaad حفظه الله تعالى in his sharh of Sunan At-Tirmidhi commented:

“He is the One in whose Hand is everything, and He is the One in whose Hand is giving and preventing; there is none to prevent what He gives and none to give what He prevents. So let a person ask Allaah عَزَّ و جَلَّ, the One in whose Hand is everything, and He is the One who gives the khayr and He gives generously by way of a means and without any means. And (with regard to) the means that brings the khayr to a person, Allaah is the One who facilitates it, and He is the One who subjects the one who is a means with respect to that to do good to him.

So Allaah’s عَزَّ و جَلَّ, favouring and doing good for His slave can happen by what He generously grants and bestows without there being any means, such as rain and (other) blessings from Allaah عَزَّ و جَلَّ; and likewise, the khayr may reach a person by way of a means, which is that Allaah subjects another person to feel compassion for him and to do good to him and that whatever has good and benefit for him happens to him from (this person). And all of that is from Allaah عَزَّ و جَلَّ, because if Allaah did not make the heart of this person – who Allaah made a means – to soften for you and feel compassion for you, then what happened to you from him would not have taken place. Thus, all of it is from Allaah عَزَّ و جَلَّ, whether by way of a means or without any means.

Seek the help of Allaah with regard to your affairs and whatever wish you need and whatever difficulty you fear. Seek the help of Allaah عَزَّ و جَلَّ, to bring all the khayr and to be saved and safe from all evil. Seek the help of Allaah, because if there are means but Allaah does not Will nor give success for the realisation of what a person wants, then indeed it will fail to come and it will not happen. Hence, all of the affair is in the Hand of Allaah عَزَّ و جَلَّ

[Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab as-Sifat il-Qiyamah, tape no. 272/16]

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2. Tawwakul is about taking the necessary action and then putting your complete trust in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. To cut off hope of any good from any created object and to hope the best and rely completely on Allaah. The root word of Tawwakul is ‘wakali’: to entrust someone else. Putting your Tawwakul in other than Allaah is shirk, and depending on the circumstance, it can be major or minor.

Abu Muhammad Al-Maghribee حفظه الله تعالى said: “If you put the affairs in the Hands of Allaah, and you fear Allaah, you do what you have to do, then Allaah will never wrong you, even if you have to go through some hardships, it’s only good for you… If I come and complain to you, you will tell me ‘Akhi, be patient, you are not in jannah, where you have what you wish for. As for the dunya, yes you can wish, but if it doesn’t happen your way, it’s happening in a better way! Whose way? Allaah’s way! That’s the better way’… If you ask a brother for something, it’s not the brother that gives, it’s Allaah who gives… If Allaah does not want that brother to give, he will not give…”

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3. The Sahabah used to have from amongst the highest level of Tawwakul in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and used to ask of Him even for their shoelaces. Umm al-Mu’mineen, A’ishah رضي الله عنهما said: “Ask Allaah for everything, even if it is only a shoe-lace, because if Allaah does not make it easy, then it will not be possible.” [At-Tirmidhi, 4/292]

4. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “If you put your tawakkul in Allaah the way He deserves, He would provide for you the way he provides for the birds. They leave in the morning with an empty stomach and return at night with a full one.” [At-Tirmidhi (see ‘Silsilah al-Saheehah’, 310]

5. There is no contradiction in asking only from Allaah and having trust only in Him, while seeking the means from the creation in what they are able to help you with. The result of this help is in and of itself from Allaah alone; it will either be granted or rejected according to His Divine Will. And the means itself must be from the things that are permissible from Shari’ah.

6. Allaah Says in the Qur’an:

فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

“…Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allaah, certainly, Allaah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” [Aal ‘Imran: 159]

This is also exemplified from the blessed speech of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم when he asked the Bedouin who had left his camel untied: “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I placed my trust in Allah.” – The Prophet replied: “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allaah.” [At-Tirmidhi, see also Saheeh al-Jaami’ 1068]

Ibn Hajar commented on this hadeeth and said: “Tawwakul is the act of the heart while “tying the camel” is the act of limbs.” – The meaning of which is that “tying the camel” means that one should take the necessary (halal) means that are available to perform what one intends to do, after which his heart has full yaqeen and tawwakul upon Allaah.

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7. Allaah Said:

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

“Allaah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). And in Allaah (Alone) therefore, let the believers put their trust.” [At-Taghabun, 13]

And about “And in Allaah (Alone) therefore, let the believers put their trust”, Shaykh as-Sa’di said in his tafseer that this means:

“Let them depend on Him with regard to every affair that befalls them and with regard to what they want to accomplish, for indeed none of the affairs will be facilitated except by Allaah and there is no way for that (facilitation) except by relying on Allaah. And reliance on Allaah will not be complete until the slave has a good opinion of His Rab and he puts his trust in Him to be sufficient for the affair about which he is relying on Him.

And the slave’s tawakkul (trusting in Allaah) will be according to his eemaan (faith); so the more the eemaan strengthens, the more the tawakkul will also strengthen.”

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8. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has a beautiful commentary on the original hadeeth above here

9. Sh. Yasir Burhami has a nice khutbah on “Seeking assistance from Allaah” here

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May Allaah enable us to perfect our Tawheed – so that we can protect ourselves from committing the greatest of crimes against Him سبحانه و تعالى

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