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March 12, 2007

by Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain

We all know 'Aasiyah, the wife of Fir'own. Her Iman in Allah thrived under the shadow of someone that said, 'I am your Lord, Most High!' When news reached Fir'own of his wife's Iman he beat her and commanded his guards to beat her. They took her out in the scalding noon heat, tied her hands and feet and beat her perpetually. Who did she turn to? She turned to Allah! She prayed, "My lord, build for me a home with you in Paradise and save me from Fir'own and his deeds and save me from the transgressive people."

It was narrated that when she said this, the sky opened for her and she saw her home in Paradise. She smiled. The guards watched astonished - she's being tortured and she smiles? Frustrated, Fir'own commanded a boulder to be brought and dropped on 'Aasiyah, to crush her to death. But Allah took her soul before the boulder was brought and she became an example for all the believing men and women till the end of time:

"And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe: the wife of Fir'own (Pharaoh) - when she said, "My Lord, Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Fir'own and his deeds, and save me from the transgressive-disbelieving people."(Tahreem 66/11)

A lot of times we go about our daily lives, not really thinking or considering what it is or how is it that we can do the things we do. We make all sorts of plans and most of the time we actually do follow up on them, whether it's from meeting a friend for lunch to studying for an exam to just sitting at home and spending time with family. Or, if we can't do what we planned with someone, it's usually because 'something came up' and we got busy doing something else. But what is it that allows us to live our daily lives without any chaos, without us stressing or worrying about day-to-day things? We all know the answer - it's just something we take for granted, so many of us don't really consider it every day: Allah. Because if it wasn't for Allah, we couldn't even lift our hand to scratch our back, let alone make plans in the morning with someone about where to go out for dinner at night.

Reliance on Allah is an act of worship. However, it's one 'ibadah that many of us have forgotten or neglected, despite the fact that every day we recite the verse, "You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help", at least 17 times. InshaAllah all of us worship Allah only, but how many of us TRULY turn to Him for help? We ask others to help us to do this or do that, help us understand this concept or help us feel better. But none of that would be possible if Allah didn't bless those people with the ability to help us. When we say that 'oh we took this medicine and that made us better', was it really the medicine that made us better or Ash-Shafi who blessed the medicine to make us get better? Nothing will happen if Allah doesn't will it. I know we all know that is true, but we have to start being consciously aware of it as well.

I think though sometimes we don't have as much tawakkul, or reliance in Allah, as we should because we tend to believe in tangible things. If we do something and see the result, then we think that it was us that contributed to it and we end up saying things like 'because I worked this hard', or 'because I did this...' and if it doesn't work out in our favor, then it's like 'IF we did this' or 'What if I did that....' But whatever is meant to happen happens. We can't keep saying if this or if that because Allah meant for that thing to happen and it's part of our faith that we have to accept that. This doesn't mean though that we should just sit around and wait for things to happen, because as Allah says in the Qur'an, He only helps those who help themselves. So we do whatever we need to do in order to achieve our goal AND we ask Allah to help us achieve it.

How many times have we done our whole preparation, thinking that we're going to get whatever it is we want, whether it's that grade in the class or those new clothes or that car, but we don't end up getting it? It's because we're lacking tawakkul. And then the opposite is also true - when we know we haven't done enough and we still try to console ourselves by thinking that InshaAllah, Allah will take care of it. Whether He does or doesn't, that's upto Him. It might be that He does take care of it and we're fortunate that things worked out in our favor, but most often than not, we don't get that grade that we want or whatever else we're waiting for. This is supported by a hadith, in which a man, riding on his camel, came to the masjid to pray. He left his camel outside and went inside to pray. The Prophet (saws) saw this and he told his companion to go and tie the camel and then come inside to pray. The man said but I trust Allah will keep my camel here until I go back. To which the Prophet (saws) replied, "Tie the camel and then trust in Allah." In other words, we have to make an effort to get what we want BUT we also have to trust Allah that He will help us get it.

We don't realize it but in many of our actions that we do every day, we really don't rely on Allah as we should. We already know that nothing happens without Allah's Will, yet we make plans and out of Allah's Mercy, we follow through with those plans. However do we really stop and think about what just happened? If we want to go on a trip somewhere, do we just pack up and leave or do we turn to Allah and let Him advise us whether it's OK for us to go on that trip or not? Or how about turning to Him before accepting a new job? Everything might look fine, but maybe for US, that job won't be fruitful. There are many other examples but the point is that we can make a decision one way or the other but in the end, we have to ask Allah to help further guide us: Salat-ul-Istikhaara. You pray to Allah and you humble yourself in front of Him and you totally rely on whatever happens after you make that prayer because that is His answer. This prayer should be a part of us; everyone should have it memorized because the Sahabah said that the Prophet (saws) used to teach it to them like he taught them Surahs from the Qur'an.

But what is true reliance? Maybe we can get an idea about true reliance from this hadith of the Prophet (saws), "If you rely on Allah with due reliance, Allah will provide for you as He does for the birds; they leave with empty stomachs in the morning and return full in the evening." You see so many people involved in doing haram acts to get as much money as possible so that they can feed themselves and their families, but is that really worth it? Even for those of us becoming doctors, are we in this for the right reasons? Remember our actions are based on our intentions. So did we decide to become doctors because we will have a certain respect and we will earn so much money so that we can live a worry-free life? Or did we become doctors so that we can become better Muslims, serve humanity and in the process give Islam a good name, while knowing that it is only Allah Who will bless us and allow to serve Him better?

Tawakkul is based on certain pillars but it is also an act of the heart. We can't show how reliant we are outwardly; we have to sincerely have this faith in Allah, that He takes care of everything and that He'll take care of us. Some scholars have defined it as, "The submission of the heart to Allah, where one stops making his own choices and happily lives with Allah's Decrees as they happen."

The first pillar regarding TRUE reliance in Allah is that we have to know Allah by His Qualities. That He is the Sustainer, that He is All-Capable and that nothing happens without His Decree. The more we know about Allah, the stronger our reliance will be in Him.

The second pillar is that we must believe that everything has a cause or means in order for it to happen. In other words, we must DO something in order to see results. We can't just expect to sit around and wait for Allah to send down provisions. For this, the Prophet (saws) said, "Be keen to do that which would benefit you, rely on Allah and do not be lazy (by not exerting effort) and say when a problem befalls you: 'If I would have done such and such, then the result would have been such and such' rather you should say: 'This was decreed by Allah and Allah does what He wills.' Saying 'If' opens the gate for Satan."

The third pillar is obvious but important: rely on Allah alone. No one can help you or hurt you if Allah doesn't will for it to happen.

The fourth pillar is to realize that true reliance is to trust Allah WILLINGLY. It's kind of like a child who trusts his parents with everything, because the child knows that they can only mean good, whether he or she is happy with it or not. Remember that Allah says we might like something that is bad for us and hate something that is good for us.

The fifth pillar is that we must be content with the outcome of relying on Allah. We realize that everything is from Allah and whatever He decides is for our benefit but if we still say, when some misfortune hits us, why me or why now or anything of that sort, then are we really content with His Decree? Of course we're going to feel happy or sad because we're human, but part of being a Muslim is being content with Allah's Decree. So we can pray Istikhaara but if we don't get an answer that we want and we go against it, then are we relying on Allah TOTALLY or just when His Decree coincides with our feelings?

Brothers and sisters, I know I've gone on and on but in conclusion I just want to state that if any of you got anything from this article, then remember this: Do what you can to prepare for whatever it is you have to BUT don't forget to pray to Allah to help you as well. And if you don't get what you want, then know that it wasn't meant for you to begin with. Just remember to ask Allah to help you work harder and bless your work.

May Allah help us and guide us and give us the taufeeq to develop full reliance on Him.

of and relating to...
Ibtisam said

Jazaa kullaahu khair

Precious reminder.

on March 13, 2007 1:38 PM
Justoju said

Wow. Welcome back bro.

Refreshing to see the return of 'the very long article' as well :)

Havent had those in a while.

Very well written and developed mashaAllah.

on March 14, 2007 8:12 AM
Talal said

"Don't call it a comeback!" :)

MashaAllaah great job akhee. The tide has begun turning...

on March 14, 2007 1:44 PM
IMSH said

JazakAllah. Ya I figured, I'd start writing again. And I apologize for the length, I guess the little reminders aren't so "little" huh?

May Allah bless us and guide us all.

on March 14, 2007 3:24 PM
Justoju said

No way bro, any shorter than that and it might not be able to drill itself through my thick skull and into my brain.

Well done.

on March 14, 2007 3:53 PM
canadian_gal said

What a great reminder..as I am trying to get into to grad school, inshalalh! Jazak Allah Khair.

on March 17, 2007 10:29 AM
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