Reliance on Allah is something that is easier said that done. We always hear people quoting the hadith “trust in Allah but tie your camel”. What they usually mean when they say this is to put your trust in Allah but first see if there’s anything that you can do to help yourself. The Sufis’ say that whoever puts their trust in Allah, has tied his camel.
In order to understand the importance of tawakkul (total reliance on Allah) we must reference the source of the beginning of Islam. The real beginning of Islam started with Prophet Abraham (as). Yes all the previous Messengers and their followers were believers but Prophet Abraham (as) resurrected the focus and direction towards the Kaba’ah. He prayed for the monotheistic theology to spread through his son Ishmael.
Perhaps this is one reason why Allah says to us about Prophet Abraham the following:
Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allah……So We have taught the inspired message: Follow the ways of Abraham; the true in Faith. (16:120-123)
What was the lesson that Abraham (as) left for us? He knew and demonstrated how to rely only on Allah. Firstly, when he was a little boy and he destroyed the idols of his people they gave him an ultimatum; either repent and worship their ‘gods’ or be killed. This young boy opted to be killed by being thrown into the fire they kindled for that purpose.
If you put your faith in Allah He will take care of your affairs. During his life Prophet Abraham (as) acquired a lot of wealth. He had thousands of livestock and acres upon acres of land. So much so that even today the Jews are still trying to reclaim the land they believe he was given. In spite of being the possessor of so much wealth, he gave his wife, Hagar some water and a little food and left her and his newborn son, whom he loved so much, in the wilderness where there was not even a blade of grass growing.
After he prayed for a son for so long, in his old age he finally got Ishmael (as). So much faith and trust he had in His Lord that he knew Allah would take care of them even in this barren land. And while he was departing he prayed as follows:
“O Our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O Our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks”
He recognised what he was doing. He was sure that Allah was going to answer his supplication; and just as how Allah fed Moses and his people when they crossed the sea, and how he fed Mary and her son Jesus, He (Allah) would take care of all the needs of Hagar and her son Ishmael.
Allah accepted the supplication of Abraham (as) and the barren valley in which they were put soon became a place filled with the best of waters on the earth, and the hub for worship, etc. He truly demonstrated trust and faith in his Lord.
Abraham demonstrated that when one puts trust and reliance on Allah, He (Allah) takes care of that person’s affairs.
Allah says in Surah Ath Thalaaq;
“and He (Allah) provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts His trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for Him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion”. (65:3)
Allah will never let you down. That is guaranteed. We cannot say how or when we can solve our problems and difficulties. Allah’s knowledge is far greater than ours and He knows what is best for us. Allah preserved the life of Abraham (as) for us to learn and put into practice. We are even commanded to adhere to Abraham’s (as) sunnah; and one of his sunnah was to display wholeheartedly complete faith and trust His Lord.
“Then We revealed to you, (O Muhammad), to follow the way of Abraham,” (16:123)
If Allah doesn’t want you to ‘tie your camel’ you will never be able to. Understand everything comes from Him. He knows why He allows things to happen and withholds things from taking place. What we have to do is to build up our faith so that we will have total reliance in our Lord, just as Prophet Abraham (as) did.
May Allah make us from amongst those who have true tawakkul in Him and may He take care of our affairs in all worlds.