It was exam season. Anxiety was running through me, pessimistic thoughts were settling into my mind and unwanted tears were falling from my eyes. I was revising for long hours, but I convinced myself that I would fail. In a room not far away from mine, my mother’s student, then pursuing a degree, was seated. I approached her and started complaining to her about how I felt, above all the advice she could have offered me, she started talking to me about a powerful concept in Islam: Tawakul, having trust in Allah .
In a happy and optimistic tone, she explained how it is essential for a believer to fully trust in Allah, and believe that He will aid him. She mentioned some of her own experiences with tawakul, explaining how even in what appeared to be hopeless situations, she had firm belief that Allah would help her, and He did. I left the room happy and optimistic that day, allowing the seeds of tawakul to settle within my heart.
Exam day came, and the experience was awful. Due to intense stress, I could not finish the paper and had a minor panic attack. I was so disappointed, feeling as though I had been let down, but I refused to eliminate my trust in Allah, and carried on believing that something good might miraculously happen. Exam results arrived, anxiety was running through me yet again, I was afraid, but to my huge surprise, I scored the highest grade. I can’t remember a time when I was happier other than that day, the relief was overwhelming. A few weeks later, it was the student’s graduation, she had passed and obtained her degree. I went to her and thanked her for offering me this life changing advice, in the same optimistic tone, she elaborated further on what she had previously told me.
Allah SWT says in surah at-Talaq: “And He will provide him from (sources) he never imagined. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.” This beautiful ayah shows us that if we settle our affairs with Allah, believing wholeheartedly that He will aid us, then He will. Now of course, trusting Allah doesn’t entail not doing anything ourselves. Anas ibn Malik reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah”. [Source: sunan at-tirmidhi 25:17] This hadith shows us that we must do our part too, if you have an upcoming exam, do not waste your time doing nothing and think to yourself, “I put my trust in Allah He will help me.” No, you must do your part and revise. If you have a particular goal or objective in life, you work hard towards it, all the while having tawakul in your Lord. Neither of the two should be neglected as the two come hand in hand.
No matter what difficulties we face in life and what hopeless situation we find ourselves in, we must have firm conviction that Allah will help us. If you read through the lives of our beloved messenger sallallahu alayhi wasalam , the salaf or previous prophets, you will find that they were constantly tested and placed in difficult situations. Ayoub (alayhi salam) had his beloved son Yusuf taken away from him, Musa (alayhi salam) had to the face the tyrannical ruler fir’awn, Ibrahim (alayhi salam) was thrown into a fire, and these are just some of the many stories given to us in the Qur’an. In all those situations, the prophets put their trust in Allah, and were relieved from their hardship. Following their path and example, we too must do the same.
“Indeed, Allah loves those who put their trust in Him” [3:159]