Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tawakkul | complete dependence & sacred trust in Allah

1.
And when someone puts all his trust in Allah, Hu shall be enough for him. - The Quran 65:3

And put your complete trust [in Allah], if you are indeed believers.
- The Quran 5:23

There are various degrees of trust in God. Of them one is that you should put your trust in God in all your affairs, being well-pleased with whatever God does to you, knowing for certain that He does not cease in His goodness and grace towards you, and that the command therein rests with Him. So put your trust in God, leaving that to Him and relying upon Him in regard to that and everything other than that.
- Islamic sacred tradition


We ought to offer ourselves entirely to Him, studying only His good pleasure, not our own ... O complete submission of a disinterested soul; most sweet and tender in that the soul's whole feeling is divine! To attain to this, is for the soul to be deified; as a small drop of water appears lost if mixed with wine, taking its taste and color; and as, when plunged into a furnace, a bar of iron seems to lose its nature and assume that of fire; or as the air filed with the sun's beams seems rather to become light than to be illuminated. So it is with the natural life of the Saints; they seem to melt and pass away into the Will of God. - Christian mystic St. Bernard on 'the Love of God'

2.
Sufi sage Al-Sarraj gives a definition of the Tawakkul of the chosen of God, which he attributes to another sufi saint, al-Shibli, to the effect that, "you should be to God as if you were not and God should be to you as One Who Was and Is and Shall Be to eternity," and elsewhere he says the Mutawakkul (the people possessing the quality of dependence on God) should put his trust in God as the birds do.

"So I tell you, don't worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Look at the birds in the air. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds. You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.

Don't worry and say, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' The people who don't know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well."

- Teachings of Christ, Gospel of Matthew
The stage of Tawakkul involves that of complete dependence upon God and trust in Him which is the natural consequence of renunciation of this world and the abnegation of the individual will.

Abu Talib says of the people of Tawakkul that they are the elect of God, whom He has chosen, and these put their trust in Him, and are contented with Him, and so they rest from the troubles of this world and the next. The true dependence is the one who knows that his Lord's provision for him is better than his own for himself, and that his Lord can see him (and know his needs) better than he can himself.

Then he ceases to think of what is, or to be concerned with what shall be, and he takes no thought (for himself) for to God belong the results of our affairs, and in all cases He is worthy of praise and thanks.

Dhul al-Nun was asked concerning Tawakkul and he said that it means getting rid of earthly masters and the removal of motives, i.e. true dependence on God means that we should no longer let earthly things or earthly influences weigh on us, nor let our actions be the result of interested motives, and he added that dependence meant bringing the self into obedience to God and withdrawing it from the power of controlling its own destinty.

"No one can serve two masters. The person will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches."
- Teachings of Christ, Gospel of Matthew

Al-Ghazali holds that Tawakkul is a question of faith in the unity of God. Since God is the sole cause of all that exists or can exist, and all His acts are the result of His perfect goodness and wisdom, and all things depend on His power, then the servant can in perfect trust give up his will to the Divine Will and abandon himself to God, trusting in Him to provide for all needs. To him tawakkul is practically identical with Sufi concept of tawhid or unity. As the infant knows only his mother's breast, so the one who trusts in God knows only his Lord's care and in His hands is as the dead body in the hands of those who parepare it for burial. So we reach the doctrine of quietism, very characteristic of early Sufis, and very possibly founded on the teaching of Christ.

- Quoted from Rabia: The Life and Work of Rabia and Other Women Mystics in Islam by Margaret Smith

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