Creation plan of Allah
To understand this, we need to ask ourselves some questions and try to find answers for this: why God created this world; what is the purpose of settling man on earth; what is required from man in his pre-death life span, and what he is going to confront after death.
Man is born as an eternal creature. When God created man as such, He divided his life span into two periods, the pre-death period, which is a time of trial, and the post-death period, which is the time for receiving the rewards or punishment merited by one’s actions during one’s lifetime.
These take the form of eternal paradise or eternal hell. The purpose of the Qu’ran is to make man aware of this reality. This is the theme of this divine Book, which serves to guide man in his entire journey through life into the after-life.
Man is an explorer. These questions lurk in everyone’s mind:
Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? What is the reality of life and death? What is the secret of man’s success and failure?
According to the Qu’ran, the answer to these questions is that the present world is the testing ground and whatever man has been endowed with in his pre-death period is all a part of the test. The Hereafter is the place where the result of the test will be taken into account by the Almighty and whatever man receives in the life after death, by way of reward or punishment, will be commensurate with his deeds in this world. The secret of man’s success in this life is to understand God’s creation plan and map out his life accordingly.
Allah’s plan at Individual level
We are born in this world. Each one goes through the life cycle: childhood, youth, adulthood middle age, old age. In these different stages, our priorities are different and each one is granted blessings according to Allah’s plan. Some are given more wealth, some less, some are given health, some are perpetually sick, and each one of us is given intelligence, talents, all according to Allah’s plan. As mentioned earlier this life is a test ([He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving (Surah Mulk: 2). Every moment is a test, sometimes Allah gives and tests and sometimes he takes away from us and tests. He gives and tests to see if his slave is grateful or not; he takes away and tests to see if his slave has patience or not. In every situation we should agree to be content with Allah’s plans whether he is showering blessings or we are facing difficulties.
Now we know this life is a test and real success and failure is not determined in this world but it is in akhirat that success/failure will be decided. The aim of youth should not just be for the self, but instead should be based on a broad vision. You may become doctors, engineers, CA, lawyers, journalists… In addition to making money for yourself and your family you also have to consider how you can contribute to society.
To contribute in this way you should be aware of your personality. It is not enough if you get 1st rank or 2nd rank here. Each person is made-up of four dimensions/quotients. It is important you build your personality in all four dimensions: Physical Quotient, Intellectual Quotient, Emotional Quotient and Spiritual Quotient.
We all have had those moments when we felt so strong, thinking: whatever needs to happen will happen. That sweet feeling of trusting in Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa’s plans is priceless, granting peace of mind.
Then there are the times we get tense. We worry. We feel a knot in our stomach. What if things just don’t get better? What if I lose him or her? What if I get ill? What if I am not able to complete my education? What if I don’t get a job?
Scared of the future. Scared to be hurt. Scared to fail. We trust in Allah’s plan and accept whatever He decides, regardless of the results. At first that seems difficult, but in reality it is a very natural and easy thing to do.
Imagine: we have a certain illness and we have the chance to go to the best specialist in the whole world. Wouldn’t we feel at ease, fully entrusting our health to him?
We have the Ultimate Trustee to whom we can entrust our affairs and we can be 100% sure He’ll look after them in the best way possible for every single individual. He is Allah, Al-Wakeel.
We should teach and train ourselves to rely on, and to have full confidence in Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa.
We can understand this concept when we are facing challenges and stress in our life. When we manage to have trust in Allah’s plans, we’ll feel so relieved. So strong. And so productive.
The following steps are taken from Ibn Al-Qayyim’s Madaarij As-Salikeen, and reworded for an English audience.
1. Recognizing Allah’s Attributes
The first practical step to actualizing Tawakul is to recognize who Allah is.
He is in control of everything, so only He can grant you success. Allah knows everything, so He knows whether success in your task is good for you or not. Allah sees everything, so He will reward your effort whether you succeed or not. He is Most Merciful, so whatever the result is, it is part of His Mercy to you.
The deeper you understand Allah’s names and attributes, the easier it gets to have Tawakul in Him. Take time to learn the names and attributes of Allah, and reflect on them. This is the first step towards Tawakul.
2. Making an effort to attain your goals
The second step is to make an effort to attain your goal. The means (Asbaab) to attain goals are of two types: worldly and spiritual. Worldly means refer to the things we have to do in this world to attain our goals. Most of us are aware of these and have no problem doing this.
However, many Muslims forget that there are also spiritual means that we need to use in order to attain our goals. These include establishing the five daily Salah, earning halal, eating halal, having noble intentions, and making dua for success. Establishing these spiritual means are essential for Tawakul.
Those who are not fulfilling their obligations to Allah will have a hard time having Tawakul, because they have not established the spiritual means to earn the assistance of Allah. (Although Allah may still assist them out of His Divine Mercy)
3. Affirming Tawhid in one’s heart
The third step is to affirm Tawhid in one’s heart. To have no doubt in the existence and power of Allah. This means that you are convinced that Allah controls everything, only He can grant you success and nothing happens without His will.
Through this conviction, your heart will gravitate towards Tawakul, and trusting Allah becomes natural.
4. Being at peace with Allah’s Will
Taking the previous step further, to gain Allah’s assistance we must be at peace with Allah. We must have full trust that Allah, Whose treasures and power are limitless, will take care of us and never abandon us. Inner peace must enter our hearts because of these beliefs.
This inner peace will propel us to have full Tawakul in Allah, because we are at peace with His Will and His Decision.
5. Thinking good thoughts (Husn Dhann) about Allah
Husn Dhann (Good Thoughts) is a forgotten Sunnah in our times. It is even more important when dealing with Allah. A Muslim must always maintain positive thoughts about Allah. He must believe that whatever Allah wills for Him is best for Him.
He must believe that Allah will answer his dua in one way or another. Husn Dhann here means trusting Allah to take care of the end result in the way that is best for your Deen and Dunya.
6. Dispelling doubts from the mind
Shaytaan always tries to distract you with fear of failure, fear of poverty, and fear of humiliation. He tries to make you think ill of Allah. He may even sabotage your efforts. You must remove each of these doubts by confronting them. As a doubt enters your mind, repel it with a positive thought.
For example, if Shaytaan makes you fear poverty, remind yourself that Allah has already decreed your Rizq and promised to provide for you. This thought will repel the doubt from your mind and settle your heart. Dispelling evil thoughts is essential for pure Tawakul.
7. Handing over the matter to Allah
The final step of Tawakul is called ‘Tafweedh‘, which means to hand over the matter entirely to Allah.
After having taken up the worldly and spiritual means, cleared one’s mind of negative thoughts, focused on positive thoughts, and accepting Allah’s will. The next step is to just leave the end result in Allah’s Hand.
There is nothing more you can do here than to leave it to Allah and trust Him. This will bring about hope and inner peace.
The alternative (worrying about the result) brings about fear and anxiety. In this way, Tawakul is the solution to anxiety.
Finally: 3 steps to Success
Let us strive to understand and apply tawakkul in our daily lives. When we taste that amazing feeling of peace in your mind, strength in our limbs, and the breeze of tranquillity in our hearts, we’ll never want to be without it again!
Train yourself to have tawakkul in Allah’s plans and you’ll notice that things will not only get resolved more easily with His help, but tawakkul will also relieve you from your daily worries.
Finally, before making any effort, let us remind ourselves of these 3 steps:
• Put our trust in Allah Al-Wakeel.
• Use our God-granted faculties to put in our best efforts.
• Believe in Qada wal-qadr (the divine decree).