One of the most important results of believing in monotheism is reliance (Tawakkul) upon Allah (SWT) in every matter. Anyone who trusts in God, God will make him/her happy … trust in God is a strong castle that only the trustful believers can recourse to it. And reliance upon God is the salvation from any distress, and the shield against any animosity. (1) On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him): “Whoever trusts in God, I will see happiness… Trust in God is a fortress in which no one can guard himself except a trustworthy believer, and trust in God is a salvation from every evil and a protection against every enemy…” (Kashf Al-Ghumah, Volume 2, Page 346) Therefore we should look to this eternal source and depend on it. The Holy Quran invites us to this important issue:

”… And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him…(2)“ “… and I will trust in Allah, for He hasbah…” (Surah Talaq, verse 3)

Now that reliance upon God is important to this extent, what is the true way of reliance that is suggested by the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT)? How can one align reliance upon God with the human effort and endeavor?

If we take a look at the worldly affairs, we can divide them into two categories: the first category is the matters that are entirely outside the human sphere of influence, i.e. there is not any apparent mean for their implementation or prevention, and the human has no control on their occurrence; for example, when the human is inflicted to a fatal disease. In such cases, relief or non-relief is outside the human capability. Therefore, obviously in such situation the only way left would be reliance upon God and praying.

The second category is for the matters that there are certain or probable means that make them attainable for the human being and attaining them depends upon our try and endeavor. For example, the endeavors we make for prosperity and wealth are among this category. However, this endeavor does not contradict reliance upon God, provided that we rely upon God, not on the means. Therefore, reliance does not mean putting aside the humane efforts and wisdom; since God has ordered us to make use of them and “Allah does not accomplish things except with their natural means”.(3) On the authority of Abu Abdullah (peace be upon him) that he said: “God refused to cause things to happen except by reasons, so He gave everything a reason.” (Usul Kafi, Volume 1, Page 183)

In reality, the reliance of the human must be only upon God, not upon the means, as making use of the means is an order and suggestion of God. One should know that the cause of every mean is God, and must regard the probability that God is capable to satisfy the want of the human in an unexpected manner. God wants the people not to be confident about their endeavors, but to depend on His grace and blessing. However, unconsciously, when the human sees the means at hand, forgets God, and thinks that everything is dependent upon his own efforts, and on the contrary, when he sees that there is not any mean at hand, becomes hopeless and distressed. Whereas there have been plenty of times that all the means have been at hand but there has not been any achievement; and also there have been plenty of times that there has been an achievement but the means have not been at hand.

Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (PBUH) has eloquently stated this subtle meaning:

“While striving for your want do not consider yourself a winner, and in the mean time do not be like a giver up and the ones who depend on fate (rather make your attempt).” (4) Hassan bin Ali (peace be upon them) said: “Do not strive to seek the struggle of one who overcomes, and do not rely on fate like one who surrenders.” (Tuhaf Al-Uqul, page 233)

Based on the statement of the senior grandchild of the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP), one must not regard himself a winner while making an endeavor for achieving a goal; as his very endeavor is only a mean among the means of God, and its function is only at His hands, and His hand is always open to make the man’s efforts fruitful or unfruitful. On the other hand, the person should not behave like the one who has abandoned his/her efforts altogether expecting the fate to paint the future for him/her. Instead, he/she takes up the advice of the Holy Quran that “ … then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah.” (5) “For your determination is for Allah…” (Surah Al-Imran, verse 159)

This is the true meaning of reliance and such type of reliance never gets accomplished unless with the light of faith and certainty about God. The more the faith and the level of one’s belief in monotheism becomes perfect, the more he realizes the dependency of the means upon the will of Allah (SWT). His/her fear and hope solely is toward God; because he/she knows that all the means and causes are themselves at the hands of God. How do you and I behave in dealing with our matters and achieving our goals?

(The above is a selection taken from “Jaami’ al-Saádaat’”, by Late Mahdi Naraaqi, with summarization and additions)


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