Reliance on Allaah
Allah says that which translates as: “… And upon Allaah rely, if you should be believers” (Al-Maa’idah: 23) and also:“… And whoever relies on Allaah - then He is sufficient for him.” (At-Talaaq: 3) and He said regarding His pious slaves, that which translates as: “… Our Lord, upon You we have relied, and to You we have returned, and to You is the destination.” (Al-Mumtahinah: 4). He said to His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam that which translates as:“So rely upon Allaah; indeed, you are upon the clear truth” (An-Naml: 79) and also: “… And when you have decided, then rely upon Allaah. Indeed, Allaah loves those who rely [upon Him]” (Aal-‘Imraan: 159) and also: “… And rely upon Allaah. And sufficient is Allaah as Disposer of affairs” (An-Nisaa’: 81) and He said regarding the companions of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallamthat which translates as: “Those to whom people [i.e., hypocrites] said: ‘Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.’ But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said: ‘Sufficient for us is Allaah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” (Aal-‘Imraan: 173).
In the Hadeeth where the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam mentioned seventy thousand people who will enter Paradise without reckoning, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said regarding their characteristics: “… They are those who do not ask for Ruqyah (incantation), are not pessimistic (or perceive evil-omens), or use cauterisation; they rely (totally) on Allaah” (Bukhaari & Muslim).
Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: ‘The words, ‘Hasbuna Allaah Wa Ni’mal Wakeel’ (Allaah is sufficient for us, and how fine a trustee (He is)!) was said by Prophet Ibraaheem, peace be upon him, when he was thrown into the fire (by his own people), and was also said by Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam when the hypocrites said to him:“People have gathered against you, so fear them. But it increased their faith, and they said, Sufficient is Allaah for us and He is the best to rely on”(Aal-‘Imraan: 173).’ (Bukhaari).
‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “If you rely on Allaah with due reliance, Allaah will provide for you as He does for the birds; they leave with empty stomachs in the morning and return full at dusk.” (Tirmidhi).
Anas bin Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Whoever says as he leaves his home: ‘Bismillaah Tawakkaltu ‘Ala Allaah Wala Hawla Wala Quwwata Illaa Billaah’ (In the name of Allaah, I place my trust in Allaah, and there is no might nor power except with Allaah); it will be said, ‘You will be guided, protected and sufficed’; a devil will say to another devil: ‘What do you think of (i.e., what harm can we do to) one who is guided, protected and sufficed?’” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and others).
O Muslims! These were the words of Allaah and the words of His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam regarding reliance upon Him. All what have been mentioned are but a few of the numerous verses from the Qur’aan andAhaadeeth which relate to the great and virtuous subject of reliance on Allaah.
Reliance on Allaah is a great act of worship which many people have strayed away from either due to ignorance or negligence. The scholars have said: ‘Reliance on Allaah is half of the religion of Islaam and the other half is returning to Him in repentance.’ Therefore the religion of Islaam comprises of seeking the support of Allaah and worshipping him: The support element is to rely on Him and the worship element is to return to Him in repentance. The following verse affirms this; Allaah says that which translates as: “It is You we worship and You we ask for help” (Al-Faatihah: 5). This verse means that we worship none but Allaah alone and in order to do so, seek support from Him alone, because He is the only real supporter.
Sahl Ibn ‘Abdullaah At-Tustari said: “Seeking all types of knowledge is an act of worship; all acts of worship are a form of piety; all forms of piety are an aspect of asceticism and allaspects of asceticism are a form of reliance.”
Those who rely on Allaah are of different classes. Foremost are the Awliyaa’, or devoutly righteous, who are those who rely on Allaah with regards to matters of proclaiming the religion, supporting it, making Allaah’s word supreme and fighting Jihaad for His sake; The ones who come after this in rank are those who rely on Allaah with regards to their own righteousness and adherence to the religion of Allaah. Finally, there are those who rely on Allaah only in matters for which they have a need, such as provision, health, victory over an enemy, marriage, having children etc. The best of all these types of reliance is the second one, due to the fact that it is in regards to performing one’s obligations, which is the foremost matter that one is accountable for. However, the most beneficial and rewarding type, is the first one, because it is related to benefiting the religion of Islaam and this is the type that the Messengers of Allaah, peace be upon them all, had as they endeavoured to establish the religion of Allaah on earth and remove corruption from it.
Mankind’s reliance on Allaah differs according to people’s ambition, zeal and objectives. Some may rely on Allaah in order to attain an empire while others would do so just get a loaf of bread. One who is sincere in relying on Allaah to achieve an objective will realise it; if it was in order to please Allaah then there will be a good outcome, otherwise, there will be a destructive one.
Reliance is a deed of the heart and not the limbs. Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “Reliance is a deed performed by the heart” which means that it is something which a person neither professes with his tongue nor acts out with his limbs. Reliance can defined as some scholars have done, which is: “The certainty of the heart that the Lord is sufficient for it”while others have said that it is: ‘The submission of the heart to Allaah, where one stops making his own choices and happily lives with decrees as they happen’ another group said: ‘Being content with the decree of Allaah’.
We must know that reliance on Allaah stands on five pillars:
The First Pillar: Is to know Allaah by His qualities and attributes; such as the fact that He is All Capable and Sufficient to rely on; that He is the Sustainer; that He is All-Knowing and that things can only happen with His will and decree. Knowing all this achieves the first pillar, with which the slave of Allaah initiates the pillars of reliance. The more a slave of Allaah knows about Him, the more sound and firm his reliance on Allaah will be.
The Second Pillar: Is to believe that every matter has a cause or a means in order for it to be materialised. Some people give up utilising these means due to their ignorance and think that this is reliance on Allaah. They wait for Allaah to send down their provisions and feed them while they are lying on their beds without exerting any effort whatsoever. This is nothing but the laziness which the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam referred to in the Hadeeth which was narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him: “Be keen to do that which would benefit you, rely on Allaah and do not be lazy (by not exerting effort) and say when a problem befalls you: ‘If I would have done such and such, then the result would have been such and such’ rather you should say: ‘This was decreed by Allaah and Allaah does what He wills.’ Saying ‘If’ opens the gate for Satan.”(Muslim).
One who is relying on Allaah must know that although he must utilise all the possible means that Allaah has provided for him, his heart must still rely totally on Allaah to achieve his objectives. For example, when one applies for a job, his heart should still be attached to Allaah for provision; he should not think that the job itself is providing for him. In fact, the utilisation of all possible means is from the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam; an example of this is when he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam wore two coats of armour during the battle ofUhud – he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did not give up wearing them with the excuse of relying on Allaah. Moreover, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallamused to save enough provisions for a whole year, when he was able to do so, as related in the Hadeeth in Bukhaari, yet we all know that he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was the foremost of those who relied totally on Allaah.
The Third Pillar: Is to remain firm in relying on Allaah alone. A person’s reliance on Allaah cannot be fulfilled until one relies on Him alone. Therefore, nobody can claim true reliance on Allaah whilst at the same time believing that aShaykh, or pious person, whether dead or alive, can harm or benefit him; in fact, a person who does such a thing has ruined his entire faith and not just his reliance on Allaah.
The Fourth Pillar: Is to depend on Allaah completely with ones heart and feel tranquillity when doing so, to the extent that one does not feel anxious or confused regarding the status of means with which objectives are accomplished. Some people do not feel secure until they utilise these means, and if Allaah decrees that these means are not available, then they feel overwrought. Such people’s reliance on Allaah is incomplete, because true reliance is when a person does not care if means are available or not, because they know that all matters are in the Hand of Allaah; all He has to do for a matter to occur say ‘Be’ and it becomes.
The Fifth Pillar: To realise that the essence of reliance on Allaah is to entrust all matters to Him willingly, without feeling forced to do so. This is just like, for example, how a weak son would trust his parents due to the fact that he knows that the parents are caring, merciful and sufficient for him and that they would properly manage his affairs. This son knows that his parents manage his affairs better than he could do himself. Allaah mentions this type of entrustment in the Qur’aan when He says that which translates as: “…And I entrust my affair to Allaah …” (Ghaafir: 44).
The one who entrusts Allaah does so in the certainty that what Allaah decrees is better for him, even if it is apparently the opposite of what he believes to be good and indeed even the decree appears to be evil. Such a person is content with the decree of Allaah as he knows that it is better for him, whether the benefit is apparent or not.
The Sixth Pillar: To be content with the outcome of the reliance on Allaah. In fact, this is the fruit of entrusting Allaah with all ones affairs. For this reason, the scholars of Islaam have defined reliance on Allaah to mean ‘contentment with the decrees of Allaah’.
One who relies on Allaah before acting and is content with what results after has fulfilled servitude to Allaah, of which reliance on Him is a branch. That is why some scholars have said regarding a person who fulfils this: ‘His decree has two things, reliance before it and contentment after it’.
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said in the Du’aa’ of Al-Istikhaarah (seeking guidance and trying to form a decision): “O Allaah I seek Your counsel by Your knowledge and by Your power I seek strength, I ask You from Your immense favour…” - this is entrustment of and reliance upon Him. Then he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “…Indeed You are able while I am not able, and indeed You know while I do not know and You are The Knower of the unseen…” This is the denial of having any knowledge or power, then supplicating to Allaah by virtue of His names and attributes, then asking Him to decree that which is good.
Slaves of Allaah! Here the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam is teaching us how to attain reliance in this Du’aa’, so why can’t we be like those who rely on Allaah? Those whose hearts are attached to none but Allaah; those who have hope in and supplicate only to Him; they utilise all means but only rely on the One Who facilitated these means; while they deal with the creation they rely only on The Creator. Glad tidings and success are for such people, those who seek refuge only in Allaah; the One Who controls the Heavens and the earth, while others have their hearts attached to the reliance of others who cannot benefit or harm them.
Fellow Muslims! One who truly relies on Allaah will never worry about attaining provisions, nor will he ever attempt to obtain them unlawfully. We must know that provisions are in the Hands of Allaah and that it was recorded for us while we were still in our mother’s wombs, as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “(The matter of the creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allaah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature’s) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into him. So a man amongst you may do (good) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and Paradise and then what has been written for him decides his behaviour and he starts doing (evil) deeds characteristic of the people of the Hellfire. And similarly a man amongst you may do (evil) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and the Hellfire, and then what has been written for him decides his behaviour, and he starts doing deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise.” (Bukhaari & Muslim).
If our provisions are already decreed and will come to us regardless of whether we look for them or not, then why should one worry about them? Why should one commit doubtful or even unlawful deeds in order to attain them?
Slaves of Allaah! Jaabir, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “O people fear Allaah and seek your provisions in moderation, because nobody will die until he has consumed his provisions, even if he does not look for it. So fear Allaah and seek your provisions in moderation and take only that which is lawful and abandon that which is unlawful.” (Ibn Maajah).
O believers! Abandoning the utilisation of means violates reliance, just like depending on means violates reliance. Some people abandon the use of means claiming that they only rely on Allaah, despite the fact that Allaah rebuked those who behaved in such a manner. Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that: “The people of Yaman used to come to Hajj without bringing their provisions saying: ‘We rely only on Allaah’ but when they would reach Makkah they would start begging people for money; so Allaah revealed (that which translates as): “…And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allaah …” (Al-Baqarah: 197)” (Bukhaari).