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Tawakkul

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Tawakkul or trust in God (Arabic: التوكل) is a moral virtue and a station of mystical journeys. Tawakkul is to leave things to God, rely upon Him, and consider him as the only effective entity in the being. The Qur'an considers trust in God as a requirement of faith. According to hadiths, it is an essential part of faith. Some Muslim ethicists believe that if one's mood before and after gaining or losing something remains the same, then that is an indication for one's trust in God.

The highest degree of trust in God is to leave everything to God, not to take account of one's own will before God, and prefer whatever is determined for one by God. The degree of one's trust in God depends on the degree of one's faith and belief in monotheism. The greater faith one has, the higher degree of trust in God one will have.

According to Muslim ethicists, in Islam, hard work does not conflict with trust in God and the unity of actions (al-tawhid al-af'ali), because apparent causes do not have independent effects, their effects depending on the divine will since they are longitudinal (tuli) to God's power. Trust in God is said to have effects such as sufficient livelihood, easier life, and self-esteem.

The Notion

To trust is to express one's inability to do something and rely on someone else to do it.[1] According to Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi in Jami' al-sa'adat, in the religious culture, to trust in God is to consider God as the only effective entity in the being, to rely only on Him, to give up one's hope in others, and to leave everything to Him.[2]

Allama Tabataba'i takes the trust in God to amount to seeing God as the only effective entity in the world.[3] In his Ma'ani l-akhbar, al-Shaykh al-Saduq cites a hadith from the Prophet (s) according to which to trust in God is to know that creatures cannot bring about any benefits or cause any harms, to have hope only in God, not to fear anyone except God, and to work only for God.[4]

Relation between Tawakkul and Tafwid, Rida, and Taslim

There is a close relation between tawakkul (trust in God) and tafwid (delegation of one's tasks to God). In his al-Kafi, al-Kulayni has collected hadiths concerning both tawakkul and tafwid in one section under "the section on delegation to God and trust in Him".[5] Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani considers tawakkul as one branch of tafwid.[6] According to Imam Khomeini in his Sharh-i chihil hadith, the difference between tawakkul and tafwid is that in the latter, one sees oneself as powerless and only sees God as effective in everything, whereas in the former, one sees God as his representative in obtaining the good or benefits.[7]

Tawakkul is also associated with other moral virtues such as rida (contentment with God's will) and taslim (surrender to God). According to Muslim mystics, mystical stages of rida and taslim are higher than the stage of tawakkul.[8] For in the latter, one sees God as his own representative without putting aside his attachment to mundane things, whereas in positions of rida[9] and taslim[10], one is content with, or surrenders to, whatever is determined by God, even if it is against one's desires.

Significance

"Tawakkul" and its cognates have occurred seventy times in the Qur'an.[11] There are a number of cases in the Qur'an in which belief (or faith) and tawakkul are mentioned together,[12] and in some cases, the latter is deemed a requirement for the former.[13][14] For instance, in the Qur'an 8:2, believers are characterized as those who only trust in their Lord. According to a number of other verses, "in God should believers trust".[15] According to Quranic verses, God loves,[16] and will be sufficient for,[17] those who trust in Him.

Tawakkul is also deemed significant and recommended, in hadiths.[18] According to a hadith from Imam 'Ali (a), the four essential components of faith consist in tawakkul, tafwid, rida (or contentment) with the divine destination, and taslim (or surrender) to God's decrees.[19] According to a hadith from Imam al-Rida (a), the trust in God is a component of certainty.[20] In the Hadith of the Armies of Intelect and Ignorance (Hadith Junud al-'Aql wa l-Jahl), tawakkul is said to be in the army of reason, fighting against greed.[21]

Muslim ethicists characterize the trust in God as a station or stage of a mystical journey[22] and a moral virtue.[23]

Degrees

Degrees of tawakkul are mentioned in Islamic ethical and mystical sources. Thus, tawakkul has three degrees from the lowest to the highest:[24]

The first degree: one trusts in God in the same way as one might trust a representative or a deputy.[25] This is considered by Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi as the lowest degree of tawakkul.

The second degree: one trusts in God in the same way as a child trusts in his or her mother – one does not know anyone else, does not refuge to anyone else, and does not rely on anyone else. The difference between this and the previous degree is that one is only directed at God and does not even notice the trust itself.[26] Muslim ethicists believe that this degree of tawakkul can be obtained only by very few people.[27]

The third degree: according to ethicists, at this stage, one sees oneself in the hand of God as a corpse is in the hand of a diener, where the corpse has no will of its own and only moves at the diener's will.[28] The difference between this degree and the second one is that, in the second, one does not abandon supplications and requests from God, whereas at this stage, one might as well abandon supplications and requests from God because of one's trust in the divine providence.[29] This is considered by al-Naraqi as the highest degree of tawakul, which is rarely obtained by anyone. In his view, the Prophet Abraham's trust in God when he was going to be thrown into the fire is an instance of this degree of tawakkul.[30]

According to al-Naraqi in his Jami' al-sa'adat, people have different degrees of tawakkul depending on the degree of their certainty and belief in monotheism. The stronger one's faith or belief is, the higher the degree of one's tawakkul will be.[31]

The Way to Achieve the Position of Tawakkul

Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi believes that the way to obtain the state of tawakkul is to reinforce one's belief in monotheism such that one sees everything as caused by God and does not see any other entities as effective in the world.[32] He also recommends reflection on how one was created and on Qur'anic verses concerning tawakkul as well as reading about the fate of people who trusted in God.[33]

According to al-Naraqi, the sign of tawakkul is that one's internal state does not change when losing or gaining benefits or possessions.[34]

Effects of Tawakkul

Some effects of tawakkul are mentioned in certain Qur'anic verses and hadiths. For example, according to the verse three of Qur'an 65, whoever trusts in God, God will be sufficient for him. This effect is also mentioned in hadiths by appealing to this verse.[35] According to a hadith from Imam Ali (a), whoever trusts in God, hardships will be easier for him and grounds will be paved for him.[36]

Muslim ethicists appeal to the Quranic verse, "whoever trusts in Allah, then indeed Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise,"[37] to show that people who trust in God will never feel humiliated.[38] According to a verse from Imam al-Rida (a) if one wants to be the strongest person, then one should trust in God.[39]

Relation between Tawakkul and Hard Work

According to al-Ghazali and Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi, some people think that tawakkul is to abandon the hard work and just wait and see what would happen.[40] Al-Fayd al-Kashani rejects such a conception of tawakkul, saying that in Islam, tawakkul does not conflict with hard work.[41]

According to Tafsir-i nimuna, reliance on apparent natural causes is not incompatible with action-monotheism or the unity of actions (al-tawhid al-af'ali), because such causes are not independently effective, their effect being in the scope of God's power and will. [42]In some hadiths, people are recommended to take account of natural causes along with tawakkul. For instance, there is a hadith from the Prophet (s) that says: "fasten your camel's kneel and then trust in God".[43]

Notes

  1. Ibn Fāris, Muʿjam maqāyīs al-luga, vol. 6, p. 136.
  2. Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 218-219 & 226.
  3. Ṭabāṭabāyī, Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. 1417 AH, vol. 19, p. 78.
  4. Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akhbār, 1403 AH, p. 261.
  5. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, 1407 AH, vol. 2, p. 163.
  6. Kāshānī, Sharḥ manāzil al-sā'irīn, 1379 SH, p. 98.
  7. Khomeini, Sharh-i chihil hadīth, 1388 SH, p. 217.
  8. see: Kāshānī, Sharḥ manāzil al-sāʾirīn, 1379 SH, pp. 94-98.
  9. Khomeini, Sharh-i chihil hadīth, 1388 SH, p. 217.
  10. Ṭūsī, Nasīr al-dīn, Akhlāq nāsirī, p 80.
  11. Māhrūzāda, (1394 SH, Autumn), Rābita-i tawakkul wa tawassul bi asbāb, Nāmi-i jāmiʿa, p. 64.
  12. See for example: Qur'an 65:29; Qur'an 10:84; Qur'an 5:23; Qur'an 42:36; Qur'an 16:99; and Qur'an 8:2.
  13. See: Qur'an 3:122; Qur'an 5:23.
  14. Ṭabāṭabāyī, Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. 1417 AH, vol. 19, p. 188
  15. See: Qur'an 3:122-160; Qur'an 5:11; Qur'an 9:51; Qur'an 14:11; Qur'an 64:13; Qur'an 58:10.
  16. See: Qur'an 3:159
  17. See: Qur'an 65:3
  18. See, for example: Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, 1407 AH, vol. 2, pp. 63-65; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, 1403 AH, vol. 68, pp. 135, 138, 143, 147, 153.
  19. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, 1407 AH, vol. 2, p. 47.
  20. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, 1407 AH, vol. 2, p. 52.
  21. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, 1407 AH, vol. 1, p. 21.
  22. Kāshānī, Sharḥ manāzil al-sāʾirīn, 1379 SH, p. 94.
  23. Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 220.
  24. See: * Ghazālī, Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm dīn, 1986 CE, vol. 4, pp. 278-288; Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, Al-Maḥajjat al-bayḍāʾ, vol. 7, p. 408; Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 223.
  25. Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, Al-Maḥajjat al-bayḍāʾ, vol. 7, p. 408; Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 223.
  26. Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, Al-Maḥajjat al-bayḍāʾ, vol. 7, p. 408; Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 223.
  27. See: Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, Al-Maḥajjat al-bayḍāʾ, vol. 7, p. 408; Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 223.
  28. Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, Al-Maḥajjat al-bayḍāʾ, vol. 7, p. 408; Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 223.
  29. Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, Al-Maḥajjat al-bayḍāʾ, vol. 7, p. 408; Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 223.
  30. Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, pp. 223-224.
  31. Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, pp. 229-230.
  32. Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, pp. 231-232.
  33. Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, pp. 231-232.
  34. Narāqī, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol. 3, p. 232.
  35. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, 1407 AH, vol. 2, pp. 63-65.
  36. Tamīmī Āmidī, Ghurar al-ḥikam, 1366 SH, p. 197.
  37. Qur'an 8:49
  38. Ghazālī, Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm dīn, 1986 CE, vol. 4, p. 260
  39. Fiqh al-Riḍā, 1406 AH, vol. 1, p. 358.
  40. Ghazali, Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn, 1986 CE, vol 4, p 282; Naraqi, Jāmiʿ al-saʿādāt, 1383 AH, vol 3, p 226
  41. Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, Al-Maḥajjat al-bayḍāʾ, Daftar Nashr Islami, vol 7, p 413
  42. Makarim Shirazi, Tafsīr-i nimūna, 1374 SH, vol 10, p 297.
  43. Tabrisī, Mishkāt al-anwār, 1385 AH, pp. 319-320

References

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