What is Trust in God?

Tawakkul

وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

“In Allâh should the believers put their trust” (14:11).

To put ones trust in Allâh is a Divine Command for the believers.  Trust (tawakkul) in Allâh pertains to belief (imân), and belief demands confession (tasdîq) and certitude (yaqîn) in the following: “There is no other, cannot be and will never be one worthy of worship but Allâh” (37:35) and “No associate-partner has He” (6:163). This requirement is repeated when you read: “in Allâh you should put your trust when you are believers (in Him)” (5:23), and: “So in Allâh alone let those put their trust who have learnt to put their trust in Him” (14:12).

Tawakkul (trust) is derived from wakalaوكل , which means “to empower an attorney” or “to commission someone to take care of what is being entrusted.” The one who is entrusted is called wakîl (the trustee). The one who trusts his case needs to have a state of confidence in his attorney before he commissions his case. His mind should be at peace about the knowledge, aptitude, and qualities of his trustee. He should be confident that there is no weakness or deficiency in the wakîl whom he has selected to carry out the task that burdens him. This state of confidence also demands that the wakîl is able, eloquent, and flawless in speech and arguments; is rightly guided; and has sympathy for the one whom he is representing. Without compassion for the one who is entrusting him, even the most powerful wakîl will be less concerned and interested, might not be fully committed, and might even give up the case if difficulties arise during the process. This implies that the client will certainly have varying degrees of confidence and peace of mind, according to the different levels of qualities regarding the wakîl. Allâh invites you to make Him your Trustee (-wakîl). He says:

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

“But (the truth of the matter is that) who so puts his trust in Allâh finds that surely Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (8:49)

Here Allâh refers to His Attributes of Might and Wisdom for the task so that no doubt remains that He is the best choice, the only One in Whom your trust can be placed.  You will have the strength of trust (tawakkul) in Allâh only when you are certain that Allâh understands your problems and appreciates your uncomfortable situation. When you are convinced of the perfection of Allâh’s Knowledge that He comprehends your needs, that He has the Might and Authority to meet all of them, that no other power surpasses the reach of His Power, and that He is Merciful, it would be foolish not to entrust to Him your affairs. In other words, your belief in Allâh’s Powers and your Faith and confidence in His Mercy are the source spring of your trust (tawakkul) in Allâh, Glory be to Him.

Faith (imânإيمان ) is a state of certitude (yaqînيقين ) in the Divine Being. Your belief in God has its stages. Its initial, primitive stage is the stage of observing and examining the objects that exist in nature, which can be perceived by your five senses, and then reflecting on their cause and source. This contemplation brings forth hints of possible Divine Existence. When such hints become continuous and are combined with sound knowledge as well as reflective thoughts, additional evidence of the existence of Divinity emerges. After this, an accumulative stage is reached, where you reflect on the enormity of creation and the greatness and vastness of the Divine Kingdom (67:2–5).  A threshold is reached where you seek no further evidence, as you become convinced of the Divine Existence and admit:

وَهُوَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي الْأَرْضِ

“And He is Allâh Who alone (exercises every authority) in the heavens and in the earth.” (6:3)

لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ

 “The kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. He gives life and causes death” (57:2).

After this stage of belief is the irreversible state of confession (tasdîq), which is followed by the stage of certitude (yaqîn) “that there is no other, cannot be and will never be one worthy of worship other than Allâh” (47:19). You are now aware of your duties towards your Creator and His creation. Thereafter, you abide in obedience in actions corresponding to these duties. The culminating name of all of these stages when summed together is Faith (imân).

With spiritual advancement, you enter another stage, where you come close to the knowledge of Divine Unity (Ahadîyyat). The Faith in Divine Unity has its own stages: The lowest stage is when you merely profess: Lȃ ilâha illȃ Huwa لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ, “There is no other worthy of worship but He,” but your heart may still be heedless, and this profession often amounts to mere lip service. Sometimes your heart may believe in associated gods as well. In the next higher stage, you actually believe in your heart the Words of Divine Unity: La ilâha ill-Allâhلَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ , “There is no other, cannot be and will never be one worthy of worship but Allâh.” This appears to be the case with the majority of the Muslim community.

The third stage is of those who bear witness: وَإِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحْمَـٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ, “And your God is One God, there is no other, cannot be and will never be one worthy of worship but He, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful” (2:163). Here you ache with the state of certainty in your conviction: Lȃ ilâha ill-Allâh لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ , “there is no other, cannot be and will never be one worthy of worship but Allâh,” and your knowledge of His Graces and Mercifulness. While confessing the Divine Unity, while admitting, and understanding His Attributes of Mercy, you are already treading on the Illuminated Path of Allâh’s guidance. You are consequent in religious practices and take pleasure in ritual Prayer and worship. While doing so, you are constantly striving hard to “draw near” to your Lord.

The fourth stage is the highest, the stage of those who have already reached the threshold of Ahadîyyatأحديت  and are standing before their Lord in great humility, with bowed heads. They see none but the Divine in His absolute and unique Unity.

According to Imâm al-Ghazâlî, trust (tawakkulتوكٌل ) in Allâh can be achieved in the third stage by those who bear witness to the Divine Unity while treading on the illuminated path of religious practices and “drawing near” to their Lord. If you cannot find this third state of certitude (yaqîn) in you, that amounts to a weakness in your Faith, in your belief. There will be neither tranquillity nor peace in such a heart and no trust. At the fourth and highest stage, however, it will not be required that you to put your trust in Allâh, because Allâh will already be taking care of all your affairs.  

Trust in Allâh also means giving up hope of whatever is in the hands of human beings. Trust in Divine Providence is one of the stations of those who have reached a state of certainty in their conviction: وَإِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحْمَـٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ, “And your God is One God, there is no other, cannot be and will never be one worthy of worship but He, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful” (2:163). They know it for certain that: “he who puts his trust in Allâh, He is sufficient for him (to fulfil his needs)” (65:3).

When people say, “I put my trust in Allâh,” many would mean that they could forgo provisions of action and planning and just lie in wait for a divine decision. This is a stark misconception, however, since appropriate planning and action are a crucial prerequisite for trust (tawakkul). At the same time, you should do no planning and you should undertake no activity before you put your trust in Allâh. The authentic Advocate, who is Allâh, is the Creator of whatever power is required for any action, and He is the One Who provides this Power. Whosoever has this certainty (yaqîn) receives the exquisite reward.