Twenty First Talk
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ
The importance of Tawakkul is supported by the fact that it is an important concomitant of belief in Tawhid. The first Da’wah (initiation) of all the Prophets (a.s.) has always been Tawhid or unity of Allah (S.w.T.). The Holy Qur’an dwells mostly on the topic of Tawhid. The knowledge that one has to compulsorily acquire is the knowledge about Tawhid. Knowledge starts with the understanding of Allah (S.w.T.) and its peak is submitting oneself to His Will.
One who really aspires to be an Aalim (an erudite scholar), his first duty is to get a clear understanding about Tawhid. He must perfect himself in this aspect of learning. It is not sufficient to say that we are Muslim and we have faith in Tawhid. The touchstone of Tawhid is firm faith in la ilaaha illallah and true understanding of this Commandment. This has to be accompanied by absolute faith on Tawhid al-Af’aali that whatever happens is with the Wish of Allah (S.w.T.). One has also to believe that every bounty is a gift from Allah (S.w.T.). The faith has to be from the depths of the heart and not just an utterance from the lips.
During a day we pray five times. During these prayers we utter the words Rabb al-‘Aalameen at least ten times. But mere utterance of these words is not sufficient for the perfect belief on the Lord of the entire Universe. The belief has to be from the depth of the hearts that He is the Creator of all those false gods who made spurious claims to godhood. Mere words are not sufficient. They just purify a person as a part of the mandatory performance of prayer five times a day. The main purpose is the understanding of the real fact that One on whom every human being puts faith is the sustainer of all the worlds. He is the Creator of things from smallest particle to the elephant, the human race, earth, sky, the constellations and Jinns and angels. He controls the affairs of all His creatures. Although it is not possible for the human eyes to see Allah (S.w.T.), a firm faith in the Qur’an gives one the belief to attain true Islam.
Isn't the Holy Qur’an a Book Revealed by Allah (S.w.T.)?
If yes: then observe that from the beginning to the end it talks of Tawhid. Ma’bud (Deity), Rabb (Preserver), Malik (Master) and Mudabbir (Statesman) is Allah (S.w.T.). After knowing all this, when the Faith on His Divinity (Ilahiyat) is perfected then one must trust all his affairs to Him.
About Tawakkul the revered persons of the Faith have said that, “Tawakkul is entrusting all affairs, minor and major, to Allah (S.w.T.) who is the Absolute Master of the entire universe. If you consider yourself His creature, you should not say that you want things in a certain way. But whatever He does, whatever He Wishes and whatsoever way He treats you, you must resign to His Wish.
Attachment to circumstances doesn't come in the way of Tawakkul. We have said earlier that, Laysa lil insaan illa ma sa-aa, “There is nothing for man except for what he strives for” (Sura an-Najm, 53:39). But this doesn't mean that one should depend wholly on the circumstances. Your Wakil and Master Has said that He will give sustenance according to the circumstances, but the circumstances without Wish cannot guarantee any results.
We should give utmost importance to Tawhid over all other things. Think a lot over the verses in the Holy Qur’an about the subject of Tawhid. This will strengthen your Faith that circumstances have no permanent form or status. At certain times the circumstances lose their importance and the benefits that could have accrued will no more be there. The circumstances or reasons becoming ineffective are a strong indication that there is some All Prevailing Power that is Absolute, and is not subject to any circumstances or reasons.
It is said about Plato (Aflatoon) that once he was afflicted with acute diarrhea. However much he was treated, he was not getting relief. His disciples said that although he was an adept at medicine, why he was not able cure his own ailment. Plato told them to fetch him a certain powder. He mixed that powder with water and took it. In no time his diarrhea stopped. Then he turned to his disciples and said, “I did take this powder earlier too. But as long as there is no Will of Allah (S.w.T.), nothing can happen!”
Sometimes we see that certain things happen unexpectedly. At times we very much want a certain thing, and the circumstances too are congenial, but that thing doesn't come about.
Some years ago, Sadr al-Hukama, who was a physician of very high repute, mentioned to me an anecdote. He said that once a patient was brought to him who was very weak and thin. When he, the hakim, tested the patient he found that he was in a very precarious condition with the kidneys, liver and heart very badly affected. He felt that the patient might live for a few days only and that he had refused to treat him. The patient's relatives taunted the Hakim and said that perhaps he was imperfect in his calling that he expressed inability to treat him. The Hakim was upset with their misbehavior but kept quiet. In a lighter vein he told them to go home and give him Joshanda (a simple decoction of herbs used in homes for common colds).
After sometime, the same patient visited the Hakim. He was now in perfect health. His relatives, who were angry on him during their previous visit, were also there. They brought with them lot of cheese and shortening as gift for him. They said that when he had such a simple cure for the patient, why did he disturb them by saying that there was no hope for the patient.
This proves that Allah (S.w.T.) has Power over everything. All circumstances and reason have no effect when He wishes anything to happen. We find through our experiences that sometimes the most ineffective things have tremendous effect. At others, things that have proven effectiveness turn out to be ineffective. All this is definitely the result of Allah (S.w.T.)'s slightest gesture!
Allah (S.w.T.) told Hadrat Musa (a.s.), that he should seek even the salt for his use from Him. Allah (S.w.T.) told him that He is the provider of everything. This doesn't mean that one should keep sitting at a place and expect Allah (S.w.T.) to provide everything. It means keeping Tawakkul on him and keep searching for the salt for your requirement! If Allah (S.w.T.)'s Wish is not there, the entire land will be full of salt, but you may not get a grain of it for your use!
As long as one doesn't have absolute faith in Tawhid, a person cannot become a Faqih or Islamic Jurist. The person will not have the vision of the Faith. The skills acquired with hard work are a prelude to attaining enlightenment. For this one has to be a friend of learning and to be fully conversant with the dictates of the Shari’ah.
The populace will generally be involved in Shirk that they think that the circumstances cause the events. Wherever one looks, he will find people running after materialism. They worship circumstance and have extreme love for wealth and pomp.
There are some people who give an impression as if the Mihrab wa Minbar (the Niche in the mosque and the Pulpit) are their deity. They should know that it is shirk to consider the 'cause' as the 'causer'.
It is our duty to reach the stage of learning where our faith in Tawhid becomes absolute. “Understand well that there is no deity but Allah (S.w.T.)”. The way for reaching that stage is through Taqwa or piety. When your Taqwa is firm, then you will become erudite (Aalim) with Allah (S.w.T.)'s help.
He will bestow you with the wealth of knowledge. This knowledge will give you firm belief in “la ilaaha illallah” and “la hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah”. Your faith will be firm and your worldly life too will be better. When you transit from here to the Hereafter, then the light of knowledge, faith and belief will be your guide. The ranks of the Hereafter too will become visible to you in this light. There is no doubt that action is necessary with knowledge. If you desire to be ranked with the Muqarrabeen as-Saabiqeen (Trusted friends of yore), those who had a special status in the consideration of the Prophet (S.) and his Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.), then you must attain perfect faith.
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says that during one journey the Prophet (S) met some persons. They greeted him. The Prophet (S) asked them, “Who are you?” The persons replied, “We are Mu’minīn.” The Prophet (S) asked, “What is the proof of your Faith?. Is it just a mere claim that you are Mu’min or you have some strong proof for your claim?” They said, “We absolutely trust in the Wish of Allah (S.w.T.) and we have entrusted all our affairs to Him. We bow our heads in acceptance for whatever He decided for us!” The Prophet (S) rejoined, “You are wise and learned! You are near a stage when you will qualify to be in the company of the prophets (a.s.)”1.
One who acquired Hikma (wisdom) he has acquired virtue in abundance (cf. Sura al-Baqara, 2:269). By acquiring learning you know the secrets of existence and will be in the know of what is not visible or evident. You have risen above materialism. The entire world is worshipping the apparent in this world, but you have risen far above that!.
Man should, therefore, perform such acts that he is able to acquire knowledge and faith through their performance and he reaches the stage of Tawakkul. He should entrust all his affairs to Allah (S.w.T.).
The Prophet (S.) then told them:
“If you are truthful, then don't construct the house in which you may not live. Don't hoard food that you may not eat! Fear Allah that you ultimately have to return towards Him. If you are truly a person of truth, Trust in Allah (Tasleem wa Rida) and men of Tawakkul then avoid avarice. One who is after acquisition of properties, and plans every time to have more of them and has concern that his holdings might diminish in their value, will be always scared of the coming times. If there is Tawakkul on Allah, there will be no concern for what comes and what goes!
You will then have no fear of penury or starvation! Avarice is a sign that all the claims of Tawakkul of the person are false. One who doesn't practice contentment and is always engrossed in avarice, it means that he has no Faith in the Musabbib al-asbaab (The Causer of Causes), who is Allah. He only considers the circumstances as the relievers of difficulties. If this is not the case, then he would not construct a house in which he might not live, he would not hoard food grains that are much more than the real need of his family. One woman was saying that she had some money that she wanted to save for her shroud and interment after her death. She was asked, 'Are you saving the money with avarice in your mind. Otherwise, there is none who died and did not get a shroud and burial! As long as man remains the slave of circumstances, he will worship wealth! He should keep his death in view that before warming a place the drum for departure might be sounded!”
Allah (S.w.T.) says:
وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِيَ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ
When you have the belief that - Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’oon - we have to return towards Allah (S.w.T.), then how important it is for you to exercise maximum care to ensure that you don't commit any act of disrespect for Him, that you are destined to be presented before Him. Expecting favors from others than Allah (S.w.T.) is a sign of grave disrespect towards Him. How one would feel going to His presence that he had been committing these transgressions throughout his life!
Whenever Imam Hasan (a.s.) thought of death and the grave, he used to lament very much. Whenever he thought of the Day of Resurrection, he used to faint with grief. He was fully aware of the Greatness and Might of Allah (S.w.T.) and was conscious of the aura of the Day of Judgement.
The Progeny of Muhammad (a.s.) were the people of Knowledge and wisdom. Whosoever got a ray of knowledge in their company, became a practicing man of learning (‘Aalim ba ‘amal). The scholars should know that they must strive to get counted amongst those whom Aali Muhammad (a.s.) accept as scholars and not merely the populace praise them as such.
Imam Husayn (a.s.), during his journey towards Karbala, sent a letter through a courier to Hadrat Habib b. Madhahir to Kufa. The subject of the letter was: Ya ayyuhar rajul al-faqih - O man of erudition! The Imam (a.s.) wrote: Habib is truly a Faqih that he knows
Allah (S.w.T.) and also he recognize the Imam (a.s.). The foundation of his fountainhead is the understanding of Tawhid. The worldly knowledge and skills do not provide the instinct of Tawhid. Don't lose the way and do not get involved in absolute ignorance (Jahl al-Murakkab) that you are amongst the learned. This pride might destroy you.
- 1. From Usūl al-Kafi Haqiqat al-Imān wal Yaqeen