Look back into your life; think of all the challenges you’ve faced and the emotions you’ve experienced. Think back to the moment where you thought ‘I can’t do this’, where you had no hope and saw no solution. Maybe it was trying to get through your exams, maybe it was problems with finding a job, maybe it was financial difficulties or even relationship problems.
While I was still an undergraduate I had a dream about working for a multinational company, and if you were to ask me two years ago about accomplishing my ambition I would have told you, “impossible!” There was no hope for me and it would continue being an unachievable dream. Fast forward a couple of years and what then seemed impossible has now become a reality, and here I am; working for not just any pharmaceutical industry, but the exact one I dreamt about. I can confidently say that none of this came from me; rather it came from the One Who decreed it.
When I think about those years and every problem I have encountered, I think of one important concept of life: Tawakkul (reliance) in Allah SWT. A mind set where you accept everything that comes your way; the storms, the hurdles, the twisted and confusing pathways; you accept it because you know that Allah SWT is going to guide you through it. It is to know that His plan supersedes yours, that He knows better and will only give what is best for you. It is to know that He is strengthening you to develop better character, and that He is continuously giving you opportunities to earn your spot in Jannah. It is to let go of the steering wheel of your life and have full trust that Allah SWT will take you the right way.
When I think about applying the concept of Tawakkul in my life I commonly refer back to the story of the mother of the Prophet Musa (pbuh). She was ordered by Allah SWT to place her son in the river at a time where Pharaoh was slaughtering all the male children to protect his power. What struck me deeply about this story is the firm belief and reliance she had in Allah SWT. She was not aware of what was going to happen to her child and what Allah’s plan was. Nevertheless, she placed her beloved son into the basket and watched as he floated out of her control, and out of her sight. I reflect upon just how beautiful the words of Allah SWT were at this moment when He said:
“…do not fear and do not grieve…” [28:7]
It is these very words I feel comforting me every time I face a calamity. In the end, as we know, Allah SWT did in fact return Musa (pbuh) to his mother. In this we also learn that sometimes in order to gain, we have to let go for a while and trust that although the path we’re taking might seem harder than planned, in the end, Allah SWT will always return what was meant to be ours. It’s only when we realise this profound wisdom that we can truly appreciate how much Allah SWT loves us.
Then there is the story of Musa (pbuh) himself; the heart crushing moment when he stood in front of the vast Red Sea with the Israelites while the army of Pharaoh was fast approaching behind them. The Israelites had no hope, and have been recorded in the Qur’an as saying: “Indeed, we are to be overtaken!” [26:61]. Musa (pbuh), however, displayed true Tawakkul in Allah SWT and understood that in this very moment, He will without a doubt help His Messenger. And thus, the sea split in half with Allah’s permission.
Now, let me talk about us for a moment. The problem with you and I is that when we face a calamity, when our plans fall apart and we see no light at the end of the tunnel, we lose hope in Allah SWT. We stress, we cry out and we fall to our knees because we believe that there is simply no way out. We lose patience and somehow, incredibly, forget that Allah SWT is capable of all things – even if our minds can’t comprehend this.
Didn’t Allah SWT provide a way out for every single Prophet that came? Did He not provide for the people that came before you? Is He not providing for the people around you? If He provides even for the birds that soar through our skies or the insects buried deep underground, what makes you think Allah SWT won’t do the same for you? He created you, He knows your every need, takes care of every necessity, and is closer to you than your own jugular vein.
Just like Allah SWT split the sea for Musa (pbuh), so too can He easily split the gigantic oceans of hopelessness that lie in front of you in life.
If there’s one thing I’d like you to reflect upon from my story – something that sums it all up for me – it’s one beautiful statement that continues to resonate in my heart from none other than Umar Ibn Khattab RA:
“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me and what misses me was never meant for me.”