Understanding Tawakkul…But Tie Your Camel First

We as humans like to plan. We plan everything we possibly can, for isn’t that what life teaches us? Planning is the path to success…so they say. So plan for tomorrow, we plan for next week, the next year and if not we sometimes plan for our long term future.  Planning gives us a sense of control, that we are able to dictate what we want to happen and what we want to avoid. But if that is the case, then where does our faith come in? More importantly, how much faith do we as fallible humans have to the infallible, Best of Planners?

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us,

رَّبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلًا

“[He is] the Lord of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs.” [Qur’an 73:9]

Allah has created us to feel, it is what distinguishes us from His other creations. Therefore at times we feel our planning becomes a burden. We begin to ponder, what if it doesn’t work out? What if I don’t get over it? What if they don’t accept me? The anxiety in our hearts begins to settle, and the uncertainty overwhelms us from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reassures us and says,

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ

“…And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him…” [Qur’an, 65:3]

So what does this mean? What does it mean to have tawakkul?  As Ibn Ata’illah once said,

“Relieve yourself of worry after you have planned; do not concern yourself with what Allah has undertaken on your behalf.”

It means we have faith that indeed He is the Best of Planners and Al-Wakeel, who controls His worshipers’ affairs. He is also Al-Qareeb, the one who is Near, for Allah is always with us. What worries then do we have? Like a child who is around his mother, he never worries. He knows mom is watching over him, ensuring what is best for his future will come. Isn’t Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala the best caretaker we can ask for?

And so we should continue to plan. One day Prophet Muhammad ﷺ noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet ﷺ then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (At-Tirmidhi).

So graduating seniors, college students, the ummah of the Prophet ﷺ and humans who plan, let us tie our camels first. Go ahead and plan with the best of intentions and as the doers of good, and let us tawakkul in our Creator.

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