7 Practical Steps For Practicing Tawakul
Tawakul is often discussed as a theoretical concept. Most Muslims know that we need to have Tawakul (trust in Allah) but not many know how to do this. In this short article, I hope to demonstrate a few practical steps that will help make Tawakul a reality in our lives.
Remember that Tawakul is an internal act of worship. It is something we do inside ourselves and we earn the pleasure of Allah for doing it. So it is very important to learn how to do this internal act of worship properly.
The following steps are taken from Ibn Al-Qayyim’s Madaarij As-Salikeen, and reworded for an English audience.
1. Recognizing Allah’s Attributes
The first practical step to actualizing Tawakul is to recognize who Allah is.
He is in control of everything, so only He can grant you success. Allah knows everything, so He knows whether success in your task is good for you or not. Allah sees everything, so He will reward your effort whether you succeed or not. He is Most Merciful, so whatever the result is, it is part of His Mercy to you.
The more deeper you understand Allah’s names and attributes, the easier it gets to have Tawakul in Him. Take time to learn the names and attributes of Allah, and reflect on them. This is the first step towards Tawakul.
2. Making an effort to attain your goals
The second step is to make an effort to attain your goal. The means (Asbaab) to attain goals are of two types: worldly and spiritual. Worldly means refer to the things we have to do in this world to attain our goals. Most of us are aware of these and have no problem doing this.
However, many Muslims forget that there are also spiritual means that we need to use in order to attain our goals. These include establishing the five daily Salah, earning halal, eating halal, having noble intentions, and making dua for success. Establishing these spiritual means are essential for Tawakul.
Someone who is not fulfilling their obligations to Allah will have a hard time having Tawakul, because they have not established the spiritual means to earn the assistance of Allah. (Although Allah may still assist them out of His Divine Mercy)
3. Affirming Tawhid in one’s heart
The third step is to affirm Tawhid in one’s heart. To have no doubt in the existence and power of Allah. This means that you are convinced that Allah controls everything, only He can grant you success and nothing happens without His will.
Through this conviction, your heart will gravitate towards Tawakul, and trusting Allah becomes natural.
4. Being at peace with Allah’s Will
Taking the previous step further, to gain Allah’s assistance we must be at peace with Allah. We must have full trust that Allah, Whose treasures and power are limitless, will take care of us and never abandon us. Inner peace must enter our hearts because of these beliefs.
This inner peace will propel us to have full Tawakul in Allah, because we are at peace with His Will and His Decision.
5. Thinking good thoughts (Husn Dhann) about Allah
Husn Dhann (Good Thoughts) is a forgotten Sunnah in our times. It is even more important when dealing with Allah. A Muslim must always maintain positive thoughts about Allah. He must believe that whatever Allah wills for Him is best for Him.
He must believe that Allah will answer his dua in one way or another. Husn Dhann here means trusting Allah to take care of the end result in the way that is best for your Deen and Dunya.
6. Dispelling doubts from the mind
Shaytaan will try to distract you with fear of failure, fear of poverty, and fear of humiliation. He will try to take you think ill of Allah. He may even sabotage your efforts. You must remove each of these doubts by confronting them. As a doubt enters your mind, repel it with a positive thought.
For example, if Shaytaan makes you fear poverty, remind yourself that Allah has already decreed your Rizq and promised to provide for you. This thought will repel the doubt from your mind and settle your heart. Dispelling evil thoughts is essential for pure Tawakul.
7. Handing over the matter to Allah
The final step of Tawakul is called ‘Tafweedh‘ which means to hand over the matter entirely to Allah.
After having taking up the worldly and spiritual means, cleared one’s mind of negative thoughts, focused on positive thoughts, and accepting Allah’s will. The next step is to just leave the end result in Allah’s Hand.
There is nothing more you can do here than to leave it to Allah and trust Him. This will bring about hope and inner peace.
The alternative (worrying about the result) brings about fear and anxiety. In this way, Tawakul is the solution to anxiety.
Bonus Step: Being pleased with one’s destiny
This step refers to what to do after having Tawakul, and receiving your result. To complete this act of worship on the highest level, one should practice Ridaa Bil Qadha (Being Pleased With Destiny).
Regardless of whether the end result was in your favor or not, a believer must at the very least, accept Allah’s Will.
But to reach the higher levels of Imaan, one should be pleased with Allah’s will. This step is extremely hard, especially if the result is negative or tragic.
This is why Ridaa Bil Qadha is considered one of the greatest internal acts of worship. The harder an act of worship is, the greater the reward. So we should all strive to not just have Tawakul, but to be pleased with Allah’s will for us too.
A practical example
Here is a practical example to bring it all together:
Goal: A young man named Ahmad wants to open a business to provide for his family.
- He knows that Allah is The Provider, and Allah wants him to take up a Halal means to earn that provision.
- He makes all the necessary effort to set up his business, and spends his nights in Qiyam Al-Layl praying for success.
- He reminds himself that nothing happens without Allah’s Will.
- He accepts that Allah controls His destiny and is at peace with that.
- He knows that Allah will grant him what is best for him.
- He removes all fear of poverty by reminding himself of who Allah is, and the promise of Allah.
- He starts the business, doesn’t stress about it, works hard, and trusts Allah to grant him what is best for him.
Result A: The business is successful, and he is pleased with that. He thanks Allah for it, shows gratitude daily and spends from his earnings on the ummah.
Result B: The business fails and closes down. He is happy with Allah’s Qadar, and accepts this as best for him. He uses the lessons learned from this business to start a new business, and repeats steps 1-7 for his new business. Due to his experience in his failed business, he does better and eventually his new business succeeds.
This is Tawakul in practice.
May Allah grant us all the ability to practice Tawakul in every aspect of our lives.