Tawakul

Seeking Divine Assistance During Difficult Times

Seeking Divine Assistance During Difficult Times

The world has become a very isolated and lonely place for many. Anxiety, uncertainty, and fear grip our hearts, as we wonder whether we will get the virus next and whether we (and our loved ones) will survive it. In early 2020, the world we took for granted turned upside down, and all of society were confined to their homes. This is where many of us remain as the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic remains real and all around us.

During this difficult time, many people have no clue how to make sense of all this, or how to move forward. For too long, we took our luxuries and freedom for granted, and now we are left puzzled and lost as the Divine Retribution grips the world, purifying us of our many sins. In all of this chaos, how do we move forward and what should we think.

Accepting The Reality of Divine Retribution

The first step towards moving forward is to accept reality for what it is. many people don’t want to say it because it is politically incorrect, but reality is what it is. The current pandemic is a Divine Punishment to the people of earth for our combined sins. It doesn’t mean that every individual who gets it is guilty. It simply means that enough people are sinning, justifying sin, and legalizing sin, to justify a global punishment.

It is very important for believers to accept this reality. We live in the only time in history that I know of that so many sins have been legalized and considered morally acceptable, on a global scale. Things that all religions agreed upon as immoral are now human rights that people fight for. Of course, in such a situation Divine Punishment should be expected, and the believer shouldn’t have a problem with this. If it purifies the earth of some of this immorality and brings people back to the truth and true morality, then it is a blessing for this earth.

So the first step is to accept that this is a Divine Punishment to the world, and we need to repent and purify our lives. Without acknowledging this, we will continue to sin and support wrong beliefs in ignorance and arrogance, and this will lead to more punishments. Like the example of Pharaoh, his people faced plague after plague but remained arrogant upon their evil until Allah took everything from them. Let us learn a lesson from this and repent at the sign of a first plague, before a second is unleashed.

Corruption has appeared on land and sea, because of what people’s hands have earned, in order to make them taste some of what they have done, so that they might return.

Quran 30:41

And beware of a trial which does not afflict the wrongdoers among you exclusively; and know that God is severe in retribution.

Quran 8:25

When adultery/fornication becomes common, bloodshed and plagues will become widespread.

Mustadrak Hakim, 4:504

The Divine Shelter

The believer accepts this reality but still finds peace in his/her relationship with Allah. Allah is the Divine Protector of every true believer. He protected Nuh (AS) from the flood, Lut (AS) from the punishment to his people, and Musa (AS) from the Pharaoh. The believer takes comfort in this Divine Protection but also takes the necessary steps to earn this protection.

The protection of Allah is earned primarily by fulfilling one’s obligations towards Allah. Then it is further built up through optional good deeds and recommended acts of worship. The believer uses periods of isolation as opportunities to build up these good deeds. If someone is not in the habit of praying five times a day, now is the time to start. For someone who only prays the obligatory (Fard) units of prayer, then this is a good time to build the habit of praying the recommend (Sunnah) units of prayer.

Our extra time should be spent in the worship of Allah. Morning and evening supplications, especially supplications for protection, should become habits during this time. Our remembrance (Zikr) of Allah should increase, as should our recitation of Quran and study of Islam. It is in the worship of Allah that the believer finds refuge and peace during difficult times.

Those who believe, and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of God. Surely, it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find comfort.

Quran 13:28

Allah’s friends have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve. (They are) those who believe and work towards attaining piety.

Quran 10:62-63

Allah said, “I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a friend of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me is what I have obligated upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing extra acts of worship till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My Refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 81:91

So Return To Allah

We must realize in all this chaos that sins do not go unpunished, and that every day is a new opportunity to repent and get closer to Allah. We are living through a unique opportunity to get close to our Creator. Now is not the time for mass panic and sadness. Now is the time to sincerely turn to Allah, and gain His Divine Protection. As it is only Allah’s Protection that can help us in both worlds.

This life is temporary and this world is simply a place to test us. As long as we are alive, we have an opportunity to pass this test. All that is needed is for us to recognize reality, embrace the truth, and dedicate our lives to the Creator. Immorality cannot go unchecked forever, sooner or later, the retribution comes and it affects all of society, except whom Allah wills to protect. Even if others double down on immoral ideas and secular beliefs, let us use this time in isolation to get closer to Allah, return to His path, and grow into the best versions of ourselves.

Those who believe and do righteous deeds will have gardens (in Paradise) beneath which rivers flow. That is the greatest success.

Quran 85:11
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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam, 2 comments
How to deal with losing a source of income

How to deal with losing a source of income

It can happen to anybody. One day you are earning well, the next day you are deep in debt and out of a job. Life is a test, and we all go through different stages in the tests of life. One test that almost everybody faces at some point in their life (or multiple) is losing a major source of income. Whether it is a job, a business or an investment, losing a large source of your monthly revenue can be a depressing and stressful event. In such cases, do the following:

1. Trust Your Creator

In Islam, we have a concept called Tawakul (trusting God) which simply means that we believe Allah’s plan is best for us and we live our lives with full trust in that plan. This means when things don’t go our way it is usually for the best and there is some benefit in that for us, even if we can’t understand it immediately. This belief helps a Muslim get through any difficulty with optimism and hope.

I have experienced this at multiple points in my life. In 2008, I lost my job as a school teacher. As a result of that, I got a much better job at the Islamic Online University which I still work today. In 2014, I got conned by a scammy book dealer, as a result, I learned to self-publish my books and am earning a decent profit from ongoing book sales. And then this year, in 2019 I lost a major contract that was making up 50% of my income. As a result, I had to dig deeper and invent a new source of income for myself. So I became a freelance writer and was able to make up that income through freelance projects. In fact, I am enjoying those freelance projects a lot more than the job I lost.

The point is that Allah’s plan is best. If I hadn’t lost in the above three cases, I wouldn’t have gained much better sources of income in return. The losses were necessary to push me in the right direction. The same applies to you. So trust Allah’s plan, He knows best.

2. Never put your eggs in one basket

One of the reasons I was able to overcome major financial hurdles in my life is because I don’t keep my eggs in one basket. This means I don’t restrict myself to one source of income. If you have only one source of income and it goes downhill or gets taken away, you are left in a very difficult situation. This is what happened to me in 2008 and since I have been very careful to ensure I always have multiple streams of income. You should too.

If you are working a job, set up side streams of income like online businesses, a second after-hours jobs, investment accounts or freelance work in the evenings. Do whatever is necessary to protect yourself and your family from financial loss. Yes, it isn’t possible to never experience financial problems if that is what Allah has destined for you, but having side streams of income helps to cushion the fall. So prepare for the difficulties by working on as many side streams of income as possible.

3. Dig deeper and find something better

The majority of people I meet are grateful for the hardships they faced in life. This is because these hardships shaped their personalities and pushed them in the direction that led to their eventual success. A difficult situation is simply an opportunity to dig deeper and find something better for yourself. It is a chance to reinvent yourself, find your true calling and emerge a better person. Take every obstacle as a challenge to do better and to be better. Do this and you will always find yourself rising after every challenge.

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Conclusion

Every single one of us will face difficulties at different points in our life. Allah had promised to test us with restricting our finances, so when we should be spiritually, financially and mentally prepared to handle such tests. By having firm Tawakul in Allah, building multiple streams of income and using every difficulty as an opportunity to be better, we can come out of every financial difficulty on a higher level.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Business, 1 comment

7 Practical Steps For Practicing Tawakul

Tawakul

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.

  1. He knows that Allah is The Provider, and Allah wants him to take up a Halal means to earn that provision.
  2. He makes all the necessary effort to set up his business, and spends his nights in Qiyam Al-Layl praying for success.
  3. He reminds himself that nothing happens without Allah’s Will.
  4. He accepts that Allah controls His destiny and is at peace with that.
  5. He knows that Allah will grant him what is best for him.
  6. He removes all fear of poverty by reminding himself of who Allah is, and the promise of Allah.
  7. 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.
Ameen

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Inner Peace, 8 comments