Is it ‘effort’ that comes before ‘tawakkal’ or is it the other way around?

Many listeners, including the writer of this article, tuning in to Ust Syed Israa’s mini-lecture on ‘Yakeen and Tawakkal’ in Melbourne earlier this week were left puzzled with this question. It was common sense that effort came before tawakkal, right?

“Contrary to popular belief, tawakkal must come before any efforts are put in, because if it came afterwards, that is not tawakkal,” explained Ustaz Syed, leaving many of us wide-eyed and bewildered. After all this time, our understanding of tawakkal was wrong!

Indeed, the busy life of a student has left many of us over-looking and leaving our faith in Allah unchecked. We’re too fixated on working hard to achieve excellent results in our assessments, our exams that we forget Allah is the Master Planner, and it is only through His will that we receive great results.

Ustaz Syed Israa further continued his explanation on tawakkal, reciting an authentic Hadith’s of the Prophet Rasulullah SAW straight from Imam Nawawi’s Riyad as-Solihin,

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), said, ‘the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“All the nations were shown to me and I saw a Prophet with a small group, and a Prophet with one or two men, and a Prophet with no one at all.

Then, an enormous mass was shown to me and I thought that they were my community. I was told,’ this is Musa and his community, but look to the furthest horizon,’ and there was an enormous mass.

It was said to me.’This is your community. Among them are seventy thousand who will enter Paradise without reckoning or punishment.’ Then he got up and entered his house and the people discussed concerning those who would enter Paradise without reckoning or punishment. Some of them said,’Perhaps it is those who were with the Messenger of Allah,’ while others said, ‘Perhaps it is those who are born in Islam and do not associate anything with Allah,’ and they mentioned various things. The Messenger of Allah came out to them and said, ‘What are you discussing?’

They told him and he said, ‘They are those who do not make charms and do not seek omens. They trust in their Lord.’

Ukkasha ibn Muhsin stood up and said, ‘Ask Allah to make me one of them.’ He said, ‘You are one of them.’ Then another man stood up and said, ‘Ask Allah to make me one of them.’ He said, ‘Ukkasha beat you to it.’

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Riqaq, 50; Sahih Muslim, Iman, 374).

“The people who will enter Paradise without reckoning or punishment are those who trust in their Lord, those with tawakkal,’ said Ust Syed said before further adding, ‘But what is tawakkal?’

In the following 2 hadiths that Ust Syed mentioned, the Prophet emphasised tawakkal with relation to the birds around us.

Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“People will enter Paradise whose hearts are like the hearts of birds.’ (Sahih Muslim, Jannah, 27).

Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I heard the Rasulullah (peace and blessings be upon him) say, ‘If you were to rely on Allah as He should be relied on, He would provide for you as He provides for the birds. They go out in the morning hungry and return in the evening full.’

(Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Zuhd. 33)

Indeed, the birds would have never known if they were able to find any food at all. But, they placed their trust in Allah SWT, and it is with this trust, Allah provides and nurtures them.

For many of the listeners, the session with Ust Syed was an eye-opening experience. The key takeaway from this short but meaningful session was that in whatever we do in life, be it studying or working, the trust in Allah must come first. Tawakkal must come first. It may be so that with all the effort we have placed in getting what we want, we still won’t be able to achieve it, if Allah wills it not.

All it takes is a little faith, faith in Allah SWT, faith in our Creator. He knows what is best for us, as indeed, He is the Master Planner.


Syafiq Adnan
Head of Communication and Multimedia Bureau
ISMA Australia, Victoria Chapter



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