Tawakkul

10 Ramadan 1441

Well. The #MaghribtoMaghrib prompts want us to dig deep.

So here goes.

Trust. 

Used in statements like, “You sure I’m not supposed to heat oil in the pan before I slap the roti dough in it?”

“Trust.”

The direct object of the command shifts depending on the speaker’s context and worldview.

Trust me.

Trust him/her/them.

Trust us.

Trust the universe.

Trust God.

In my late teens/early twenties, I must have read The Book of Assistance by the 18th century Imam ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad several times. I think what I liked most—and still remember having not read the book in years—is the author’s intentionally crafted ordering of subjects from foundational concepts to increasingly challenging and elevated states of spirituality. 

And in my mind, for some reason, I remember that Tawakkul—translated as “Reliance on God”— is addressed toward the end of the book.

But I have this nasty habit of second guessing myself, so I told myself—maybe I should not trust my memory. Maybe it’s at the beginning, and I just want it to be at the end so I can make the point I want to make.

So after eating suhur, I decided to fact-check. I searched for a PDF copy of the text online, found it, and scanned the table of contents. 

Tawakkul is the penultimate chapter—followed by the final chapter “On Divine Love and Contentment.”

And then I thought—now isn’t that the truth of any solid relationship?

But I’m not a therapist, so I googled “Trust” in UrbanDictionary.com and found the following:

Trust is what a couple have to have in order to be in love. To be in love u have to know that u are letting him/her a chance to break your heart. But trusting them not too. Keeping them intimate to ur emotions and feelings open up a whole new reason why u absolutely love him.

It checks out.

I’ve said to a few people in the last two months, pious Muslims will be the life and death of me.

In many of our communities, folks invoke tawakkul—trusting the Creator of Everything Including All Who/That May Betray You—like it’s something easy. Like it’s a natural internal practice of Muslimness. Like it means that if you have tawakkul, everything will fall into place, you will want for nothing, you will never suffer.

Like Maryam didn’t get called a whore by her community who knew she was cloistered as a child and young woman. Like Muhammad didn’t bury all his children but one. Like Yusuf didn’t get thrown in a well by his siblings, sit in prison for years for a crime he did not commit while his aging parent went blind with grief, and get a chapter in the Qur’an dedicated to his story as the best of stories.

Like taking the necessary precautions for establishing safety and security in a pandemic is somehow superfluous.

Like “Trust in God” is not followed by “and tie your camel.”

Like tawakkul is not one of the final chapters of a book on spirituality we are struggling to complete but keep reading because we want to know how it ends.

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