What Does Tawakkul Mean?

Imâm-i Ghazâlî says in his book Kimyâ-i Sa'âdat:

Tawakkul is a state that takes place in the heart. It takes place by believing in tawhîd and in the fact that Allâhu ta'âlâ has boundless goodness and grace. This state is the heart's trusting, depending on and believing the Deputy and its feeling safe with Him. Such a person does not set his heart on worldly property. He does not feel sorry for his worldly failures. He feels sure that Allâhu ta'âlâ will send his sustenance.

Let's give an example of this. If they defame a person and bring a law-suit against him, he will hire an advocate. If he trusts the advocate in three respects his heart will feel at rest. First, the advocate's knowing the defamation, the trick well. Second, his not hesitating to tell the truth and his ability to talk well and explicitly so that he can express himself well. Third, the advocate's pitying him and doing his best to protect his right. If he believes and trusts his advocate so, he will not have to do anything additional on his part.

A person who understands well the âyat, "Allâhu ta'âlâ is sufficient for us. He is the best deputy," in the sûra of Âl-i 'Imrân, who says that Allâhu ta'âlâ makes everything and that none other than He can do anything, and who believes that there is no deficiency in His knowledge or power and that His compassion, His goodness are endless, will not reckon on anybody other than Allâhu ta'âlâ as the source of goodness, nor will he depend on precautions or means. He will say, "My sustenance has been allotted and reserved. It will reach me when the time comes." He will say, "Allâhu ta'âlâ will treat me as it becomes His greatness and mercy." Some people believe this. However, they have an inner feeling of fear, hopelessness.

There are many people who believe in something but whose natures do not agree with their belief, so they follow illusions and fancies. In fact, though they know that these fancies are wrong, they still give heed to them. An example of this is the person who stops eating something sweet and cannot eat it any more because somebody has likened it to something foul. Though he knows that the comparison is wrong and it is unlike anything foul, he still cannot eat it. Another example is the person who cannot sleep in a room alone where there is a dead man. Though he knows that a dead man is like a stone and cannot move, he cannot sleep there.

As it is seen, tawakkul requires both a strong îmân and a strong heart. Thus, there will be no doubt left in one's heart. Unless the feeling of trust and ease are complete, tawakkul will not be complete. For, tawakkul means the heart's believing and trusting Allâhu ta'âlâ in everything. Hadrat Ibrâhîm's îmân, conviction was complete. But, in order that his heart would feel easy, he said, "O my Allah? Show me how You resurrect the dead!" When he was asked, "Do you not believe?" as purported in the sûra of Baqara, he said, "I do believe. But I want it so that my heart will feel calm." There was conviction in his heart. But he wanted his heart to feel satisfied and become peaceful. For, the heart's comfort is first dependent upon feeling and imagining; later, however, the heart also will depend on conviction and will no longer need to see clear evidence.