بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ
waAAala Allahi falyatawakkali almutawakkiloona
And upon Allah let those who would rely [indeed] rely.”
(Surah Ibrahim, Quran 14:12)
Every single morning and every evening when we wake up, we say, ‘all praises are due to Allah’ – for all the immense blessings that He has bestowed upon us, all the things that we take for granted, all of the things that we do not appreciate, all of the things that if we were to appreciate them Allah would increase us in those blessings, as He says in the Quran:
وَ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ
wa lain shakartum laazeedannakum
“If you are grateful that I will surely increase you [in favor].”
(Surah Ibrahim, Quran 14:7)
And the increase that comes from Allah, as a result of that gratitude, is immeasurable. It’s not quantifiable. It’s not a linear kind of thing that, if you are a grateful, then your blessings will increase by this amount or that amount. It’s actually immeasurable, not quantifiable. Allah will increase you in blessings in so many ways that you could never fathom, that you could never comprehend, that you could never expect. In today’s khutbah I’d like to talk about the importance of trust in Allah (swt).
There’s a story about a great basketball player from the 90s. He was the one who lead the Houston rockets to victory in the early 90s. Initially he was not so practicing Islam, but he was a Muslim from Nigeria. Then he went through a transformation where he began to study his deen, his religion. He said:
“Before I started practicing my faith, I used to rely only on myself and after I had done my best, I would be extremely frustrated if I didn’t win. It would irritate me and anger me, and that was causing me to be angry with others and always fighting and swearing. So there would be a lot of anger issues within the team as a result. Once I started practicing my faith, I learned that the results are not my property. I started doing my best and I left the success and failure to my Creator. Now I was no longer irritated by failure and was not overinflated by success. That caused me to be calm and improve my behavior towards others on my team. And we became a true team”
So understanding his relationship with Allah and placing his trust in Allah was what allowed him to place his trust in others, and to realize that human beings, at the end of the day, are human beings and that we ourselves are human beings. There’s only so much that we can do. Once we have done our part, then leave the rest toAllah. That process of letting go is such a difficult process because we want to get the results. We want to be productive. We want to know that the effort and the work that we’re putting into something is fruitful.
So we get anxious and we get stressed out. But if we are able to let go in this way, if we are able to place our trust in Allah after doing our utmost, after doing what is within our capacity, then that will empower us to progress in ways that we cannot imagine.
People ask, “how can I make my family member do this? Or how can I get my family member to think this way, or my parent to think this way, or my child to think this way?” But that answer is always going to be that you cannot control what someone else does. You simply cannot control it. You do not have control over what another human being, how they act or what they do or what they say. As the psychologists call it ‘the locus of control’. That is outside of your locus of control.
As Muslims, we believe that we should do whatever we can first. What does Allah say in the Quran?
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ
inna Allaha la yughayyiru ma biqawmin hatta yughayyiroo ma bianfusihim
Allah does not change people until they change themselves.
(Surah Ar-Ra’d, Quran 13:11)
So if you are ever thinking to yourself, how can I change someone else, the first thing you should think about is: what can you do first? What can you do before you start thinking about what someone else can do?
Going back to trusting in Allah, as Muslims, we have the story of ‘tie your camel’. We’ve heard that story before where the man came to the Prophet’s (pbuh) masjid, and e came outside after the Salah, and he said, “Where’s my camel?” There was a huge commotion. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Why didn’t you tie Camel?” And the man said, “I left my camel and I prayed to Allah to take care of my camel and I went to pray. Now my camel has gone”. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah”. And that is the case for anything that we do in our life. We tie our camel.
Well, whatever that camel might be, whether it is our work or an exam at school or anything that’s coming up or relationship. We try our best to fix that relationship with our brother or our sister, our parent, our child. We try our best and we leave the rest to Allah but there’s two parts to that. There is what we can do, and it’s important for us to do and to act on that, and then we must realize that the result is not in our hands, but the result is in Allah’s hand.
So how can we increase our trust in Allah? The first thing is to realize that Allah is الْحَيُّ (al – Hayy), the Ever-Living. The One that does not die. The One that does not have an end. He is the first and He is the last. We might have heard that, but do we understand? Do we appreciate that in our hearts, in our words, and in our actions? Where are we? We are depending entirely on our human body, that this human existence will do everything on its own. Or do we accept that this human existence has weaknesses and this human existence is limited, and that Allah is unlimited? Do we accept that not only in our minds, but in our hearts and in our words and in our actions?
If we think about trust, trust is important. Not only with Allah, but it transcends your trust in Allah. It has an impact on all your other relationships. Here at the university of Washington, in Seattle, there’s a very famous institute that studies marriage and married couples. The Gottman Institute by John Gottman. He’s been studying marriage for many decades and they even have a lab where they have couples live in that lab and a research team that monitors people, and it’s a world renowned Institute for marriage. What does he talk about when he asks, “What is the element for a happy marriage or a happy relationship?”
He says the main element is trust. He invented something called the Trust Metric. If you are able to assess the trust between husband and wife, then that will tell you how successful that relationship will be and that, when there is less trust, then that is not a happy marriage.
So part of our trust in human beings comes from our trust in Allah and to realize that Allah is the All-Knowing and Allah is the Sustainer, and Allah, whatever He does, He does for a reason. He is Al-Hakeem, the All Wise. If we cannot trust Allah, then our trust in human beings will be very little. We will not be able to realize that human beings are weak. They are limited. They make mistakes. And that gap between human beings mistakes is filled by Allah. That gap is filled by all the blessings that Allah has given us. So having that trust is so important, and realizing that trust is so important.
That is what the Prophets practiced. In the Quran, it tells us what the Prophets say:
وَمَا لَنَا أَلَّا نَتَوَكَّلَ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَقَدْ هَدَانَا سُبُلَنَا
Wama lana alla natawakkala AAala Allahi waqad hadana subulana
“Why should we not put our trust in Allah when he has indeed guided us to all of the different ways?”
وَلَنَصْبِرَنَّ عَلَىٰ مَا آذَيْتُمُونَا ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ
walanasbiranna AAala ma athaytumoona waAAala Allahi falyatawakkali almutawakkiloona
“And we shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt you may cause us. And in Allah let those who trust with their trust.”
(Surah Ibrahim, Quran 14:12)
In this verse, the Prophets talk about those who caused them harm.
They said, “We will be patient with this harm because we are not depending on you. If we were dependent on you, then your harm would hurt us so deeply, but it doesn’t hurt us because we are not depending on you. Our dependence is on Allah, our dependence is somewhere else, not on human beings. We realized that human beings are imperfect, that human beings have weaknesses. We realized that the harm you may be causing us, it can come from so many different ways, from so many different sources, from Shaytan. And so we don’t place our trust in you. We place our trust in Allah”.
The word for trust in Arabic is تَوَكَّل. From it, there are other words like Waqeel or agent or representative. Allah is enough as your agent. What does an agent do for you? A representative, what do they do for you? They represent you in matters of their expertise, whether it’s a real estate agent, whether it’s an attorney or a lawyer, whatever their expertise might be, they will represent you. They will speak on your behalf in matters, which you have less expertise.
In that case, Allah is the greatest One to place your trust in. He is the greatest example of that. You make the preparations that you can. When you’re trying to buy a property, you make the preparations you can, and the agent handles the agent stuff. The agent has his domain or her domain. If you’re getting ready for a court case, you have your preparations, you make it to court on the day. You prepare for the proceedings and you leave the rest to the attorney. In the same way, you do your part, but then you leave Allah’s domain to Allah. You leave all the other things, which you do not control – all the people who you do not control, all the different possibilities, all the things that could potentially go wrong – you leave that in Allah’s domain and you will realize the anger will disappear and the stress will disappear and the anxiety will disappear and the worry will disappear because you have given Allah his domain.
If you try to control Allah’s domain and you try to think about everything that could go wrong, every single possibility to the extent that you can not sleep, you haven’t accepted Allah as your Waqeel, as your trusted protector, as your Wali. You haven’t let Allah’s domain go. So how can we go about doing that? I ask Allah that He helps us with that and that He accepts from us our good deeds and forgives our shortcomings.
It is simple for us to accept that we trust in Allah. The idea is a simple idea – to trust in Allah. We may believe that we trust in Allah but when we are tested, how does that trust play out? Allah tells us how the believers should respond. He says:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ
Innama almuminoona allatheena itha thukira Allahu wajilat quloobuhum
“The believers are those who, when Allah’s name is mentioned, their hearts tremble in awe of Allah, realizing the power and the greatness of Allah.”
وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا
waitha tuliyat AAalayhim ayatuhu zadathum eemanan
“When his verses are recited upon them, their Imaan increases.”
وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ
“they, therefore, have trust in their Lord.”
(Surah Al-Anfal, Quran 8:2)
If you find yourself needing to increase your trust in Allah, than remember Him first. Feel His awe in your heart. Feel conscious of Allah. Listen to his verses:
وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ
Listen to his verses. They will increase you in your faith. And then after you take those steps, the next step is to actually take action.
الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ
Allatheena yuqeemoona alssalata
“They establish the prayer”
وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
wamimma razaqnahum yunfiqoona
“…and they spend in charity.”
(Surah Al-Anfal, Quran 8:3)
So to develop your trust in Allah, you need that daily reminder of Salah. If you’re complaining and wondering, “Where is my trust in Allah? It’s disappeared. It’s not like it used to be”. Well, how is your Salah? How is your prayer that will develop your trust in a Allah? How is your generosity? How is your generosity to others? Are you able to show that trust to others. Charity is so interesting. When you give the charity, there’s a release that, “This wealth that I’m trying to collect and trying to hold on to – I’m giving it to someone who needs it more than I do”. There’s that release that increases your trust in Allah,
And as a result of your actions and as a result of their trust in Allah, what do you receive?
أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا
Olaika humu almuminoona haqqan
“Those are the true believers.”
لَّهُمْ دَرَجَاتٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ
ahum darajatun AAinda rabbihim wamaghfiratun warizqun kareemun
“For them are degrees [of high position] with their Lord and forgiveness and noble provision.”
(Surah Al-Anfal, Quran 8:4)
وَمَغْفِرَةٌ – “and they will have forgiveness from Allah”. وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ – “and they will have a beautiful, generous provision waiting for them as a reward from none other than Allah Himself”.
That is the reward of that trust. That is not just provision in this life. As the Prophet (pbuh) told us, “Were you to place your total trust and reliance on Allah than you would be like the birds who, when they go out in the morning, trusting that they will receive their rizk, they return with their bellies full”. If we were to have that kind of trust that – not only is our provision in this world generous and fulfilling and satisfying, but also in the next. That rizq could be yours!
A lot of times when we hear the word rizq we think of it in monetary terms. We think of bank accounts, but rizq is so much more. Rizq from Allah is so much more than a dollar amount. It’s so much more than any financial thing. Rizq is the people who Allah has put in your life. Risk is that moment of zikr – when you feel Allah, when you feel that Allah is there, when you feel that he is listening, that is rizq. Like Allah tells us, on the Day of Judgment, there will be those who receive the Shade of Allah. Among them is the Imam Adil, the just leader. Next to the Imam Adil is someone who remembered Allah by themselves and their eyes filled with tears. They also received the shade of Allah. Next to the just the leader is the one who remembered Allah in solitude. Next to them are those two people who came together for the sake of Allah and parted ways for the sake of Allah , who loved each other for the sake of Allah. Those two people are also there under his shade.
So to realize that trusting in Allah will increase all of our relationships. If we’re finding that our relationships are lacking because we have become too dependent on human beings, we must take the time to repair those relationships, by first trusting in Allah, that He will help us to repair those relationships. I was reading a survey in a study about people in America compared to Europe. They found that more than one out of every four Americans are estranged from their family, disconnected from their family. That’s more than people in Europe and it’s more than people living elsewhere in Asia and in Africa and south America. The people in the US have the highest rates of estrangement. That’s where every small thing or incident has them saying, “You’re out of my life. I don’t need you anymore”. They’re quick to cut it off. And then we report that we’re feeling more lonely, that we’re feeling more isolated. We don’t have good relationships, and don’t think, “Oh, well that doesn’t affect the Muslims?” Yes it does. Yes it does.
That is why the Prophet (pbuh)told us, “Whoever joins their relations, Allah joins with them and whoever cuts their relations, Allah cuts off from them”. Abuse is on one side. Abuse is different, exceptional. There’s exceptional circumstances of course, but where there is room, we must reconnect. Where there is room, we must find it within ourselves to trust those relationships.
That starts with our trust in Allah. That starts with our hope that if we take the correct steps, Allah will help us in everything. And so we ask Allah that He helps us to do that. We ask Allah that He helps us to increase our تَوَكَّلِ tawakkul and our trust in him. We ask Allah to helps us to better our relationships, better our marriages, better our families, guide our families, guide our youth, guide our elders. We ask Allah that He helps us to follow the way of the Prophet (pbuh). We ask Allah that He makes us amongst those who are raised on the Day of Judgment under His shade, and those that are raised among the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), united together upon His way. I ask Allah that He enters us into Jannatul Firdaus, the highest levels of Paradise, that he forgives those that have passed, that He fulfills the needs of those in need and that He cures the sick.
عِبَادَ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.
اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا
Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.
And, establish the prayer.