15. TAWAKKUL (TRUSTING RESIGNATION)
Tawakkul is one of the most misunderstood of all Islamic concepts, almost as badly misunderstood as al Qadar, the Destiny (our next subject insha Allah).
A false dilemma is posed: Tawakkul is either an excuse for laziness or an empty concept since one must somehow work and do something if one wants to get a result. Unfortunately, some of the confusion is created by some misguided Sufis themselves. Let us take this advice which is very popular with some: “Allah guarantees you his ‘rizq’ (sustenance); in fact its amount is already pre-determined from eternity and whether you work or not it will come to you. Therefore confine your life to the worship and contemplation (zikr) of Allah and your rizq will just arrive as destined. Look at all those birds and insects and worms…. Are they working at jobs, at offices or at factories? No! But their rizq is coming all the same”.
Is it? No! Just the opposite is true: From dawn to dusk wild birds, wild mammals, all insects and worms and sometimes during the night they work hard to find food and also avoid becoming food for other animals. A she-crocodile cannot abandon her eggs to Allah’s care and alternately swim and sun-bathe all day. She never dares to go too far away from her eggs and most of the time keeps an eye on them lest they are gobbled up by other animals. In addition to such trouble she also has to pursue game and make a kill and fill her belly. Experts say that about only one in ten of a predator’s attempt to make a kill succeeds; in many cases predators die of hunger because for one reason or another they fail to make a kill for so long that they grow too weak to try again. In that case other predators close in and eat the failed predator up at their leisure. Even mighty lions and tigers meet this fate. In nature documentaries one watches with popped out eyes how a pair of parent birds take turns all day for one to guard the chicks and the other make errands to bring in food to feed the insatiable chicks. If this is not hard work but tawakkul let us know.
But tawakkul does exist and must be adopted. Only its meaning is different from the wrong concept described above. Tawakkul means the recognition of the fact that the full range of factors cooperatively assisting us in the fulfilment of our desires or needs (often the same thing) are so mind-bogglingly great that we cannot possibly control them all but can contribute to only one or two of them. Take a farmer’s case. To make a plant grow and produce food for the farmer the number of factors are only too numerous. The soil’s quality and all the living and inanimate processes in it (harmful worms may crop up, underground salt waters may seep up etc.), weather conditions with some helpful while others destructive, sabotage by bad neighbours or attacks by rodents or locusts… all may be beyond the knowledge or control of the farmer. Still, he plants his seeds and necessarily leaves their fate to Allah in all areas he the farmer is powerless. Then more often than not all those factors outside his knowledge come right and he gets a crop. Which means tawakkul is doing what Allah enabled you to do and then pray and hope that things will turn up as you would like thanks to Allah helping you by making all other factors falling into place. Not only this is the real and legitimate tawakkul but if we are true believers we are rarely disappointed by our tawakkul. Even when things don’t turn up as we hoped for we know that Allah intends even a better outcome in our favour, albeit in another form. The failure may be a signal that we move to another part of the world where far a brighter future is awaiting us, for example.
We shall in sha Allah see more about what tawakkul means as we go along.
1. If Allah helps you none can defeat you; if He abandons you who can then help you after Him? Therefore let the believers make tawakkul to Allah (3: 160)
C. To make the bluntest of statements as well as the most correct in our humble opinion:
Tawakkul ala’llah (putting ones trust in Allah in resignation to His Will) is DEPENDING on REALITIES, for Allah is the SUPREME REALITY and as such the SURE GROUND of all realities whether known to us or not. What a believer should do when faced by a problem is first investigating the truths (and untruths) said about the problem and researching the realities surrounding and applying to the problem. Once he establishes these to the best of his abilities and means, and that includes taking a lot of good advice from competent and reliable advisers, he can then think out a solution and press the button so-to-speak to start the balls rolling for the solution. But throughout this sequence of efforts he also connects his heart to Allah with prayerful reverence asking for help at every instant of his efforts. As the overall controller of all factors bearing on the problem and its solution Allah then in His mercy makes all the sources of information and advice rush to his believing servant so that he makes a good catalogue of his facts and possibilities on the one hand while on the other Allah the Most Gracious commands His angels to service the cause of His servant with their mighty powers. Now, as in the above verse, if the problem is war, the tawakkul-making believers can only win.
But we must remember- tawakkul does not only consist of leaving a number of matters to Allah to sort out in our favour; it also includes our own efforts as summarised above. There is a very instructive story about this. Once there was a certain Arabi Pasha who, in the 19th century as a general, was leading the Egyptian insurrection against the British rulers of his country. He was a sufi murid and when the British was doing the first part of their tawakkul on REALITY by gathering information and making realistic plans Arabi pasha was joining zikr rings chanting Allah’s names and asking for Allah’s help against the infidel. By the time he was returning to his daily schedules the British had already occupied and pacified all strategic targets. The insurrection failed. The British could stay in Egypt for many more decades.
The converse of this is also equally true. Mere dependence on material factors known to us may not be enough. There are also many factors unknown to us. As regards them we need a friend in the know who will kindly take care of them on our behalf. What better and greater friend than Allah when it comes to that?
2. Fear Allah and on Allah let believers depend (make tawakkul) (5: 11)
C. Fearing Allah then is the first requisite of acceptable tawakkul. One cannot intend an illegal (haram) and dishonourable act and to achieve it make tawakkul to Allah. Allah will either not carry him to where he wants or if He does carry him He only carries him to his disgrace and destruction as far as the real outcomes are concerned.
3. Allah is enough for me; let those who make tawakkul make tawakkul to Allah (39: 38)
C. ALLAH IS- ENOUGH! Enough simply because HE IS THE WHOLE REALITY outside or against Whom there can be no reality. Let those who make tawakkul make it to Him- let them depend on the whole reality available to them in making their decisions and spending their efforts.
4. Allah! There is no god but He, let then the makers of tawakkul make tawakkul to Allah (64: 13)
C. The same as above: All reality belongs to Allah and what best trust than trusting Reality?
5. Whoever puts his trust in Allah then He is enough for him (65: 3)
C. Do your best to understand the problem facing you by investigating all factors bearing on it you can and taking all the best advice you can and putting the rest in the Hands of Allah rest assured that Allah will do the best for you.
6. Indeed there is no authority for him (the Devil) on those who believe (in Allah truly) and on their Lord they depend (*)
C. The best security against falling into disgraceful acts is believing in Allah truly and depending on His Guidance and other help in everything under all circumstances.
7. How excellent is the reward for those who show patience (for Allah’s Sake) and on their Lord they depend (in everything)! (29: 58-59)
C. Most satisfying, fulfilling and felicitous life outcomes are for those who can bear with the tests life throws at them knowing that it is none other than Allah their Dear Lord Who is doing the testing and to pass the test they only have to act as realities surrounding them indicate. If, for example, an incurably bad and mad person is around and impossible to send away at the time being, the solution is neither fighting nor murder but good patience graced with diplomacy until Allah sees the test enough and removes the offender like removing a hair from butter.
8. Believers are only those who, when reminded of Allah their hearts tremble and when His verses are recited to them they increase them in faith and they put their trust in and depend on Allah (in all things) (8: 2)
C. Who could summarise so briefly and comprehensively the true signs of faith in man?
The first sign is that if one is a true believer his heart will jump and quiver at every mention or remembrance of Allah and never remains unresponsive. The second is that anytime Allah’s verses are recited to them their faith will increase even more in the sense that they cannot wait to implement any demands Allah are declaring or implying in His verses. The true believer cannot wait to put into effect Allah’s Will, to implement Allah’s commands; will he have time and not say his prayers? Impossible! Will he have the cash and not help somebody in need? Impossible. Will he have two antagonists who may listen to him and not reconcile them even at the expense to himself in the form of some sweeteners? Impossible! Will Allah’s verses remind him not to be proud and will he not deflate himself? Impossible! Will he face a tricky and testing situation and like the ignorant trust his own devices irrespective of Allah’s inspirations? Impossible! He will make tawakkul to Allah.
16. QADAR (DESTINY, MEASURE)
The apparently perennially insoluble dilemma, namely Qadar vs. Freewill, has exercised minds of almost all religious philosophers and the souls of mystics. As yet, none is recognised as a solver of the problem. The best they could come up with, from St Augustine to Imam Ghazali has been this: Qadar is not Allah’s forcing His servants on the basis of His pre-determined choice but His pre-knowledge of what the servant would do when the time for doing it came. Hence, the free will is there and no compulsion is the case. Objection to this facile solution has been equally persistent; “How come” ask the objectors “Allah consents to an act which He knows will destroy His servant, since He Almighty is supposed to be so merciful?”. Legitimate question to say the least, isn’t it?
In this lesson we shall humbly try to get the answer from Allah the Most Gracious Who we believe said enough in His Qur’an to throw light on every matter, provided we study the Qur’an with enough sincerity of purpose and diligence. Help us Allah!
The word ‘qadar’ derives from the verb ‘qadara’ which means: To be able to, to measure, to appreciate/hold in high regard, to estimate or determine, to limit.
The main nouns are: 1. ‘Qadru’ which means amount, as much as, equal and worth, merit. 2. ‘Qadaru’ which means amount or condition and also time or place determined for something to be or happen, destiny. 3. ‘Miqdar’ means ‘as much as’, amount, measure, judgment and destiny 4. ‘Qudratu’ means power, ability and wealth or means. The religious term ‘al qadar’ partakes of all meanings included above depending on aspect and context. Lastly the derived verb ‘Qaddara’ means ‘to think over’, to intend and make resolve, to disclose the amount, to estimate, to give form and power to. We should keep these in mind when we interpret the verses to come.
1. And when his Lord tries him and limits his rizq (means of sustenance) he says “My Lord has let me down” (89: 16)
C. So, the first reaction of a spiritually blind man to Allah’s trials is one of accusing Allah of bad faith. This may imply that when Allah’s decisions on our future is experienced by us as painful when they come to pass is not meant as sadistic impositions but as trials. Trials are the most nutritious of all spiritual foods and help us most to gain momentum and elevation on our voyage towards Allah, provided we react to them not like above but positively.
To illustrate this point we may remember our education and testings in the hands of our parents, teachers, bosses and prospective employers. Good and wise parents routinely test their children with more and more demanding tasks with a view to help them amass more muscle, dexterity and intelligence. Teachers regularly test their pupils to make sure that not only they retain information passed but can exploit the information with increasing success. Hence they sometimes pose questions which need some original thinking on behalf of the pupil. Doctorates are entirely granted on the basis of original research crowned by original discoveries acceptable to the academic community.
Lastly, there is a peculiar if a bit naughty or nasty employee selection process called a stress interview. Here, a ring of high-powered and challenging company executives bombard the applicant not only with mind-boggling technical questions but also with personally upsetting and demoralisingly blunt, insult-like comments. If the applicant can respond to all with enough intelligence, resilience, resourcefulness and composure he or she can then be seen as a high enough quality prospect for the job in question. Many break down and express disgust before that and are eliminated. The employers believe that for the high position in a very challenging industry the position holders should have enough intelligence, wit, endurance and psychological strategic skills not to break down and make mistakes or leave the position after costing so much to the company or the department. Which means the first thing we must understand about Allah’s testing us throughout our worldly existence is for exposing us our strengths and weaknesses and enabling us to do something about them. In other words Allah’s tests are invaluable and inalienable diagnostic tests which reveal to us what behavioural medications we need to achieve our salvation. As such Divine tests are not to be resented but for Allah to be praised and His cues are to be taken up even more. From this we can give the first definition of Qadar/Destiny:
Qadar is Allah’s prescribed testing program for us. Like sitting exams and going through practical tests we need Allah’s testing us in order to develop our higher and higher potentials at the summit of which is attaining Allah’s Company forever.
We still take refuge in Him against being tried too hardly and ask for His help for making things easy, real easy for us. Amen.
2. From what thing He created him (man)? He created him from a drop of seed and then gave a prescribed form and (its accompanying) power to him. He then facilitated for him the path (80: 18- 20)
C. The prescribed form was hidden in man’s genes which were transmitted via his parents’ sex cells. Allah makes the combined genetic material to grow into a new individual of a predetermined form with a predetermined potential. THIS IS ANOTHER MEANING OF QADAR and this one is a concrete reality. This pre-determined reality of a man is accompanied with a power potential which will serve the man in particular ways and directions which will be the man’s life path. So, all such are pre-determined. But among the pre-determined factors is man’s personal free will which is an aspect of his spirit which spirit is a ray or emanation of Allah’s Spirit Which is certainly endowed with Free Will. Remember? Allah said “I blew into him (man) of My Spirit”. Which means man’s freedom is PART OF ALLAH’S FREEDOM.
If that is so, how come then man is accused of misconduct, since all is Allah’s Will? It is because man’s free will is only partly Allah’s and in its humanly isolation it may make mistakes which mistakes however are for man’s eventual benefit in that in recognising and correcting them man will come closer to Allah. In other words our temporary separation from Allah is the source of all our mistakes while correcting our mistakes is the only source of the power taking us back to Him! In still other words our mistakes are inevitable (muqaddar, destined to happen) not for destroying us though but giving us opportunities to sail more towards Allah by the corrections we will be making. Why are we separated from our Creator in the first place? Because a separation enhances the joys of union a billion fold, that is why. Why friends or lovers fight every now and then? Because they instinctively want to enhance their joy of togetherness by tasting the bitter taste of separation so that the sweet taste of togetherness tomorrow becomes even more tasty!
Only fools think that rows between real friends and lovers are bad and permanent. Real good friends or lovers cannot do without each other and their occasionally stormy relations are the harbringers of the joys of their subsequent reunion. As our best and most loving Friend Allah only has had best in mind when He first created us and endowed us with His Spirit (whose basis is Rahmaniyya and Rahimiyya which basis also our spirits are based on); He sent us out from His Bosom where we could only grow complacent. With separation came our desire to go back to our Friend and the cost we had to incur in winning His Bosom is worth every penny of it a billion fold, for our reunion shall be the most delicious experience ever and forever. The more we drag our feet and make detours and reversals the longer it takes for us to attain Him and in the worst case we may attain Him from the wrong side, the Hell!
We see the pre-production examples of these two fates here and now; those who decide to attain Allah’s Face and accordingly cultivate and develop the spirit from Allah’s Spirit in them in the sense of enhancing their rahmaniyya and rahimiyya and the inseparable wisdom the two related qualities are endowed with find their lives getting sweeter by the day despite everything else. Against this we have those who refuse to nurture their spirits and instead opt for almost exclusive nutrition of their flesh. These find life getting harder and harder for them in a thousand subtle ways, despite everything being physically delicious in their lives. Delicious these tastes may remain, but the tastes are poisoned by intractable anxiety, a sense that something is amiss and a reading in the faces of the more enlightened and the innocent that the fellow in question is making a great mistake and wasting his life. That is why in their frustration the world-rich but spirit-poor people resort to more and more physical excesses to drown out their anxiety and remorse and not infrequently a shattering disaster arrives to cut them short for good.
3. There is nothing but its treasures are with Us. We do not send it down except in a known quantity (Qadarun ma’lum) (15: 21)
C. Everything seems to be everywhere and also often within reach. At the baker’s are breads and cakes, in the well is water and in our pocket is money. Bachelors are surrounded by many attractive members of the opposite sex and it looks as if one must just extend his hand to touch one and propose marriage. These are very near potential possessions. But there are an infinite number of articles of benefit to us farther away from us in time and space.
All these, including the money in our own pocket are owned, kept and rationed by the Creator and none else. We may move towards a street vendor to buy some fruit with the money in our pocket only to find that the money is not there, we somehow lost it. Then we discover that our pocket had a hole in it. Or that a pickpocket picked it. Which means there is no foolproof method to obtain anything we want or keep it once obtained. Despite our personal fallibility in this respect the world at large is still feeding and clothing and sheltering and amusing itself. Why? Because the Creator so designed and is so running the world that in general and global terms there is some benefit to all inhabitants of the earth to keep them fed and otherwise kept. Only death terminates that. That a rationing of benefits is about there is no doubt but who does the rationing is sometimes not agreed upon. And what about sunlight? Who can control it in any global way but Allah? What about the overall balance of the Milky Way? Who can keep it within safe parameters if not only the Creator? Lastly, what about those most important spiritual benefits, like higher morality, nobler motives or kinder sentiments? We ourselves cannot control our shares in them.
Only Allah inspires us with more of such higher values. He makes us to meet better people and with more of them, for example and from them we may be able to acquire some such lights. All in all, all gifts we need and may come into possession of hardly lie within our powers to acquire and some impartial, impersonal Power must be in charge of them, of their treasures and meter them out to each and every creature as He pleases. Do we want more of the better gifts in life? Then we must appeal to their Ultimate Treasurer, our Lord Almighty, All-Gracious. How can we contact and induce Him to do that? Very easy and handy. Just let us remember Him in our heart and beg from Him with faith and reverence and what is good for us He will send us through His some appropriate servants. And if we really have faith we will recognise Who sent it and how nice and proper what He sent us is. We will also appreciate that the kind and amount MEASURED out to us (Our qadar, Allah’s taqdir) was just right and could not be improved upon. This is Ridwan (happiness) with Allah and is the same as Allah’s Ridwan with us. This is an instance of Allah determining things for us (qadar) and our happiness with His determination (maqdur/destined).
4. (Allah explains to Moses at their first contact at Mt Sinai) “….And We tried you with many trials and you had to remain among the people of Midian for years until now you came (here) in accordance of a qadar (destiny) o Moses. I have chosen you for Myself” (20: 40- 41)
C. Qadar means creating each and every creature to fulfil a purpose in the context of the whole creation. So, a particular man is created in a way designed to do and achieve certain things in an exclusive, personal capacity sense. To activate and enhance the qualities in a servant designed to serve a special purpose takes many trying situations visiting him until in the end he becomes capable of delivering the specified service or services required of him by his Creator. Which means, both his innate or genetically-determined traits and the trials to which he is subjected in life are a man’s qadar/destiny. Accordingly Moses was created for the special purpose of bringing Allah’s Message to a certain group of people at a certain time under certain circumstances. So was Muhammad sws was specially created, sent, placed and empowered to cause man’s discovery of Allah and accept obedience to Him which mission was meant to be universal and the decisively the last prophetic mission.
In other words qadar is each and every creature’s purpose of creation which must be fulfilled no matter what. To fit in the free will of a servant with his destined role we can assume that his free will is a shadow of Allah’s Free Will as man himself, together with all other creatures is the shadow of Allah’s Existence. What more reasonable conclusion than a shadow existent can do with a shadow free will and enjoy that free will as much as his shadow existence which is only too real to him. That man’s existence is shadowy can be seen even from a scientific analysis: What is man but if not like a wave on a sea which wave looks separate and durable at least for a short while if moving and changing a bit. A wave is nothing but a node of vibrating water molecules which, as they move, are replaced by other water molecules taking the same form as those before them took. If we watch travelling waves on sea we can see that any floating objects do not travel with the waves; obviously the wave forms are shifting along the surface without water molecules going along with them. It is like a waving flag; although the waves of the flag move from one end to the other the forms painted on the flag do not move forward but remain in the same position on the surface of the cloth. We are the same, tomorrow we will contain other molecules than today and in a years time or two no single molecule may remain the same with us but replaced by others. Even eternal looking rocks have shadowy existences although the replacement of molecules in a rock takes very long geological time. Rains extract some molecules while absorption of other molecules from its environment fill the vacuum created by the extractions. The rock never stays the same. Allah says “You see the mountains and think that they are solid, but they pass like the passage of clouds” (27: 88).
If those eternal looking mighty mountains are like passing and form changing clouds who are we to be exempt from a cloud-like, vaporous passage? We do definitely exist and are faced with responsibe wilful action but compared to ever-standing Creator we are like shadows and so are our powers including our will. Yet like two negatives multiplied or divided mathematically gives a positive result the interaction of our shadowy bodily existence with our shadowy will gives a positive and real event for which we bear a responsibility, either a happy one making us deserve a reward or an unhappy one making us deserve a punishment. The fixity of our qadar does not change that simply because our qadar is fixed according to the Creator but open-ended according to us as we see we can plainly make decisions which plainly change our future. Both science and mathematics are full of such paradoxes yet their validity remains.
An example: The shadow of an object hit by parallel rays of light on a screen remains static no matter how much it is moving towards or away from the screen. The shadow is destined to remain at the same spot while its reality the object casting it is moving as much as it wants. This paradox shows that what can look fixed from one angle can be infinitely mobile from another. So, destiny and free will make up a paradox from one and the usual angle but can perfectly be reconciled from another. Both a flat circle and a globe cast the same shadow. Are they the same? The free will- predestination paradox is just a paradox and like all paradoxes can be solved when viewed from a higher level of understanding.
5. We created everything with a qadar (54: 49)
C. Everything has a complex of measured qualities and quantities and with them can fulfil a role in the overall scheme of things. Man’s free will is part of the complex and as explained above and his qadar need not rule out his responsibility and it does not. Had we had reason to believe otherwise we could not make moral rules and binding laws and expect people to behave.
6. (All patterns of reward and punishment amount to) Allah’s Sunna (habitual conduct or response) which (shall be the same as for you as) concerning those who passed away before. Allah’s amr (implementation of Will) is a destiny destined (33: 38)
C. This verse came down concerning the abolition of adopted sonship and relegation of adopted sons to the position of a friend. Such legal changes in the past had always been precipitated by events exposing the fallacy and untenability of a certain legal rule and in the case of Zainab’s RA marriage to Zaid RA the Prophet’s position could not be that of a father since Zaid already had a biological father. This change in law was a determined determination, i.e. due to be enacted in due course and it was. The Prophet sws stood to suffer as much as both Zaid RA and Zainab RA had and in the end none enjoyed the new roles. Blood relations had to prevail. In this context it must also be remembered that Islam does not recognise a right for blood relations to dismiss each other from the duties or obligations of that institution as some other legal systems allow.
7. No disaster strikes in the land or in your persons but it has been in a Book before We unleashed it. This is easy for Allah. The reason (for disclosing this) is that you do not deplore what escaped you or be spoilt by what He gave you. Allah does not love each vainglorious boaster (57: 22- 23)
C. The most explicit statement ever in the Qur’an about the existence of pre-destination. Yes, nothing will happen without Allah having known and destined it in advance. Our All-Gracious Lord is not only stating this fact but is also kindly explaining why He is divulging the secret to us. He wants us to know that all events have been foreseen and predetermined by Himself and that is always for our good and nothing else. Because each happening is for our good in the final analysis we need not despair or deplore too much what unpleasantness touched us or boast about any good breaks that came our way as if it was our powers which produced them. We must again emphasise that Allah’s foreknowledge and pre-determination of all events does not remove our free will or responsibility for any of them. They are foreknowledge and pre-determination according to us who are time and space bound limited beings. Time and space or for that matter any created or creaturely limits and conditions do not apply to Allah. He deals with the creation both wholesale and in finest detail at one and the same time and makes no mistakes nor does He commit any injustices and that is because He is Most Gracious and Most Loving Merciful. Our derived or created persons and wills are totally outside His Divine Essence and unlike His they are only real in the experience of each of us which fact makes us responsible and liable for our actions as far as what will happen to us next is concerned.
The least we should know is this: Don’t worry too much, don’t mourn too much and don’t delight too much as far as your worldly good luck is concerned but thank Allah under all circumstances in recognition of the fact that in each and every instance something pleasant or unpleasant happening to you He All-Gracious has something up His Sleeve so-to-speak to ultimately surprise you with delights only like He can surprise. Amen.
8. No disaster strikes but with the permission of Allah. Whoever believes in Allah He (All-Gracious) then guides his heart. Allah knows of everything (64: 11)
C. Any disaster to hit us needs Allah’s permission. So any enemy of yours to do you any harm cannot move a finger unless Allah gives His permission. And His permission is only given when in the final analysis the unpleasant experience will be to your benefit. So take heart and do not be upset too much although you are not required to rejoice. When hit by a disaster most people are too upset to think over why it hit them or too ignorant of spiritual laws to chart their way towards better days. On the contrary they often resort to vengeance if the agent of the disaster was a man they could tackle or else they are destroyed in grief and mourning for a long time. They neither know how to cope with the shock or how to convert the loss into profit. But people with real faith in Allah are not so helpless. Allah guides them and makes them see what hit them why and what can they do to cancel the poisonous effects of the hit and instead find ways and means to convert its pains into victorious and glorious profits like more self-understanding and self-responsibility, more lesson taking and more care next time, more praises for Allah for more enlightenment, such an enlightenment that they shall rejoice for all time to come seeing the valid and wise and merciful reasons why Allah had permitted the hit to visit them and to what wonder of delight Allah is going to convert it for them.
9. With what each female shall be pregnant and what wombs shall fail in or succeed He Knows. Everything with Him is by a certain quantity/miqdar (13: 8)
C. You need not to protest too much what kind of children Allah gives you. He is free and entitled to create any quality, quantity and kind of creatures He pleases but never forget that He only pleases with what will eventually please His servants in a final sense. Those who think they are not beautiful or intelligent or this or that or their children are not as they would like them to be… all such sorrows and despairs are not only vain but perhaps even offensive to the Creator. He always means well and to the thankful delivers wellness and happiness with whatever He gave them. Do not object to what Allah chose and destined for you but wait and see what wonders He shall give you provided patience and lavish glorifications on the All-Gracious are shown. He will not give you too much or too little of anything but in a quantity that will eventually be the very best for you. Amen.
17. ALLAH’S SUPPORT (TA’YID)
1. When He supported you (O Jesus) with the Holy Spirit and you were talking to people in your cot as well as once an adult (5: 110)
C. Jesus (pbuh.), like all chosen messengers of Allah was very precocious simply because from mother’s belly he was endowed with the Holy Spirit. The Holy spirit stands for Cosmic Intelligence, mighty help from Allah and top spiritual gnosis containing greatest loving compassion towards all modelled on Allah’s. Jesus could talk intelligently before he could walk and such feats may be rare but never impossible. It is on record that there has been people whose intelligence at 5 years of age was higher than many adults. Recently it was on the news that a girl of five or so was admitted to Oxford University to study mathematics. Mozart could compose quite high quality music at five as well as give impeccable concerts to Royal audiences. Therefore it is not impossible for a super genius like Jesus to learn good speech and sound reasoning while barely one or two years of age. Allah explains this as his early support for Jesus with the Holy Spirit in order to convince those who would like to be convinced that their awaited Christ was coming along nicely from his earliest days.
Not all can start so early in wisdom and intelligence but start one day all may. Such a start is possible with Allah’s help and is enabled by inspiring Allah His servant with the Holy Spirit. The sign that the Holy Spirit is supporting someone under orders from Allah is that person’s rapid and phenomenal growth in wisdom, knowledge, good character and in his soaring ability to work good more and more. All Prophets are like that as are all true spiritual masters who true Sufi sheikhs are.
2. It is He Who supported thee (o Muhammad sws) with His help and with the believers (8: 62)
C. Allah mentions first His help, apparently direct help without intermediary agents and only then he mentions the help He gave through the agency of the believers around the Prophet sws. Direct help from Allah most probably means Allah’s giving His Messenger very special abilities including a nearness to Allah no other creature enjoys with which nearness his pure heart keeps in constant contact with his Creator and enjoys a constant if unconscious flow of inspirations enabling him to think and act rightly in ways conducive to victories. There has been other beneficiaries of such inspired generalship in history whereby the beneficiary was always victorious. Among examples are Alexander, Caesar, Ghengiz Khan and Yavuz Selim the Ottoman sultan. These commanders knew no defeats let alone reversals. Muhammad sws had one reverse at Uhud but that was against his better Judgment and allowed only to serve a lesson to his less perfect companions.
Help with Muslims is obvious. Everytime they obeyed the Messenger of Allah they shared in his infallibility out of Allah’s Infallibility and won. The overall lesson is then: Muslims must always make sure that they choose as their leaders men most blessed with helpful qualities from birth and not choose anybody else just because that other makes dubious promises to them or claims dynastic or other automatic rights unless of course the claimant has his superb born abilities as well. Once such leader is adopted then obedience to him after perhaps some preliminary consultations is mandatory. Only that way Allah supports us.
3. Remember when you were a few persecuted weaklings in the land and used to fear that people were out to hunt you and that Allah gave you shelter (in Medina) and supported you with His help and provided for you with good provision in order that you give thanks (8: 26)
C. Allah bailed out His few believers in Mecca when the threats against them became too great and instead He moved to and settled them at Medina as guests of honour and leaders of piety. Inspiring them directly with piety He enabled them to obey the Prophet sws almost perfectly and that must be Allah’s help to them, a direct help like in the previous verse.
4. We gave Jesus son of Mary explicit proofs and supported him with the Holy Spirit (2: 87)
C. Explicit proofs of his God-chosenness were the miracles which all could see in full day light. Allah had so arranged some affairs around Jesus AS that when, for example, he called out to a recently dead man the man simply came alive. When such feats were repeated the chance factor (e.g, catalepsy instead of death being the case) was discounted and the miracle deserved acceptance. As for the Holy Spirit supporting him, this was just another example of innumerable examples where the Spirit supports believers. See next verse.
5. They (the true believers) are those on whose hearts Allah inscribed the faith and supported them with the Holy Spirit (58: 22)
C. The hearts of true believers are indelibly branded or stamped with all the realities of correct faith which enables them to obey Allah and His Messenger sws not out of cautious care but out of direct inner witness and conviction. Their hearts are permanently moulded in the mould of faith and cannot change. Once like this then the Holy Spirit never departs from them but hovers around their heads and helps them all the time faithfully and untiringly.
6. (During the Prophet’s and Abu Bakr’s hiding in the cave of Thawr when the idolaters were trying to hunt them down) Allah sent down on him the sakeena (the Prophet sws) and supported him with armies you could never see (9: 40)
C. A host of idolaters arrived at the very cave entrance and had they looked down the cave they could see the two holy fugitives; yet they dismissed the possibility and went away looking for the two at wrong places. What had turned them away from their golden chance? Firstly the Prophet was suddenly covered by infallible certainty that Allah would not let him down in the least. That is what ‘sakeena’ (a most settled and certain state of the heart) is. Other prophets before Rasulullah sws and their companions had also been granted sakeena at certain crucial moments and in Hebrew scriptures the word occurs as ‘Shekina’ because Hebrew replaces ‘s’ with ‘sh’ sound. Sakeena coincides with the descent of heavenly hosts, namely special protective and combative angels and that was what discouraged the idolaters unbeknown to them. In other words when they were closest to their target Allah kept away from their grasp their target by inspiring them silliest complacency and discouraged them by an angelic paralysing power acting on them like an irresistible sedative and dissuader. So easy it is for Allah to save His favoured but physically totally disadvantaged servants from the clutches of physically many times stronger enemies whose hearts Allah can play like lion playing with mouse so to speak and doom them to failure.
7. Allah supports whom He will with His help. In this there is a lesson for those endowed with insight (3: 13)
C. When Allah’s Will comes to effect a change no amount of loathing or worldly measures on the part of those whom Allah wants to frustrate and punish can prevent Allah’s implementation of His Will. There is an unmissable lesson here for the spiritually-minded: They should be sure that, worthy and lasting success goes to those who ally and align themselves with Allah and know that after only such an alignment their any physical measures can be effective. Alienating Allah is the greatest mistake under the sun and not even seven superpowers can save a God-alienated people from the punishment Allah through their enemies prescribed for them. Today’s Muslims plight is a very eloquent example of this. Whatever Muslims are doing are making them sink more.
8. And the sky we built with powerful support and We are the Expanders (of it) (51: 47)
C. Allah tore apart the initial mass of Cosmic system and created vast spaces keeping the denser heavenly objects apart by distances ranging from a few million miles to billions of light-years. What is more, the separations are not finalized and the creation of both more space and mass continue according to recent cosmological theories. Seeing that Allah’s Powers are so stupendous and mind-boggling, which sane person can doubt that no creature, human or not, can frustrate Allah in the least. So, why should we not take Allah as our only ally and friend but deceive ourselves by powerful looking creatures who in fact are in real command of no power except when Allah permits and grants them some in an amount which is nil compared to His. Let us ask for Allah’s support and He will not only grant it but will go on expanding it until we enter Gardens whose expanse are like the expanse of the whole heavens and earth. Says our Lord “Race to your Lord’s forgiveness and the Gardens whose expanse are like the expanse of the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious (3: 133). Amen.