Trust in Allah is one of the best ways a servant can worship his Creator. It is an internal worship residing within the heart. It is also one of the causes to attaining the love of Allah as Allah Says, “Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)” (Quran: 3:159). And in many verses of the Quran, Allah constantly emphasizes to the believers that, “And in Allah let the believers put their trust” (Quran 5:11). The level of trust in Allah varies from one person to another. According to Ibn Al-Qayyim, trust in Allah in it’s complete form occurs due to the believers’ “contentment with Him, their faith in Him, their being pleased with Him and their seeking their needs from Him, they do not ask people for anything, be it ruqyah (Quranic healing) or anything else, and they are not influenced by omens and superstitions that could prevent them from doing what they want to do.”1
The true believers realize that nothing happens except with the Will of Allah and that He never Wills anything except that it has wisdom behind it. And they know that Allah is always Watching and Hearing everything in the universe and nothing is hidden from Him, therefore, they never feel alone. They know that only Allah alone is in control at all times. Just as Allah reminds the believers in the Quran, “And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing (Quran 2:115).”
And since Allah has promised good in this life and the next towards those who put their trust in Him, the true believers never lose hope in Him and are always satisfied with His decision of their affairs. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for it is all good, and this does not apply to anyone except the believer. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him, and if something bad happens to him he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” Narrated by Muslim, 2999.
This beautiful form of worship, unfortunately, has led some people to abandon the means provided by Allah to get to a result with their erroneous understanding that they are in fact putting their trust in Allah. However, this is not the type of trust which Allah and His Messenger enjoined on the believers. When one looks into the Quran and Sunnah, it is very clear that the means necessary to get to a result must be established. A believer does all that he can to get to a specific result and he leaves the outcome of those means in the Hands of Allah by putting his trust in Him. So the trust is in reference to the result and not the means. Allah has created this universe on a cause and effect relationship whereby in order to have something happen, something else must have happened before it. For example, eating food is a means to the result of sustaining life. Therefore, in order to fulfill the stomach and sustain life, one must apply the means of getting, cooking and eating food. One would be foolish to sit in one spot and claim that he puts his trust in Allah! There is no plate of food that will arrive for him from heaven nor will his stomach miraculously fill, in fact, he would die of starvation. Or the one who refuses to go out and find a job claiming that he has put his trust in Allah to provide for his family. The companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) use to go out and work and had jobs, such as trade and agriculture, and they are the best of generations due to their superior understanding of the texts and obedience to Allah and His Messenger. It is very well known that the people of Mecca specialized in trade whereas people of Medina were into agriculture. As reported in Al-Bukhari:
Narrated Abu Huraira: People say that I have narrated many Hadiths (The Prophet’s narrations). Had it not been for two verses in the Quran, I would not have narrated a single Hadith, and the verses are: “Verily those who conceal the clear sign and the guidance which We have sent down . . . (up to) Most Merciful.” (2:159-160). And no doubt our Muhajir (emigrants from Mecca) brothers used to be busy in the market with their business (bargains) and our Ansari (people of Medina) brothers used to be busy with their property (agriculture). But I (Abu Huraira) used to stick to Allah’s Apostle contented with what will fill my stomach and I used to attend that which they used not to attend and I used to memorize that which they used not to memorize. Narrated by Bukhari Book #3, Hadith #118
Abu Huraira was single and without children during that time whereas the other companions of the Prophet (pbuh) had families. He had less responsibility than they did so he would be happy with whatever little food he ate for himself. The other companions did not just have to worry about their own stomachs but also the stomachs of their families, hence, they use to have jobs and worked to put food on the table.
Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) migration to Medina is a perfect example of how one truly puts trust in Allah. When Allah finally gave permission to His Messenger to migrate to Medina, he went to see Abu Bakr, who had already started preparations for migration four months in advance. He had bought two camels and was grooming and feeding them for months to prepare them for migration to Medina. When he met Abu Bakr, with whom he would be migrating, he discussed and planned with him all the details of the migration and how it is to be done. And before the Prophet (pbuh) left his home during the final night of his stay in Mecca, he put Ali, his cousin, in his place in order to fool the Quraysh, who were trying to kill him, into thinking that he was still sleeping in his bed. And after all this when he finally left Mecca and reached a small cave at the Mountain of Thawr, where he and Abu Bakr took shelter for a few days, the Quraysh caught on to them. The chasers were only a few steps from their cave. They were so close that Abu Bakr said in that moment to the Prophet (pbuh), “What, if they were to look through the crevice and detect us?” It is then in that intense and horrific moment that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) replied to him, “Silence Abu Bakr! What do you think of those two with whom the Third is Allah.”2 So here is a beautiful example of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) taking all the means necessary to get to a result (safely getting to Medina) and putting his trust in Allah alone with regards to the results of their efforts.
In one of the verses in the Quran which was mentioned partially above (3:159), Allah asks the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with regards to his companions that he should, “consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” And it is well known that taking a decision after consultation requires thinking, discussion, approval and rejection of ideas. So here Allah is asking his Prophet (pbuh) to apply the means necessary for success and then put his trust in Him with regards to the result. One of the most famous hadiths used on this issue is the hadith of the Bedouin who left his camel untied. The Prophet (pbuh) asked him, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I placed my trust in Allah.” The Prophet replied, “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi, see also Saheeh al-Jaami’ 1068). This is the true essence of putting one’s trust in Allah. Ibn Hajar commented on this hadith and said: “Trust is the act of the heart while ‘tying the camel’ is the act of limbs.” – The meaning of which is that “tying the camel” means that one should take the necessary (halal) means that are available to perform what one intends to do, after which his heart has full certainty and trust upon Allah.3