The Essence of Tawakkul (Part 2) – Annihilation and Resurrection
Calamities and tribulations are a blessing. The evidence for this is in the very lives of the noble prophets themselves:
“Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? they encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah.” Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near!” (2:214)
Every prophet faced trials and struggles, and the one from amongst them who suffered the most was the Seal of the Prophets, The Chosen One, Muhammad (SAWS). No Prophet before him faced the challenges that he faced, every single one before him was ridiculed and rejected, but none more than him. But it begs the question, why does Allah choose to put trials in the paths of His beloved, and why did He choose Muhammad (SAWS) to be the most afflicted in trials? Why did The All Knowing choose to test al-habib in such a way?
Go the Mosque and you will almost always find a specific individual there. One you do not see often, maybe never before. But he is so engrossed in his prayer, his head bowed in awe of his Creator, out of all the people in the Mosque he is the one whose worship is being manifest most clearly. He is the one who is being tested, who is facing a trial, who has sinned and rushed back to his Lord to find benediction. Shamed and humbled before Him, the grateful servant returns.
Allah (SWT) gives us challenges so that we return onto Him. He gave us the free will to commit sins so that we may ask for his forgiveness when we fall. It is as our eminent Sheikh Gibril Haddad has said:
“Allah Most High promised high levels to the repentant and He mentioned that the Throne-bearing angels make repentance for them also. And the Prophet, upon him peace, gave us glad tidings with regards to the believer’s sins precisely because they lead to repentance. Therefore continue to repent.”
When man faces ease, and wallows in his desires, he is less than the dog, for even a dog worships and is thankful to its Creator. He forgoes his prayers, he does not give thanks to The Most High, as He has said in al-Fajr:
“Now, as for man, when his Lord trieth him, giving him honour and gifts, then saith he, (puffed up), “My Lord hath honoured me.” But when He trieth him, restricting his subsistence for him, then saith he (in despair), “My Lord hath humiliated me!” Nay, nay! but ye honour not the orphans! Nor do ye encourage one another to feed the poor! And ye devour inheritance – all with greed, And ye love wealth with inordinate love!” (89: 15-20)
The one who is struck with poverty, illness, loneliness, he has nothing to turn to in this world, it is of no avail to him, that is why he returns to The Eternal. And so it is for the prophets, they are the greatest of creation, and to make them completely reliant on Him he gives them the tests that no mere man is able to withstand. This world has nothing for them, all they have is what is in the next. In this humble writer’s opinion, there is no better dhikr in this regard than the one of Jonah in the whale:
“There is no god but You! Praise be to You! Verily I was from amongst the transgressors.”
He begins with negating falsehood, which is the way of the people of la ilaha illa’Allah, which then goes on to affirm tawhid, then after acknowledging His Oneness, he praises Him in the best of ways. Then finally he lifts His rank further by diminishing his own, he has come to the knowledge that in His presence he is nothing. Such is the way of the people of fana’ or annihilation. They have destroyed their nafs and been reborn anew. They become the living embodiment of the divine phrase:
“…My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask something of Me, I would surely give it to him. Were he to seek refuge in Me, I would surely grant him it. Nor do I hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take back the believer’s soul, for he hates death and I hate to hurt him.”
Allah (SWT) gives further proof for this with regard to the Prophet (SAWS) when he says:
“It is not ye who slew them; it was Allah: when thou threwest (a handful of dust), it was not thy act, but Allah’s: in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself: for Allah is He Who heareth and knoweth (all things).” (8:17)
As Maulana Rumi tells us, when one is completed subjugated by Divine Power, he is like the phoenix rising from the ashes. Gone is the way of old for him. Now he is the ‘Abid of Allah, completely reliant on Him, every waking moment is in remembrance of Him. He is the embodiment of tawakkul (‘al-mutawakil’).
Thus this is the reason for our trials. If Allah loves you he will test you so that you may rise through the ranks of believers and become of the few select chosen. Therefore rejoice in your troubles, for they will only lead to good in this world and in the next.
“He is sufficient for us and a Worthy Guardian.”
What good has come from this is from Allah, and what is errant is from me.
“The Prayer of the Oppressed” – Hamza Yusuf
“The Masnavi – Book One” – Trans. Jawad Mojadedi