Translated by: Manal Samhat
Trust in Allah
“And in their Lord do they trust” (08:02); this is the third trait of a believer. A true believer is a person who does not collapse before obstacles, does not lose balance before pressures and does not shiver from fear before any social, political or psychological disturbances. Rather, a true remains steadfast through the thought that represents the utmost value of a believer, which is “trust in Allah”.
Placing your trust in Allah is to refer all your matters to Him and to believe that He is the only One capable of protecting and saving you and alleviating all the pressures surrounding you. Allah wants us to put our trust in Him and says that He is sufficient to he who puts his trust in Him: “and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him”. We do not say that He is not capable, but “surely Allah attains His purpose”; for if He wants something it will be, but he subjected life to certain standards “Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything”, and made these measures in man’s best interest. Allah is sufficient for you through what he sees it lies in your best interest, whether at the personal level or at the general public level which you are part of.
Allah says: “Surely Allah loves those who trust” (03:159), and trusting is a trait that represents the spirit of faith, for it means that you should believe in yourself, “that the power is wholly Allah's” and that no one besides Allah is capable of responding to you in all your affairs, yet wisely and in what best serves your interests.
Between trust and negligence
Putting trust in someone does not mean that you be negligent; rather, it is to work hard and use all your potentials in the process, and when you use up all your power through the means available for you, yet you stand before a future which you fear its hidden aspects and possible surprises… only then you can say: “I put my trust in Allah”, and: “O Lord, this is all what I am capable of, but the unseen is not in my hands… only you have the keys to the unseen”. Moreover, Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) was once asked about the meaning of Allah’s saying: “For those who put their trust should put their trust on Allah”, and he answered: “the farmers”. This clarifies the idea of trusting through the personality of the person who puts his trust in Allah, so as to understand the realistic difference between “trusting” and “negligence”.
Taking a look at the farmer, do we see him standing before the land and saying: “I put my trust in Allah to let this land produce wheat, barley and palm and apple trees?!” Well, the farmer does not do that. Rather, he prepares the land for planting by removing the weeds or any harmful factor, and then he cultivates it, throws the seeds in it, waters it and protects it from any urgent factor that could affect the process and so on. He also prepares all the natural elements that could increase productivity, and then he would stand and reflect, for there might come strong wind, snow or diseases, or any other matter that the future hides. He prepared the land in as much as he is capable of, but will the land be productive or not? Will there come an unseen factor that could affect the productivity? Only then he can stand before his land and address God saying: “O Lord, this is all what I am capable of, and I put my trust in You in what I am incapable of”.
As it is clear, trusting represents man’s stand from the unknown, and it protects him from the anxiety that could destroy him and from the psychological disturbances as a result of the fear from what the future hides. Therefore, the element of trusting, in addition to being an element that deepens one’s sense of faith, is an element that deepens one’s sense of confidence, drives anxiety away and brings about reassurance, for you would feel that your life is under Allah’s eye that never sleeps, under His ever-extending shadow and under His never-ending mercy; your Lord Who made you in charge of what you are capable of and guaranteed that He will provide for you what you are incapable of, according to what He finds suitable.
Therefore, trusting in someone is not an act of negligence, for the latter is to sit at home and make no effort whatsoever and ask Allah to fulfill what you want. It is narrated that those who think in this way and deal with matters from this perspective Allah does not respond to their prayers, for Allah as if tells them: “I have provided for you the means that represent the conditions for providing the other means in the unseen, so why did you not make use of these means? I have, by My wisdom, rendered life subject to the cause-effect notion, so he who does not plant shall not reap, and he who does nothing shall reap hunger, poverty and loss, just as the famous saying points: “They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind”. Therefore, we, according to the Islamic understanding of trust, are the ones who put their trust in someone but not solely depend on him.
Criticality of practical Shirk
Another point I would like to point out is that Allah wants us to profess His oneness both in practice and in belief, by not saying any word that could be an act of Shirk (associating partners with Allah) even when one does not mean so. Someone might ask a favor from you and you would answer that you will make your best to accomplish it, Allah willing, and he would reply: “I put my trust in Allah and in you”. It goes without saying that that person does not mean to put you in the same level as Allah’s; rather, he considers you as one of the means to fulfill his needs. Despite the intention, one should not speak in this manner, by mentioning man and Allah side by side, while Allah says: “Therefore call not upon any one with Allah” (72:18). We, as Muslims, believe that Prophet Muhammad (p.) is the master of Adam’s children, yet we say: “We testify that Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger”. So, it is impermissible to invoke anyone along with Allah, for Allah is but one and all people are His servants, even the prophets, angels and guardians, and Allah remains the One and only with no partners.
Earlier, I mentioned in a Hadith that someone asked Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) about Allah’s saying: “And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him)” (12:106), which means that most people might commit Shirk without knowing that they are doing so, and he asked: “how?” He said: “It is as when you tell the surgeon who performs an operation on you after you were in a critical state: ‘Had it not been for you, I would have perished’, meaning that that person cured and saved you from an imminent danger”. The man asked: “Then what should we say, for it is important to express our gratitude to the doers of good”. Shall we say: “Had Allah not favored me with so-and-so, I would have perished”? He (a.s.) said: “This is acceptable and so are other similar structures”. In this way, you consider that the person who served you is but a tool in Allah’s hands which He subjected for your service and that He is the One Who made it available for you. This is how you keep that person’s right on you and express your gratitude for him, whilst knowing that all that is from Allah. It would be as if you are telling the surgeon: “Had Allah not inspired you the knowledge of the disease and how to cure it, I would not have made it”. In other words, we should never refer any matter to the created no matter how close he is from Allah; rather, we should realize that whatever comes from the creatures is but a blessing bestowed by Allah…
So, let all the expressions we use be in line with professing Allah’s oneness: “And that the mosques are Allah's, therefore call not upon any one with Allah” (72:18), because everyone is beneath Allah and they can never be equal to Him… Therefore, it is difficult for a person to become a true believer and call himself faithful if he commits practical Shirk in the way described above.
*Ash-Sham weekly seminar, Fikr Wa Thaqafah, By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)