Sufficient is He
What happens when you entrust your cycle to a friend with the instruction to take it around for repairs? Can you rest assured that when it is brought back from the repair shop it will be in the shape you desire? Do you think you will get it in condition you would have got it, if it was you who had taken it to the workshop?
You know what happens. Your friend takes it to the repair shop, gives them some good instructions about a thorough job required. And then of course he leaves. (You would have sat through watching the works done. But your friend has other things to do). He shows up at the shop, a bit behind his schedule, to collect the cycle. He is already late for something else, and so hurriedly checks if all’s well, and brings it back. But you knew what exactly it was that your cycle needed. And you know that all was not done. A simple thing, but you are sorry you entrusted it to another.
If you cannot trust others over a simple affair of this sort, do you think you can depend on others involving affairs of greater importance? Let us say you are looking for a job. Can you depend on another to scan through newspaper advertisements and make the initial inquiry on your behalf? When do you think you will receive the first call for interview?
Question: If you cannot trust another in simple affairs of this life, can you do it in affairs involving the next life? Way to Heaven or Hell – can you leave your fate in the hands of another.
Obviously, you need to take the affair in your hand. Hereafter is far too perilous that you should leave its success or failure in the hands of another. You need to take command yourself. A man entered into the Prophet’s mosque and inquired about trust. He asked, “Shall I tie up the camel, or place trust in Allah?” He was answered, “Tie her up and then place trust in Allah.”
The message was not merely that you need to adopt the means and not rest on Allah’s help alone, but also that you cannot entrust your camel to the winds of the day.
So, you can trust no one as you can trust yourself. If you made the mistake of trusting others (like Karen Armstrong said about the Arabs trusting the West for a hundred years), you will end up a sorry figure. Indeed, far from trusting human beings, one might not place trust in tangible things either. The Prophet has said,
“مَنْ عَلَّقَ شَيئاً وُكِّلَ إِليهِ”
“He who hung (his hopes on) a thing, is handed over to it.”
That is, if you trust – let us say an amulet that you hang in your neck, or a super power for defending your land, honor and natural resources – then you are in fact trusting a monkey with banana. Allah hands you over to the amulet or the super power. They deal with you the way it suits them. Amulets of course, cannot answer a request. But what it means is that you lose Allah’s help and protection. He alone can be trusted. But of course, on condition that you tie up your camel – i.e., yourself, and not sub-contract it to another. Forget not too fast your experiment with the cycle.
When you depend on a religious class, or an individual for providing you your religious needs, you are running other risks besides those pointed above. How can anyone successfully guide you, when they themselves are at the receiving end? Their own reception is conditional. If they do well, they receive guidance from Allah. If they do badly, they are denied the grace.
For many, these statements might be confusing. If they are not to depend on religious guides, then, on who else should they? Where should they go? Does not everyone need a teacher? What sort of orphanage is this?
Well. We are talking of two different things. Trust and seeking help. Seek help you might, but trust not everyone. The only source of true guidance are the Qur’an and the Sunnah. If there is a third source, then it is School of Fiqh, but not their spokesmen. The rulings of the four Fiqh schools can be accepted for they stand for, because centuries of research, criticism, refining and improvement is behind those rulings. As for individuals, well, as we have said, dependability involves risk.
We cannot lose sight of the fact that people are not merely subject to change but they die out too. Where do you go if he dies out? You may, therefore, heed to the Qur’anic advice:
وَ تَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لا يَمُوتُ
“And have trust in Him who is Living, who will not die.”
Guidance comes from Allah. He bestows it on everyone who takes the path of piety:
وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجا.
“And, whoever acts piously (in fear of) Allah, He finds him a way out.”
It may be asked, way out of what? The answer that pleases the worldly and comes from the worldly is: Way out of every material difficulty .. solution to every problem of existence. But there is a sphere of existence, where the mind and soul work at a different level, and use different parameters .. different criteria. The answer for such of those who are familiar with this world is: Out of every spiritual difficulty.
Yes, whoever acted piously in fear of Allah, Allah takes him out of every spiritual difficulty that a seeker of His good pleasure encounters as he struggles on. And,
وَ يَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَحْتَسِبُ
“He provides him from sources he did not reckon.”
What provision is this? Na. It is not increased income. That, if that is what one seeks. Let us ignore the unfortunate ones. We are speaking of those who exist on a higher plane. What does Allah provide them with? Well, it is spiritual grace.
But what about material gifts? Aren’t we earthly. Shhh. Don’t talk about it. It comes its own way. It has another set of laws governing it. Let come what may. It is grace too. For, “it too is from my Lord.” All’s from our Lord. We place our trust in Him:
وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ
“And whoever places his trust in Allah, then, He is sufficient for him.”
If you place your trust in Him, and act in good grace, then nothing can prevent His grace from coming:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ
“Allah will surely make His command reach home.”
However, if you face an uphill task on your path to spirituality, then remember that difficulties are not for ever, for,
قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا
“Allah has placed for everything a measure.”
It might take time, but His grace will reach those who remain true to Him, seeking His guidance, His love.