TAWAKKUL OR RELIANCE
The Arabic word (Arabic: توكل) TAWAKKUL means to depend sincerely in one’s heart upon Allaah Almighty, for bringing blessings and warding off harms, for this world and the Hereafter. If people were to sincerely trust and depend upon Allaah to bring them that which benefits them and to keep away that which harms them, and if they take reasonable, practical steps themselves, Allaah will send their provision to them by the simplest of means.
So Tawakkul on Allaah means:Entrusting one’s affairs to Him and relying on Him in all matters. Entrusting one’s affairs to Allaah entails not turning to someone else for support. So reliance (tawakkul) upon Allaah can be with regard to matters of Creed, such that the servant’s heart does not turn to anyone else besides Allaah. Therefore, he is always putting his reliance in Allaah, entrusting all of his affairs to Him.
The foundation of Shirk is: Entrusting one’s affairs and putting one’s reliance on other than Allaah. This is why Allaah says: “So upon Allaah, put your trust if you are truly believers.” Quran Surah Al-Maa’idah: 23 Further Allah said: "….. And in Allaah let believers put their Trust" Quran Surah Ibrahim 14:11
The scholars say: The object of the verb here “upon Allaah” denotes limitedness. Thus the ayah means: “Put your trust in Allaah alone and not anyone else.” So Allaah has restricted tawakkul to Himself alone apart from others. Upon Allaah” means not upon anyone else. The ayah continues: “…put your trust if you are truly believers.” Allaah has made tawakkul (reliance on Allaah) here a sign of one’s Faith in Him and proof of one’s Tawheed.
As for the one who claims to be a believer and an adherent of Tawheed, but yet then goes on to put his trust in other than Allaah, such as stones, trees, statues, graves, the deceased, and so on, then this person’s claim is false. And he is not a believer since he has entrusted his affairs to someone besides Allaah.
Likewise, one can put his trust in Allaah in order to achieve his worldly needs, such as obtaining provision, preventing an enemy, and repelling harms and dangers from himself.
Umar Ibn Khattab narrated that the Messenger of Allahﷺ"If you were to rely upon Allah with the required reliance, then He would provide for you just as a bird is provided for, it goes out in the morning empty, and returns full stomach." Jami At-Tirmidhi Vol4: 2344 and Ibn Majah 4164
The pagans did not fall into polytheism and disbelief except due to the fact that they put their reliance in other than Allaah, entrusted their affairs to other than Him, and believed in their hearts that someone besides Allaah was able to grant their requests, alleviate their worries and repel harms from them. So they relied on statues, idols, trees, stones, graves, shrines and the deceased. They put their trust in created beings to grant them things that only Allaah could do. So they began to ask them for help, offer sacrifices to them, make oaths to them, and direct various forms of worship to them. This is since they have relied on them apart from Allaah, thinking that they have the power to benefit them, harm them or grant their requests. Due to this, when they put their reliance in other than Allaah and directed their beliefs and worship to other than Him, they disbelieved in Him.
Therefore, relying upon Allaah can be in religious matters as well as worldly matters. So you should rely on Allaah in your Creed and your Tawheed. And put your trust in Allaah for fulfilling your needs even if your needs are of a worldly nature, such as eating, drinking, clothing and accomplishing some set goals. Put your reliance and trust in Allaah for all matters.
Reliance on Allaah is not limited to just matters of Creed and Tawheed. Rather, it even applies to worldly matters and seeking provision. When it comes to fulfilling any goal, do not rely on anyone besides Allaah. This is since all of the affairs are in the Hand of Allaah. The keys of the heavens and the earth are in His Hand, so we must put our trust and reliance in Him.
All of the needs and objectives of the servants lie in the Hand of Allaah. So how can a person put his trust and reliance in other than Allaah for his religious and worldly matters? No doubt this is from ignorance and turning away from Allaah. Therefore, relying on Allaah is one of the greatest stations of servitude.
Taken from The Meaning of Reliance (Tawakkul) on Allaah : Shaikh Saalih ibn Al-Fawzaan, Haqeeqat-ut-Tawakkul ‘alaAllaah (pg. 7-14)