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Tawakkul (Arabic: تَوَكُّل‎‎) is an Arabic word which literally means reliance-on or trust-in and it is one of the most important topics in Islamic ethic, because it related to the essential part of monotheism. Therefore, he who does not believe in the existence and absolute power of Allah will find it so difficult to trust or rely on him. In fact, the real meaning of tawakkul lies in the word “La-ilaaha -illallah, wa laa- hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaahil ‘Alliyil Adheem”, or the word “Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah”. Thus the aboved words should only be expressed by the person who realized and believed that; he is not an independent entity and he is in need of independent entity and absolute power in all of his affairs.


  • according to some scholar; The word tawakkul is an Arabic masdar (verbal noun) derived from the fifth form of the (Arabic root وكلw-k-l) or وکالت (wakalat), meaning "taking for oneself a representative" or “appointing someone as one’s trustee (wakil).[1]
  • While others said; The root of the word Tawakkul (Trust) is Wakala (counsel or representation).[2]

Meaning of Tawakkul[edit]

  • Tawakkul in the Arabic language, is the word for the Islamic concept of reliance on God or "trusting in God's plan".[3]
  • It is also refers to as "perfect trust in God and reliance on Him alone."[4]
  • Tawakkul as a theological concept was formalized by Shaqiq al-Balkhi (d. 810), who defined it as a spiritual state or hal. Tawakkul is also considered a natural result of extreme zuhd.[5] Zuhd can be described as being based on tawakkul or "trust in God alongside love of poverty."[6]
  • A scholar wrote that someone that trusts in God is like a baby seeking its mother's breast and always finds it. He says that just like the infant, the one who trusts God is always led to God.[7]

Ranks of tawakkul[edit]

  • It has been said that there are three ranks of tawakkul: the trust of the believers, the trust of the select, and the trust of the select of the select.[8]
  • Each of these ranks are achieved through active reformation of the mind and self.[9]
  • The truth of the believers is simply living one day at a time and not worrying what tomorrow will bring you; simply trusting in what God has planned.[8]
  • The trust of the select is trusting God with no motives or desires. It is casting aside all wants.[8] *And finally the trust of the select of the select is giving yourself over to God completely so that His desires become yours.[8]
  • In other words, "trust in God is to be satisfied with and rely on God Most High."[7] It is said that because God created everything and therefore everything belongs to him, it is selfish to want anything other than what God wants or not want something God gives to you.[10]

Quranic references[edit]

the active participle form of tawakkul is used in 38 passages in the Qur'an.[11]

  • And whoever puts all his trust in Allah, He will be enough for him. [Quran 65:3]
  • And put all your trust [in Allah], if you truly are believers. [Quran 5:23]
  • He is Rabb of the east and west, there is no deity except Him, so take him as your Protector. [Quran 73:9]
  • Put your trust in the living Allah who never dies, and celebrate His praise. [Quran 25:58]
  • In Allah should the trustful trust. [Quran 14:12]
  • So when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust.”[Quran 3:159]
  • And put thy trust in God; and enough is God as a disposer of affairs. [Quran 4:81]
  • Surely he has no authority over those who believe and rely on their Lord. [Quran 16:99]
  • And that man can have nothing but what he strives for” [Quran 80:39].
  • And what reason have we that we should not rely n Allah? And He has indeed guided us in our ways; and certainly we would bear with patience your persecution of us; and on Allah should the reliant rely.[Quran []]
  • and Allah was the guardian of them both, and in Allah should the believers trust [Quran 3:122]

Tawakkul in light of Hadith[edit]

  • Muhammad has been related as having said, “I asked Angel Jibra`iL ‘What is tawakkul?’ He replied, ‘Recognizing the truth that a creature can neither harm nor benefit, and not to have your eyes on the wealth of others. When a servant of Allah acquires these traits, he will act only for Allah and will not have any hope in other than Him. This is the truth and boundary of tawakkul.’.[12]
  • In another tradition, Muhammad said: "Whoever wishes to be the most powerful person among people must trust God."[13]
  • Imam Ali said : “Placing one’s trust in Allah is the means of deliverance from evil.[14]
  • Once someone questioned Imam 'Ali ibne Musa al-Ridha: “What is the extent of 'tawakkul'? He (a.s.) replied: That you do not fear anyone once you have relied on Allah!”.[1]
  • Muhammad has been reported to have said: “Were you to put your complete trust and reliance on Allah, He would provide for you as He provides for the birds. They issue forth hungry in the morning and return filled in the evening”. (At-Tirmidhi)
  • Umar bin Khattab said I heard Muhammad saying, "If you all depend on Allah with due reliance, He would certainly give you provision as He gives it to the birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with full bellies at dusk." (At-Tirmidhi)
  • Many Muslim legends such as those of Rabi'a illustrate tawakkul. Of Rabi'a, it is said that when her donkey died in the desert while she was on the hajj, she refused aid from a caravan, instead depending on God to provide for her.[15] Sahl al-Tustarī claimed that perceiving secondary causes was a sign of a lack of reliance on God.[16]


Since early times in Islam there has been debate as to the extent of tawakkul as a virtue in everyday life.[16] This debate centered around questions such as whether or not tawakkul allowed for God to use intermediary causes, and the degree of reliance on God.[clarification needed] Views of extreme and total dependence on God to the point of pure fatalism were popular among rejectionist ascetics.[17] Thinkers such as Bisṭāmī instead advocate the virtue of "kasab", or "earning a living".[16]

See Another Islamic Word[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi (2014). 180 Questions Enquires about Islam, vol two:Various Issues. Create space Independent publicaion. ISBN 9781499138849. 
  2. ^ Ayatullah Dastghaib Shirazi (2014). Isti'adha: seeking Allah's protection from satan. Create space Independent publicaion. ISBN 9781496031822. 
  3. ^ "Ibn Abī al-Dunyā: Certainty and Morality". Leonard Librande, Studia Islamica, No. 100/101 (2005), pp. 5-42. Published by: Maisonneuve & Larose
  4. ^ "Islamic Philosophy in South and South-East Asia". Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy. 2002. 
  5. ^ "The Transition from Asceticism to Mysticism at the Middle of the Ninth Century C.E.", Melchert, Christopher. Studia Islamica, No. 83 (1996), pp. 51-70. Published by: Maisonneuve & Larose
  6. ^ Kinberg, Leah (1985). "What is Meant by Zuhd". Studia Islamica. 61: 33–34. 
  7. ^ a b al-Qushayri, Abu 'l-Qasim (2007). Al-Qushayri's Epistle on Sufism. Lebanon: Garnet Publishing. pp. 178–188. 
  8. ^ a b c d Sells, Michael (1996). Early Islamic Mysticism. New York: Paulist Press. pp. 209–209. 
  9. ^ Hamdy, Sherine (2009). "Islam, Fatalism, and Medical Intervention: Lessons from Egypt on the Cultivation of Forbearance (Sabr) and Reliance of God (Tawakkul)". Anthropological Quarterly. 82 (1): 173–196. doi:10.1353/anq.0.0053. 
  10. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie (1975). Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 117–120. 
  11. ^ Eggen, Nora (2011). "Conceptions of Trust in the Qur'an". Journal of Qur'anic Studies. 13 (2): 56–85. doi:10.3366/jqs.2011.0020. 
  12. ^ Ayatullah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani (2014). Faith and Reason. Amazon.com. ISBN 9781312616356. 
  13. ^ Bihar al-Anwar, p. 135.
  14. ^ Sayyid Ali Akbar (2014). Anecdote. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781312496347. 
  15. ^ Sells, Michael A: Early Islamic Mysticism, page 157. Paulist Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8091-3619-8
  16. ^ a b c Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second on. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W. P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2010. Brill Online
  17. ^ "The Ethical Concerns of Classical Sufism", Awn, Peter J. The Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Fall, 1983), pp. 240-263. Published by: Blackwell Publishing

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