By Ustadha Jinan Yousef
Most children, and many adults, have had a nightmare(s) at some point. The most comforting thing to do is to turn to those closest to us — those who make us feel safe.
The current political climate can be described as a ‘nightmare’ of sorts, one that we cannot simply wake up from. But we can turn to that which gives us true comfort and solace.
When we are children and wake up from a nightmare, the first person we run to is our mother or father; even if they scolded us that day, or even if we were mad at them for denying us something. We know that no matter what, they are there for us and can make the nightmare go away.
When we suffer from real-life nightmares, the first urge is to go to God. Fear does this; we “flee to Allah”, as the Qur’an tells us. And it is in these moments of fear that we can turn the ‘nightmare’ we are living into something positive: an opportunity to turn back to and get to know our Lord.
Indeed, one of the wisdoms behind testing times is that it forces us to turn to Him and to know Him. The Names that have given me comfort in these times are His Names al-Wakil and al-Kabir.
Tawakkul is a concept that is often discussed; loosely translated, it means trust in God. But it is different when we talk about a trait that we wish to inculcate — that of trust — than when we talk about the One whom we wish to trust. God has many Names, and He reveals those Names that are necessary for us to know. For all of our needs, there is a corresponding Name and attribute of Allah so that we can turn to Him, and understand that He is All-Aware.
And He tells us that He is al-Wakil: the Trustee. This means that you can put your trust in Him no matter what; when you are in difficulty, when you are confused, and when you are afraid.
It is easy to trust someone when things go your way in life. But it is when things become difficult that your trust truly tested. If you can maintain that trust during those difficult times, that relationship becomes stronger than ever.
And we are not putting our trust in a fallible human being who will make mistakes. Rather, we are putting our trust in He who has told us, “whoever places His trust in Allah, then He is sufficient for Him.” This means that, in our hearts, we place the burden of whatever outcome there is on God and not on our own efforts. Yet we also put the effort in supplicating, praying and doing good. Outwardly, part of that trust is to work with the means that He has provided. In these current times, this can mean advocacy, comforting others, taking self-defense classes and excelling in our fields — simply being a Muslim.
When we fully internalize that God will never break the trust we have placed in Him, it means that we know that whatever difficulty we go through, whatever disappointment or failure or pain — even harassment or dirty looks — that we face has a higher purpose. When we hold on to God al-Wakil, we know that nothing we do is ever wasted, and even the fear that we feel in our hearts will become a cause for forgiveness of our transgressions, as the Prophet (pbuh) told us that anything that hurts us is a cause for forgiveness.
And when the hardships become overwhelming, we must remember that Allah is al-Kabir. It is no coincidence that we start the prayer with “Allahu Akbar” — God is Greater — and repeat that phrase throughout the prayer. It is a reminder that no matter how ‘big’ the hardship is, God is Bigger. He is Greater. No matter how ‘great’ the tyrants believe they are, there is only One who is truly Great.
“Those to whom the people said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah , and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” [Qur’an, 3:173]