What It Means to Rely on God

There’s a game that’s often played as a trust-building (or team-building) exercise called the Trust Fall, where one person will fall backward into another’s arms, trusting that the person behind them will catch them. They can’t see the other person; they just let themselves go, believing that they won’t hit the ground.

There are times when our relationship with Allah resembles the Trust Fall. The outcome of the situation we’re in is out of our hands, and all we can do is trust that He won’t let us hit the ground. The difference between this Trust Fall and that one is that the One catching you will never fail or struggle.

Even then, sometimes we have trouble blindly trusting in Allah, but as long as you do a few things, you should feel safe letting go.

1. Do whatever you’re capable of doing

The first is to do whatever you’re capable of doing in order to ensure that you’ll achieve the outcome you desire. A man once asked the Prophet (saws), “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I untie her and trust in Allah? The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “Tie her and trust in Allah” [Tirmidhi]. The modern form of that example is basically locking your car when you leave it, instead of just saying that Allah will guard it for you. Obviously He’s capable of doing so, but He still expects you to do what you can in any given situation.

2. Pray istikhara

The second important thing to do, especially when your situation involves making a decision, is to pray istikhara. In doing so, you’re asking Allah to make things easy for you if what you’re doing is good for you, and to separate you from it if it’s bad for you. Sometimes this is a really difficult du’a to make, especially when you really want something and are convinced that it’s good for you, but you have to keep in mind that “you might hate something although it’s good for you, and you might love something even though it’s terrible for you. Allah knows, and you don’t know” (2:216). After you make this prayer, trust that Allah heard you, and that whatever happens is for the best. Even if the end isn’t as you expected it to be, it could be that Allah saved you from something that would’ve hurt you more if you had gotten what you wanted.

3. Hold onto your faith

Lastly, if your situation is completely out of your hands, like if you’re going through a tragedy or extreme struggle and can’t do anything about it at all, the biggest thing you need to do is to hold onto your faith regardless of how terrible your situation is. Allah knows what you’re going through, and even though it might not make sense right now, trust that someday it will. His wisdom is beyond anything we’re capable of understanding, and His love and compassion for us is immeasurable. Allah tells us, “O you who believe, seek help through patience and salah. No doubt, Allah is with those who patiently persevere” (2:153). Never give up your five daily prayers, and do whatever you can to stay close to Allah, even when it seems easier to just give up. If you patiently persevere in doing these two things, Allah will help you through whatever you’re dealing with and you’ll come out of it stronger than before inshaAllah.

“…And whoever relies on Allah- then He is sufficient for him.” (65:3)

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