Part 11 – Series on the Shamaa’il (the noble character and sublime conduct) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

The Tawakkul of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

عن أنس بن مالك قال كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لا يدخر شيئا لغد (الشمائل المحمدية للترمذي، الرقم: 337)


Hazrat Anas bin Maalik (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would not store anything for the next day.”


In this Hadith, Hazrat Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) describes the high degree of tawakkul (reliance) which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had upon Allah Ta‘ala.  The greatest degree of tawakkul and reliance which any human being could possess was the reliance of the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam). Since Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was the leader of all the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam), his tawakkul and reliance upon Allah Ta‘ala in everything was accordingly the highest.

The conviction and belief in Allah Ta‘ala being the Provider and Sustainer of every creation was so firmly embedded and so alive within the blessed heart of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), that he never doubted nor feared in the least that his sustenance will not be granted to him by Allah Ta‘ala. He was completely convinced that just as Allah Ta‘ala had provided for him today, Allah Ta‘ala will surely provide for him tomorrow as well. Hence, whatever Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) possessed, he spent it on the people until nothing was left. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not keep anything aside or store anything for the future.

In reality, the level of one’s generosity will be in proportion to the reliance he has on Allah Ta‘ala. Similarly, in proportion to one’s reliance on Allah Ta‘ala, one will not fear poverty in the future, and in proportion to one not fearing poverty, one will express his generosity upon others. Since the level of Rasulullah’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) reliance upon Allah Ta‘ala was the highest, he never feared poverty and spent whatever he had upon the creation. Despite him, at times, not possessing any wealth of the world, he was still the greatest king in the world who possessed the greatest treasures. This was on account of the fact that his eyes were always focused on the unlimited treasures of Allah Ta‘ala and his heart was truly enriched with the true wealth of tawakkul and being pleased with the decree of Allah Ta‘ala at all times.

In one Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained, “The true riches are the riches of the heart.” Therefore, when he received the world, he spent it on the creation and kept nothing back for himself. It was as though possessing wealth and not possessing wealth was equal in his sight.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Imaam Tirmizi (rahimahullah) mentioned the tawakkul and reliance of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) after recording the Ahaadith that explain the high level of his generosity to the creation.

Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that the abovementioned high degree of tawakkul was the tawakkul that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) possessed and displayed in his personal life. As far as the ummah is concerned, then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not command them to uphold this high degree of tawakkul, nor did he prevent them from keeping wealth aside for their future needs. Rather, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) permitted the ummah to keep wealth, and even to increase their wealth, on condition that they discharge the zakaat of the wealth, fulfil the responsibilities that Allah Ta‘ala has placed upon them of spending on their families and subordinates, and ensure that the wealth does not become a means of disobeying Allah Ta‘ala.

The Tawakkul of Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum)

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), being the fountainhead of hidaayat, had inculcated within the hearts of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) the true reliance upon Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, we find that on the occasion of the expedition of Tabook, the Sahaabah were asked to spend whatever they could manage in order to mobilize the army. On this occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) dealt with each Sahaabi according to his deeni status and level of tawakkul.

Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddeeq (radhiyallahu anhu) had spent everything he possessed, while Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) spent half his wealth in the path of Allah Ta‘ala. Various other Sahaabah presented their contributions and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) accepted all. However, there was one Sahaabi who only possessed a piece of gold and wished to spend it in the path of Allah Ta‘ala, but Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not accept it, and explained that there are some people who will spend everything they have, and will thereafter resort to begging.

Hence, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), through his mubaarak words and actions, taught the ummah that each person should conduct according to his deeni position as well as endeavor to enhance his level of tawakkul, thereby gaining greater proximity to Allah Ta‘ala.

In regard to his sublime conduct with his beloved and respected wives (the mothers of the ummah), it is reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would give them an entire year’s expenditure in advance so that they may spend it in the manner they wished. Hence, if they wished, they could have kept it for themselves. However, being the respected wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), they had the same spirit as Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) of spending on the creation, and they kept very little aside for their own needs.

The Tawakkul of Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)

In regard to the tawakkul of our beloved mother, Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), it is reported that on one occasion, two bags of dirhams were presented to her as a gift. The total amount of the two bags was more than one hundred thousand dirhams. Upon receiving the gift, she immediately asked for a tray to be brought to her. She then filled the tray with the dirhams and began distributing them until there was nothing left.

At that time, she was fasting, and only had some bread and olive oil which she ate for iftaar. Observing this, her slave girl said, “If we purchased meat for one dirham today, we could have broken our fasts with it.” Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) replied, “What is the use of complaining now (after everything has been distributed)? If you had reminded me at that time, I would have purchased it for you.”

The Tawakkul of Hazrat Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha)

It is reported regarding Hazrat Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha) that she would spend liberally on the creation and would keep very little for herself. This was, in actual fact, the spirit of tawakkul that she had acquired through the mubaarak company of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), just as all the other wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had also acquired this very same spirit.

One incident, which is reported regarding the unique habit of Hazrat Zainab (radhiyallahu anha) in giving abundant charity, is mentioned in the books of Hadith.  When Hazrat Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would not have wealth to spend in charity, she would earn a living (from home) by tanning skins and sewing them into leather products which she would sell, so that she would be able to use the income to spend on the poor and needy. From this Hadith, it is clear that Hazrat Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had a deep passion for serving the creation and spending selflessly upon them, even though she would be left with very little for herself.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had once informed his respected wives that the first of them to join him after his demise (i.e. the first of them to pass away) would be the wife with the longest arms. The respected wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) initially understood this statement literally and thus began to measure and compare the length of their arms. After measuring their arms, they found that Hazrat Saudah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had the longest arms, and hence they thought that she would be the first to pass away after Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

It was only when Hazrat Zainab bintu Jahsh (radhiyallahu ‘anha) passed away first that they realized that ‘longest arms’ was actually referring to the one who gave the most sadaqah.

(Saheeh Bukhaari #1420, Saheeh Muslim #6316, Fat-hul Baari vol. 3, pg. 367 and Mirqaat vol. 4, pg. 377)


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