Reliance, Submission And Pilgrimage


What is the reliance in islam? What is the submission in islam? What is the pilgrimage in islam?

The words reliance (tawakkul), submission (taslimiyah) and pilgrimage (hajj) instantly call to mind Abraham and Ismail (as). For one, pilgrimage, which Muslims will continue to make until the last hour, is an act that is founded on their sincerity.

Tawakkul is to rely on or trust in someone. In Sufism, it is to fill the heart with divine love, and depend on and seek refuge in none other than Allah (jj).

Allah asked Moses (as) ‘to throw his staff’, as relying on the staff was casting a shadow on his reliance on Allah (jj).

The Qur’an says:

“And upon Allah let the believers rely!” (Ibrahim, 14: 11; al-Tawbah, 9:  51)

“And rely upon Allah, if you are believers.” (Al-Ma’idah, 5: 23)

“And whoever relies upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him.” (Al-Talaq, 65: 3)

The Noble Prophet (saw) says:

“If you were to truly rely on Allah, you would be fed like the birds who leave their nests hungry in the morning but return on a full stomach at night!” (Al-Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 33; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 14)

However, relying on Allah is not to abandon precautions or to stop trying. On the contrary, it is to seek help in Allah’s infinite power only after having taken the necessary measures.

The Almighty says:

“…and consult them. And once you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely upon Him.” (Al Imran, 3:  159)

Allah (jj) is the Cause of all causes. He has the power to execute His will even outside the laws of nature:

He created Adam (as) from soil and Eve, from Adam’s (as) flesh.

He brought Jesus (as) into the world through Mary, without a father.

He made Abraham (as) resistant to the fire after ordering it to keep ‘cool and calm’.

He opened a passage for Moses (as) through the sea just with the strike of a staff and helped them escape the Pharaoh’s tyranny.

He left Ezra to lie dead for a hundred years, while preserving the food by his side and bringing back to life his donkey which had long been reduced to bones.

He enabled the Sleepers of the Cave to lie in slumber for more than three hundred years without food or water.

The Almighty can make a person walk on water or fly without wings. He can suspend eyesight and turn the heart into an eye that can peer into worlds no man can see.

Yet, it would be arrogant and immodest to think that a fire will not burn just because it did not burn Abraham (as).

Rumi explains:

“There is such a thing as entering the fire in the path of Allah. However, first look at yourself to see if you carry the attribute of Abraham. For the fire recognises that, not you!”

Thus, it is dangerous and ignorant to hold oneself in the same light as those who have greater spiritual rank. What we need to do is take our precautions, resort to the available means and depend on Allah for a result. For relying on Allah without taking the necessary steps is something that has been forbidden by the Prophet (saw).

A bedouin once told the Prophet (saw), “I let my camel roam in the desert and rely on Allah to bring it back to me”.

The Prophet (saw) warned, “Tie your camel and only then rely on Allah!” (Al-Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 60) 

During a campaign, caliph Umar (ra) advised the Muslim army against entering a town struck with a contagious disease. Commander Abu Ubaydah ibn Jarrah (ra) commented, “Are you trying to escape divine fate?”

“No”, he replied. “We seeking refuge from one divine fate in another!”.

For the Prophet (saw) has ordered caution against infectious diseases, saying, “Do not let the ill near the healthy!(Al-Bukhari, Tibb, 53; Muslim, Salam, 104)

Allah is the helper of believers in both worlds. Relying on Him is enough. Finding peace and comfort, both as an individual and a society, lies in turning to Him and seeking His help.

Taslimiyah, or submission, is for one to obey and find peace by accepting whatever comes his way.  Submission is done with the heart. It sets one free from doubting the words of Allah, from desires that go against His commands and contradict sincerity, and from objecting to divine will and the laws of religion.

True submission is possible only through a trust that comes with a genuine contentedness with whatever may be in store. Only a being, who can be trusted in every sense of the term, can be relied on. Because that being can be none other than Allah, one must submit only to Him. However, to do that, we must wholeheartedly and with certainty believe that:

– All power belongs to Allah (jj),

– No being can do any good or harm without His permission,

– All beings are mortal, except for Him, who is immortal,

– All beings need Him but He needs no one,

-And there is no being like Him.

But man’s submission to Allah is proportionate to how much he knows of Allah and how much he believes in Him. Submission is the essence of being a servant and it is therefore the most important kind of turn the heart can make to the Lord. This turn begins with faith and increases with knowledge.

Abraham (as) displayed one of the most consummate examples of turning to Allah. He had absolutely no place in his heart except for the Lord. The angels had wondered:

“But, our Lord! Abraham has his own life, as well as children and belongings! How can he be a ‘friend’ to You?”

However, on three separate occasions, Allah showed the angels Abraham’s (as) unconditional submission and just what made him a ‘friend’. These trials and their results are brilliant examples to those who follow in his path.

The angels had come to Abraham’s (as) help just as he was about to be thrown into the fire. However, he said, “I do not need you! Who has given fire the power to burn?” He then sought refuge in Allah, saying, “What a wonderful Trustee he is!”

As a reward for his submission, the fire was told be “cool and peaceful for Abraham!”.

Again, as the father and son were walking on the path of submission, one as a sacrificer and the other as the sacrifice itself, they united as one to stone the devil trying to sever their ties with Allah. In return for their surrender to Allah’s will, they were sent a ram from paradise.

Once again, Abraham’s (as) vast wealth meant nothing in value compared to Jibril (as) mentioning Allah’s name just three times. “You can go ahead and have them all!” he said.

Ruwaym defines Sufism as, “Surrendering the soul to Allah’s will…”

Being a servant is to submit. That is because Allah does not want His servants to serve any One else other than Him. He wants His servants to save themselves from the claws of desire.

The Qur’an says:

“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him.” (Al-Isra, 17: 23)

“Have you seen he who has taken his desire as god, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah? Will you not be reminded?” (Al-Jathiyah, 45: 23)

To submit is to obey through love. It was through this kind of submission that Abraham (as) did not allow his own life, kids or wealth to stand between him and Allah. Hajj, or the pilgrimage, became a deed of worship that has symbolized his trust and submission.

Abraham’s (as) tongue simply translated the language of his heart, when he said:

“I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds.” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 131)

Hajj, which is the symbol of a father and son’s reliance and submission, is the manifestation of a servant’s love for Allah. It is to enter the fold of infinite divine compassion by shedding all feelings that are mortal. It is to undress from all worldly ranks and to drape oneself in just two pieces of cloth called ihram, and to walk towards Allah barefooted and barehanded with steps taken from the heart.

When in ihram, one cannot hunt, cut a strand of hair or even pull out a single weed. One cannot engage in rafas, fisq or jidal.[1] There is only love, mercy and courtesy for the created, for the sake of the Creator.

Hajj shows us that sins can be shed only through pleading to Allah through worship that rests on reliance and submission.

May Allah (jj) grant us a life of reliance and submission! May He be our sole refuge and shelter! And may He give us the opportunity to make pilgrimage with a heart that feels!

[1].      See, al-Baqarah, 197. Rafas is to engage in or talk about sexual intercourse or saying anything bad in general. Fisq comprises every kind of sinful action, while jidal is to get into useless fights and arguments.