Trust in Allah and Submission to Divine Will
Surrender and submission to Divine will is to let go of one’s desires and priorities for what Allah has destined. It is to completely annihilate oneself (inwardly) to the will of Allah and put their trust in Allah.
When light of faith enlightens one’s inward and they have firm belief that nothing can happen without the will of Allah. Then no matter what happens – whether good or bad, they remain calm and content on it knowing that it is from Allah.
Allah says in Quran:
It may be that you dislike a thing and (in fact) that is good for you. And it is (also) likely that you like a thing but (in fact) that is bad for you. And Allah knows well but you do not know. (2:216)
Therefore, the belief that whatever happens is with the will of Allah makes a believer remain calm and content in every situation whether good or bad and he or she never utters a word of dismay.
Allah says at another place in Quran:
(O Allah) All good is in Your Mighty Hand. Surely, You have absolute authority and control over everything. (3: 26)
Only true believers reach the station of complete surrender and submission to Divine will.
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) once said about submission to Divine will:
One who completely submits to the will of Allah gains complete faith.
The period between remaining content upon the will of Allah and attaining the essence of faith is that of trial. Allah says in Quran:
Do people think that they will be released (just) on saying: ‘We have believed,’ and they will not be tried? (29: 2)
Submission to Divine Will makes one Content
With submission to Divine will and trust in Allah, one entrusts everything to Allah Almighty. Regardless of how difficult the situation maybe, the believer remains content upon the will of Allah. On the contrary, the one who lacks this blessing keeps wondering why such a thing happened to him? If I had done such and such I may have avoided such loss etc.
Therefore, if someone is not familiar with the inward state of surrender and submission to Divine will, he or she always complains, even on meagre things. Thus, the first of the benefits of faith is that it makes one content and blesses with inward peace. However, as it relates to feelings, it is not a tangible thing and as such one cannot feel it outwardly. It is an inward state. One can gauge it from someone’s daily life, how content they are inwardly.
If there was no hick up in people’s lives and everything were to take place according to their will then how would it be possible to test their trust in Allah and submission to Divine will? That is why Allah made the world a place of trial for man and therefore, everyone has to go through trials. Allah Says in Quran:
And indeed, We have made whatever is on earth a means of its beauty (and adornment) so that We test (the inhabitants of the earth) as to who is better in deeds. (18: 7)
Allah Tests His Men
In another verse Allah explains how He will test His men:
And We will most certainly test you somewhat by means of fear and hunger and certain loss of wealth and lives and fruits. And, (O Beloved,) give glad tidings to those who observe patience. (2: 155)
The intensity and difficulty of trial varies with how close a person is to Allah. The more one is closer to Allah, the more difficult trial they will face. As Allah says in Quran:
Allah does not put under stress any soul more than its endurance. (2: 286)
Once someone asked the Holy Prophet: Who faces the toughest trial? The Holy Prophet replied: ‘The Prophets face the toughest trials. Then those who are closest to their rank and so on’. (Sunnan Tirmadhi 8932)
Allah mentions the trials of Prophets throughout Quran and their reward:
And (call to mind) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) tested him with several commands which he fulfilled. (On this) Allah said: ‘I am going to make you the leader of mankind.’ (2: 124)
And indeed, We (also) put Sulayman (Solomon) to trial, and placed an (unusually created) body on his throne. (38: 34)
So, when (Sulayman [Solomon]) saw it (the throne) placed before him, he said: ‘This is by the Grace of my Lord so that He may put me to the test whether I thank (Him) or not.’ (27: 40)
At another place, Allah says about Prophet Moses:
(And We) tested and assessed you through many trials. (20: 40)
The pious men of Allah are a complete embodiment of submission to Divine will and trust in Allah. They do not object on the destiny that Allah has set for them. As per the aforementioned Hadith, after the prophets, their companions face the toughest trials.
Ali ibn Abi Talib and Submission to Divine Will
Once Prophet Mohammad saw Ali ibn Abi Talib with soil on his body, he said: ‘O Ali, shall I tell you about two very unfortunate men? Ali said, ‘O Prophet of Allah! Please do’. The Holy Prophet said: ‘One is Uhaimir who hamstrung the camel of Prophet Salih. The second would be that who will strike you at head which will make your beard turn red with blood’. (Musnad Ahmad 12381)
When Ali ibn Abi Talib used to see Abd al-Rahman ibn Muljam, he used to call him his assassin. People asked Ali, ‘Why don’t you kill him?’ Upon which Ali said: ‘How can I kill my assassin?’ (Al-Fakhri Fi Adaab al-Sultania)
The aforementioned proves the fact that Ali ibn Abi Talib knew his fate and he also knew his assassin yet he did not kill him when he could have. Instead, he completely submitted to Divine will. Same was the case of Imam Hussain. He knew from a very young age that one day he would be martyred at Karbala. He never wished to escape from that. Instead, he was ever prepared to face his destiny and submitted completely to the will of Allah. Similarly, all his companions were also very loyal. They stayed with him until the last breath and sacrificed their lives for their leader and spiritual guide.
The station of surrender and submission makes one completely indifferent to the worldly life. This provides them the strength to sacrifice everything in the way of Allah, even their life. The way Imam Hussain demonstrated trust in Allah and submission to Divine will at Karbala, there is no precedence in history nor there will be one until the Day of Judgement.
Submission to Divine Will and Iqbal
According to Iqbal:
خودی کو کر بلند اتنا کہ ہر تقدیر سے پہلے
خدا بندے سے خود پوچھے بتا تیری رضا کیا ہے
Explanation: You must elevate your soul to such closeness of Allah by loving Him ardently and submitting and surrendering to His will that He may always ask you about your will before deciding your fate.
Wisdom behind Trials
Allah Almighty is merciful, He is compassionate and the Lord of all the worlds. He loves His men more than seventy mothers’ love put together. When He loves His men so much then what is the reason behind putting them through trials? There are many reasons behind this.
Distinguishing Sincere and Insincere
When a person goes through trial, it brings out his hidden attributes, whether good or bad. Allah has stated many times in Quran the reason for trial and tests is to differentiate between true and false, sincere and insincere.
And surely, We tried (also) those who were before them. Allah will certainly show up (through trial) those who are truthful (in claiming beliefs), and shall make the liars (as well) stand out. (29: 3)
And We shall certainly try you till We bring to light those of you who strive hard and fight (firm-footed) and who observe patience and expose your (secret) news (of hypocritical cowardice) as well. (47: 31)
Indeed, Allah is all knowing and all hearing. He knows who is sincere and who is hypocrite. The purpose of trial and test is to reveal this to the world so people know the reality of who is what. Allah says at another place in Quran:
And that has been (done) so that Allah may test what is in your breasts, and purge exhaustively (the apprehensions) pent up in your hearts. And Allah has thorough knowledge of the secrets of breasts. (3: 154)
Trials Bring out Man’s Hidden Potential
Allah has blessed man with numerous hidden and obvious qualities. Man has many such qualities that he himself is unaware of. In order to bring these out, Allah passes a person through such circumstances that enhance those hidden qualities within him. If the process of trial and test did not exist, man’s personality would have remained immature and he would have never achieved his full potential.
For example, Allah has blessed man with the ability to talk which enables him to communicate and helps discharge day to day tasks. However, if circumstances take such a turn that the same ability of a person becomes a means of differentiating between Truth and falsehood. That is only possible due to system of trial and test. The best example of this is Syeda Zainab’s upholding and propagation of truth after the incident of Karbala in the court of Yazid and his aides.
Fair and Consistent
When a teacher teaches the students throughout the year he or she knows which students will pass and which ones will fail. Despite that the students go through the process of taking examination. Similarly, Allah knows from eternity who is creation will succeed in this life and who will follow Satan. Allah removes the ambiguity through trial and test in the worldly life so that no one can claim on the day of judgement that Allah blessed His chosen men without any trial and He passed others through various trials.
Man only gets what he strives for
It has become a common perception among Muslims that everything happens according to the will of Allah. Therefore, one should accept the destiny and they don’t put any effort. This is not true. It is a fact which has been stated in Quran that man only gets what he strives for. Allah says in Quran:
And that man (according to justice) will get only that for which he strives. (As for bounty, no one has any right to it. That is merely Allah’s bestowal and pleasure, granting as much as He wills to whom He pleases.) (53: 39)
Man must strive in life to the best of his ability. Once he has put his best in something then he should leave the rest on Allah Almighty. If the result in not what he desired then he must accept that wholeheartedly and submit to Divine will. Man can only put his best efforts into something. The result is what Allah desires.
Mian Mohammad Bakhsh has beautifully explained this reality in his poetry as below:
مالی دا کم پانی دینا، بھر بھر مشکاں پاوے
مالک دا کم پھل پھول لانا، لاوے یا نہ لاوے
Explanation: A man can only put his best efforts in achieving something and that’s what he must do. The result is from Allah Almighty i.e. what Allah desires. If the result is what the man expected then they should thank Allah. On the contrary, if the result is not what they expected then the man must remain content upon the will of Allah.
Trust in Allah
There is a Hadith about putting one’s best into something and maintaining trust in Allah:
Anas ibn Malik says, once someone asked the Holy Prophet about trust in Allah: ‘Shall I tie the camel first and then leave the rest upon Allah (i.e. have trust in Allah) or shall I leave the camel loose and have faith in Allah (that He will look after my camel)? The Holy Prophet replied: ‘Tie the camel (to peg) and then leave the rest upon Allah’. (Jama Tirmadhi 7152)
Shaikh Saadi says:
It is shear madness to only rely upon prayers without having put in your part of the effort. And to not pray i.e. not ask Allah’s help after doing your best is arrogance.
Wasif Ali Wasif says:
Destiny belongs to the will of Allah whereas planning is within my give.
Submission to Divine Will and Trust in Allah According to Iqbal
Allama Iqbal explained submission to Divine will and trust in Allah through his poetry:
ہر شاخ سے یہ نکتہ پیچیدہ ہے پیدا
پودوں کو بھی احساس ہے پہنائے فضا کا
ظلمت کدۂ خاک پہ شاکر نہیں رہتا
ہر لحظہ ہے دانے کو جنوں نشوونما کا
فطرت کے تقاضوں پہ نہ کر راہِ عمل بند
مقصود ہے کچھ اور ہی تسلیم و رضا کا
جرات ہو نمو کی تو فضا تنگ نہیں ہے
اے مردِ خدا ملکِ خدا تنگ نہیں ہے
Explanation: Iqbal has explained surrender and submission to Divine will and trust in Allah in this poem. Submission to Divine will does not mean that one becomes oblivious to his or her duties or stops making an effort to achieve something.
Pondering over the development of plants, we can understand that even the plants have the understanding that their environment is very vast and that they have the opportunity to grow and expand.
The seed doesn’t remain dormant in soil, instead it strives for its growth and sprouts out of the soil. And this growth continues throughout its life. There is a lesson for man here that even the seed does not remain still, instead it continues to strive for growth.
Therefore, Iqbal encourages the man to take lesson from plants. Our innate being demands that we continue to strive to achieve our purpose in life. Surrender and submission to will not mean that a person sits idle. Instead, man must put his best effort into everything and then leave the rest upon Allah.
In the last verse, Iqbal says, if you have the passion to grow and succeed then the whole world is there for you. Remember! Allah’s earth is very vast. (Excerpt from Urdu journal Islam aur Musalman)
The Reward of Submission to Divine Will
One who sincerely strives to attain closeness of Allah, he surely succeeds in that. The vicegerent of Sultan Bahoo and the present Imam of the Sarwari Qadri order, Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:
When a believer crosses the station of surrender and submission to Divine will, Allah blesses him with a special light (Nur) i.e. with Divine vision. After which he or she get a new life every moment. (Sultan ul Ashiqeen)
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman writes in his famous book, Sufism – The Soul of Islam:
The station of surrender and submission to Divine will is one of the key stations on inward journey. Only after crossing this station, the final two stations open to the seeker i.e. Divine vision and presence in Mohammadan Assembly.
And with regard to adopting the Din (Religion), who can be better than the one who submits his whole being entirely to Allah. (4:125)
In light of the aforementioned Hadiths and verses from Quran it is clear that every person has to go through trials in life whether they are an ordinary person or chosen men of Allah. Everyone has to face trials in order to attain closeness of Allah. This has been the tradition since eternity. Only those succeed who do not object on trials and during difficulties. Instead, they continue to strive and put the rest upon Allah and remain content on whatever the outcome is. On the path of Sufism (Faqr) Divine love is must for a seeker to succeed. It is the Divine love that provides the strength and perseverance to remain steadfast on this path and eventually blesses the seeker with presence in Mohammadan Assembly.
Sultan ul Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali says:
It is ardent Divine love that leads to presence in Mohammadan Assembly. Otherwise intellect denies such thing. (Sufism – The Soul of Islam)
In today’s testing times, it is the company of Sarwari Qadri spiritual guide Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman which enlightens the inward with the light of faith and Allah’s love. We all must strive to achieve Allah’s consent and His closeness. For that sanctification of inciting self is important, which is impossible without the beneficence of perfect spiritual guide. So, we urge you to pledge allegiance to the perfect spiritual guide and Universal Divine Man of the era Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. May Allah grant us all the strength to become submissive to His wills in all situations. Ameen
- Sufism – The Soul of Islam: Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
- Sultan ul Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Life and Teachings: Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
- Sultan ul Ashiqeen: Sultan ul Faqr Publications
- Zarb e Kaleem: Allama Mohammad Iqbal
- Journal: Islam aur Musalman
This is English translation of Urdu Blog رضائے الٰہی میں زندگی گزارنا that appeared in September 2022 issue of Mahnama Sultan ul Faqr Lahore. Mrs Faqiha Sarwari Qadri authored the original article. Waheed Hassan Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English.
What is surrender and submission to Divine will?
Surrender and submission to Divine will is an attribute of true believers. It is one of the very exalted waystations on the path of Faqr (Sufism). Only after a seeker crosses the station of surrender and submission to Divine will and trust in Allah that he or she is blessed with Divine vision and presence in Mohammadan Assembly.