Trust in God; but Tie your camel first.

Tie Your Camel

Aaminah Hernandez is an American writer who converted to Islam seven years ago

Relying on Allah for sustenance does not mean not taking preparative measures for your future.
Relying on Allah for sustenance does not mean not taking preparative measures for your future. Picture ©

Trust in Allah is a difficult issue that can be easily misunderstood. There is a temptation to believe that by trusting in Allah, we can relieve ourselves of any responsibility for our actions or role in events and situations that arise in our lives.

Quranic verses such as the one below remind us that Allah provides for all our affairs and is All-Powerful.
{Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and
Disposer of all affairs.} (Az-Zumar 39:6)
But trust in Allah is not meant to absolve us of working for our needs and striving towards good futures. In fact, part of the means by which Allah provides for us is in the intellectual and reasoning capacity that He created humans with. 
Allah has provided for our needs by giving us the ability to work for our sustenance and to strive for our goals, both in the present and in the future. This is evidenced in the following verse of the Quran:
{And that man can have nothing but what he strives for.} (An-Najm 53:39)
One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.
The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah
This refers to the common sense and reasoning that Allah in His Infinite Mercy has bestowed upon the human intellect, so that we are able to take due precautions, plan and prepare for possible future events, and create a means of addressing those needs on our own. 
It seems to have become a common practice for people to say that preventative and preparative actions are unnecessary because they display a lack of trust in Allah for our sustenance, safety, or future plans. 
Planning Your Future
Some people do not plan and save for their retirement when they will be unable to work or purchase health insurance to assist in paying the costs of medical needs that may arise.  Some people go so far as to spend their entire paycheck without heed of upcoming rent or other basic necessities that their family may need in the upcoming weeks. 
Some do not even work a steady job, but pursue Islamic knowledge and traveling to share this knowledge, while leaving behind families that are destitute because bills are not being paid. If asked, these people say that they are trusting in Allah to provide for them and their families.
Many questions arise in our minds when we consider pursuing a path of savings, preparation for the future, and taking preventative precautions against possible future disasters.  
It is important for us to understand our own role in providing for ourselves and others. 

It is easy to wonder and worry if it is sinful to “horde” possessions, food, or money in this way. We begin to question our level of trust in Allah, thinking that it must be low for us to feel the need to plan for the future that we may not even see.

While it is sadly true that we often forget to ask Allah for our needs, and are not sufficiently grateful for the means that He provides us with, as the hadith about tying our camel tells us, it is not correct to leave everything to Him and do nothing to support ourselves and our families. It is important for us to understand our own role in providing for ourselves and others.
We build dams to hold water back from flooding villages. We do not walk in front of a bus, trusting that Allah will bring us to the opposite side of the street with no damage. We put aside portions of each paycheck towards the upcoming rent or mortgage payment. 
Trusting in Allah and His plan and mercy is of great importance to our faith. 

We fill the car with enough gas to ensure we can get to our destination without running out. We lock our homes when leaving to prevent being robbed. We eat good foods, honey, and herbs, to prevent illnesses.

These are all examples of humans doing the work necessary to create a good life in the present and future, while preventing potential problems.

We each have a responsibility to strive for our needs and the needs of our families, not expecting Allah to drop the rent money from the sky or to have groceries just show up at our door. We laugh at such a picture, but when we forget to work and plan for these needs, this seems to be what we are expecting to happen. 
Have Trust in Allah
Trusting in Allah and His plan and mercy is of great importance to our faith. We should never stop trusting that whatever is happening in our lives is happening for a reason and that we can learn and grow from it, and that His Mercy will assist us through it.
Nor should we forget that everything we have is only held in trust from Allah, and that we should use it wisely and share it with others. But we must also remember that we have responsibilities that He has given us: to obey Him, worship and remember Him, and to also do our part in making things happen. 
Ultimately, if our camel is meant to wander, no amount of tying him will keep him from getting free, as this verse of the Quran tells us:

{And you will not will except as Allah Wills, the Lord of the worlds.}(At-Takwir81:29)

But if we do not bother to tie our camel, and he wanders off or is stolen, we have only ourselves to blame. 
Let’s increase our trust in Allah, and let’s do our part by tying our camels!

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