Humans, by nature, like to take things into their own hands. Sometimes, we give something our all and then get disappointed when things don't work out the way we wanted them to. We live in a society of I am Akbar. Everything is about me. I try and the result is because of what I did. I, I, I. But, what do we say when we start salaah? Allahu Akbar. Allah is greater. Allah is greater than my disappointment, He is greater than my plans, and Allah (swt) is greater than my worries. We need to start seeing the bigger picture rather than let small moments define us. We need to realize that Allah (swt) has every little puzzle piece in our life beautifully figured out.
When we don't get the grade that we had diligently prepared for, when we don't get into med school that we had spent years dreaming about, and when nothing is going right in our day, we need to step back and have tawakkul. Tawakkul is trusting that Allah (swt) will take care of your affairs, even when things look impossible. It is realizing that Allah's plan is the best plan.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “If you trust Allah with the right kind of tawakkul, He will provide you sustenance as He provides for the birds – they go out in the morning with empty stomachs and come back in the evening with full stomachs” (Tirmidhi).
The story of Hajar is a beautiful example of Tawakkul. Ibrahim left Hajar and their baby, Ismail, in a barren desert. Hajar asked Ibrahim, “Were you commanded by your Lord to bring us here?” “Yes,” he responded. This was the moment when Hajar knew she was in the greatest of hands. She knew that things are not what they seem. She knew that even though she couldn't see any form of sustenance at the moment, it did not mean Allah (swt) wouldn't provide for her later on or that He (swt) would abandon them. She knew that Allah (swt) is the best of Protector's.
But, did Hajar just sit there waiting for sustenance? No! She ran between al-safa and al-marwa, back and forth, trying everything she could to find water for Ismail.
“When a man came to Prophet Mohammed (s) and asked him if he should have trust in Allah, or tie his camel and then have trust in Allah, the Prophet (s) replied that he should tie his camel securely and put his trust in Allah.”
This teaches us that when we have a test, we study to the best of our ability and then place our trust in Allah (swt) and be content with the outcome. When we are applying for a masters, we try to get the best letter of recommendations, do our volunteer hours, try to get a high GPA, and do all that we can to make our application look good; but, we trust that Allah's plan is better for us even when we don't get in.
“Tawwakul is not an act of the limbs—it is an act of the heart. And so while the limbs are striving hard, the heart is completely reliant on Allah. This means whatever the outcome of the limbs’ striving, the heart will be completely satisfied, knowing that it is the flawless decision of Allah.”
Knowledge is only beneficial when it is put into effect. It's a brand new semester, and the last semester of undergrad for many. Remember, after you give it your all, have full trust that Allah (swt) is the best of planners. Don't despair when things don't go the way you want. When you trust in Allah's plan, beautiful things will start to happen. You might not see it now, and you might not see it in a year or two; but, realize that Allah (swt) is the Knower of the unseen, He knows and we do not. He knows what is best for us. Even when you have always dreamt of getting into that graduate school, or med school of your dreams, if you gave it your all and it didn't happen for you, don't despair. Allah (swt) has got your back. Down the road, you will realize that His plan was greater than anything you could have dreamt of. :)
I leave you with the beautiful words of Yasir Birjas:
"To be happy you need two things: Tawakul (faith) and Rida (contentment). Here's what that means. You do your best to get what you want. Then you leave it to Allah, and trust that he'll take care of the rest. Finally, you stay content with whatever Allah has decreed for you. This means that's you shouldn't wait to get what you want or question why your prayers aren't being answered. Just trust that Allah's got this. He knows what you need better than you."