Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If they would only put their trust in Allah as they should, He would provide for them like he provides for the birds who fly out in the morning hungry and return fully satiated.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī (2344) and Sunan Ibn Mājah (4164)]
Reliance on Allah, as mentioned in this Prophetic statement, is referred to in Arabic as tawakkul. It literally means to place one’s affairs in the hands of another.
There is a name of Allah associated with this word: al-Wakīl (the Disposer of Affairs). The Qur’ān refers to Allah by this name fourteen times.
For instance, it says: “Say: Allah is sufficient for us! Most Excellent is He in whom we trust as Disposer of our Affairs!” [Sūrah Āl `Imrān: 173]
Also: “Allah is sufficient as Disposer of Affairs.” [Sūrah al-Nisā’: 81]
And: “He is the Disposer of All Affairs” [Sūrah al-An`ām: 102]
And: “As to what we say, Allah is the Disposer of Affairs.” [Sūrah al-Qasas: 28]
Allah, in His infinite knowledge, power and wisdom, governs the affairs of all aspects of His creation. Allah’s care is general for all things, living and nonliving, believer and unbeliever, the pious and the heedless, the grateful and the ungrateful. Allah’s concern, care, and mercy embraces all creation and all people, whether or not they believe in Him and whether or not they place their trust in Him.
There is, however, a special sense of this name, a sense that applies to those who believe in Him firmly and place their trust fully in Him. Allah makes matters easy for them and wards off hardship from them.
This is what the eminent Companion, IBn `Abbās was referring to when he said:
Allah is sufficient for us. Most Excellent is He in whom we trust as Disposer of our Affairs! This is what Abraham (peace be upon him) said when he was cast into the bonfire. It is also what Muhammad (peace be upon him) said when the people said: “’They have gathered against you, so fear them.’ However, it only increased the believers in faith, and they said: ‘Say: Allah is Sufficient for us! Most Excellent is He in whom we trust as Disposer of our affairs!’” [Sūrah Āl `Imrān: 173]
Allah takes particular care of the believers, their well-being and their sustenance. He shows particular concern for their affairs, especially those who put their full trust in Him. Allah says: “And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him.” [Sūrah al-Talāq: 3]
When we have a proper awareness that Allah is the Disposer of Affairs, we entrust our Lord with our concerns. We become accepting of His decree and seek after His bounty and grace.
This is what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was referring to when he said: “If they would only put their trust in Allah as they should, He would provide for them like he provides for the birds who fly out in the morning hungry and return fully satiated.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī (2344) and Sunan Ibn Mājah (4164)]
The example of the bird going out in the morning shows us that one of the greatest expressions of faith and devotion is to take all practical steps to achieve our goals while at the same time placing our complete reliance upon Allah for the outcome.
Allah enjoins this upon us, saying: “(He is) Lord of the East and the West. There is no god but He. Take Him therefore as Disposer of your Affairs.” [Sūrah al-Muzammil: 9]
Likewise, Allah forbids us to place our true reliance in anything other than Him: “We gave Moses the Book, and made it a Guide to the Children of Israel, (commanding): ‘Take not other than Me as Disposer of (your) affairs’.” [Sūrah al-Isrā’: 2]
Together, these two verses show us that putting our trust in Allah is an act of worship. Through our devoted trust and reliance, we express our monotheistic belief, and therefore these are things we should direct towards Allah alone.