Trusting others helps us to live our lives. We rely on others to do the right things so that we can live harmoniously and avoid conflict.

Those who are close to us, such as our families and friends, we trust even more. We know each other intimately, and so we entrust one another with our needs, secrets and weaknesses.

However, the history of humankind shows us that this glue of trust often breaks down. Moments of betrayal cleave communities and even families apart, causing heartaches that can take a lifetime to heal.

Although our desires and shortcomings prevent us from being able to ever fully rely upon each other, there is someone who we can always rely on: Allah. He is Allah, whose Names and Attributes epitomise beauty and perfection. He is Allah, al-Wakīl: “He is the Lord of the east and the west. There is no god worthy of worship except Him, so take Him as a Wakīl” (73:9).

The Meaning of al-Wakīl

Wakīl is the Arabic word for an ‘agent’, ‘advocate’ or ‘trustee’. It is derived from the root word, wa-ka-la, which refers to the act of entrusting, assigning or displaying reliance.

Allah is al-Wakīl, because He alone discharges the affairs of His servants. In English, al-Wakīl is usually translated as the Trustee, the Guardian, and the Protector. Whilst these words convey meanings to us based on our experiences, Allah, in reality, is more than this.

His knowledge captures every detail of every event and every being – over all of which He has complete power. Every action of His is perfect because of His all-encompassing wisdom.

He is the one to whom things are wholly entrusted because only He is fully capable of carrying them out and completely faithful in executing them. He is Al Wakil, the Ultimate Trustee.

Another word which come from the same letters (wa-ka-la) is tawakkul. One of the best and most noble ways to worship Allah with His Name al-Wakīl is by doing tawakkul. Tawakkul is to have complete trust and utmost reliance upon Allah.

Maximum Protection

Whilst the guardianship (‘wakālah’) of Allah encompasses all of His creation in a general sense, there is another special type of ‘wakālah’. This wakālah consists of complete, and specific, guardianship for those who worship Him and entrust to Him all their affairs.

In Sūrah al-Isrā’, Allah (subḥānahū wa taʿālā) describes Shayṭān’s strategies of misleading human beings in detail. At the end of the passage, He says to Shayṭān, “‘You will truly have no authority over My (faithful) servants.’ – And sufficient is your Lord as a Protector (Wakīl)” (17:65). We learn from this that we are in the need of Allah’s ‘wakālah’ to defend ourselves against Shayṭān. We can do this by: 1) putting our trust in Allah and 2) remaining in servitude to Him.

The Tawakkul of Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām)

For many years, Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām) called his people to pure monotheism: that they turn away from their idols and direct their worship to Allah alone. Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām) presented them with intellectual arguments and proofs, but they refused to submit to the truth.

When they could not defeat him intellectually, they resorted – as all tyrants do – to using their power and strength. They said, “Burn him up to avenge your gods, if you must act” )21:68).

His community united to kill him. They prepared a huge fire intending to burn not only Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām) but the truth that he came with. The fire burned fiercely with huge sparks and immense flames. They chained Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām) onto a catapult to launch him into the inferno and watch his body burn.

As they threw him into the fire, he cried,

حَسْبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ ٱلْوَكِيلُ

Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best Protector (Wakīl).

The response of al-Wakīl was swift: “O fire! Be cool and safe for Ibrāhīm!” (21:69). Imām Ṭabarī writes, ‘And there was not a fire left on earth that was not extinguished.’

Allah (ʿazza wa jall) says, “And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers” (21:70).

What was it that allowed Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām) to stand before a blazing furnace and impending death, yet still know with full certainty that he was going to be fine? It was tawakkul. A firm understanding that al-Wakīl, and none other, possesses complete control over his life. He was certain that nobody could harm him except by Allah’s permission, and that the one who placed his trust in al-Wakīl had little to worry about.

Many centuries later, we hear this powerful statement (‘حَسْبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ ٱلْوَكِيلُ’) repeated. The Prophet ﷺ and the companions (radiy Allāhu ʿanhum) had just returned from the Battle of Uḥud. It had been a testing battle in which the initial happiness of victory quickly turned to sadness. Seventy companions lost their lives, many more were injured, and rumours spread that the Prophet ﷺ had been killed.

Amidst this pain and exhaustion, the companions (radiy Allāhu ʿanhum) were asked by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ to join him in battle again the next day. They were warned, “Your enemies have mobilized their forces against you, so fear them!” (3:173). But the believers were not fazed. On the contrary, Allah says, it “increased them in īmān, and they replied,

حَسْبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ ٱلْوَكِيلُ

Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best Protector (Wakīl) (3:173).”

And they walked out victorious.

How Can We Connect to al-Wakīl?

1. Place our trust in Allah (tawakkul)

Tawakkul is to fully hand over our matters to Allah (ʿazza wa jall). It is to utilise the means Allah has given us, but to not attach our hearts to these means. Instead, we must put our complete reliance on the Giver of these means.

To trust Him means to obey Him, even when the world tells us otherwise. To trust Him means we are certain that when we let go of something for His sake, He will replace it with something far better.

2. Uphold your obligations to guarantee Allah’s protection

There are many deeds taught to us by our beloved Messenger ﷺ which ensure the protection of Allah for us. For example, he ﷺ said, “Whoever prays fajr is in the protection of Allah” (Muslim). See more deeds here.

3. Find comfort and courage through al-Wakīl

Allah Al-Wakīl never abandons the one who hands over his affairs to Him. He is the One who ‘has your back’. Thus, firm reliance and trust in al-Wakīl should fill our hearts with contentment and optimism, despite the difficulties of our lives. Likewise, it should give us the bravery and courage to practice and propagate the dīn of Allah (subḥānahū wa taʿālā).

4. Regularly supplicate with this Name

We should call out to Allah to handle our affairs by His name al-Wakīl. We should not limit it to times of difficulties, but also ease, as we need Allah to take care of us in all of our matters.

Following in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet ﷺ and his father Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām), we should regularly supplicate to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) with:

حَسْبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ ٱلْوَكِيلُ

Allah is enough for us and He is the Best Protector.

We ask al-Wakīl to extend His guardianship and protection over us all, just as He did for His friend Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām), His beloved Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ and the noble companions (radiy Allāhu ʿanhum).

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