Does a person's self-confidence prevent him from tawakkul in Allah?

The Details of the Question

Do the concepts of self-confidence and tawakkul (putting trust in Allah) have aspects opposite to each other?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

For a better understanding of the subject, let us first look at what the terms "Self-confidence" and "Tawakkul" mean. For, if the same concepts are given different meanings, there will be no agreement and an inextricable confusion will occur.

As a matter of fact, it is seen that giving different meanings to the same concept underlies many of the issues discussed in society within the framework of Islam today.

The concept of “self-confidence” in developmental psychology expresses the development of positive feelings towards oneself and feeling good as a result. A person who feels good and is at peace with himself, with his body, with his personality, and with his abilities, will be at peace with his surroundings and have a positive communication with them. That person does not consider himself inferior to anyone else, nor above anyone else because this person knows himself well, he also knows what to do and when to do something. From this point of view, he is comfortable in society and trusts the abilities given to him by Allah for his deeds. Accordingly, he is brave and courageous.

When we look at the issue from this perspective, a self-confident person does not say “I can do everything”, but only knows what he can and cannot do. He is happy with what he can do; he can easily tell what he cannot do, and asks for help.

People with self-confidence are not always very capable, very positive people because this feeling is mostly one's own subjective evaluation. There are people who don't like themselves despite being very handsome and beautiful; there are also people who are unaware of their abilities or despise them and have low self-esteem or vice versa.

The concept of tawakkul, on the other hand, means that a person surrenders unconditionally to Allah and consents to his fate after doing his best in the face of an event within the framework of the capabilities that Allah has given him. In other words, it means to rely on and trust Allah after acting in accordance with all material and nonmaterial reasons to reach the goal, and to leave the rest to Allah's discretion.

This meaning is mentioned in many verses in the Quran. For example, in the 159th verse of the chapter of Aal-i Imran, Allah Almighty advised the Prophet to consult those around him about his affairs, and then He commanded, “Once you make a decision, put your trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust in Him.”

A companion asked the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): "Should I put my trust in Allah (doing tawakkul) for my camel after or before tethering it?" Our Prophet (pbuh) said to him: "First tether your camel, then trust in Allah" (Tirmidhi, Qiyama, 60) This hadith shows us when to do tawakkul.

As can be understood from these explanations, self-confidence and tawakkul are not contradictory concepts, nor are they concepts that will be used instead of each other.

While self-confidence means being aware of the blessings and abilities that Allah has given to a person and taking action, tawakkul means trusting and surrendering to Allah for the result after doing his/her best.

Here the following question may come to mind:

How should we balance between trusting ourselves due to the talents we have and trusting in God, in order to attain happiness in both worlds and not be responsible religiously?

The basic belief of a Muslim is as follows:

"Power and strength are achieved only with the help of Allah, the Almighty and the Great.”

If a person with this faith is aware of the abilities and other good qualities that Allah has given him and uses them for good deeds with this sense of confidence, it means he has achieved a balance.

It would not be right for someone with this belief and understanding to limit their confidence. Moreover, there can and should be no such approach as more or less self-confidence because it is essential to have confidence in ourselves in proportion to the abilities that Allah has given.

Such an approach will not lead him to arrogance and pride because pride stems from not knowing oneself. However, a person who knows that his self-confidence is due to his trust in Allah will not take credit for himself, and therefore, the person will not be proud.

In addition, that person's thinking that he is only a beautiful mirror to Allah's attributes and using his abilities in this direction leads humanity to progress, which is also the will of Allah. For, using talents ultimately in good deeds means using the blessings given by Allah appropriately.

In addition, being aware of the blessings Allah has given him and using them in the direction shown by Him is gratitude for the blessing. That is, to confess the blessings given to him as a means of gratitude, but to believe that it is a gift from Allah. Otherwise, it is disrespect to the blessings given to him. That is, denying the blessings, ungratefulness.

The greatest danger here is the delusion of thinking that we ourselves obtain the good deeds we do and the goods and wealth we accumulate after a certain period of time. The warnings of the Qur'an and the Prophet regarding the issue aim to save sincere Muslims from heedlessness.

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