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Faith

Trusting in Allah After a Decision

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Even when you make your own decision; even when you have consulted others; even when you have prayed istikhara until you tell yourself you’re sure, sometimes doubt creeps in. Sometimes the ‘what-ifs’ creep in. You’re human. You can never be 100% sure. That is where you need to bring in the tawakkul. You need to make a decision at some point, and you have to commit to it.

We all have to make decisions. Some big, some small. But it happens on a daily basis. Some might say we have come to an age of ‘decision fatigue’. There’s just so much choice for every.tiny.little.thing. Go to the supermarket to pick up some cooking oil and you’re faced with a whole wall of different oils: vegetable, sunflower, light, spray oil, olive, avocado, almond, coconut … So much choice ma sha Allah. It can be nice. But sometimes it really is overwhelming!

Whatever happened to the age when we could just go in and out of the shop without so much decision-making involved? Just like we live in a world of information overload, so too it is decision overload. With more information comes more decision-making.

Oil isn’t exactly a life-changing decision (well it could be in the long term, depending on how you look at it). But, there are certain points in our lives where we need to make big decisions: buying that house, leaving your job/accepting a new job, staying at home with the kids, marrying that man, starting that course, moving to another city, and working part-time are just some examples. But you get the picture: these aren’t split-second decisions. More specifically they are usually either-or decisions. Let me explain.

Let’s take the example of buying the house. Most likely the process, up to finding ‘the one’, goes something like this:

-Brainstorm/talk about the type of house you want and the location
-Do a lots of searching online and at estate agents to find the perfect one
-Go to view different houses that either, fit or loosely fit, the bill
-Narrow it down to a few
-Have a really good feeling about one in particular, but doubt yourself because of practical reasons
-Pray istikhara once you have your mind made up
-Reach the point of wanting to buy that house

So you see, the house buying scenario is either-or. It is either go for the one with the good feeling, or choose the more practical option. On paper, it seems easy to say: of course you go for the one with the good feeling. But if you really reflect on this situation, then it becomes clear that in reality, it’s not so straightforward. We usually have more than our own feelings to take into consideration.

Let’s look at another example: leaving your job and/or accepting a new job. Most likely the scenario plays out something like this:

-Come to the realisation that you need to change your job (for whatever reason: perhaps financial; perhaps location; perhaps it is time for a new challenge)
-Begin searching for relevant jobs according to your skill set and/or dream
-Wait and wait for responses…nothing
-Wait some more
-Finally receive some interviews. Two to be exact. One in a place you would love to work at; the other somewhere that pays more and is closer to home
-You are torn
-You ask for advice
-You think you have reached a decision
-You pray istikhara
-You’re ready to accept…

But even after istikhara, sometimes we second-guess ourselves. We somehow don’t trust our own decision. And we want reassurance somehow. But the truth is: you won’t actually know for sure if it is the correct decision until you live out your decision. Meaning you won’t actually know if you made the right choice until you start living in the house; until you marry that man; until you take that job. That’s life. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

Such moments in life are actually a test of faith I believe. They are nice ‘problems’ to have: choosing between two houses; choosing between two jobs; choosing between working or staying at home. Remember: some people don’t get a choice, some aren’t even in such a privileged position.

So what do you do when you’re unsure? What do you do to feel confident about your choice? What do you do to feel convinced you haven’t done something stupid when all around you seem to be advising you otherwise?

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You put your trust in Allah.

Now, this trust is most likely with you all the time. But just like faith, I believe it comes in ebbs and flows. I do not believe it is a constant thing. We’re human after all. That is not to say we ever think Allah is at times not doing what is best for us. Astaghfirullah. But being human, sometimes we put the blinkers on and get blinded by our wants. And sometimes we’re too egotistical, dumb, blind, head-strong, insert similar appropriate word to see and realise that Allah has got our back, just as He always has and always will.

We’re too blind in those moments sometimes to realise that losing out on what we want is actually best for us. See a previous post of mine about dealing with loss: Utilising the pain of loss

In that moment when you lose your job, when you marry that guy, when you stop working full-time, that trust has to be there. The trust that He’ll see you through. Before even experiencing it, before living it, that trust needs to be there before and during the decision-making process.

But even when you make your own decision; even when you have consulted others; even when you have prayed istikhara until you tell yourself you’re sure, sometimes doubt creeps in. Sometimes the ‘what-ifs’ creep in. You’re human. You can never be 100% sure. That is where you need to bring in the tawakkul. You need to make a decision at some point, and you have to commit to it.

There’s incredible beauty in this, just in the same way that a child relies fully on his/her mother. We too should rely fully on Allah. When you do, a wonderful thing happens. You stop worrying and realise that whatever the outcome – even if it doesn’t match up with what you yourself chose (based on your decision-making process) – it’ll be for the best because Allah has got your back.

If the decision you made comes through, then alhamdulilah it was what Allah had decreed for you. If the decision you made falls through then alhamdulilah it was what Allah had decreed for you.

Sometimes we miss the way we were meant to take, even after istikhara. Either way, the outcome is good. It almost sounds too good to be true. But the fact of the matter is: we are incredibly blessed to be in the situations we are in; to be having to make such decisions. At the end of it all: it is all for khayr.

And when you think of it like that, it almost becomes comical that we stress and worry over the decision. Because ultimately, when you fully trust Allah with your entire being, your decision becomes easy. You’re not forcing anything anymore – you’re letting Him take you by the hand and guide you to that which is meant; to that which is best for you. You know that even if you make a wrong turn, with the help of Allah, you’ll end up where it is you’re supposed to be going anyway!


This article has been republished with the author’s permission from its original source on Blog of a Believer.

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