The world has layers. There is an apparent, outer layer seen with the eyes: the injustice, the insecurity, and the inability to control. The perpetual lack of accountability. And focusing on this layer can make any sane person despair; but there is a metaphysical layer that can be seen only with perceptive hearts. We are given countless examples of this in the Qur’an. Allah says,
ٱلَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّ ٱلنَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُواْ لَكُمْ فَٱخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَٰنًا وَقَالُواْ حَسْبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ ٱلْوَكِيلُ
Those who were warned, “Your enemies have mobilized their forces against you, so fear them,” the warning only made them grow stronger in faith and they replied, “Allah [alone] is sufficient [as an aid] for us and [He] is the best Protector.” (3:173)
How is it possible for a people to be warned that their (outwardly) more powerful enemies have mobilized against them, and instead of making them despair and crumble, it increases them in faith? The answer is in their response: “Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best Protector (al-Wakīl).”
Allah’s name Al-Wakīl
Those are not easy words to utter and even less easy to act upon. Yet the people who are able to do so are those who know Allah. He is enough for them because they have certainty in Him and His attributes, and they can see beyond the immediate and the material. And why al-Wakīl (translated as the Protector, Disposer of Affairs, and the Trustee) in these circumstances? They know that Allah’s promise is true, and that He always follows through on His promises, because He fulfills the trusts He is entrusted with. When a person gives someone tawkīl, they are entrusting their affairs to that person, and that person acts for the benefit of the one who has given the entrustment or authorization (tawkīl). They are saying “I can’t do this, but I trust you completely to do it for me, and know you will do what is truly best and for my benefit.” In fact, before Allah tells us to take Him as our Wakīl, He reminds us of His authority and ability, “[He is] the Lord of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs.” (73:9) And having trust means that we do whatever it is Allah has put in our power to do, and trust in Him for the result because it is necessarily what is best. This constitutes true submission to Him. And Allah aids such people in ways not perceived by the senses. Allah reminded the believers at the time of the Prophet ﷺ:
إِذْ يُغَشِّيكُمُ النُّعَاسَ أَمَنَةً مِّنْهُ وَيُنَزِّلُ عَلَيْكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً لِّيُطَهِّرَكُم بِهِ وَيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمْ رِجْزَ الشَّيْطَانِ وَلِيَرْبِطَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتَ بِهِ الْأَقْدَامَ
Remember when He gave you sleep as a reassurance from Him, and sent down water from the sky to cleanse you, to remove Satan’s pollution from you, to make your hearts strong and your feet firm. (8:11)
Allah’s name Al-Mu’min
This verse is referring to the Battle of Badr, when the Muslims were outnumbered. Yet Allah sent reassurance (amanatan) and strength to the hearts (rabṭ). Indeed, Allah is al-Muʾmin: He gives security from fear, He gives His slaves the light of belief, and He is trustworthy. We are secure when it comes to Allah, because we believe and have certainty in the truth of what He tells us. We know the reality of this world and what awaits those who are steadfast for Him. And our hearts are made firm in this way by al-Muʾmin. We are given freedom from fear through this rabṭ of the heart. Allah tells us of another group of people whom He gave internal security:
… إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ…
… They were youths who truly believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance. And We strengthened (rabaṭnā) their hearts… (18:13-14)
This verse refers to the youth of the cave who were living under a tyrannical king. The verse above says “wa rabaṭnā ʿalā qulūbihim” which is literally ‘tied their hearts,” just like you would tighten a rope to stabilize something or give it strength. Something that is loosely tied unravels quickly and even breaks, but when Allah “ties” hearts, He gives them stability, strengthening them, and granting them peace. In Surat al-Qaṣaṣ, we are told once again of this rabṭ:
وَأَصْبَحَ فُؤَادُ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ فَارِغًا ۖ إِن كَادَتْ لَتُبْدِي بِهِ لَوْلَا أَن رَّبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قَلْبِهَا لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
And Moses’ mother felt a void in her burning heart so that she almost declared him, had We not steadied (rabaṭnā) her heart, that she may remain of the believers. (28:10)
What do all of these people have in common? They were all those who believed in Allah (they were muʾminīn) in extremely difficult circumstances. The believers were about to embark upon the Battle of Badr, where they were decisively outnumbered. The people of the cave were being persecuted for their beliefs. The mother of Moses (as), living under Pharaoh who was murdering newborn baby boys, was separated from her son.
In each of these three scenarios, devout believers were faced with not only testing circumstances, but dangerous ones that could cost them their lives. In each of these situations, it might be natural for anyone to doubt and to give up, perhaps even question their faith. But in each of these circumstances, there was no one else to turn to but Allah—and Allah made them firm.
The parallels we see with our brothers and sisters in Gaza and the whole of Palestine are clear. Allah al-Mu’min strengthens their hearts and gives them internal security. When it would be normal for the hearts to waiver, Allah gives an internal strength to be able to withstand the external troubles. Ibn al-Qayyim states that this rabṭ includes granting the hearts patience and firmness, strengthening them, and supporting them with the light of faith, until they are able to patiently persevere. Part of it is to be connected to Allah through His remembrance, and desiring His pleasure.
“When will the help of Allah come?”
As for us on the outside, the images that we see of the suffering of our people and the sheer injustice naturally anger us and might break us. We might feel exasperated and helpless, and ask the very question quoted in the Qur’an, “When will Allah’s help come?” (2:214) Allah immediately answers, “Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.” (2:214) “Near” is not according to our timing, but on Allah’s timing, based on his ultimate wisdom.
And that is what we need to have certainty in. The apparent hopelessness of the material world should never cause us to lose faith. Rather, we should be like believers who increase in faith and say, “Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best Protector.” We know that there is something that is beyond, and our ultimate abode is Paradise, insha’Allah. Our brothers and sisters’ test is in being on the ground, and they will be rewarded and elevated accordingly—we have no doubt in that. The Prophet ﷺ reminds us that, “the most miserable people in the world will come on the Day of Resurrection to be dipped in Paradise, then it will be said: O son of Adam, did you see any hardship? Did you have any distress? He will say: No, by Allah, my Lord! I did not once see hardship or distress.” As for the children who were killed, they “are roaming about in Paradise.”
Our test is being here on the outside. What will Allah ask me about? We channel our anger in righteous ways. We mobilize, we speak out, and we pray. We continue to build. We supplicate with unshakeable certainty because we know the power and strength of Allah, and that He responds to our supplications and prayers in the best way possible.
And we turn to al-Muʿmin to strengthen our own hearts against despair and numbness. In each of the examples in the Qur’an, the believers worked on their faith. They worked on their relationship with Allah, they turned to Him, and they chose truth. And when the most difficult test came, Allah was with them. “Rabaṭa ʿalā qulūbihim”—He steadied their hearts, “tied them,” and strengthened them.
 Ibn al-Qayyim, Madārij al-Sālikīn, 3/68.
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 2807.
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 2635.