Tawakkul (a.), verbal noun or masdar of Form V of wakala “to entrust [to someone], have confidence [in someone]”, a concept in Islamic religious terminology, and especially that of Sufism, with the sense of dependence upon God.

Tor Andrae pointed out that the verb tawakkala meant “to trust someone in the same way as I would trust my wakil”, i.e., the person whom I have chosen to be my procurator or homme d’affaires, to look after my business and to govern and dispose on my behalf. Here he was drawing largely on al-Ghazali’s etymological analysis of tawakkul in his Ihya’, Cairo 1352 AH / 1933 CE, iv, 223, where he states that it is derived from wakala, power of attorney or deputyship, “hence one says that one entrusts one’s affairs (wakala) to someone, i.e., one relies on him. The one to whom one consigns one’s affairs is called an agent or trustee (wakil). With respect to the one in whom one trusts, one says that one abandons oneself to one’s agent. Thus one entrusts one’s soul to him and depends firmly on him... Hence tawakkul expresses the heart’s confidence in the One Trustee (al-wakil al-wahid)”.


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Dr. Leonard Lewisohn

A respected author, translator and lecturer in the area of Islamic studies and a specialist in Persian language and Sufi literature, the late Dr Lewisohn (1953 - 2018) was a Research Associate at the London Middle East Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and Associate Member of the Centre for Iranian Studies also at SOAS . Dr Lewisohn's works include Beyond Faith and Fidelity: the Sufi Poetry and Teachings of Mahmud Shabistari (London, 1993), a critical edition of Divan-i Muhammad Shirin