How a Camel Taught Me to Deal with Anxiety

by Abdullah Zaidani

To do the best or to trust in Allah?

I have anxiety. I have always lived with anxiety and I have owned that fact for quite some time now. I believe that it stems from an entire phase of my childhood where I was subjected to the feeling of perpetual inferiority and inadequacy. 

Growing Up in Meritocratic Singapore

I grew up in Singapore — yes, home of the ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. It is also home to thousands of children who spend a good amount of time in school, followed by piano or violin lessons, karate or swimming lessons, and then homework. And also tuition classes in the evenings. And perhaps, language lessons too.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I did not have to do all that because I came from a humble, lower-middle class family. We could not afford them. However, that meant that I was behind other children who had developed so much by the age of ten, those who could potentially be studying for a Bachelor’s degree by the looks of it.

Perfectionism and Failure

I was also an average student. I was good at many subjects in school, particularly in the humanities but I was terrible at mathematics and physics. 

Despite knowing my strengths and weaknesses at such a young age, I never allowed myself to become a victim of my circumstances and I strived to do my best in everything. I psyched myself up into believing, with every fibre of my being, that I could achieve anything that others did.

And to a certain extent, I did. But that also became my Achilles heel and the source of my anxiety.

Because I had achieved so much, I was led to believe that I was unstoppable. But as humans, we are bound to fail and face setbacks in life. 

Unfortunately, because of how I had conditioned myself over the years, I was ill-equipped to handle failures and that adversely affected my mental health. I have always wanted to be in control of things and when I was not able to, I spiral into a state of anxiety and often ricochet between overthinking and self-doubt.

Tie Your Camel

Recently, I attended a seminar on mental health and wellness aimed at Muslim professionals in Singapore. The asatizah who was hosting and speaking at the seminar shed light on how Muslims can look to the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ sunnah and hadith to help guide us to be the best that we can be while preserving our mental wellness.

One of the most insightful things that he shared which resonated with me deeply was the concept of tawakkul (reliance on Allah) and how it is different from tamanni (wishful thinking). 

On the screen, he put up a massive picture of a camel tied to a pole. He then shared a simple but very poignant hadith. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, the hadith outlines the story of a Bedouin man who was leaving his camel without tying it. 

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ asked him, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” 

The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” 

The Prophet ﷺ then replied, “Tie your camel first and then put your trust in Allah.”

In its simplicity, I found that dealing with my anxiety is not about giving up control but rather to balance between trusting myself and trusting Allah and His plans.

Trust Yourself and Trusting His Plans

Trusting in Allah is tawakkul. It is at the core of our faith. Even in the name of our religion, ‘Islam’ means submission to God Almighty. 

It can be found in countless verses in the Quran too. 

ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُۥٓ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بَـٰلِغُ أَمْرِهِۦ ۚ قَدْ جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدْرًا

“…And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.”

[At-Talaq 65:3]

In the hadith on tying your camel, our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ taught us a very important lesson — one that is simple but often overlooked. 

Doing our due diligence and working within the means of this world does not in any way negate our tawakkul. The true meaning of tawakkul is about giving our very best in everything that we do and then leaving the rest to Allah. We put our trust in Him that He will take care of the rest that is not within our control. 

And in that wisdom, if something adverse were to happen and it did not go the way we intended, we can still find solace and be in peace knowing that we had done our best. The rest was up to the qadr (decree).

To go back to the question that opened this piece: to do the best or trust in Allah? Simply switch out the ‘or’ with an ‘and’.

Do our best and trust in Allah. Tie the camel and let Him do the rest.

And Allah knows best.

 

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52 Comments

  1. Tariq khan

    I love this story God bless us Ameen

    Reply
    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Salam Tariq khan,
      We’re glad you enjoy it. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  2. Noman Rais

    Excellent Hadith and I am ardent follower of it..I do my best efforts for every issues I am facing and then do TWAKKAL..lm leave the matter in Allah subhana Taala’s Hands..n believe me the results are ???? percent!!

    Reply
  3. Jehan Irfan

    Subhan Allah ❤️

    Reply
  4. Ndeye Khady Sene

    MashaAllah

    Reply
  5. Ibrahim Abdulkarim

    Barakallahu feek

    Reply
  6. Sodiq

    ❤️❤️????

    Reply
  7. Laika Mukasa

    Would wish to go deeper into understanding tawakkul and tammani

    Reply
  8. Habib Dacosta

    This is a very good and encourage write up, i leant so much from it that will be useful for me for many years to come…Bi’ithnillah
    May Allah bless the writer and his family and pioneer of Muslim pro.

    Reply
  9. Shakirah

    Alhamdulilahi for this post as it helped me too. Dealing with depression emotionally, physically. May Allah grant us best of both worlds. Ameen.

    Reply
  10. Olatunji Ahmed

    This is excellent lessons to believers. May Allah continue to guide us.

    Reply
  11. Hazara Ali Rab

    Beautiful msg keep us ummah going strong n have full trust in Allah n have patience

    Reply
  12. Khadijah

    Very interesting story

    Reply
  13. Ousman

    Excellent advice

    Reply
  14. Arif ur Rehman

    Do your best
    and to Allah swt
    leave the rest!

    Reply
  15. Bushra

    Just what I needed the most at this moment

    Reply
    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Salam Bushra,
      We’re glad you enjoy it. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  16. Naima Abubakar

    Thank you, putting our trust in Allah is very easy to say but doing it Inquire patience a very big one I say ????

    Reply
  17. Ubah Ahmed

    Mashaa Allah this was a great reminder and lesson for life. Everyday we struggle to be reminded that the Trust In Allah swt is the most peaceful powerfully fulfilling feeling in the world (to me at least ). Jazzakallaah khairan for your amazing story and May Allah swt continue To shower you and your family with beneficial knowledge and blessings. Ameen .

    Reply
    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Salam Ubah Ahmed,
      We’re glad you enjoy it. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  18. Ismat

    Thank you
    This is really helpful at this phase I am at .

    Reply
  19. Yacouba Kone

    Mashallah this is a very important and very helpful message.
    Thank You
    May Allah protect all our Iman!

    Reply
  20. Rashidtyqua

    Allahu akbar

    Reply
  21. Ijlal Hasan

    It is very good to know that we are to do our best and allow Allah qadr to manifest itself. The struggle or jihad is believing in oneself capacity to have done your best…did I tie the camel tight enough..

    Reply
    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Salam Ijal Hasan,
      We’re glad you enjoy it. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  22. Opal Muhammad

    Alhamdu’illah! This is such an important reminder to place our trust in Allah!

    Reply
  23. Yusuph

    Excellent post.

    Reply
  24. Daud Gas

    I loved the way you presented your “Dawa” to me and many Muslim followers. Let God gives you “Jana”.

    Reply
  25. Sharif

    More reference from Quran on dealing
    With loneliness and anxiety in this difficult Time

    Reply
  26. Shamsuddin

    I like it

    Reply
  27. Amina

    Masha’Allah that Was great to read and may الله سبحانه وتعالى bless you.

    Reply
  28. Nat Tahir

    Assalamualaikum WBT

    Finally I am glad to read the subject of anxiety from the perspective of a Muslim ummah.
    My shadow should have been my
    anxiety. I suffer it to this day.
    Happy to note that the author grew up in Singapore.
    I have read this article several times in the hope that it will help me to get through with everything.

    Kudos to Muslim Pro for publishing this author’s work.

    Reply
    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Salam Nat Tahir,
      We’re glad you enjoy it. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  29. Sharifat

    Very commentative and inspiring
    May Allah make us his believers and that could always Tie our camel and leave the rest to him SWT He is in Charge and control of our lives
    MY Allah make us good Muslims in our lives and to the end of our Lives Aameen

    Reply
  30. Earline Martin

    AsSalamu Alaikumu , I’ve Learned some things today and it will help me deal with myself and life situation , I get overwhelmed also! And I have Anixety also’ !!

    Reply
  31. Farida

    Jazakum Allah kul kheyr! More stories to remind us that we only get and do what Allah subhanu Has written for us!

    Reply
  32. Birjees Ashraf

    Very apt and well explained by a young man. I love the way he walks us through his earlier struggles faced earlier in liflution through the teachings of our Beloved Prophet, Muhammad, May peacbe upon him, Ameen.

    Reply
  33. ZAINAB

    Yes I enjoyed this post and I have got a good lesson out of it thanks

    Reply
    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Salam Zainab,
      We’re glad you enjoy it. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  34. Baboucar

    That has always been the question. Have one done enough to then call/rely on Allah swt help, and/or how much is deem, ‘you’ve done your part’, Allah gafuruh rahim does what you couldn’t?

    Reply
  35. Zafar Alam

    I fully agree with all said above.There is thin line between doing our best and tawakal.we put the cart before the horse and start wishful thinking and results.Allah is always with us, but we need to do our best first and full faith in Qadr keeping in mind that failures and successes always go side by side.

    Reply
  36. Janet Rodriguez

    It make sense to understanding we are limited to certain thing in life and what impossible for us to handle we must always put our trust in Allah, and always keep our faith that Allah will help us in times of need.

    Reply
  37. Narema Zaman

    AssalamuAlaikym. Alhamdulillah this is one of my favorite Hadith. Alhamdulillah I’m bless to get more insight of it. JazakAllah Kairun

    Reply
  38. Zakari Gambeidu

    Nice piece

    Reply
    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Salam Zakari,
      We’re glad you enjoy it. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  39. kenza

    Thank you so much for this post, i have been struggling with my anxiety and my trust with myself and after reading this i feel that my deserve to trust myself and Allah (SWT) Whoever has been struggling with their anxiety just know that you can get through it and trust yourself<3

    Reply
    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Salam kenza,
      We’re glad you enjoy it. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  40. Nismatu Alhassan

    JazakAllahu Khair????….Maa Shaa ALLAH ????????????

    Reply
  41. Mohd Iskandar

    Alhamdulillah..

    Reply
  42. MOHD ISKANDAR BIN MOHAMAD YUSOF

    Alhamdulillah..

    Reply
    • Alhaji Wahab A Rahaman

      Alhamdulillah

      Reply
  43. Tasneem Ahmed

    Just a beautiful reminder, Masha’Allah.
    I also believe in being around good company of positive people. Often we are okay in a situation until some negative people instill doubts in our hearts. We live in a world where chatter dominates the environment.
    Therefore, reflecting upon the previous dilemmas that were resolved by Allah AWJ would help. He is here now, was there in the past, and will remain with us in the future. That is what tawakkul teaches us.

    Reply

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