Two evils were most common among the Arabs at the time of the advent of the Prophet. One was that when anyone or his child fell ill, he went to the sorcerer imagining that magical formulas and other forms of exorcism were the easiest and most effective way to drive off the disease or any other distress, and, secondly, when they intended to do a thing that could be both, beneficial and harmful, and end up in success as well as failure, they resorted to augury, and if it did not augur well, they gave up the idea, thinking that it was ill-omened. The holy Prophet condemned both the practices, on various occasions, and advised the people not to have recourse to witch-craft in illness or to augury or divination for knowing beforehand whether the step they were going to take would be fruitful or not, but to believe that health and sickness, and gain and loss, were wholly in the control of God, and, as such, reliance ought to be placed on Him alone, and only such measures adopted to gain an object that were not displeasing to Him. The world was governed by the Will and Command of the Lord, and not by causes, and-it would be the height of folly, indeed, to adopt ways and’ methods He did not approve of for the accomplishment of a purpose.
From it, some people have concluded that the bondmen to be admitted to Paradise without Reckoning will be those who observe Tawakkul by totally renouncing material means and resources and forsaking the causes, but it is not correct. The holy Prophet would, certainly, have made it clear had it been in his mind while, in this Tradition, he has mentioned only two things, exorcism and augury, from the whole range of means that are supposed to help one to attain a purpose. It, distinctly, shows that the bondmen referred to, in it, will be those who place their trust solely in Allah in their needs, and as a result of it, do not resort to practices that are repugnant to Him.
The above Tradition, thus, is enough to show that the denial and rejection of means for the accomplishment of an end or purpose for which the Lord Himself has prescribed them and are, also, not forbidden in the Shariat is not what is required by Tawakkul, but only the means that are abhorrent to Him, and, also, not have been permitted in the Shariat.
Nevertheless, for Tawakkul it is necessary that means are considered merely to be a route and a path, and a veil and curtain of the wisdom of God, and real trust is put in Him, and this is what, basically, distinguishes between the conduct of a man who believes in and practices Tawakkul and a man who does not.
As for the ‘seventy thousand’ bondmen, as we have had occasion to remark in the earlier volumes, this figure is, generally, used in Arabic to emphasise the abundance of a thing, and here, too, it, apparently, has been employed in the same sense, i.e., to denote that a large number of Muslims will enter Heaven, without the scrutiny of their deeds, and as a result of abstention from the sinful practices of witchery, fetishism and divination. Hence, in another version of the same narrative it is added that “with each of these seventy thousand bondmen, another seventy thousand will be admitted to Heaven without Reckoning.”
It is, further, worthy of note that this Tradidition is not simply by way of a prophecy, foretelling an event that is going to happen on the Day of Requital, but its real purpose is to stress upon the Muslims the need to lead a life of Tawakkul so that they are included among the bondmen who will enter Paradise without a close examination of their deeds.