By Hazrat Maulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)
Istighnaa is a condition of the heart, where the heart does not incline to the creation. There is independence from creation, with the focus of the heart entirely on Allah Ta’ala, the Doer, the Provider.
Istighnaa is such a noble attribute that it is free of any hidden expectations (Ishraaf). It is a great quality to possess and a quality that is found in our Auliya-e-Kiraam and Ulama-e-Rabbaniyyeen – those who give practical expression to their knowledge and who have the Ma`rifat (recognition) of Allah Ta’ala. May Allah (Jalla Jalaaluhu) bless us all with it as well.
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), in fact, took Bay`ah from the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (RA) particularly on this quality; the effect of which was such, that if a Sahaabi (RA) was mounted on his conveyance and his whip fell down, he would not ask anyone for it; rather he would dismount and pick it up himself.
Of course, if something is offered and given, with no conditions, no strings attached, with respect and honour, especially for the recipient, and it being a hadiya (gift), then it would not at all be contrary to Istighnaa, to accept. Declining is declining the ni`mat (bounty) of Allah (Jalla Jalaaluhu) which He has sent for you.
In fact, a gift is amongst the most superior types of sustenance, with the others being, the booty of war and inheritance.
There must be conviction at heart that it is only Allah (Jalla Jalaaluhu) who is the Giver and Helper, and if someone does offer some assistance also, it is due to Allah (Jalla Jalaaluhu) putting it into the heart to do so. However, there is no trust on the creation; full trust remains in Allah Ta’ala.
We thus find the quality of Tawakkul is attached to Istighnaa – that is the person has complete trust, dependence and reliance on Allah Ta’ala.
A point to note is that Istighnaa has two sides to it: If Istighnaa is due to Tawakkul, it is mahmood (praiseworthy). If it is due to pride, it is madhmoom (evil).