With regards the question, “Why is it that relief comes after a person has given up all hope in creation and how can one make his heart dependant on Allah alone?”
The cause towards actualising this is to actualise tawhid – tawhid ar rububiyyah and tawhid al uluhiyyah.
Tawhid ar rububiyyah is to believe that there is no creator save Him, that there is no one besides Him who regulates all affairs, everything He wills, is, and everything He does not will, is not.
So if anyone besides Allah is asked to make something happen, someone who has no independant power to do so is being asked, even if one were to ask another to do something he is able, he can not do so without the aid of Allah. It is only the will of Allah which necessitates the existence of all that He desires, whatever He wills, is, and whatever He wills, is not.
As for anyone else, the fact that he may desire something does not necessitate that it come into being, in fact anything he does want only comes about due to some external factors outside of his control and if Allah was not to aid him by means of them, he would never attain his desire. Allah, Exalted is He, says,
“… to whoever among you who wishes to go straight. But you will not will unless Allah wills, the Lord of the worlds.” (Surah at-Takwir, 81 : 28-29)
“… so whoever wills should take the way towards his Lord. But you will not will unless Allah wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Surah al-Insan, 76 : 29-30)
“… to which any who wills may pay heed. But they will only pay heed if Allah wills. He is entitled to be feared and entitled to forgive.” (Surah al-Muddaththir, 74 : 55-56)
Someone who puts his hope in creation, it is his heart that desires something from that object, but this object of creation is unable to grant it. Moreover this action is shirk which Allah will not forgive.
It is from the great blessings and favours of Allah that He has prevented the attainment of anything that the believing servants desire through committing shirk so that instead their hearts can devote themselves to tawhid. If the servant were then to single Him out alone for worship as well, he would achieve felicity in this life and the Hereafter.
If, however, this is a person about whom it is said,
“When harm touches man, He calls on us, lying on his side or sitting down or standing up. Then when We remove the harm from him he carries on as if he had never called Us when the harm first touched Him.” (Surah Yunus, 10 : 12)
“When harm occurs to you at sea those you call on vanish – except for Him alone! But when He delivers you to dry land, you turn away. Man truly is ungrateful.” (Surah Al lsra, 17 : 67)
What he has of knowledge of tawhid will serve as a proof against him. It was in this way that Allah, Glorious is He, proved the falsity of what the polytheists were upon in their believing Him to be the creator yet worshipping others besides Him,
“Say, ‘To whom does the earth belong and everyone in it, if you have any knowledge?’ They will say, ‘To Allah.’ Say, ‘Will you not then take heed?’ Say, ‘Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Mighty Throne?’ They will say, ‘Allah.’ Say, ‘Will you not then fear Him?’ Say, ‘In whose hand is the dominion over everything, He who gives protection and from whom no protection can be given, if you have any knowledge?’ They will say, ‘Allah’s.’ Say, ‘So how have you been bewitched?’ ” (Surah al-Mu’minun, 23 : 84-89)
“If you ask them, Who created the heavens and the earth and made the sun and the moon subservient?’ They will reply, ‘Allah’. So how have they been perverted?” (Surah Al-Ankabut, 29 : 61)
Verses such as these are mentioned in a number of places in the Qur’an.
From the completion of Allah’s blessings upon His believing servants is that he afflicts them with hardship and tribulation such as would make them turn back to Him and supplicate to Him alone, making their religion sincerely for Him, putting their hope in Him, and their hearts depending upon Him alone. This leads to their having absolute reliance in Him, their tasting the sweetness of faith, and their absolving themselves of shirk. All of these are blessings greater than the blessings of health, security, and luxury for all of these are merely bodily blessings which both the believer and nonbeliever experience.
As for the blessings that are achieved by those who live by tawhid, they are beyond description, and every believer has a portion of this in accordance to his faith. This is why some of the Salaf said, ‘Son of Adam! You have indeed been blessed when in order to fulfill a need you frequently knock on the gate of your Master.’
One of the scholars said, “I have a need for Allah so I invoke Him and He grants me the delight of knowing Him and the sweetness of discoursing with Him which makes me desire that my need not be swiftly answered for fear that my soul become distracted from this” – because the soul only desires what it wants and when it attains this it turns away.
In some of the Judeo-Christian narrations it is mentioned, “Son of Adam! Tribulation brings you and I together whereas ease and luxury brings you and your soul together.”
There are many narrations carrying this meaning and experienced in reality by the believers, every believer will be able to relate to what we just said, for what we have related is part of the spiritual experience that none can truly understand except for those who have experienced it.
People have differing levels of spiritual experience, that which the believers experience when they make their tawhid for Allah alone and direct all their attention to Him such that they make their religion sincerely for Him, they love Him and love everything else for His sake, they place their reliance in Him, declare their loyalty for His sake and enmity for His sake, they ask only of Him, they place their hope in Him alone, they fear only Him, they worship Him and ask for His aid; in all states they are with their Lord without the interference of creation and with the creation without the interference of base desires; any desire has vanished in the face of what He desires, all love has vanished in face of His love, all fear has vanished in the face of His fear, all hope has vanished in the face of His hope, none is invoked save Him -that which the believers experience cannot be truly grasped except for one who actualises the above, and all believers do this to some extent.1
This is the reality of Islam with which Allah sent the Messengers, for which the Books were revealed and it is the essence of the Qur’an.
Allah, Glorious is He, knows best.
(1). The author (Ibn Taymiyyah) in Majmu Fatwa (13/199-201) says while explaining the correct understanding of fana – That through the worship of Allah, the worship of anything else vanishes; through loving Him, the love of anything else vanishes; through obeying Him, the obedience of anything else vanishes; through fearing Him, the fear of anything else vanishes; through having hope in Him, hope in anything else vanishes; through relying on Him, the reliance on anything else vanishes. This is the reality of the lambed with which Allah sent His Messengers and revealed His Books. This is the reality of testifying that none has the right to be worshipped save Allah, for this means to empty the heart of the worship of anything besides Allah, leaving in its wake the worship of Him alone.
This vanishing (fana) goes hand-in-hand with remaining (baqa), for the heart extinguishes the worship of other than Allah to have remain in it the worship of Allah alone. This is the import of the testification of faith for it is built upon negation and affirmation; there is no god in existence save Allah and there is nothing deserving worship in existence save Him. It is obligatory that this belief take firm root in the heart, and moreover this allegiance to Allah must be accompanied with hatred and absolvement of anything that is worshipped besides Him. Allah, Exalted is He, informs us that,
“Ibrahim said to his father and his people, ‘I am free of everything you worship, except for Him who brought me into being, who will certainly guide me,’ He made it an on-going word among his descendants so that perhaps they might turn back.” (Surah az-Zukhruf, 43 : 26-28)
Refer also to al-Istiqamah [2/142-1441 and Majmu Fatwa [10/337+]
By: Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah; From the book : THE RELIEF FROM DISTRESS-AN EXPLANATION TO THE DU’A OF YUNUS