in category Fate and Destiny

Do we control our own provisions or has Allah (swt) Given us our sustenance?

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In a Nutshell:
We worry about things that are in our possession and things we have collected over the years. However, the two most prized possession we worry about (and we assume are ours) are our lives and wealth. But Allah (swt) reminds us these things are not ours, for He has purchased them from us.

Why do we worry about these matters?

Our family, homes, health, and wealth all belong to Allah (swt). He (swt) loaned us these things to us to test us and surely, everything belongs to Allah (swt) will return back to him. That's why we say 'Inna lillahi wa inna Ilaihi rajioon' (We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return) when Allah (swt) takes back what is rightfully His (swt).

How much do we understand the idea of Rizq?

Do we confuse the way in which we get our Rizq and the actual cause and the reason we get it?

We tell ourselves that our Rizq (now or in the future) will firstly come from our own efforts, we believe that the more we struggle and strive the more we will accomplish and achieve. However, as Muslims we believe everything comes from Allah (swt) but with Rizq sometimes our attitude reflects differently, so this leads us to prioritise our commitments in studying or working or family commitments before and above Islam.

It is not surprising as we live in a world where creating wealth is the focus and that we must do everything to achieve a certain living style. Of course, we must work for something if we want to achieve it! And we have so many responsibilities even at a young age whether it is school, home, family, work etc. but the point is this.

Seeking our rizq should not be the highest importance that we end up focusing all our time, energy and focus on it - yes, it is a priority, but we have other priorities too - and the question is, who defines for us and who tells us what our priorities in this life should be?

"Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight - are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause; - then wait until Allah brings about His decision (ie. Torment): and Allah guides not the rebellious." [Surah At-Tawbah: 24]

Allah (swt) mentions those things which in themselves are obligations such as the rights of parents, rights of husbands and children etc., but He (swt) puts them all into context for us and lets us know of the consequences of putting them before Allah (swt) and His messenger Muhammed (saw).

So how do we understand, balance, and prioritise other responsibilities?

Firstly, Rizq is from Allah - one of the beautiful names of Allah (swt) is Ar-Razzaq; The Provider, The Providence, The Supplier, The Bestower of Sustenance. The One who creates all means of nourishment and subsistence. The One who provides everything that is needed.

قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُم مِّنْ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ - 6:151

Say, "Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities - what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason."

"We provide for you." Allah (swt) is the sole provider of our Rizq: He (swt) gives it to whom He (swt) wills.

وَكُلُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي أَنتُم بِهِ مُؤْمِنُونَ - 5:88

And eat of what Allah has provided for you [which is] lawful and good. And fear Allah, in whom you are believers.

In this verse, Allah (swt) encourages us to take what Allah (swt) has provided for us, but also reminds us to keep our duty to Him (swt). Allah (swt) connects these two subjects and warns us not to allow us to transgress any of His (swt) other commands. Allah (swt) is also reminding us that the rizq we have (no matter how much we feel we might have "earned" it) is not from ourselves but has been ultimately provided by Allah (swt).

It also important to say that rizq is not associated with man in any verse of the Qur'an or hadith except through its management and distribution, as Allah says:

وَلَا تُؤْتُوا السُّفَهَاءَ أَمْوَالَكُمُ الَّتِي جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ قِيَامًا وَارْزُقُوهُمْ فِيهَا وَاكْسُوهُمْ وَقُولُوا لَهُمْ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا - 4:5

And do not give the weak-minded your property, which Allah has made a means of sustenance for you, but provide for them with it and clothe them and speak to them words of appropriate kindness.

Allah (swt) also connects being god conscience with the provision of Rizq in the following ayah:

فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ يُوعَظُ بِهِ مَن كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا - 65:2

And when they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or part with them according to acceptable terms. And bring to witness two just men from among you and establish the testimony for [the acceptance of] Allah . That is instructed to whoever should believe in Allah and the Last day. And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out

"And whoever fears Allah - He will make a way out for him. And will provide for him from where he does not expect."

So even if every member of your household works and earns well, there can/will be times of ease and hardship, e.g. unfortunate incidents of burglary or damage to our homes/cars, such as floods or an accident. These things can be very expensive to repair or replace.

Think back at a time when you really needed some help, maybe something was stolen and then replaced with something better, or you were broke or dropped some money whilst shopping or walking from school/college and then some money appeared from a source you could never have imagined. Or maybe you were offered something to eat from a friend or a neighbour who gave you a hot dish of food at a time when you did not expect it. These are all simple examples of being provided for without any effort on our part.

This does not mean, however, we go to the extreme of leaving our work and general obligations as this would be disobeying the laws of Allah (swt) too because we are commanded to strive to obtain our rizq as Allah (swt) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ - 62:9

O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.

"And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah (swt)'s bounty."

Rather we must plan our lives in the best way possible in seeking our Rizq with fulfilling our other commitments to Allah (swt) and His messenger (saw) and have firm belief in Ar-Razzaq to provide for us.

وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا ۚ كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ - 11:6

And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.

وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ - 51:22

And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised.

Rizq is fixed in its amount, rizq for each and every human has already been decreed by Allah (swt).

Ibn Mas'ud narrated that Allah's Messenger (saw) said to his wife Umm Habiba:
"Verily you have asked Allah about the duration of life already set and the steps you would take and the sustenance the share of which is fixed. Nothing will take place before its due time and nothing will be deferred beyond when it is due." [Muslim].

A Muslim must always rely upon Allah (swt), this belief gives us strength to overcome and deal with all difficulties.

اللَّهُ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيَقْدِرُ ۚ وَفَرِحُوا بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا مَتَاعٌ - 13:26

Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment.

If times are difficult, the true believer sees it as a test from Allah (swt) and it is He (swt) who will provide what is due. We take heed in what the above verse states that the life of this world "...is but a brief passing enjoyment."

We may even be tempted to work long hours or take a second job to cover payments which will end up taking all our energy and we end up neglecting our other responsibilities such as salah or da'wah. but the steadfast believer who understands and accepts that their rizq is from Allah (swt) will take the prophetic advice:
"Let not the fear of people stop anyone of you from saying what is true, or doing something important, because what you say or do will not keep you from your rizq, or keep you from your ajl (life span)."

The believer who understands rizq correctly is someone who puts little value on their wealth - they understand it's a burden and understands that Allah (swt) will provide for them no matter what happens and that their rizq is fixed, so they would spend their money for the sake of Allah (swt) and this will benefit them in the akhira unlike the material wealth we buy and collect for this world.

What about the story of Mus'ab bin Umair? The Prophet (saw) used to say, "There is nobody more handsome in Makkah than Mus'ab. There is no person in the city better clothed and fed than Mus'ab. There is no child brought up with more affection and love than him."

He was from a very wealthy family but after he became Muslim, he spent all his life for Allah (swt) and His messenger (saw). Once he presented himself to the prophet (saw) where he only had a piece of skin with patches here and there to cover his body. When the companions of prophet (saw) saw this, they hung their heads in awe.

The Prophet (saw) said, "Alhamdulillah now the condition of the world and worldly people should change. This is the young man who had no equal in Makkah in the luxurious lifestyle in which he was brought up. But his love for Allah (swt) and his Prophet made him indifferent to all worldly pleasures."

We should understand that rizq is from Allah (swt) alone and it should not be our only and main priority. Allah (swt) always comes first and we must follow the beautiful examples of the Prophet (saw) and his wives and companions to please Allah (swt). "Verily Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills without measure."

فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا ۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا ۖ قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ - 3:37

So, her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah. Every time Zechariah entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, "O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you?" She said, "It is from Allah . Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account."

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