The One Who Provides for all of His servants. There is no creature on the face of the earth that Allah does not provide for. His providing for His servants is of two types:
- The general provision which extends to both the righteous and the sinner, the first of the people and the last of them. This is the provision that is required by the body (such as food and drink).
- The specific provision which is granted to the hearts, nourishing them with knowledge and faith. It includes the lawful provision which is appointed in order to bring benefit and success to the religion. This is specific to the believers and is granted in accordance with their different levels as well as that which His Wisdom and Mercy dictates. (1)
قال الله تعالى: وَكَأَيِّنْ مِنْ دَابَّةٍ لَا تَحْمِلُ رِزْقَهَا اللَّهُ يَرْزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
And so many a moving (living) creature there is, that carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is The All-Hearer, The All-Knower.
Imam Ibn Kathir said, concerning the above verse:
“It (the creature) does not have the ability to gather its own provision and save it for the next day, but Allah, glorified and exalted is He, allots its provision to it despite its weakness, and makes it easy for it. He sends provisions to every creature in the appropriate manner- even the ants in the depths of the earth, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea.” (2)
The rizq (provision), is anything which is given to a person that he benefits from, as well as what one needs in order to be able to live. It is not restricted to just money; rather, it includes food, drink, health, security, faith and knowledge.
The provision of each soul was written down in the Preserved Tablet, preceding the creation of the universe by 50,000 years. No one will die until he has received the entire provision Allah has written for him; nothing more, nothing less. No one can take it from him except by Allah’s will.
It is a certainty that whatever is written will happen. This means that when Allah has written an amount of provision for a person, that person can be sure that he will have it. One must have no doubt about this.
Believing that Allah is The All-Provider should have an impact on mankind in every aspect of their lives. There should be direct consequences to this belief. One must then worship Allah according to his belief in His name Ar-Razzaq:
First: Tawhid (monotheism):
Allah, glorified and exalted is He, establishes in the Quran the fact that He alone and none other than He provides for the creation and sustains them. Accordingly, no one deserves to be worshipped except Him, Allah, alone.
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: يا أيٌّها الّناسُ اذكُرُوا نِعْمَتِ اللهِ عليكُمْ هل من خَالقٍ غَيرُ اللهِ يرزُقُكُم من السّماء والأرضِ لا إلهَ إلا هُوَ فأَنَّى تُؤْفَكُون
O Mankind! Remember the grace of Allah upon you! Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the sky and the earth? How then are you turning away (from Him).
Surah Fatir [35: 3]
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: ويعبدون من دُونِ الله مالا يَملكُ لهم رزقاً من السماوات والأرض شيئاً ولا يستطيعون
And they worship others besides Allah, such as do not and cannot own any provision for them from the heavens or the earth.
Surah An-Nahl [16: 74]
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ، الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ أَندَادًا وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).
Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).
Surah Al-Baqarah [2: 21-22]
If someone asks, “Why should I worship Allah Alone?”, one should answer, “You must do so because He created you just as He created those who came before you. He created the sky and He sends us the rain through which the plants give us fruits as provision for us. There is no one providing for us except Him; no one can bring down the rain for us but Him. Is there anyone else who has made you grow? Is there anyone else who has made you capable of talking, walking, or seeing? Can you answer this question? The answer is that no, you will not find anyone else (who could do these things). So then why do you associate anyone alongside Allah? Why do you deny Allah? Why do you deny Allah’s presence?”
Second: Tawakkul (reliance on Allah):
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: و ما مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الأَرْضِ إِلاَّ عَلَى اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ
And no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterus, grave, etc.). All is in a Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz – the Book of Decrees with Allah).
Surah Hud [11: 6]
We are living in a very materialistic era where everything is calculated by worldly measures. People do not feel secure unless they have a job or a pension or maybe even a sum of money in their bank account. In fact all these resources are nothing except means for provision which Allah has made possible for us; but the true provider is Allah. Any resources diminish, but Allah owns the treasures of the heavens and the earth. His treasures never decrease. Accordingly, one must put his reliance only upon Allah. One’s heart must think only of Allah’s promise and in His Provision.
Third: Taqwa (piety):
If you know Allah is Ar-Razzaq, then this should lead to taqwa, to being pious concerning Allah. For example, someone is working in a bank that deals with riba (interest, which is forbidden in Islam) and he says, “I have a family to support, I have a wife and children. If I resign now, how can I feed them? Where can I get money from? Before I do that, I must secure another job that is permissible, and then I will resign from this impermissible job.” Instead, he should first and foremost be pious and leave the prohibited job and then Allah will make a way out for him.
If a person truly believes that Allah is The Only Provider, then he will never compromise in his religion for the sake of money or any other worldly benefit. For example, a Muslim employee should not care if his employer threatens him due to his refusal to perform a prohibited act (such as taking bribes or testifying falsely); this is because he truly understands that Allah is The True Provider, rather than his employer.
قال الله تعالى: وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا
And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty), And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.
Surah At-Talaq [65: 2-3]
There are many doors by which provision reaches mankind. If one of these doors is closed, one should not be devastated or disturbed. He should not lose hope in Allah’s providing for him or in Allah’s perfect mercy. He must know that everything that comes to him is due to the decree Allah, and has a reason behind it. He should understand that The One Who closes one door to him will open another door for him and this new door may be vast and contain that which is better than what lay behind the closed door.
It is vital to know that one’s reaction when Allah closes a specific door of provision to him is crucial. Indeed, it is a clear indication as to whether one has true faith in Allah’s provision and sufficiency for His creation or not. If he sees that he is not devastated because he knows that he has a Lord and he believes in His promise, then he has worshipped Allah by one of the greatest acts of worship, which is believing in His promise of provision and in His sufficiency for him.
Fourth: Spending in Allah’s cause
If one believes that Allah is The All-Provider, then he will spend for the sake of Allah. This is because one of the attributes of the true believers is that they spend their wealth generously, trusting that Allah will reward them immensely and compensate them for whatever they spent in the way of Allah.
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلَا خُلَّةٌ وَلَا شَفَاعَةٌ ۗ وَالْكَافِرُونَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the dhaalimun (wrong-doers, etc.)
Surah Al-Baqarah [2: 254]
Fifth: Not to prefer the provisions of this world, which will certainly diminish and disappear, over the provision of the Hereafter, which is eternal.
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: مَا عِنْدَكُمْ يَنْفَدُ وَمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ بَاقٍ
Whatever is with you will be exhausted, and whatever is with Allah (of good deeds) will remain.
Surah An-Nahl [16: 96]
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: بل تؤثرون الحياة الدنيا والآخرة خير وأبقى
Nay, you prefer the life of this world; Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting.
Surah Al-Aʻla [87: 16-17]
One makes money in order to sustain himself and help him aid his religion. His wealth must be a means to benefit the religion, as well as an in investment in the Hereafter. One must use his money to aid the religion, as opposed to making the religion subservient to his wealth and money. Indeed, Allah created this whole world solely for the purpose of worshipping Him alone.
This is the purpose of mankind’s creation, of his existence; this is the sole purpose of his life, there is none other than it. This earth with all its provisions should be used to worship Allah and attain His pleasure. Indeed, it is simply a means to enter Paradise.
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ (56) مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُمْ مِنْ رِزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ يُطْعِمُونِ (57) إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ
And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone);
I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures); Verily, Allah is The All-Provider, Owner of Power, The Most Strong.
Surah Adh-Dhariyat [51: 56-58]
In the time we live in, the opposite is occurring. People are abandoning their religion in order to attain worldly wealth and provisions.
Allah has guaranteed our provisions for this life, but He has not guaranteed the provision of the hereafter, He has not guaranteed the attainment of Paradise.
The time has come to change our priorities in the light of this knowledge. If you owe money to someone, don’t try to be evasive in order to avoid paying him back. Why are you acting this way? You will not increase your provision by doing so. You are not here to increase your wealth. You are here to worship Allah- so go and pay what you owe for Him. If you break something in the supermarket you look up and say, “All praise is due to Allah there is no camera” and go out as if nothing has happened, thinking that you are protecting your wealth by not paying a compensation to the supermarket for what you broke. What about your religion? So you kept your money and you lost your religion!
If a person has the correct understanding, he will look at each situation as an opportunity to please Allah by being honest and offering to pay a compensation. It contains two paths to good: an opportunity to gain in one’s religion and gain rewards from Allah.
Sixth: Thankfulness to Allah:
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُلُوا مِنْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِلَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ
O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.
Surah Al-Baqarah [2: 172]
قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” إن الله ليَرضى عن العبد أن يأكل الأَكلة، فيَحمده عليها، أو يشرب الشَّربة، فيحمده عليها
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said,
Allah is pleased if a slave eats a meal and he says “Alhamdulillah!”, and he drinks any drink and he says “Alhamdulillah!”(3)
Seventh: Never fear from your responsibility regarding your young children or your elder parents:
People who do not know the truth concerning Allah are afraid to have children due to their poverty or because they think that the child will take from their share of provision of food and money. Allah assures them in the above verse that He will provide for the child and the parents.
You will have your provision secured and the child will have his provision secured.
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا
And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.
Surah Al-Isra [17: 31]
This concern for provision may also happen with a person whose elderly father or mother is living with him. He may worry because he has to support his mother, or because he has to spend from his wealth on any weak person who is unable to support himself. In this case, this person does not truly understand the vastness of Allah’s provision, and does not know about or comprehend this beautiful hadeeth of the Prophet, peace be upon him:
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: “هل تنصرون وترزقون إلا بضعفائكم؟
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said,
Are you not given help and provision because of your weak ones? (4)
Accordingly, if one is taking care of or providing for a weak person, he will be provided for because of his care of him. The weak person will be a reason for Allah to provide for him, and will be a reason for enormous blessings for him, if he cares for him with sincere intention. There is no need for any worry or concern, for indeed, Allah is The Provider.
The special type of provision which is the provision of the heart:
Whenever we say the word “provision” our thoughts go to providing physical pleasures such as money, health, and going out and having family, as well as other things. People might think that this physical provision is a sign of Allah’s love for him. This is not a sign that Allah loves him. Our Prophet, peace be upon him, says:
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: ” إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُعْطِي الدُّنْيَا مَنْ يُحِبُّ وَمَنْ لا يُحِبُّ وَلا يُعْطِي الدِّينَ إِلا لِمَنْ أَحَبَّ فَمَنْ أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ الدِّينَ فَقَدْ أَحَبَّهُ
Allah gives the worldly provision to those whom He loves as well as whom He does not love, but He will not give the religion except to those whom He loves; so whoever Allah has guided to the correct religion, then He Has loved him. (5)
So one should not connect worldly provisions to Allah’s love. Indeed, he must connect the provision of the heart to Allah’s love or lack of it. If he finds himself performing righteous deeds, trying to adhere to the correct path, and trying to abide by Allah’s commands then he can have glad tidings of Allah’s love.
It is true that we ask Allah for the provision of wealth, health and children but we must not forget to ask Allah for the provision of our hearts.
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آَتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآَخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ ، وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آَتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآَخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
But of mankind there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!” and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter; And of them there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!”
Surah Al-Baqarah [2: 201-202]
Above is a transcription of a class given by teacher Zaynab El-Kateb.
1- Imam Nassir As-Saadi – Tayseer Al-Karim Al-Mannan in Tafseer Al-Quran
2- Tafsir Ibn Kathir
5- Imam Ahmad, corrected by Imam Al-Albani