Allah (swt) Provides For All . . . !
by Shaykh Jamal Farouk Housein
All praises are due to Allah (swt), Whom we praise and exalt, and of Whom we seek assistance and forgiveness. We believe in Him and to His will do we trust and resign ourselves. We seek refuge in Him from the evil of ourselves and the wickedness of our deeds. Whomsoever Allah (swt) guides no one can mislead, and whomsoever do not follow his guidance, there is no one to guide them.
I solemnly testify that there is none deserving to be worshipped except Allah (swt), and I bear witness that Muhammad (pbuh) is his servant and Final Messenger.
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed shaitan (devil). I begin in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, and the Merciful.
Allah states in the Noble Qur'an [Surah al Baqarah/2:172]:
O you who believe, partake of the good things We have provided for you as sustenance (rizq) and give thanks to Allah, if it is truly Him that you worship.
Allah (swt) is reminding us in this verse that He is the one who has provided everything for all creation to survive. At the beginning, in the mother's womb, Allah (swt) has provided sustenance via the umbilical cord for every human -- Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu, pagan or atheist. He has provided for every color, race, and creed; for every male and female. He has made no distinction among us. In Surah 17/Verse 31, Allah (swt) warns: Do not kill your children out of fear of being poor. We will provide for them and for you. He emphasized in Surah 6/Verse 151: And do not kill your children on account of poverty. We will provide for you and for them.
Despite this assurance of providence from Allah (swt), we still continue to kill our children, especially our girl children. Allah (swt) wants us to understand that sustenance comes from Him only, and we must exercise patience (sabr). In many instances, impatience, anxiety and the evil whispers of the devil provoke and tempt us into evil thoughts, which eventually produce adverse consequences.
The provision that Allah (swt) mentions is called rizq, which can loosely be defined as the sustenance that is given to everything that He has created. The portion of this provision that we use up, whether it comes from our wealth, our knowledge, or our physical abilities, is considered our rizq. Be reminded: only that portion which we make use of, not the excess, is called rizq. Every provision has a cycle or domain in which it functions. For example, the whole earth is filled with air. From this air, humans breathe in the oxygen that is necessary to sustain life. We then exhale carbon dioxide that the trees need to sustain their lives. The trees transform the carbon dioxide into oxygen, which filters back into the air to complete the cycle.
Another example comes from the oceans, rivers, lakes and ponds. Through evaporation, the water is condensed into the cumulus clouds, and by decree, Allah (swt) causes storms to spread rain, sleet, hail or snow, wherever He chooses. This water causes plants and other life to grow, which in turn produces fruits and vegetation that sustain other things that depend upon them.
Allah (swt) in his infinite wisdom has given us the ability to understand these cycles and to find ways to coexist with the natural elements of His creations. We, however, do not have the abilities to cut off or to deny anyone -- not even your worst enemy, from this provision. Rizq can be viewed as an unseen matter, and man has no way of manipulating it. But, we do have the obligation and the abilities to exhort ourselves to obtain this provision.
Allah (swt) states in Surah 51/Verse 22-23 that our provision is in the heaven and what we are promised. By the Lord of the heaven and the earth, it is most certainly the truth, just as we have speech. Because of our abilities to think and reason Allah (swt) gave us the choice to seek our provision in two ways -- we can get it in the halaal (legal) way, or we can get it through haraam (illegal) means. Fear of poverty, lack of wisdom, impatience and ultimate ignorance of Allah (swt) causes us to seek our provisions through haraam means. Allah (swt) reminded us in Surah al Baqarah that the Children of Israel suffered because they failed to put their trust in Him for their provision.
There are two aspects of these rizq -- material benefits through which man physically continues to live in luxury or in poverty, and spiritual benefits through which we enrich our lives for the Hereafter -- emotional satisfaction or the lack thereof. Sometimes we connect more to the material benefits than the spiritual because we may be tempted to display our big houses, fine jewelry and clothing, and fancy cars. Our provision is certainly connected to wealth, but it is not directly dependent upon it because, rizq, as noted before, is that portion of our wealth that we make use of. Allah (swt) has given some of us the means to improve the level of luxury and comfort so that we can reflect and give thanks to Him.
Again, Allah (swt) warns us in Surah 11/Verse 15-16 that:
Anyone who desires the life of this world and its finery, We will give them of it in full payment for their actions. They will not be deprived any of their due. For those, there is nothing in the Next World but Fire. What they did in this world will come to nothing. What they were doing will prove worthless.
From the Prophetic Tradition, we learn that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) understood the seriousness of these ayat because upon the entry to the mosque he used to recite: "O Allah, open unto me the gates of Thy mercy and forgiveness." And when exiting the masjid, he would recite: "O Allah, I beg of Thee Thy bounty." The Qur'an gives more clarity in Surah 62/Verse 10: And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah's bounty, and remember Allah much, that you may be successful. In Surah 16/Verse 71, Allah (swt) states that he has favored some of us over others with regard to provision.
Rizq is given baraqa (blessing) from Allah (swt) when it is used up in our lifetime with our family and those deserving from it; and it is from the excess that we pay sadaqa and zakat. Our provision increases because we are now enriched materially and spiritually. The payment of zakat and sadaqa are means to obtaining spiritual wealth as defined by Allah (swt). We are required to the best of our abilities to seek for our provision, share it with others and give thanks to Allah (swt).
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) built Madina during the last ten years of his prophetic mission, under this concept. And his Companions and Followers did the same for the ensuing Islamic empire. The success of Muslims is evident when this system is applied, and it fails every time we become selfish.
We pray that Allah (swt) gives us the skills, abilities, and knowledge to seek our rizq in the legal way. We pray that He grants us the wisdom to share it with others. And most of all, we give thanks to Him for continuously providing for everything that He has created.
Finally, let us exhort one another to Truth; and let us exhort one another to Endurance. Ameen!
Posted December 9, 1999. Shaykh Jamal Farouk Housein delivered this sermon (khutbah) at the Islamic Society of the Washington Area (ISWA) on October 22, 1999. It was printed in the October-November 1999 issue of the Voice of Islam newsletter (This newsletter is published by ISWA).