By Abu Jamal

Let’s begin by developing a definition of rizq. The popular definition revolves around wealth and material benefit.  Although this describes a part of rizq, by no means does it describe it completely.  Rizq includes all the material blessings (and the related intellectual, psychological and social blessings) or benefits bestowed by Allah (swt) that enable us to live a successful life as well as the spiritual blessings or benefits that enrich our existence now and in the hereafter.

One should be aware that it only becomes rizq when it is utilized.

Three Meanings of Rizq

Literally meaning provision or sustenance, rizq conveys the linguistic sense of giving or apportioning.  When appearing in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, rizq can refer to:

1. Those blessings that are bestowed in this world or the next:  Allâh (swt) says: To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth.  He enlarges the provision for whom He wills, and he straitens (it for whom He wills).  Verily He is the All-Knower of everything. [42:12]  Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) thus told him: When a non-believer does good he is made to taste its reward in this world. And so far as the believer is concerned, Allah stores (the reward) of his virtues for the Hereafter and provides him sustenance in accordance with his obedience to Him. [Muslim]

2. That which nourishes us:  The Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: If you have proper and sincere tawakkul (reliance) on Allâh Ta’ala. He will grant you rizq like the birds are given rizq, who come out of their nests in the morning with empty stomachs and return to their nests in the evening with a full stomach.  Allâh (swt) says: And whoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. [from 2:3]

3. That which we bestow on others:  Allâh (swt) says: And spend (in charity) of that which We have provide you before death comes to one of you… [from 63:19, part]  Narrated AbuSa’id al-Khudri: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man giving a dirham as sadaqah (charity) during his life is better than giving one hundred dirhams as sadaqah (charity) at the moment of his death. [Sunan Abudawud]

We have the choice of seeking the material component of rizq through either halal or haram means, and our ability to consistently and successfully pursue the spiritual component is the factor which governs our choice.

Hand-in-hand with Taqwa, Tawakkul, Zakat, and Sadaqa

Our having taqwa in our hearts and tawakkul on our minds is absolutely essential to our obtaining spiritual benefits, which are enhanced through the meeting of our obligations in relation to zakat and sadaqa.

Allâh (swt) has warned us: Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter, to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein.  They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire, and vain are the deeds they did therein.  And of no effect is that which they use to do.   [11:15-16]

Essential Element of Our Faith

The concept of rizq is an essential part of the Islamic belief system.  It relates directly to tawheed, the Oneness of Allâh (swt) and is an important element in our iman (faith) in Allâh (swt).  Our rizq is a fixed amount and is decreed by Allâh (swt) at our birth.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said, “At every womb Allah appoints an angel who says, ‘O Lord! A drop of semen, O Lord! A clot. O Lord! A little lump of flesh. ‘ Then if Allah wishes (to complete) its creation, the angel asks,  ‘(O Lord!) Will it be a male or female, a wretched or a blessed, and how much will his provision be? And what will his age be?’ So all that is written while the child is still in the mother’s womb.”  [Bukhari]

In the Hands of Allah (swt)

Thus, rizq is in the hands of Allâh (swt).

And no moving (living) creature is there on earth but its Provision is due from Allah. [from 11:6] The Attribute of Allâh (swt)  linguistically linked to rizq is Ar-Razzaaq, The Provider, The Bestower of Sustenance, The One who creates all means of sustenance and nourishment, conveying the notion  that He sustains us through the provision of our material necessities and the nourishing of our spirits.   Two other of His attributes related to rizq are: Al-Kareem and Al-Jawad, both of which convey aspects of His generosity.

No Need to Worry

We don’t have to be concerned about scarcity.  In Hadith Qudsi narrated by Muslim, Allâh (swt) said: O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of jinns also all stand in one plain ground and you ask Me and I confer upon every person what he asks for, it would not in any way, cause any loss to Me (even less) than that which is caused to the ocean by dipping the needle in it.

A Simple Task

Our task is clear: place our trust completely in Allâh (swt) and adhere strictly to the rules of the shariah in seeking our rizq through solely halal means.  Rizq is distributed totally consistent with the guidance of Allâh (swt).  And it is through receptivity to His guidance that one can gain access to the higher domains of rizq: enhancement of one’s taqwa and iman, cleansing of one’s soul, elevation of one’s status in Jannah, wisdom, and generosity.

(To be continued)

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