Friday, May 24, 2013

What Truly is Ours? Understanding the Dynamics of Rizq / Provisions

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim 
Huwa ar-Razzaq wa al-Fattah

In the Name of Allah, the Universally Merciful, the Singularly Compassionate
He is the Real Provider and the Opener



1. What Really Belong to Us?


A companion of the Prophet once came to visit him while the Master, may Divine benediction be upon his noble soul, was reciting the Quranic revelation: "Competition in amassing wealth diverts you..." (Surah Takathur, 102). This is a particular section of the Qur'an which addresses directly to human being's insatiable desire for material wealth and reminds him his final destination and accountability.

This Surah reads in full in approximate literal translation:

Competition in amassing wealth diverts you (from true reality)
until you reach the graves.

No, but soon you shall know. 
Indeed soon you shall know!
And you will know with real certainty 
- and most surely you will see the hell-fire.
Then you will most surely see it with the eye of certainty.
Then you shall be questioned on an Awesome Day about the gifts of life.
~ The Quran 102

Then the Prophet said: "The son of Adam claims: 'My wealth, my wealth'.

O son of Adam. Is there anything that truly belongs to you except that which you consumed, which you utilised, or which you wore and then it was worn out or you gave as charity and sent it forward (for the afterlife)?"

(Source: Sahih Muslim Book of Hadith 042:7061)

In another narration it is conveyed that the Prophet said, "A servant says, my wealth! my wealth! but out of his wealth three things are only his (in reality): whatever he eats and makes use of or by means of which he dresses himself and it wears out or he gives as charity, and this is what he stored for himself (as a reward for the Hereafter), and what is beyond this (it is of no use to you) because you are to depart and leave it for other people."

(Source: Sahih Muslim Book 042:7063)

In the above two narrations, the Messenger of God defined what really is sustenance, which in Islamic term is called Rizq, divine providence.

Rizq: Provision encompasses what we consume, what we utilize and our charity sent forward for hereafter


For a believer it is essential gnosis to recognize the truth that God alone is the Provider and Sustainer for all living / sentient beings, including us.

Allah is ar-Razzaq, the Sole Provider. Through His elegant mechanism the system of provision is provided from the tiniest of creature on planet earth to the largest of the animal. No matter what the so called secular and God-removed science may teach us, whether it acknowledges or not, the truth of the matter is, it is the Wonderful Originator of the Heavens and Earth, God Who is the Arranger of All Matters including the web of life and sustenance of all living ones. The elegant design of the eco-system is brilliantly balanced and harmonized to provide for every single creature.

Rizq or Provision or Sustenance is defined as what is apportioned for us, what benefits us. This is not just the money in our pocket or bank account but what we directly receive benefit from, such as the food on our plate, the clothes/ things that comfort us including housing, any kind of consumptions and also whatever charity we give are all considered rizq or provision.

Rizq is such an important understanding that Christ in the famous Lord's prayer taught us to ask our Sustenance to the Sustainer through these words: "Please give us our daily bread.." (Matthew 9, Luke 11) This is also the teaching of the Final Revelation, "So seek your provision from God, and serve Him, and give thanks unto Him, (for) unto Him you will be brought back." (The Qur'an 29:17)

God willing, understanding the dynamics of rizq may help us open to a different reality by clearing out the jungle of illusion which we, our conditioned selves fool ourselves with, and the value system of conditioned society indoctrinate us with by removing God and His gifts from every scenario. Societies today through it's materialistic value system, instead of encouraging us to benefit others including ourselves with what is given to us, encourage us to hoard that money/ wealth/ rizq, which is a direct violation of the flow of blessings of the sustenance, the gifts provided us by God.

The concept of Rizq help us understand what truly belongs to us and how if we do not share what is given to us, it neither benefits us, nor others and on the contrary they become costly liabilities (both here and in the hereafter) and cause sufferings and end of the day only makes life complex.


2. Being the Richest Man in Cemetery


Late Steve Jobs once said, "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me."

Think of that sentence, "Richest man in the cemetery," because this is something that may help understand rizq. As mentioned earlier, Rizq is something which benefits us, not the illusion of what we think that may benefit us.

There are countless examples around us where people spend their entire life, destroy their family life, compromise relationship because they think if they can earn good enough money they will be able to enjoy it. This kind of attitude is centered around the premise that money can buy all and devoid of any understanding of divine provision. More importantly, they have no idea of what it means by Baraka in Rizq or blessings in Divine Provision.

Rather, in that mindless pursuit for wealth, they can neither enjoy their life, their youth, their health, their family, nor even the money amassed in the bank which he perhaps lived his life under the illusion that it belonged to him. In reality if that rizq is not apportioned for him he never can benefit from it.

This may defy common sense right? One may ask, how come that money he has in his bank and yet we are saying that it may not benefit him if its not apportioned to him?

To understand the dynamics of Rizq, lets consider few scenario from our known surroundings:

* In the past, during our grand parents generation, they earned little, had large family, were generous to strangers and guests - yet their provisions seemed to be abundant. In our generation, a person may be doing two jobs, have a very small family to look after and yet he or she might work like a slave of the system and yet struggle to pay the bills.

* A person may be very rich, has millions of dollars in the bank which he thinks belongs to him, and yet when he suddenly discover that he has cancer, in just six month he may end up loosing most of his savings. All the money he thought belonged to him, actually went to the hospital, doctors and tests. The money he thought belonged to him, he was only a keeper, that money belonged to somewhere, somebody else.

* A person is very rich, earns a lot and hence his food habit is like the rich. Very soon the doctor declare him diabetic, he is told to have a very controlled diet, no sugar, no cheese cake, his provisions is reduced even though he might have millions in the bank. How much a person may eat on his plate is not always proportional to the bank balance.

* Since provision is fixed, people may think they can go on eating whatever they like. Yet mechanisms such as heart condition, diabetics, irritable bowels syndrome may force them to stick to their provisions that is already apportioned for them.

* Saving money does not guarantee financial security. Blessing in the provision is all together a different thing. A person may earn a lot and yet may not have good chance of enjoying it, both while earning and afterwards. Hoarding money is antithetical to spirituality. It is against the custom of the Prophets, Messengers and Apostles.

Jesus Christ when gave guidance to his apostles about their ministry, he very clearly instructed them against hoarding wealth. "Freely you received, freely give. Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts or a bag for your journey... for the worker is worthy of his support." (Matthew 10:8-10)

Since we do not know and understand the reality of provision (haqiqat e rizq), we live all our life under the illusion and waste our valuable time, wealth, resources, relationship, moments and all other gifts.


Woe to every slanderer and backbiter. Who amasses wealth and (in delusion) considers it a provision. ~The Qur'an 104:2

Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. ~Jesus Christ

Anas b. Malik reported Allah's Messenger as saying: Three things follow the bier of a dead man. two of them come back and one is left with him: the members of his family. wealth and his-good deeds. The members of his family and wealth come back and the deeds alone are left with him. (Hadith, Muslim Book 042:7064)


3. The Inner Laws Concerning Rizq


According to Quranic understanding, God has created everything with truth (al-haqq). On the physical level this means that if we look across the universe, we will find that there is an inner consistency and harmony of the same truth. The atoms and molecules any where in the cosmos, regardless of where they belong to is governed by the same law. Whether that atom is part of a massive galaxy or part of the body of the tiniest bacteria in the deepest part of Atlantic Ocean.

“We have been able to show that the laws of physics are the same in this galaxy half way across the visible Universe as they are here on Earth,” ~ Michael Murphy, Swinburne astrophysicist

For humanity this is a Sign that the physical universe and its laws are constant by the Will of God Who is One. Similarly the unseen reality also has certain fundamental laws, harmonious working to sustain the inner world, just as the physical laws help sustain the outer world. The Creator Almighty Who has specified laws for atoms and every thing of the known universe, Who has specified the amount of energy to be exactly same  (conservation of energy), has also specified the amount of provision of each creation. This is a fundamental truth. This divinely apportioned provision is dynamic and may change according to certain conditions (just as does physical laws in the seen world), yet as a general principle, the provision of ours is fixed.

.. and Allah has set a measure for all things. ~65:3


FEW FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH ABOUT RIZQ/ PROVISION/ SUSTENANCE


For the sake of brevity without going into explanation, I will directly share translations of the Final Divine Revelations arranged under several headings which express the fundamental truth about rizq / provision. They are words transmitted from divine revelation, yet they are like finely cut diamonds which reflect the multifaceted reality.


GOD is the Real Provider and Arranger of Provisions


Surely Allah is The Superb Provider (ar-Razzaq), The Firm Owner of Power. ~51:58

He is the Best Provider. ~23:72, 22:58

GOD is the Arranger of Provisions through means including the Web of Life (EcoSystem)

And We have sent down blessed rain from the sky and made grow thereby gardens and grain from the harvest . And lofty palm trees having fruit arranged in layers - As provision for the servants, and We have given life thereby to a dead land. Thus is the resurrection. ~50:9-11

[He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allah equals while you know [that there is nothing similar to Him]. ~2:22

And We have certainly established you upon the earth and made for you therein ways of livelihood. Little are you grateful. ~7:10

And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised. ~51:22

And how many a creature carries not its [own] provision. Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing. ~29:60

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 Record. ~11:6

About the truth that God arranges provision for His grand family on earth, the various creation, Jesus Christ also said, "..I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the birds of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?" (Gospel of Matthew, 6:25,26)



Earthly Provision has Time Limit


Earthly life is time bounded, so is everything in this earth, be it our childhood, our youth or our life. Divinely apportioned provision is also without exception.


God reveals:

… and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time. ~Qur'an, 2:36, 7:24

Short is the enjoyment of this world: the Hereafter is the best for those who do right: Never will ye be dealt with unjustly in the very least! ~4:77

Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of good his favor. ~11:3

[Brief] enjoyment in this world; then to Us is their return; then We will make them taste the severe punishment because they used to disbelieve. ~10:70

Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the life of the world, whereas the life of the world is but brief comfort as compared with the Hereafter. ~13:26



Provision extends from this world to the Kingdom in the Hereafter


And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, "This is what we were provided with before." And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally. ~2:25

And never think of those who are martyred in the Way of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision. ~3:169

Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - those will enter Paradise, being given provision therein without limit. ~40:40

They will not hear therein any ill speech - only [greetings of] peace - and they will have their provision therein, morning and afternoon. ~19:62

That He may reward those who believe and do righteous deeds. Those will have forgiveness and noble provision. ~34:4
(For) the sincere servants of Allah, there is a known provision. Fruits and they will be honoured in the Garden of delight.  ~37:41-43

Lo! Truly such will be Our provision, there is no depletion. ~38:54

Jesus Christ also said, "Hoard not for yourselves wealths on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where nothing corrupts, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)


The Provision of Hereafter is lasting


Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little. ~ 9:38

The parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised! Beneath it flow rivers: perpetual is the provision thereof and the shade therein: such is the end of the Righteous; and the end of Unbelievers in the Fire. ~13:35

See how We have bestowed more on some than on others; but verily the Hereafter is more in rank and gradation and more in excellence. ~17:21

And those who have believed and done righteous deeds - for them is forgiveness and noble provision (both here and in hereafter). ~22:50

And whatever things you have been given are only a provision of this world's life and its adornment, and whatever is with Allah is better and more lasting; do you not then understand? ~28:60

[He sent] a Messenger [Muhammad] reciting to you the distinct verses of Allah that He may bring out those who believe and do righteous deeds from darknesses into the light. And whoever believes in Allah and does righteousness - He will admit him into gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein forever. Allah will have perfected for him a provision. ~65:11

So whatever thing you are given, that is only a provision of this world's life, and what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who believe and rely on their Lord. ~42:36



Provision is Dynamic and God enlarges without limits


Indeed, your Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is ever, concerning His servants, Acquainted and Seeing. ~17:30

Do they not see that Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]? Indeed, in that are signs for a people who believe. ~30:37

And Allah gives provision to whom He wills without limitations. ~2:212

Allah extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts for him. Indeed Allah is, of all things, Knowing. ~29:62

Say, "Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it], but most of the people do not know." ~34.36

Say, "Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts [it] for him. But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] - He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers." ~34:39

To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is, of all things, Knowing. ~42:12

And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned. ~2:245

You cause the night to enter the day, and You cause the day to enter the night; and You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give provision to whom You will without account. ~3:27

And Allah has favored some of you over others in provision. ~16:71


Provision from God is also a test


And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] parties of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring. ~20:131

..perhaps it is a trial for you and enjoyment for a time. ~21:111

So We might test them therein (by providing abundant provision). And whoever turns away from the remembrance of his Lord He will put into arduous punishment. ~72:16-17

Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted - let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease. ~65:7


Man is a medium (wasila) through whom Allah provides


Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers' provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable. No person is charged with more than his capacity. ~2:233

There is no blame upon you if you divorce women you have not touched nor specified for them an obligation. But give them [a gift of] compensation - the wealthy according to his capability and the poor according to his capability - a provision according to what is acceptable, a duty upon the doers of good. ~2:236


Provision can be of special favour for the special servants


So her Lord accepted Maryam 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 limitations." ~3:37


Provision is Responsive to certain Conditions


And [Allah revealed] that if they had remained straight on the way, We would have given them abundant provision. ~72:16

And Allah presents an example: a city which was safe and secure, its provision coming to it in abundance from every location, but it denied the favors of Allah . So Allah made it taste the envelopment of hunger and fear for what they had been doing. ~16:112

In the sacred tradition of Islam, other than Qur'anic sources, the saying of the Prophet give many indications on the inner workings of Rizq and what conditions has a positive or negative effect on divinely apportioned dynamic provisions. These conditions are further testified by saints and people of inner knowledge. To name a few factors that increase rizq/ and increase blessings in provisions:

Among the things which increase provision (and also increase baraka in it are):
* Good intention
* Staying in touch with family and blood relations
* Speaking the truth, being honest and having good ethics (akhlaq)
* Not being greedy
* Being kind to neighbours
* Being trustworthy
* Being grateful, acknowledging and giving thanks to God for blessings
* Being timely and regular in prayer
* Giving charity


Freely you received, freely give.  
~ Saying of Blessed Master Christ


In the next post, God willing, I will elaborate more on the factors which are known in the Sacred Tradition of Islam as contributing towards increasing divine provision or bring baraka in provisions and also the factors which cut off provisions or restrict the free flow of baraka in provision / rizq. May Allah Who is the Best of Provider, increase our provisions, give blessings in our sustenaces and make it wholesome and pure. Ameen.


# Beneficial Resources:
* Maximizing Rizq
* Allah's Promise of Rizq
* Ways of Increasing Sustenance (and avoidance of things that decrease Sustenance)
* Ar-Razzaq: The Provider


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