وَكَأَيِّن مِّن دَابَّةٍ لَّا تَحْمِلُ رِزْقَهَا
There are many living creatures which do not carry their sustenance….
Human beings are always worried about their provisions (Al-Rizk). It is a matter that preoccupies a lot of time and concerns to the extent it results in depressions and anxiety. Always worried about provisions for ourselves and our families and relatives. Without a real and satisfactory answer to the question of who is in charge of our provision, then this problem will constantly haunt us and resulting unhapiness and anxiety.
The Quran addresses this issue categorically and gives an answer that convinces the minds and reassures the heart.
Let’s let us look the subject of Al-Rizk from three angles.
Allah (SWT) has stated providing provisions amongst the extraordinary actions that no one can do except He (SWT). The action of giving provisions are mentioned alongside causing life, death, turning the night into day, and the day into light, creation, management of creation.
He (SWT) said:
قُلِ اللَّـهُمَّ مَالِكَ الْمُلْكِ تُؤْتِي الْمُلْكَ مَن تَشَاءُ وَتَنزِعُ الْمُلْكَ مِمَّن تَشَاءُ وَتُعِزُّ مَن تَشَاءُ وَتُذِلُّ مَن تَشَاءُ ۖ بِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴿٢٦﴾ تُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَتُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ ۖ وَتُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَتُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ ۖ وَتَرْزُقُ مَن تَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ ﴿٢٧﴾
(Muhammad), say, “Lord, Owner of the Kingdom, You give authority to whomever You want and take it away from whomever You want. You give honor to whomever You want and humiliate whomever You want. In Your hands is all virtue and You have power over all things.You cause the day to enter into the night and the night to enter into the day. You cause the living to come out of the dead and the dead to come out of the living. You give sustenance to whomever You want without keeping an account. TMQ [3:26-27]
He (SWT) considered the matter of Rizk (provision) to be from the extraordinary issues that no one is cable of doing except Him (SWT).
In many other similar verses, Allah (SWT) mentions the issues of the provision in the context of extraordinary matters that only Allah (SWT) is capable of and no one else.
قُلْ مَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَمَّن يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَمَن يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَن يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّـهُ ۚ فَقُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ
(Muhammad), ask them, “Who gives you sustenance from the heavens and earth, who truly possesses (your) hearing and seeing abilities, who brings the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living and who regulates (the whole Universe)? They will reply, “God.” Ask them, “Why, then, do you not have fear of Him?” TMQ [10:31]
اللَّـهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ هَلْ مِن شُرَكَائِكُم مَّن يَفْعَلُ مِن ذَٰلِكُم مِّن شَيْءٍ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
It is God who has created you and given you sustenance. He will make you die and will bring you back to life. Can any of your idols do such things? God is too Exalted to be considered equal to anything else. TMQ[30:40]
No one can do any of these things. Not even provide you with a date except by the permission of Allah (SWT). This same meaning is repeated elsewhere in the Quran, for example:
وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ مَا لَا يَمْلِكُ لَهُمْ رِزْقًا مِّنَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ
Do they worship things other than God which neither provide them with any sustenance from the heavens and the earth nor have the ability to do so? TMQ [16:73]
أَمَّن يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ وَمَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّـهِ ۚ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
“(Are the idols worthier or) the One who began the creation and who will turn it back, who gives you sustenance from the heavens and the earth? Is there any lord besides God? Say, “Bring your proof if what you say is true.” TMQ [27:64]
The verses that promise Rizk and that it is in hand of Allah (SWT).
وَكَأَيِّن مِّن دَابَّةٍ لَّا تَحْمِلُ رِزْقَهَا اللَّـهُ يَرْزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ﴿٦٠﴾ وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّـهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ ﴿٦١﴾ اللَّـهُ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ لَهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٦٢﴾
There are many living creatures which do not carry their sustenance, but God provides them and you with sustenance. He is All-hearing and All-knowing.If you ask them, “Who has created the heavens and the earth and has subdued the sun and moon?” They will say, “God has done it.” So why are they wandering about!? God increases the sustenance of whichever of His servants He wants and He determines their share. God has the knowledge of all things. TMQ [29:60-62]
Just reflect on how many animals carry their next day’s provision on their backs. They don’t store in a fridge or storehouse on in a warehouse. It is only Allah (SWT) that provides it to them every day throughout their existence without fail.
Then Allah (SWT) speaks about the creation of the heavens and the earth and the subjugation of the sun and the moon, all of these are from the acts of Allah (SWT), followed by emphasising that Al-Rizk (provision) is in the hand of Allah (SWT. He (SWT) extends and restricts the sustenance of His (SWT) servants as He (SWT) wishes according to His (SWT) wisdom for the benefit of His (SWT) creation. By mentioning the creation of the heavens and the earth and the subjugation of sun and the moon in between the two verses speaking about Al-Rizk indicates that the matters of Al-Rizk is from the same category as the creation and subjugation of celestial bodies which is not in the power of anybody except Allah (SWT).
Al Rizk is considered a prominent sign similar to the creation of the heavens, earth, mountains, seas, ourselves and other natural marvels.
He (SWT) said:
وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِّلْمُوقِنِينَ ﴿٢٠﴾ وَفِي أَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ ﴿٢١﴾ وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ ﴿٢٢﴾ فَوَرَبِّ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِنَّهُ لَحَقٌّ مِّثْلَ مَا أَنَّكُمْ تَنطِقُونَ ﴿٢٣﴾
And on the earth are signs for the certain [in faith]And in yourselves. Then will you not see?And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised.Then by the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed, it is truth – just as [sure as] it is that you are speaking. TMQ [51:20-23]
Therefore, Al-Rizk is in the hands of Allah (SWT), and it is one of the signs that testify to the mighty power and capability of Allah (SWT) and when we reflect upon it should increase in certainty (yaqeen).
Allah (SWT) challenges humankind about their assumed source of Rizk.
مَّا يَفْتَحِ اللَّـهُ لِلنَّاسِ مِن رَّحْمَةٍ فَلَا مُمْسِكَ لَهَا ۖ وَمَا يُمْسِكْ فَلَا مُرْسِلَ لَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ﴿٢﴾ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّـهِ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ هَلْ مِنْ خَالِقٍ غَيْرُ اللَّـهِ يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤْفَكُونَ ﴿٣﴾
Whatever Allah grants to people of mercy – none can withhold it; and whatever He withholds – none can release it thereafter. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. O mankind, remember the favor of Allah upon you. Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the heaven and earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded? TMQ [35:2-3]
Often we assume that the source of our Rizk is our parents, boss, family members and leaders. The reality is they are just means by which we gain our provisions. In fact all they all rely on Allah (SWT) the Al-Razzak (The Provider) for their provision.
Having established that the one who is in charge of our provisions is Allah (SWT), Al-Razzak (The Provider) does not mean that we do not make an effort to seek the means to gain our sustenance, there is no place for fatalism in Islam. Islam requires us to have firm belief that the Al-Rizk is from Al-Razzak at the same time we are commanded to work and exert effort to earn our provisions according to the commands and prohibitions of Islam.
هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ ذَلُولًا فَامْشُوا فِي مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوا مِن رِّزْقِهِ ۖ وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ
It is He who made the earth tame for you – so walk among its slopes and eat of His provision – and to Him is the resurrection. TMQ: [67:15]
If this is the case in Islam about the subject of provision and livelihood, then the fear of loss of Rizk should not prevent us from challenging injustice and speaking the truth in the face of tyranny.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
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).