Quranic Reflection No. 509. Āyat 15: 21 – Allah (swt) sends down His treasure in a known measure.
Wa in min shay’in illā ‘indanā khazā’inuhu wa mā nunazziluhu illā biqadarin ma‘lūm
There is not a thing but that its sources are with Us, and We do not send it down except in a known measure.
(Surat al-Hijr, No.15, Āyat:21)
The characteristic of being open-handed is an attribute of Allah ‘azza wajall and is reflected in His creation. For example, the sun displays its open-handedness by sharing its energy with everyone, the winds blow for all to benefit, and many human beings share their resources with others. Whenever this characteristic is displayed the doer is endeared and loved, because no one likes one who is stingy. Imam Ali ‘alayhis-salām has said: Man’s open-handedness endears him to his opponents, and his stinginess makes him hated by his own children. (Ghurar al-Hikam p. 336)
It goes without saying that there is a huge difference between the open-handedness of Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā and that of His creation. For one, whatever we share with others is not really ours in the first place. Everything belongs to Allah who provides to us not only to enjoy but to share with others. And secondly, whatever we have diminishes when we use it but whatever is with Allah remains forever. Allah says: That which is with you will be spent but what is with Allah shall last (Q: 16:96).
In the verse above Allah beautifully describes why nothing depletes from Him. He says: There is not a thing but that its sources are with Us, and We do not send it down except in a known measure. Unlike human beings who are limited in their ability, strength and power, Allah (swt) has no limitations. While we may fear the depletion of our resources when we share with others, Allah has no such fear because with Him lies the source of all goodness. He can create whatever is needed, whenever it is needed, for whoever needs it.
A question that human beings could ask is why Almighty Allah does not grant from His unlimited resources to human beings so they would not have to strive. Why is it given to them in certain measures? Certainly, the wisdom of Allah dictates that He provides His resources in the right measure when it is most conducive and wise. There is a system in place, and everything is planned and implemented according to a fixed measure. Striving for what Allah has to give and praying for it, are means of growth for human beings and gets them closer to Allah ‘azza wajall. There is much merit in getting things according to a specific measure.
Allah says in the Quran: Were Allah to expand the provision for His servants, they would surely create havoc on the earth. But He sends down in a [precise] measure whatever He wishes. Indeed, He is all-aware, all-seeing about His servants (Q 42:27). We see the amount of bloodshed, oppression, and tyranny in this world even with its limited resources. We can only imagine what it would be like if His resources were left entirely to our disposal.
Even if His unlimited resources were provided to us, it would not deplete what He has with Him. It is mentioned in a Hadith al-Qudsī that Allah said to Prophet Dāwūd ‘alayhis salām: O Dāwūd: by my might and my majesty, if the inhabitants of my heavens and my earth turned to me in hope, and I gave every hopeful one his hope by the measure of your world seventy times over, that would be similar to one of you immersing a needle in a sea and raising it, for how can anything deplete from what I give? (Mashāriq Anwār al-Yaqīn fi Asrār Amir al-Mu’minīn (a) p. 64)
It is our responsibility to constantly strive and give from what we have, never compromising our belief and morality due to greed or gluttony, with the recognition that everything belongs to Allah (swt). He is the source of all goodness that will never deplete or diminish.
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī, Al-Amthal fí Tafsīr Kitāb Allah al- Munzal, ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān.