Reflection No. 155 on Q 62:11 – Sustenance from Allah

وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِين – wallāhu khayrur-rāziqīn
And Allah is the best of Sustainers (Sūratul Jumu‘ah, No. 62, Āyat 11)

Financial stress has a huge impact on people’s emotional lives. We worry about income, paying bills, financial stability etc. Although it is necessary to work hard and struggle to achieve the sustenance we need, many verses of the Holy Qur’an direct us towards a mindset that calms worries about sustenance.

The verse above, recited invariably in Friday prayers and whenever we read Sūratul Jumu‘ah, is a simple reminder that the Best Provider is Almighty Allah. We may run after various avenues when looking for sustenance, but understanding that it lies in the hands of Allah, is important for peace of mind. Faith, virtuous actions, sincerity, piety, maintaining relations with kith and kin, etc. have all been mentioned in Hadith as attracting a blessed sustenance.

It is interesting to note that sustenance in the Qur’an does not always refer to worldly sustenance or the ability to provide for our bodily needs. Although many verses mention this type of rizq, Allah also talks about spiritual rizq. In Sūrat Hūd verses 87 and 88, Nabī Shu‘ayb (a) talks about the sustenance he has received. This refers to the guidance and knowledge that he wants to convey to his people. Also, in Sūratul FāTir verses 28 and 29, Allah talks about spending out of the knowledge and piety He has granted to His servants. In the famous Du‘ā attributed to Imam al-Mahdi (af), where he prays for the welfare of an individual as well as a society, Imam uses the word ‘rizq by praying Allāhumar zuqnā tawfīqaT Tā‘a – O Allah grant us the rizq of success in (Your) obedience  . . .

Rizq is of two types: one that seeks us and one that we seek. Imam Ali (a) says: Know O my child, that livelihood is of two kinds – a livelihood that you seek and a livelihood that seeks you, which is such that if you do not reach it, it will come to you (Nahj, Letter 31). The rizq that comes to us is what Allah has determined for us in our existence. It includes our lifespan, abilities, environment, family, etc. We use this in order to work for sustenance. The sustenance that Allah determines cannot be changed, but the one we strive for is that which increases, decreases or gets restrained depending on our own actions.

When seeking sustenance, remember the following points to create peace of mind:

All sustenance lies in the hands of Allah. Being God conscious will increase the blessings of sustenance in your life. He says; and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet, And give him sustenance from where he thinks not. (65:2-3)
Work hard and struggle where required for Allah says, And man shall have nothing but what he strives for(53:39).
Trust in God. In the verse of SūraT Talāq, quoted above, Allah says: and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him; surely Allah attains His purpose; Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything(65:3).
Be content. That is true riches. Imam Ali (a) says: Contentment is a wealth that does not diminish. (Nahj, Hadīth 57)
Sources: Nahjul Balāgha, Imam Ali bin Abī Tālib (a)