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Central Khutbah: “The Halal Supply is the Priority of Every Believer”

Three objectives that every believer aims for every day are contained in the prayer that the Prophet of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, recited every morning after the Fajr prayer:

“O Allah, I ask You for

  • beneficial knowledge,
  • pure (halal) sustenance,
  • and accepted deeds.”

In today’s sermon, we will emphasize the importance of halal, pure, and beautiful sustenance.

The beautiful name of Allah, Er-Rezzak – The Provider of Sustenance, is mentioned in the Quran only once: “Sustenance comes from Allah alone, the Mighty, the Powerful!” (Adh-Dhariyat, 58). While the expression “Hajrur-Razikin” – The Best of Providers, is mentioned at five places in the Quran, and the word “rizk” – sustenance, is mentioned at more than a hundred places in the Quran.

In his work “Al-Mufradat,” Raghib al-Isfahani says: “Er-Razik is said of the One who creates sustenance, who gives it, and who is the cause of sustenance, and that is Allah. This term is also used for people who in a certain way are the cause of obtaining sustenance, but Er-Rezzak can only be said for Allah.” (Raghib al-Isfahani, Al-Mufradat, p. 194) The name Er-Rezzak – is a hyperbole, a reinforcement of the meaning of this word compared to the word Er-Razik, which means that Allah gives one sustenance after another, meaning that He grants sustenance abundantly.

Types of Sustenance

There are two types of rizk or sustenance: general sustenance and specific sustenance.

  • General Sustenance: refers to material sustenance, earthly, and encompasses all creatures. Allah has facilitated and allowed all creatures, humans, jinn, and animals, to obtain their sustenance, and this includes the good and the bad, the believers, the hypocrites, and the disbelievers. This type of sustenance is general in terms of acquisition, whether halal or haram, so even halal sustenance is called rizk, just as haram sustenance for which a person deserves punishment.
  • Specific Sustenance: is the sustenance of the heart with the treasures of faith and the richness of obedience to Allah, as well as the physical and spiritual obedience that the heart urgently needs. The sustenance of the heart refers to true knowledge, recognition, faith, guidance, certainty, pleasure in worship, tranquility through guidance, etc.

This type of sustenance is achieved and received only by true believers and benefactors, even if they are the poorest in terms of material sustenance. And when the believer asks Allah for both types of sustenance, they must be fully present with their hearts in their prayers because the Prophet of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, sought refuge in Allah from disbelief (kufr), but also from poverty (fakr). Disbelief ruins the sustenance of the Hereafter, and poverty ruins the sustenance of this world.

Why did Allah call Himself “Hajrur-Razikin” – “The Best of Providers”?

  • Because He is the best of providers and givers;
  • Because He provides for both believers and non-believers, those who humbly implore Him and those who never do;
  • Because Allah provides from treasures that cannot be exhausted, and even after giving much, nothing is diminished from these treasures;
  • Because Allah is the only one who provides sustenance from nothing, while creatures, that is humans, can be intermediaries in the giving of existing sustenance, and they are attributed the name of providers only figuratively;
  • Because Allah gives sustenance that cannot be measured, just as His blessings cannot be counted;
  • Because Allah knows what is beneficial for a person in terms of sustenance and what will corrupt them, and He gives accordingly;
  • Because Allah, even when He is angry because of the sins and disobedience of people, does not cut off or deprive sustenance, while people, when they get angry with someone, immediately deprive them of what they used to give them before;
  • Because Allah’s sustenance never comes late, it comes when it is needed.

One of the verses in which the expression “Hajrur-Razikin” – The Best Provider, is mentioned is the verse from Surah Al-Hajj, where it says:

“Allah will certainly reward magnificently those who leave their homeland to fight in the cause of Allah, then are killed or die – for Allah rewards the best.” (Al-Hajj, 58)

By this verse, Allah instills tranquility in the hearts of the muhajirun on the path of Allah, so that they do not fear that their sustenance will be diminished because of their emigration, because Allah is “Hajrur-Razikin”, meaning Allah provides on this earth even to the greatest disbelievers, and they will not die until their sustenance is exhausted, so how would He not provide for those who migrate and sacrifice in His name.

It is reported that some companions said: “How can we go to a foreign land where we have nothing, no means of basic sustenance?”, then Allah revealed the verse: “And how many creatures there are that do not store their food? Allah feeds them, and you too! He hears all and knows all.” (Al-Ankabut, 60)

Thus, this brought peace to the souls and hearts of those who had emigrated and had severed ties with their homeland, their belongings, and everything they possessed. Allah teaches them that He who provides for animals and birds, who do not know how to fend for themselves like humans, also provides for humans, even if at some point it seems to them that the ways of sustenance are cut off.

This expression is also mentioned in the verse: “Say: ‘My Lord gives an abundant sustenance to whom He wills among His servants, and He restricts it to whom He wills. Whatever you spend, He replaces it. He is the Best Provider.'” (Saba’, 39)

By this verse, Allah brings tranquility and security to the hearts of believers who spend in the way of Allah, so that they do not fear and do not worry that charity and donations will diminish their wealth. Commenting on this verse, Ibn Kathir said: “He compensates you in this world with better than what you have given, and in the Hereafter with rewards and merits.”

Sustenance is prescribed and determined long ago

It is reported from Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As that he heard the Prophet of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, saying: “Allah has prescribed the destinies of creatures, 50,000 years before He created the heavens and the Earth.” (Muslim)

And in a hadith reported by Abu Darda, may Allah be pleased with him, it is said: “Indeed, sustenance or nafaka seeks man more than death seeks him.” (Tabarani, Sahih al-Jami’, 1630)

It’s as if one wanted to say: “Have you ever seen someone, or do you know someone who has escaped death? Similarly, no one can escape their sustenance and the provision destined for them. Man seeks his sustenance, and it seeks him too, and they will never meet if Allah has not ordained it.”

However, the problem is that people, in general, hasten their sustenance, and Allah has revealed to His Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him: “Do not be impatient in waiting for sustenance, for no man will die until he receives the last portion of sustenance allotted to him. Fear Allah and beautify your search.” (Hakim and Bayhaqi, Sahih al-Jami’, 7323)

It is reported that a man lost his brother, leaving behind five children (orphans). His brother wept because the children were left without anyone to provide for them and earn food, then he met his sheikh and he asked him: “Why are you crying?” He replied that his brother had died and left five orphans. The sheikh asked, “Did he leave anything for them?” He replied, “Yes, for this year, but what about after that?” The sheikh said to him, “Well, when the year is over and they are without sustenance, then cry, but not now.” It is reported that this man died three months before the end of the year.

The hastening of sustenance is the main reason why people resort to unlawful wealth, and they easily engage in unlawful activities such as corruption and usury, and the consumption of goods in an illicit manner, even though each of us has a predetermined sustenance and no one will die before exhausting their sustenance. However, it is as if we are not convinced and as if we do not believe in the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, so we fall into the unlawful thinking that there is no other way and possibility than in unlawful goods.

Almighty Allah has revealed in the Quran: “And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised. By the Lord of the heaven and the earth, this is certainly the truth, just as it is true that you speak!” (Adh-Dhariyat, 21-22)

This verse alludes to two magnificent meanings: first, O man, your sustenance is in the heavens, so do not humble yourself before those on Earth. Secondly, what is with Allah can only be obtained and sought by obeying Him.

Imam Qushayri commented very inspiringly on this verse, saying: “In the heavens is your sustenance, to the heavens ascend your actions, so if you want your sustenance to be descended, direct a good deed towards the heavens. That is why it is said: ‘Through prayer, one knocks on the doors of sustenance.’ Almighty Allah has revealed in the Quran: ‘Command your family to pray and be steadfast in it! We do not ask you to provide sustenance, We will provide for you!'” (Ta-Ha, 132) (Al-Qushayri, Lata’if al-Isharat, III/465)

The wise and scholars have said: “Just as each person speaks with their own tongue and cannot speak with a foreign tongue, likewise each person only eats their own sustenance and it is impossible for them to eat the sustenance of another.” (Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 17/42)

Islamic historians have mentioned the case of Imam Affan ibn Muslim al-Saffar, one of the sheikhs of Imam Ahmad, who was forced to acknowledge that the Quran was created, but he refused. Then he was told, “We will deprive you of your salary,” and every month, he received 1,000 dirhams, and he cited to them the verse: “And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised.”

When he returned home, his relatives criticized him for leaving his family without sustenance, and there were about forty people in his house, and at that moment, while they were criticizing him, someone knocked on the door. When they opened it, a merchant (grocery store) entered the house holding a bag of 1,000 dirhams. He said to the sheikh, “Abu Uthman, may Allah grant you strength and steadfastness, here are a thousand dirhams that you will receive from me every month.” (Tarih Baghdad, 14/201)

It is recounted that Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik entered the sanctuary of the Kaaba and saw Salim ibn Abdullah ibn Omar ibn Al-Khattab. He said to him, “Salim, ask me for whatever you want.” Salim replied, “I am ashamed to ask for anything other than what God wants in His House.” Once they left the sanctuary, the caliph said to him, “Ask now that we have left the sanctuary.” Salim asked, “Are you talking about a worldly need or a need for the hereafter?” The caliph replied, “Of a worldly need.” Salim said, “By Allah, I have not asked for the things of this world from the One who possesses them, so how would I ask for them from one who does not possess them.” (Al-Dinwari, Al-Mujâlasah wa Jawâhir al-‘Ilm)

The sincere believer does not fear for his sustenance

The fruit of true knowledge of the beautiful name of Allah, Ar-Razzâq, is sincere love and total trust in His provision.

Muhammad Qutb stated: “The Almighty has revealed: ‘Only Allah provides sustenance, the Almighty, the Powerful.’ (Az-Zariyat, 58) If you were to ask any Muslim you meet: ‘Who provides you with your sustenance?’, he would answer: ‘Allah!’ But observe how he reacts when his sustenance becomes scarce, he says: ‘So-and-so wants to cut off my sustenance!’ What do these words mean? They show that this conviction is momentary and stable only in times of abundance and security, for he despairs and becomes afraid as soon as he is afflicted with a lack of sustenance. The conviction that only Allah provides sustenance benefits only those who are firmly convinced (yaqin) that Allah is Ar-Razzâq, that He is Almighty, that He gives life and death, that He gives and withholds, and that everything is in His hands.” (Waqi’unâ al-mu’âsir, p. 486)

The believer does not fear for his sustenance, for the fear of sustenance is a characteristic of the hypocrites, as indicated by the verse: “They say: ‘Do not spend anything for those who are with the Messenger of Allah, so they may disperse.’ But the treasures of the heavens and the earth belong to Allah, but the hypocrites do not understand.” (Al-Munafiqun, 7)

Sayyid Qutb explained that these words of the hypocrites reveal the corrupt nature of man, and that disbelievers and hypocrites from all generations have passed down this method to combat Islam and authentic belief. Due to their limited understanding, they perceive bread as life itself, and they assume that believers feel the same way, thus attempting to deprive believers of their sustenance.

Did not the Quraysh apply this method with the Banu Hashim, isolating them and imposing an embargo on them just to dissuade them from supporting the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him? This method is still used today to combat Islam and Muslims.

However, when the Quraysh came to complain to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, about the famine and shortage that struck Mecca, and Sumama ibn Usal, after embracing Islam, ceased exporting wheat from Yamama, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered Sumama to send them wheat and not to interrupt trade with them, even though they were at war with the Muslims.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, wanted to draw attention to the fact that Allah possesses the treasures of the heavens and the earth, and that even those who try to deprive others of their food are nourished by Him, and that the true fools are those who try to deprive others of their sustenance.

Hearts soften best with lawful goods

One who is certain that Allah provides sustenance will not reach out for the forbidden, and one who abstains from the forbidden, Allah will certainly open the ways of the lawful for him. In this regard, Abdullah ibn Abbas said: “There is no believer or disbeliever to whom Allah has not prescribed lawful sustenance, and if he patiently waits until this sustenance reaches him, Allah will give it to him in a lawful manner, but if he despairs and turns to the forbidden, Allah will decrease his lawful sustenance.” (Hilyat al-Awliya, I/326)

Patience is the epitome of courage and faith in times when illicit goods spread and enter every household, as the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “A time will come when people will not care about what they take, whether it is halal or haram.” (Bukhari and Ahmad, Sahih al-Jami’, n° 5344). Sufyan ath-Thawri used to say: “I recommend to you the deeds of true heroes: earn your livelihood lawfully and give it to the needy.” (Ibn Abi Hatim ar-Razi, Al-Jarh wa at-Ta’dil, I/85)

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked: “How to soften hearts?” He replied: “My son, hearts soften best with lawful goods.” (Hilyat al-Awliya, IX/182)

Keys to the treasures of sustenance

The best key to open the treasures of sustenance is piety (taqwa). Allah the Exalted revealed in the Quran: “Whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out and will provide for him from where he does not expect.” (At-Talaq, 2-3). Piety is the key to happiness, even unexpected, and the more pious a person is, the more his pure and good sustenance comes to him unexpectedly. It is said that unexpected lawful sustenance is the sweetest.

Responding to the question: “We often see scenes where precisely those who are pious lack sustenance, while those who are not have it in abundance. How do you explain this?” Ibn Taymiyyah said: “The verse requires that the pious person be provided with sustenance unexpectedly, but this does not prove that those who are not pious will not be provided for, because all creatures have their sustenance, as stated in the verse: ‘There is no creature on earth whose provision is not upon Allah.’ (Hud, 6), so what a person obtains unlawfully also falls into the meaning of sustenance, because sometimes disbelievers are provided with good sustenance through unlawful means, and sometimes they are provided only through great effort. Allah provides the pious with unexpected means, and their sustenance is not acquired through unlawful means and is not tainted with haram. The pious person is not deprived of what he needs in terms of sustenance, but sometimes he is preserved from worldly waste out of mercy and kindness towards him.” (Majmu’ al-Fatawa, 16/53)

Charity increases wealth

One of the keys to sustenance is giving charity. Every time one takes from his wealth for charity, his wealth increases. Ja’far ibn Muhammad used to say: “Sometimes, I have no more wealth, so I make a deal with Allah by giving charity, and I quickly gain and make a profit.” (Ibn Abdul-Barr al-Qurtubi, Bahjat al-Majalis wa Uns al-Mujalis, I/25). The essence is not in the abundance of sustenance, but in the blessing. Sins represent a great door for the decrease of sustenance or the disappearance of blessing. Thawban, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “A person is deprived of sustenance because of the sins he has committed.”

Islamic scholars have said: “Just as Allah has no partner in creation, He also has no partner in sustenance, just as there is no god but Allah, there is no provider but Allah.” Therefore, do not fear for your sustenance and be content with what Ar-Razzâq gives you. If you are content with the sustenance prescribed for you, you will be the richest person.

We ask Allah to grant us true knowledge, true faith, and certainty. We ask Allah to provide us with lawful goods for which He will not punish us, and to grant us the satisfaction of what He has prescribed and given us. We ask Allah to grant us goods better than those we ask for in our prayers, and to keep away from us any evil concerning our life in this world and our life in the hereafter.

(Central khutbah by the religious leader Hafiz Hilmija Redžić on May 24, 2024, at the “Centre Culturel Islamique Nordstad” in Diekirch)

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