Question: Since Allah guarantees everybody rizq (sustenance), is it appropriate to say that a person died of hunger?
Allahu ta’ala guarantees everybody sustenance, but this does not prevent one from dying of starvation. A certain amount of sustenance and a certain number of breaths were foreordained for everyone. He or she whose appointed time of death has arrived will die. Some die of illnesses; some, traffic accidents; some, starvation. Allahu ta’ala creates many things through causes and means. For example, it is Allah who gives sustenance, but at the same time He has made working a means for obtaining sustenance. He who expects sustenance without working may die of hunger. Similarly, it is Allahu ta’ala who cures illnesses, but He has made doctors and medicines means for this purpose. Those who do not go to a doctor or who refuse medication may die of illnesses.
If any Muslim dies of hunger in any nook of a city and if any of the rich people in the city has a little zakat left unpaid, he (the rich one) is considered his (the poor one’s) murderer. (Endless Bliss)
Two hadith-i sharifs say:
(In this salat that I performed, I saw all the things in return for which you are threatened with torment. I also saw that woman who tied up her cat until it died of hunger and neither gave it food or water nor let it loose to allow it to eat insects.) [Muslim, Nasai]
(No one, except these three people, is allowed to beg:
1. He who is to die of hunger,
2. He who is deep in debt,
3. He who has to pay blood money.) [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasai]
Once there was famine during the caliphate of Hadrat ‘Umar. Hadrat Bilal bin Hars, one of the Blessed Companions, went to Rasulullah’s tomb and said, “O Messenger of Allah, your Ummah is starving to death. I beg you to intercede for [us that it shall] rain.” That night, he dreamt of the Messenger of Allah and he said, “See the Caliph. Give my salam to him. Let him go out to pray for rain.” Hadrat ‘Umar went out to pray for rain, and it started raining. (Advice for the Muslim)
With the exception of a person who is about to die and a person who is intimidated with the threat that he will be killed, it is haram for people to eat carrion and pork and to drink alcoholic drinks. (Bariqa)
Eating carrion or drinking wine is not haram for those who are about to die of hunger and thirst. (Bazzaziyya)
What signifies that it has been predestined in the eternal past that a person will die of hunger is the coming of the thought, “It will do me no good to eat and drink if it has been written on my forehead that I shall die of hunger,” to his heart. Because he thinks so, he does not eat and drink and then dies of hunger. (Endless Bliss)
A person who is about to die of hunger may, if there is no carrion either, eat something belonging to someone else as much as to prevent him from dying. (Muhit)
A person who goes hungry for a long time falls ill as time passes and then dies. Though the reason for his death is illness, there is nothing wrong with saying that he has died of hunger, for hunger caused it.
What is included in rizq?
Question: Since Allah guarantees rizq, how does a person die of hunger? What falls under the definition of rizq?
When the word rizq is made mention of, it generally refers to those things that are eaten. However, a house and clothes are also included in the definition of rizq.
Allahu ta’ala foreordained and allotted the rizq of every human and animal in the eternal past. Just as the time of death and the number of breaths of every human and animal are fixed, so is everyone’s rizq. Rizq never changes. Nor does it increase or decrease. No one can consume some other person’s rizq. No one dies before consuming or using his own rizq. A Qur’anic verse says (what means):
(There is no living creature except that its rizq is provided by Allahu ta’ala.) [Hud 6]
Allahu ta’ala guarantees everybody’s sustenance until he or she dies. He foreordained a certain amount of rizq and a certain number of breaths for everyone. He or she whose appointed time of death has arrived will die. Some die of illnesses. Some die of traffic accidents. Some die by committing suicide. And some die of hunger. When they die, the rizq Allahu ta’ala promised and foreordained will have finished. No one dies until he finishes or uses the rizq foreordained for him. So one should not worry about one’s rizq. A hadith-i sharif says (what means):
(Do not worry about rizq. The rizq that was foreordained [in the eternal past] will find you.) [Isfahani]
Allahu ta’ala creates many things through causes and means. For example, it is Allahu ta’ala who cures illnesses, but He has made doctors and medicines means for this purpose. It is again He who gives effectiveness to medicines. He who does not go to a doctor or who refuses medication may die of illnesses. This patient dies after finishing the rizq foreordained for him. Similarly, it is Allah who gives rizq, but He has made working, eating, drinking means for this purpose. He who does not work or who does not eat or drink may die of hunger. He, too, dies after finishing the rizq foreordained for him. That is, he eats or uses the rizq foreordained for him and is not deprived of the rizq promised.
Besides, a person who goes hungry for a long time falls ill as time passes and then dies. Though the reason for his death is illness, there is nothing wrong with saying that he has died of hunger, for hunger caused it.