Question: What is the death-rizq (sustenance, provision) relationship?
Life of a living being does not end before the sustenance assigned for it is finished. That is, it does not die as long as it has sustenance to consume. No one can consume some other person’s sustenance. Acts of worship do not increase a person’s sustenance, yet they add barakah to it. (Lexically, barakah means abundance, blessing, fruitfulness. When something has barakah, it is somehow more nutritious and more healthful than it would have been otherwise, although barakah does not materially add to its amount.) Allahu ta’ala foreordained and allotted everybody’s sustenance in the eternal past. Its amount does not increase or decrease.
We should not stretch out our hands towards forbidden things for fear of sustenance and should not become the object of the following hadith-i sharifs:
(A time will come when people will only care about the coming of property and money. They will not care whether they are halal or haram.) [Bukhari]
(A time will come when man’s only concern will be his stomach. His honor will be wealth; his direction [qiblah], women; his religion, money. Such people are the bad ones of the public.) [Sulami]
Allahu ta’ala foreordained and allotted everybody’s sustenance in the eternal past. It does not change. Nor does it increase or decrease. No one can eat some other person’s sustenance. One of the 99 Names of Allahu ta’ala is Ar-Razzaq. He is the One who provides every being with sustenance. He says, “Everybody’s sustenance is on Me.” For sustenance, one must rely on Allahu ta’ala’s promise.
It is declared in the Qur’an al-karim:
(The sustenance of every living being on earth is on Allah.) [Hud 6]
(There is many a living being that cannot provide itself with sustenance. It is Allah who gives sustenance both to you and to it.) [Al-‘Ankabut 60]
(Your Lord enlarges sustenance for whom He wills and straitens it for whom He wills.) [Al-Isra’ 30]
Besides, it is declared in hadith-i sharifs:
(Do not worry about sustenance; the sustenance reserved for you in the eternal past will find you.) [Isfahani]
(Just as your ajal [death] pursues you, so does your sustenance.) [Tabarani]
(It is Allah alone who enlarges, straitens, and sends sustenance.) [Radd-ul-mukhtar]
(Fear Allahu ta’ala and seek your sustenance through good means. Take what is permitted and abandon what is prohibited.) [Ibn Majah]
(Do not think that your sustenance has delayed. No one dies before receiving his sustenance.) [Hakim]
(No one can obtain more sustenance than the amount allotted for him. No one dies unless he receives his sustenance and consumes it, either. His sustenance will be given to him even if he does not want it.) [Hakim]
(If you put your trust in Allahu ta’ala thoroughly, He would provide sustenance for you the way He provides it for birds, which go out with empty, hungry stomachs in the morning and come back with their stomachs filled, satiated in the evening.) [Tirmidhi]
(Allahu ta’ala taught Hadrat Adam a thousand arts and craftworks and ordered him: “Let your children seek their sustenance through one of these arts and craftworks. Let them not make the religion a means for earning their livelihood.”) [Hakim]
(The best dhikr [remembrance of Allah] is that which is silent, and the best sustenance is that which is sufficient.) [Bayhaqi]
(Whomever Allahu ta’ala loves, He gives his sustenance as much as it suffices.) [Abu ash-Shaikh]
(A Believer who is satisfied with the sustenance Allahu ta’ala gives him has been saved.) [Muslim]
(He who suffers hardships to earn through halal ways deserves Paradise.) [Imam-i Ghazali]
(The best sustenance is the one that is earned by being careful about halal and haram.) [Nasai]
Our Master the Prophet stated, “If you adopt the fear of Allah as your capital, your sustenance will come without trade or capital,” and recited the following Qur’anic verse:
(Whoever fears Allah, He will grant a way out for him and send him sustenance from where he does not expect.) [Tabarani, At-Talaq 2-3]
If a person works because Allahu ta’ala commands him to, and looks for his sustenance in ways that are permitted, he will obtain the sustenance that was reserved for him in the eternal past. This sustenance will come with barakah to him. In addition, he will earn rewards for his work. If he looks for his sustenance at places forbidden by Allahu ta’ala, he will, again, obtain that certain sustenance reserved for him in the eternal past. Yet this sustenance will not bring him any barakah or good. In addition, the sins he perpetrates for the purpose of obtaining his sustenance will carry him away toward disasters.
The following was written on the gold plate that was under the building done up by Hadrat Khidr:
(He who laughs and makes merry though death is a reality, who worries though he believes in qadar, who goes to a lot of trouble though Allahu ta’ala guarantees sustenance, who acts negligently though there are questioning and reckoning on the Day of Resurrection, who relies on the world though he knows that it is ephemeral, how astonishing such a person’s situation is!)
Seeking halal sustenance
Question: Some people earn through permitted means, but some others earn through forbidden means. Is earning a livelihood through forbidden means easier than earning it through permitted means?
It is declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(Whatever was foreordained for a person from worldly things, it is facilitated for him.) [Hakim]
If a person tries to earn his livelihood by means of gambling, his dexterity in gambling will improve gradually. If a person wants to take up a halal job, like carpentry or tailoring, his activities leading to it will be facilitated. For this reason, one must always seek means of halal earnings. As a matter of fact, it is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(O people, fear Allah and seek your sustenance in a good way because no one dies until he obtains his sustenance. So fear Allah and seek your sustenance in good ways. Take that which is permitted and leave that which is forbidden.) [Ibn Majah]
(Do not think that your sustenance has delayed. No one dies before receiving his sustenance that was foreordained. So seek your sustenance in a good way. Take what is permitted, and abstain from what is forbidden.) [Hakim]