What’s the Meaning of Rizq?
“What’s the meaning of Rizq?”
Rizq (provision) is a matter of paramount importance to all living things because they are constantly seeking their sustenance in this world.
As Muslims, our understanding of Rizq stems directly from the aqeedah of Islam. In our pursuit to please Allah (swt), it is essential that we know our role in earning a livelihood.
In this issue, we will, in sha Allah, shed some light on the concept of Rizq through the prism of the Islamic aqeedah. We will also discuss the difference between Rizq and the way to acquire it.
What is Rizq’s Meaning?
Rizq is the provision made available to us to use, consume, or dispose of, such as food, transportation, and money. It is different from ownership, which constitutes proprietorship acquired through the means permitted by Islam.
The Rizq of a person includes both the halal and haraam provisions at his/her disposal. For example, the salary earned by a man from a halal job and the interest earned from his loans (which is haram) are both part of his Rizq.
Ascribing Rizq to Allah (swt)
In many ayaat (verses) in the Quran, Allah (swt) states clearly that He (swt) is Al-Razzaq, the One who provides Rizq. He (swt) says:
“And there is not a beast on earth, but its provision is due on Allah (swt). He knows its habitation and its repository. All is in a clear record.” [TMQ 11:6]
“Lo! Allah (swt) is that who gives livelihood, the Lord of unbreakable might.” [TMQ 51:58]
“And they worship beside Allah (swt) that which owns no provision whatsoever for them from the heavens or the earth, nor have they any power.” [TMQ 16:73]
“We provide for you” [TMQ 6:151]
“The provision of your Lord” [TMQ 20:131]
“Eat and drink from the Rizq of Allah (swt)” [TMQ 2:60]
These ayaat clearly indicate that Allah (swt) is the Razzaq (Provider) and that Rizq is ascribed to Him alone – He provides to whom He wills, and this authority of provision is reserved for Him alone.
Furthermore, the word Rizq has not been associated with man in any verse or hadeeth except with regards to its management and distribution, as in these two verses:
“Do not give to the foolish (what is in) your (keeping of their) wealth, which Allah (swt) has given you to maintain; but feed and clothe them from it.” [TMQ 4:5]
“And when kinsfolk and orphans and the needy are present at the division (of the heritage) bestow on them from it.” [TMQ 4:8]
The first ayah discusses using the Rizq, provided by Allah (swt), to feed and clothe people. The second ayah talks about providing for certain people from the Rizq provided by Allah (swt). Neither verse attributes Rizq to man, but merely employs him in its management.
The act of acquiring Rizq is separate and unrelated to Rizq itself and Islam clearly distinguishes between the two. Allah (swt) has ordered man to strive to obtain his Rizq.
He (swt) says:
“He it is Who has made the earth subservient to you, so walk in its paths and eat of His providence.” [TMQ 67:15]
“And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah (swt)’s bounty.” [TMQ 62:10]
In the above verses, Allah (swt) commands man to strive for his Rizq. Reading these verses in the context of the previous ayaat, it is evident that the source of Rizq is Allah (swt) alone.
Yet, to earn his provision, man is commanded to work and, therefore, seek it in the bounties of Allah (swt) on earth.
Thus, our discussion consists of two matters: Rizq, and the way we go about earning it. The matter we are obliged to believe in is that Rizq is from Allah (swt). With respect to working, we are commanded to strive, or invest our efforts, as it is the mechanism by which we can acquire Rizq.
Therefore, the belief in that Allah (swt) is the Razzaq means that the Rizq which we obtain is earned from Allah (swt) – not anyone else. In other words, we do not provide for ourselves, in terms of originating the Rizq, but rather Allah (swt) alone is the One who generated it for us.
We only undertake the efforts which may lead us to acquiring our Rizq from Allah (swt). When a man makes a profit through business, he merely applies the means to seek his profit, while the actual profit that he makes comes solely from Allah (swt) and not his efforts.
This is what is indicated by the ayaat of the Qur’an. There are ayaat in which Allah (swt) commanded us to believe that He is the only Razzaq and, thus, this belief is part of the Islamic aqueedah. In the other ayaat, He commanded us to acquire his Rizq, which makes the act a hukum shari.
As Muslims who observe the commands of Allah (swt), we must be careful in obtaining our Rizq while striving in this dunya. We might feel that our efforts and intelligence, or our degrees or professional designations are the cause of our Rizq.
For example, someone who works and gets paid his salary at the end of the month may feel that the job is the cause of the Rizq acquired. But this idea is both false and dangerous. A person’s effort cannot possibly be the source of his Rizq.
A quick look at real life illustrates this.
There are many people who strive day and night to run their businesses and then not make any profit, but rather lose money. And similarly, there are many people who inherit their wealth without working at all.
Don’t people who receive gifts, zakat money, or charity, acquire their Rizq without working?
It should be clear that effort is not always necessary to acquire Rizq, but rather, it is one mechanism by which Allah (swt) grants us the Rizq. Other means of obtaining Rizq include inheritance, zakat, gifts, or charity. However, the reason we work for Rizq is because Allah (swt) commanded us to do so.
Allah (swt) revealed to us the story of Qaroon, to whom He had granted an abundance of wealth. However, Qaroon denied the favour of his Lord and claimed that he had obtained his wealth because of his own knowledge and effort. It was revealed:
“He said, ‘I was only given it because of knowledge I have.’ Did he not know that Allah (swt) had destroyed before him of generations those who were greater than him in power and greater in accumulation [of wealth]? But the criminals, about their sins, will not be asked.” [TMQ 28:78]
Qaroon had thought that he was powerful and intelligent, and that he was safe from Allah’s (swt) punishment. Allah (swt) revealed:
“And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah (swt), nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves” [TMQ 28:81]
Indeed, Qaroon’s disastrous end is a lesson to us all about the importance of recognizing Allah (swt) as the sole source of Rizq and recognizing the reality of how weak we truly are.
Applying the Understanding of Rizq to Daily Life Understanding that Allah (swt) is the provider of Rizq, and that we are merely tasked with its acquisition, broadens our vision of Rizq and eases our efforts to acquire it. Believing that Allah (swt) is the only Razzaq directs us to seek Rizq only from Him.
It motivates us to follow His commands and abide by his prohibitions in the hope that we will obtain His pleasure. RasulAllah (swt) (saw) said:
“O people, fear Allah (swt) and request (your Rizq) in good manner; that a soul will not die until it receives its Rizq in full even if it takes long to come. Fear Allah (swt) and request in good manner. Take what Allah (swt) has made halal and leave what He made haram.” [Al Bazzar & Al Hakim]
In another hadeeth narrated by Abu Huthayfah (ra), RasulAllah (saw) said:
“… that this is the Messenger of the Lord of the two worlds, Gabriel (as), has spelled into my soul that no soul shall die before it receives its Rizq in full even if it takes long to come. Fear Allah (swt) and request in good manner. If it takes long for your Rizq to come, it shall not pressure you to seek your Rizq by disobeying (through haram means) Him, for what Allah (swt) has can only be obtained through His obedience.” [Al Bazzar]
Islam also dignifies us because we only seek our Rizq from Allah (swt) and not from His creation, who cannot even provide for themselves. The Prophet (saw) said:
“At every womb Allah (swt) appoints an angel who says, ‘O Lord! A drop of semen, O Lord! A clot. O Lord! A little lump of flesh.’ Then if Allah (swt) wishes (to complete) its creation, the angel asks, ‘(O Lord!) Will it be a male or female, a wretched or a blessed, and how much will his provision be? And what will his age be?’ So, all that is written while the child is still in the mother’s womb.” [Bukhari]
So, our provision is written and none of us will die unless we acquire all that was written for us. Whether we seek our Rizq through halal or haram means, we will not get any more or any less than what Allah (swt) has destined for us.
Following Allah’s (swt) commands as we strive for our Rizq will not only bring us the Rizq that Allah (swt) has written for us but will also please Him.
Therefore, for us Muslims, the only wise way to acquire our Rizq is through the halal means. Furthermore, if we make the akhira our focus, Allah (swt) will sort out our affairs in the dunya, as asserted in the following hadith:
“Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allah places abundance in his heart, and organizes his affairs, and the world comes to him despite its unwillingness. And whoever’s aim is worldly gain, Allah puts poverty before his eyes, and disorganizes his affairs, and nothing of this world comes to him, except what has been decreed for him.” [Tirmidhi]
Finally, it is important not to despair when times are difficult. Due to the pandemic, many have lost their jobs or saw their incomes decline. However, when it comes to Rizq, we are not missing out anything as Allah (swt) will give us exactly what we are entitled to in this life – nothing more, and nothing less.
“Verily Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills without measure.” [TMQ 3:37]
Our Rizq is predetermined, no matter what – but our fate in the aakhirah is not. We should spend our time accumulating good deeds, and that includes seeking Rizq through halal means, as well as ibaadaat and fulfilling the obligations of Islam.
May Allah (swt) enable us to acquire our Rizq through halal means and guide us to recognize that only He provides the Rizq. Ameen.