In His Divine Book, the Holy Quran, Allah, Glory to Him, says, “Is there any creator other than Allah, Who provides you from the heaven and the earth? There is no god but He. How, then, are you turning away (from Him)?” [XXXV; 3] The above Quranic Verse leads us to the twelfth of Allah’s Divine Names, namely “Ar-Razzaq” (The All-Provider). This Name occurs in the Quranic Verse, “Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong” [LI; 58]
In Arabic, the word “Ar-Razzaq” is an emphatic epithet of Allah that means that He, Most Gracious, provides all of His slaves no matter how numerous they might be. If He so desires, He provides any of them abundantly and without limits. In other words, Allah, All Mighty, is “Ar-Razzaq” (the All-Provider), Who provides all of His slaves with sustenance regardless of their number or quantity of provision. That is why it is rightly said: “If Allah gives, He astonishes.”
In this context, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “And so many a moving (living) creature carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [XXIX; 60]
The holy Prophet, David, (PBUH), used to invoke the Lord, “O Allah, Who grants provision to Al-Bughath (the baby raven)! Grant us provision!” A baby raven is one of the weakest kinds of birds; and the Arabic proverb goes, “Even a baby raven becomes like an eagle in our land”, which means that because of our weakness and lack of power, even a baby raven, which is the weakest of all birds, is too strong compared to us.
The Bughath (baby raven) has a very strange story. When it hatches, it looks white, just like a piece of fat, and, therefore, its mother, whose color is black, denies it and does not recognize it. But Allah, Most Gracious, sends it some insects to feed on until its feathers grow and become black. Only then its mother recognizes it.
The strange thing about the baby raven is that it is left forsaken and helpless, but Allah, Most Merciful, sends it its provision from Him. That is why people follow David’s tradition of invocation, “O Allah, Who grants Provision to the baby raven in its nest! Grant us provision!”
However, it is not only wrong but also naïve to beseech Allah only for material provision, i.e. food and drink. To this effect, Allah, Most Gracious, says about the chaste holy woman, Mary, “So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zechariah. Every time Zechariah entered Al-Mihrab (her private place of prayer) to (visit) her, he found her supplied with provision. He said, ‘O Mary! Where did you get this from?’ She said, ‘This is from Allah.’ Verily, Allah grants provision to whomever He wills, without limit.” [III; 37] In interpretation of the above Quranic Verse, scholars say that the word “provision” refers to spiritual more than material provision. In this context, they say: “provision of the body is food and drink, but provision of the spirit is knowledge.” This means that spiritual provision, i.e. knowledge is nobler and more sublime than material provision, i.e. food and drink. If Allah provides you with good income whereby you have the most delicious kinds of foods and drinks, but He provides another person with knowledge, this means that He likes him/her more than you, because He provides him/her with spiritual provision, knowledge. To this effect, Allah, Glory to Him, says about the holy Prophet Moses, “And when he attained his full strength and was perfect (in manhood), We bestowed on him Al-Hukm (i.e. Prophecy and good judgment) and religious knowledge. And thus do We reward the good doers.” [XXVIII; 14] Such is real provision!
In the same context, Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad, (PBUH), says, “I stay with my Lord (Allah), and He provides me with food and drink.” He, (PBUH), uses the words “food and drink” metaphorically to mean spiritual provision, which is the noblest and most sublime of all kinds of provision.
Dear reader! Here is a good piece of news: One of the things that enlarge one’s provision is Salat (Islamic Prayer). To this effect, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “And enjoin Prayer on your family and be patient in offering it (Prayer). We ask not of you a provision. We provide for you. And the good end is for the pious.” [XX; 132] In other words, if you desire to have your provision enlarged, you are not demanded to perform Salat (Islamic Prayer), as you already do, but rather to perform it properly, i.e. with solemnity and submissiveness. This is because solemnity and submissiveness are not merely a merit of Salat but rather an essential part thereof. To this effect, Allah, Praise belongs to Him, says, “Successful indeed are believers who offer their Prayer with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” [XXIII; 1,2]
Of the decorum of man’s servitude towards his Lord, Allah, All Mighty, is to turn to Him in all issues, whether important or trivial. This is because the Lord, Allah, Glory to Him, likes His slave to ask Him even if the strap of his shoe is cut off. If you lose your door keys, for example, He likes you to invoke Him, “O Allah, Who will gather up all people on the Day of Resurrection, help me find my keys!” I reiterate that Allah likes you to invoke Him for all your things, whether important or trivial. If you suddenly forget how to get to a certain place of appointment, make use of the following story:
Someone went to Medina to visit the Prophet’s Mosque there. But he forgot the address of the place he was heading for. On the way, he invoked Allah, Who helped him find his way easily. Another person who forgot to invoke remained lost for more than ten hours.
Therefore, you should ask Allah, Most Gracious, for both serious and paltry things, for this reflects your complete servitude to Him, All Mighty.
The holy Prophet, Moses, (PBUH), asked Allah, All Mighty, a very serious thing. He invoked, “O my Lord! Help me to see You!” But when he was hungry, he invoked, “My Lord! I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me.” [XXVIII; 24] Moses’ attitude provides clear evidence that a slave should ask his Lord for everything.
In this context, the venerable Companion and Caliph, Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “You are not demanded to ask for provision, but you are demanded to ask for the Garden (of Paradise).” In other words, when you neglect the things that you are demanded to ask for and ask for the things that you are not demanded to ask for, this means that you deviate from the right way due to lack of confidence in the Lord, All-Mighty, Who guarantees to grant you provision in many Quranic Verses. He, Most Gracious, says, “Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong” [LI; 58], “Allah is He Who created you, then provided food for you, then will cause you to die, then (again) will give you life (on the Day of Resurrection). Is there any of your (so-called) partners (of Allah) that do anything of that? Glory is to Him! And far Exalted is He above all that (evil) they associate (with Him).” [XXX; 40], “Kill not your children because of poverty. We provide sustenance for you and for them. Come not near shameful sins, whether committed openly or secretly. And kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. This has He commanded you that you may understand.” [VI; 151] and, “And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.” [XVII; 31], among many other Quranic Verses, such as, “And also in yourselves (are Signs for those who have Faith with certainty). Will you not see? And in the heaven is your provision and that which you are promised. Then by the Lord of the heaven and the earth it is the truth, just as it is the truth that you can speak.” [LI; 21-23]…
By virtue of the above Quranic Verses, our Lord, Allah, Most Merciful, reassures us that He has undertaken to grant us provision. Nevertheless, people strive and purchase their religion for the sake of provision. In a Divine Hadith, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “O My salve! I have created the heavens and the earth, but I have not got tired of creating them. Do I get tired if I send you a dough of bread every now and then?!” The Lord has undertaken to provide us with sustenance, but He has commanded us to strive for the Hereafter. He, Glory to Him, says, “And that man can have nothing but what he does (good or evil).” [LIII; 39] But what happens is that people, due to ignorance and lack of Faith, neglect the things that Allah has commanded them to do and strive for those that He has undertaken to provide for them.
Therefore, it is wise to strive for the things that Allah has commanded you to strive for and do not waste time seeking the things that Allah has undertaken to provide for you. The holy Prophet Jesus, (PBUH), says, “Do not worry about your bellies!”
Someone’s brother passed away leaving him five orphans but no money at all. He felt desperately helpless and began to lament his bad luck. Later, he met his Sheikh (religious scholar), who asked him, “What is the matter, my son?” ”My brother passed away leaving me five orphans.” he replied sadly. The Sheikh asked, “Hasn’t he left anything for them?” The answer came, “Yes, he has. He has left provision that suffices them for a year.” The Sheikh said, “Good! When this provision is over, start crying?” The story goes on to say that the man, who went to the Sheikh complaining about the five orphans his brother had left him, passed away before the provision left by the dead father was over.
I knew someone whose house was to be brought down due to some municipal arrangements. He got furious and began raging and roaring. He became helplessly desperate and began crying and asking for help. Despite all good truthful promises that he would be given another house instead, he remained worried and miserable; and he passed away several months before his house was brought down.
Man should not worry more than necessary about worldly things, for Allah, “Ar-Razzaq” (The All-Provider) is always there.
Some scholars say, “Ar-Razzaq” (The All-Provider) is He (Allah), Who provides people’s bodies (with sustenance) by His Grace, and adorns the hearts of the elite with true Faith.” In other words, provision is of two kinds, material and spiritual, the former is for physical bodily needs while the latter is for spiritual ones. In this context, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says, “If the soul finds its provision, it feels secure.”
Some scholars interpret the word “provision” in the above Prophetic Hadith as spiritual provision. In other words, if you perform prayer with true solemnity and submissiveness, if you cry while performing prayer, if your heart is filled with humility and veneration while reading Allah’s Book, the Holy Quran, if you feel secure and tranquil for being near to Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious. Other scholars interpret the word “provision” as material bodily sustenance. However both interpretations are acceptable.
Some scholars say, “Ar-Razzaq (The All-Provider) is He (Allah), Who singles out the rich for material provision, while poor true believers for recognition of the Provider.” In other words, rich people enjoy the perishable pleasures and enjoyments of the present world. They have lots of money. They eat whatever they like. They buy the most beautiful palaces. They buy the best furniture. They travel wherever they desire. They choose the most beautiful cars and the very best clothes. On the other hand, poor but believing people enjoy incredible spiritual enhancement for being near to their Lord, Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful and intimate to Him. Being linked with the Upper World, they do not care about ephemeral mundane enjoyments. In other words, either you dwell in material provision or witness the All-Provider. Either you get indulged in the perishable enjoyments of this present life or live in the bliss of intimacy and nearness to the Lord, Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the All-Provider.
In fact, there is a kind of justice and balance in what Allah, the All-Provider, gives to all of His human slaves. Materialistically calculated, all the things that Allah gives to His human slaves reflect His Infinite Divine Justice. If we give one mark for every thing human beings are given, the final result will be one and the same for each one of them. If we give one mark for each of the following: wife, house, income, job, health, beauty, …etc, we find out that most people get equal marks despite certain individual differences. In other words, the total number of marks is always the same for all people. The rich who have big income lack peace of mind which poor believers enjoy. Someone has a good health but is poor while another is rich but lacks good health, … and so on and so forth. In this context, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says, “Take from this world whatever you desire, and get worry as much as you take (from it). Whosoever takes from this world more than he needs, he unconsciously brings about his own destruction.”
Here is another thing about provision: “Provision”, dear reader, can be accurately defined as “something that you make use of”. In this sense, provision includes such things as wealth, knowledge, good manners, security, peace of mind, spiritual enhancement, …etc.
A man asked Hatim Al-Assam, “Where do you get your food from?” “From His (Allah’s) Stores.” He replied. “What! Does Allah send down bread to you from the heaven?” The man asked in amazement. Hatim answered, “Unless the earth is His, He would send down bread to me from the heaven. He provides me from the earth.” In other words, when man asks Allah for provision, Allah sends it to him one way or another. Quite accidentally, someone may meet another who is unemployed and offer him a good job.
In fact, such issue as provision is multi-sided, and there are thousands of examples and evidences thereof. You might be provided from where you have never reckoned and for a very silly reason: a look, a message that you receive by mistake, certain merchandise that is selling badly, …etc.
In this context, I heard that during World War II, one of the merchants of Al-Buzouriah market in Damascus City sold sugar at a price higher than that determined by the authorities. Therefore, his shop was kept closed and sealed until the war ended a few months later. During that period of time, the price of sugar went up a hundred times, and thus he became a very rich person in a period of few months during which he was forced to close his shop. You might be provided by means of something that seems unpleasant to you. This is because Allah, All-Mighty, is “the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong.”
The remarkable thing is that when you know that Allah is “the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong”, you beseech Him, Alone, for provision. Due to weakness of Faith, ignorant people usually ask other fellow humans for provision. If they beseeched the Lord, Allah, Alone, for provision, knowing that He, Most Gracious, is “the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong”, they would attain honor, dignity, security, and intimacy with Him.
Someone was asked, “Where do you get your food from?” He replied, “From the Stores of the King, Whose Stores are never robbed or devoured by worms.” Yes, indeed! Allah’s Stores are always open and full. To this effect, He, All Mighty, says, “And there is not a thing but with Us are the stores thereof. And We send it not down except in a known measure.” [XV; 21]
One of the silliest theories of the materialistic scientists of the West and the like of them says that natural resources of the earth are becoming scarcer and scarcer, that the earth is threatened with a great famine, and that world population is increasing according to a geometric series. Someone called Maltus claims that such huge increase in world population will inevitably cause a great famine. These words come from someone who does not know Allah, the All-Provider. This is because any kind of straitening or decrease of provision on the part of Allah is meant to deter people and bring them back to piety, for Allah’s Divine Stores are constantly abundantly open in all places and times. And when He, All Mighty, straitens provision for people, He does so not due to disability, as is the case with human beings.
A righteous knowledgeable woman was once asked, “Where does your husband get provision for you?” Most wisely, she replied, “My husband is not a provider; he is a mere consumer.” She meant that the Provider is Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious.
Among the common ideological mistakes committed by ignorant people is that they say that someone is the guardian of the family. This is only metaphorically true, because the real Guardian is Allah, the All-Provider. In other words, all human beings are dependents on Allah, the Most Merciful.
As afore-mentioned, Allah, the All-Provider, singles out the rich for material provision but believers, poor as they might be, for spiritual provision, i.e. the ability to be conscious of the All-Provider. If you are conscious of the All-Provider, it does not do you any harm to lose material provision. In other words, those who know Allah and are always conscious of Him do not care about material provision, i.e. the perishable pleasures and enjoyments of this present world. On the contrary, those who are very careful about material provision, i.e. the ephemeral pleasures and enjoyments of this present world, do not know Allah, the All-Provider. In this context, the venerable Companion and Caliph, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, never regretted anything he missed from the material provision of this present world. Another type of people is someone who regrets profoundly everything that he loses from the perishable pleasures and enjoyments of the present world. For example, he feels most miserable if he sells a piece of land at a certain price, but afterwards, its price rises a hundred times. In fact, most of the diseases and illnesses that are widespread today are those related to the heart, stomach, nerves, and blood vessels, which are mainly caused by psychological and emotional problems such as depression, stress, disorders, feelings of regret and sorrow, …etc. If you believe in Allah, as the All-Provider, the Most Gracious, and are constantly conscious of Him, no loss of material provision can ever bring you misery or depression.
He who knows that Allah is the Only Provider turns only to Him. Consider the following well-known story: The Umayyad Caliph, Soulaiman bin Abdul Malik sent for a venerable scholar. They both met at the Ancient Sacred House in Mecca. In order to honor the scholar, the Caliph told him, “You may ask me for anything you need.” In reply, the scholar said, “In Allah’s Ancient House I never ask anyone but Allah. This is Allah’s House, and I feel ashamed to ask anyone but Him in His House.” Later, when they met again outside Allah’s Ancient Sacred House, the Caliph repeated, “You may ask me for anything you need.” The scholar replied, “I did not ask the One Who owns my needs. How come that I should ask the one who does not own them?” However, when the Caliph insisted that the scholar should ask him for anything he needed, the scholar said, “Alright! I ask you to admit me into Paradise.” The caliph said in amazement, “Such a thing does not belong to me!” The scholar said, “Then, I need nothing of you!”
Such is real honor of modesty and abstinence! It is very nice if a rich person gives to the poor, but much nicer it is when a poor person, out of modesty, abstains from the wealth of a rich person, saying, “Praised be Allah.”
Some religious scholars say: “Just as Allah has no partners in His Creation, He has no partners in His Provision. Just as there is no god but Allah, there is no Provider but Allah.”
People always say, “If He (Allah) gives, He astonishes.” And the verse goes:
And if provisions were granted due to knowledge,
Brute animals would die because of ignorance.
Quite often, you find that someone’s provision is straitened although he is very intelligent, while the provision of another is enlarged although he is very stupid or naïve. This is because provision is governed by other factors than intelligence or labor. Make no mistake about it! Provision has to do with honesty and uprightness. Common people understand that provision is something pre-decreed and that none could ever earn or withhold it except by Allah’s Leave. This is partly true, as Allah, All-Mighty, says, “And if they had believed in Allah and gone on the Right Way, We would surely have bestowed on them water in abundance.” [LXXII; 16] He, Glory to Him, also says, “And if the people of the towns had believed and had been pious, certainly, We would have opened for them Blessings from the heaven and the earth. But they belied (Our Messengers), so We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn (of evil deeds).” [VII; 96]
Nevertheless, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says, “A person might be deprived of some provision due to a sinful deed.” To make this point clear, we put forward the following example:
If you think that your son is not yet well qualified to possess money, you give him the minimum, i.e. only the amount necessary for his basic needs. However, if your son is not only righteous and intelligent but also trustworthy, you give him as much money as he desires. To the same effect, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “And if Allah were to enlarge the provision for His slaves, they would surely rebel in the earth. But He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily, He is, in respect of His slaves, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer (of the things that benefit them best).” [XLII; 27]
This is a very serious and important issue. When Allah Straitens provision for His slaves, He does so only for punishment or deterrence or, more precisely, it is out of Allah’s Divine Wisdom rather than lack of power or ability.
It is narrated that the holy Prophet, Moses, (PBUH), asked his Lord, Allah, Most Gracious, “O Lord! Sometimes, I need a paltry thing. Shall I ask You, or shall I ask someone else, for it?” Allah, Glory to Him, revealed to Moses, “Never ask anyone but Me!” This means that a human being should ask his Lord for all the things he needs, whether they are small or big, for there is no Provider but Him.
A junior physician who had just opened a clinic in the countryside needed money for his mother who was seriously ill in Damascus city. He prayed sincerely to the Lord to provide him with such amount of money. Quite unusually, the young doctor’s clinic was soon filled with patients, and Allah, the All-Provider, provided him with the money he needed for his ill mother.
Whenever you are in debt or have to discharge certain financial dues, you should turn to Allah with sincere invocation, “O Allah! I am in need of Your Generous Provision! So provide me!” Make it your habit to beseech Allah, the All-Provider, for everything. If your wife is obstinate, ask Allah to make her compliant. If your partner is unbearable, pray to Allah to make him manageable. If your son is deviant, ask Allah to bring him back to the Right Way. If your job is hard, beseech Allah to make it easy and comfortable or provide you with another better one. Make it your habit to beseech Allah for everything. Once again, I repeat that the holy Prophet, Moses, (PBUH), asked his Lord, Allah, Most Gracious, “O Lord! Sometimes, I need a paltry thing. Shall I ask You, or shall I ask someone else, for it?” Allah, Glory to Him, revealed to Moses, “Never ask anyone but Me!”
Sometimes, in order to honor a dear friend, a person may tell him, “Never ask anyone but me for anything you need. Whenever you need anything, come and take it from me.” This is utmost intimacy and compassion. If you love someone sincerely, you try hard to protect him from sacrificing his honor before other fellow humans. Therefore, you tell him, “Please, never ask anyone else. If you need anything, please come to me and take it.” In the same context, when Allah, Most Gracious, bade Moses never to ask anyone but Him, He, Most Gracious, meant to honor Moses and show him His Divine Care for him.
A righteous man, Hammad bin Muslimah, was quoted as saying, “One of my female servants was a widow who had orphans. One rainy night, I heard her invoking the Lord, Allah, Most Gracious, ‘O Most Kind! Be kind to me!’ I thought that she was in bad need of money. I waited until the rain stopped, took a good amount of money and went to her. When I knocked on her door, she asked, ‘Is it Hammad bin Muslimah?’ ‘Yes, it is. How are you?’ I asked. ‘Very well! The rain has stopped and the children are warm.’ She replied. ‘Here is some money for you. Take it. You might need it.’ Said I. Her little daughter interfered, ‘O Hammad! We do not want you to be between Allah and us.’ Then she turned to her mother saying, ‘Why did you speak out and unveil our secret? You know that Allah punishes us by showing His Kindness to us on the hand of a creature!’”
Sometimes, Allah’s Bounty comes to you directly from Him, and you owe none but Him such Divine Favor. Sometimes you complain to another fellow human, and he feels sorry for you and tries hard to help you. This means that Allah’s Favor does not come to you directly from Him but rather on the hand of such fellow human. However, if you complain to a disbeliever, he gloats over this and may, or may not, offer you adequate help. This is most humiliating for you. Yes, indeed! It is most humiliating when Allah grants you something by the hand of a disbeliever. It makes me most unhappy to see a believer cringe, humble himself, complain, or sacrifice his honor before a disbeliever.
Man is motivated to act by his love more than his mind. Love drives man to sacrifice everything even his own self for those he loves. Man’s mind helps him to be convinced, to believe, to conceive, but it does not make him move or act.
Therefore, preachers and callers for Allah are advised to address both people’s minds and hearts. If they realize mental convincement in people, they accomplish only one half of success. But if they create in people, in addition to mental convincement, an attitude based on love, they achieve full success. This is because man is endued with a mind and a heart. If he uses his mind properly, contemplating the universe, he gets to know Allah, All Mighty; and if he recognizes Allah’s Divine Favors, he gets to love Him with all of his heart. If he loves Allah, he is rightly guided. Moreover, man is not called as such unless he loves.
While we were at the university, a professor of psychology retired and his colleagues and students held a party in honor of the occasion. He delivered a speech that I shall never forget: “A person who does not feel desirous to love and be loved is not a human being.” In other words, you do not deserve to be called “a human being” if you are hard-hearted and do not desire to love and be loved.
Therefore, love is indispensable for human life. The remarkable thing about the Prophet’s venerable Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, is that they did many feats. Why did they achieve the impossible? Why did they purchase themselves for the Cause of Allah? Why did they sacrifice everything? If the finger of one of us is wounded, he cries out, bandages it, excuses himself from meetings and even has a sick leave. Consider what the venerable Companion, Ja’far, may Allah be pleased with him, did in one of the battles! He received a blow of a sword that chopped off his right hand, so he held the flag with his left hand. Another blow came to chop off his left hand, so he managed to hold the flag with his upper arms and to keep holding it until he fell dead. What love could drive him to sacrifice his life?
In spiritual affairs, true believers always invoke, “O Lord! Enter me into Your Paradise! O Lord! Help me to know You! O Lord! Do not let me die before You are well pleased with me! In other words, their requests have to do with such sublime issues as Paradise, knowledge, understanding Allah’s Book, the Holy Quran, reading Quranic interpretations …etc, while others remember their Lord for trivial worldly issues. For example, they invoke, “O Lord! Get such a tenant out of my house!” Therefore, in respect to their relationship with the Lord, Most Gracious, people are of two kinds: Those who ask for noble paramount things, and those who seek paltry trivial things. O Allah! Grant us wisdom, which is also a kind of provision!
However, some people say, “I do not ask anything of my Lord except my Lord. As for paltry things, I ask them of those who are paltry.” In other words, they do not ask of Allah but Allah Himself. For insignificant things, they ask other fellow humans.
It is narrated that the wife of Yahya bin Mou’ath once told him, “I was greatly amazed when my daughter asked me for some bread to eat. I told her, ‘Ask Allah for that.’ She said, ‘I feel ashamed to ask the Almighty Allah for something to eat.” In this context, however, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says, “Let the one of you ask his Lord for all his needs, even for salt or the strap of his shoes if it is cut off.”
Consider though, dear reader, this paradox: That young girl in the above story felt ashamed to ask Allah for something permissible, bread, while a very old man is not ashamed to disobey Allah. A man in his sixties might be sometimes seen playing trick-track in a café when it is time for prayer. Another boyish old man in his fifties might be seen showing off before girls or standing on a balcony, in a café or on a sidewalk, watching them. Such behavior is not only strange but amazing as well. To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, says in a Divine Hadith, “I hate the disobedient; but My Hatred for an old disobedient one is even more.”
Undoubtedly, Allah, Most Gracious, provides both man’s spirit and body. I reiterate that if you perform prayer properly, if you perform the Hajj properly, standing at Mount ‘Arafat to pray to the Lord and invoke Him, and crying in humility and veneration, if you observe the fast in the month of Ramadan properly so as to abstain from any sins or misdeeds, if you stay up the nights praying to the Lord and invoking Him with true love and sincere devotion, and if you seek Allah’s Good Please and nearness to Him, this is not only real spiritual Divine Provision but also the fountain of success and prosperity.
Scholars say, “Verily, Allah provides people’s souls and hearts just as He provides their bodies. Provision of the hearts is knowledge and revelation, while provision of the body is food and material sustenance.” In other words, a true believer recognizes things that others cannot recognize. He has a special understanding and awareness. He knows the essence of life. He knows where he came from, and where he shall go. He knows the most Valuable things in human life.
A person may spend his time either on trivial paltry things or sublime valuable ones. This is also a kind of provision. Another point with regards to provision is that it is sometimes made easy or uneasy to earn. In this context, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “As for man, when his Lord tries him by giving him honor and bounties, then he says (in exultation), ‘My Lord has honored me!’ But when He tries him by straitening his means of living, he says, ‘My Lord has humiliated me!’ Nay! But you treat not the orphans with kindness and generosity, and urge not one another on feeding the poor, but you devour the inheritance all with greed, and love wealth with much love.” [LXXXIX; 15-20]
Sometimes you find someone who is very intelligent and educated, yet his income is low and he has no good job or work. This is all by Allah’s Divine Decree. Just as Allah, All Mighty, straitens for a person his provision, He straitens for him his spiritual provision. He performs prayer but with no humility, submissiveness or veneration. An accountant once told me that he did not remember how to solve problematic accounts except while performing prayer. In other words, there is a barrier between him and his Lord. This is because Allah, All Mighty, straitens for man his spiritual provision just as He straitens for him his Material one. Spiritual straitening means two things. The first thing is that there must be a sin, a deed of disobedience, a breach, non-discharged rights, and deviation from the Right Path, …etc. All of these make a barrier between man and his Lord, Allah, Most Gracious. We take refuge with Allah from falling in such felonies. Each sinful deed has its own barrier. However, there is another interpretation: You might be committed to Allah’s Commands and Religion, yet He, Glory to Him, straitens your provision for you. This kind of straitening is meant to help you ascend to a higher spiritual state, i.e. to provide you with more spiritual enhancement. You might be in a certain spiritual state in which you desire to remain for long because you think that it brings you spiritual comfort and peace. Nevertheless, Allah, Most Merciful, desires to promote you to a higher more sublime spiritual state. Therefore, He straitens not only material but also spiritual provision for you, which makes you feel worried, uncomfortable and afraid. Such feeling drives you to do more righteous good deeds and work harder to please the Lord, Most Gracious, and thus, you go up another step and get yourself promoted to a higher state of spiritual enhancement. In this sense, straitening your provision is meant to provide you with spiritual promotion and to help you ascend to a better spiritual state than that in which you have dwelled for some time. In this kind of straitening, you may feel that your prayer is not adequate enough, nor is your reading of the Holy Quran or your remembrance of the Lord. You may feel that your heart has become like a lifeless desert and your life unbearable.
Someone might be straightforward and honest, yet he does not feel any spiritual comfort. This motivates him to hasten to do more righteous work, which helps him ascend to a higher and better spiritual state that Allah, Most Merciful, due to His Divine Love and Mercy, desires him to reach.
Before I put forward the following story, I would like to tell you something. You, as a believer, if you feel happy for being near to Allah and intimate to Him, this means that you are a true believer; and if you find utmost happiness and delight in being near to Him, this means that you are a true believer. However, if you feel happy and delighted for some financial profits or material achievement, this is something else. So who are you? Where do you belong? Do you belong to this present world or the Hereafter? If you are delighted with people’s donation, you belong to this present world; but if you are delighted with Allah’s Donation, you belong to the Hereafter.
By the way, if a believer denies his heart, and if his connection with Allah weakens, he becomes as miserable as an orphan. You find him most unhappy. If you ask him, “What is the matter?” he replies, “Nothing.” In other words, he feels unwell, but he does not know what is wrong with him. In this context, Al-Hassan Al-Basri says, “If you read the Holy Quran and remember Allah, Most Gracious, yet you do not feel happy or delighted, you should know that you are barred from the Lord.” To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, says, “Nay! Surely they (the evil doers) on that Day will be veiled from seeing their Lord.” [LXXXIII; 15] The veil in this Quranic Verse is meant to be in the Hereafter. But there is another kind of veil in this present world. If you feel that you are being veiled from the Lord, Most Gracious, go and search for the reason. You might be negligent, you might be self-conceited, and you might feel that you are in no need of Allah, you might be unconsciously thinking badly of Allah, Most Merciful, or His Messenger, Muhammad, (PBUH). If you feel that you are being barred from Allah, Glory to Him, you should strive to find the reason. Be careful not to allow the barrier to get thicker, because if it does, the problem will be so serious. In this context, the venerable Companion and Caliph, Omar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him says, “Take care of your heart.” In other words, you should look after your heart, you should be well aware of your spiritual condition and your peace of mind. If someone gets up after sunrise, i.e. when time for the Dawn Prayer is over, but does not feel anything wrong with him, this means that his spiritual condition is seriously bad. Ho