Don’t Single Out Your Sustenance
Once, I was asked, “Since Allah the Exalted has ensured our sustenance, are we allowed to ask for plenty of money?”
Also, a preacher once delivered his sermon live on one of the TV stations, saying, “Allah has ensured the measure of our sustenance, whether we work hard or not, it certainly will come to us. What we’re not certain of is whether we’ll enter the Paradise or the Hell, thus, this is the urgent matter to strive for, so that we’ll be able to seize the Paradise.” Or so he said; although it doesn’t match his sermon word per word, but the important point from his saying were:
The sustenance has been ensured, thus, we shouldn’t spend lots of our time and attempt to seek for it.
Whether one will enter the Paradise or the Hell hasn’t been ensured yet..thus, we have to strive all out to seek and seize the Paradise.
Well, at a glance, the question and the statement above seems true.
But if we examine it closely, we’ll find that there is a fatal mistake in it, that is related to our faith in destiny/fate.
Some people assume that the unchangeable matter, or what so called destiny, only consists of three things: sustenance, match, and death. Obviously, this is a wrong assumption. The divine will upon all creatures has encompassed all aspects in detail. Even more, whether a person will be a happy or a wretched one, has been determined before he was born; whether he’ll be a resident of Paradise or Hell, has been determined before he was born.
Hence, I responded to the question above by saying, “Hasn’t Allah determine our knowledge too? Hasn’t He also determine us to be a diligent or a lazy person? Are we still allowed to ask for lots of knowledge to Him? Are we still allowed to ask for diligence?”
The questioner himself was confused, because he thought that if the sustenance and knowledge both have been ensured, then why should we discriminate it in our prayer? Why we should single the sustenance out of Allah’s other will? Why is it only the sustenance that people questioned, whether it is allowed to ask for more of it or not?
Basically, there should be no contradiction between our faith in the divine will and the deed. Faith is a strong belief that resides in our heart, that Allah knew and destined everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen, long before He created this universe; these had been written on the Guarded Tablet.
Whereas in the matter of deed, shari’a requires us to do deed that benefits us in this world or in the Hereafter. As for the result of our deed, it is a secret of which only Allah knows, and we just know about it after it happened. We shouldn’t established anything on the future that yet to happen.
Thus, there should be no more people said,
“What should I work for, if in the end I am destined to be poor.”
“What should I study for, if I am destined to fail, it’ll be useless.”
“Why should I seek treatment, if I am not destined to recover, I’ll die.”
“Why should I pray, lest I include the inhabitants of hell ”
or the likes.
These sayings are clearly wrong, due to some reasons:
First: Because that saying contains evil prejudice to Allah; why he accuse that all of his destinies are bad? Why doesn’t he try to think kindly of his destinies, by being optimistic that his business and work will success?
Second: The saying contains a claim of knowing the unseen, because the person has established the future destiny of which only Allah knows. How come he know thar he is destined to be poor? To fail? To enter the Hell?? All of his allegations are claims without evidence.
Hence, is it allowed to ask for more sustenance?
Well, this is the question to answer, since many people are questioning about it. As for asking for piety, devotion in worship, and the Paradise, these questions need no more justification, because no one will doubt that it is allowed to do so.
Let’s see an example from the Messenger of Allah:
The Messenger of Allah said:
من أطعمه الله طعاما فليقل : اللهم بارك لنا فيه ، وأطعمنا خيرا منه ، ومن سقاه الله لبنا فليقل : اللهم بارك لنا فيه وزدنا منه
“Whoever gets sustenance in the form of food, should pray: “O Allah, bless us on this food and bestow upon us better food than this.” And whoever gets sustenance in the form of milk, should pray:” O Allah, bless us on this food and add the sustenance from this milk.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi)
The Messenger of Allah invoked on behalf of Anas Ibn Malik with his saying,
اللهم أكثر ماله وولده وبارك له فيما أعطيته
“O Allah, multiply his wealth and offspring, and bless him on whatever You give him.” (Narrated by Muslim).
Well, now it’s up to you to see. From the prayer of Allah apostle above, we know that there’s no contradiction between the sustenance that is written as our part, and attempts to obtain it, and among those attempts is by asking for more sustenance.
You are free to work your best, to pursue your dreams and goals, as long as the attempt doesn’t contradict the Islamic laws. As for the result, leave it to Allah the Exalted, and this is the meaning of the true tawakkal (relying to Allah).
Author: Muhammad Yassir, Lc