By Bint Salman
It was 9 pm in the evening, Alam returned home exhausted, with a shopping bag in his hand. Daddy had brought something to eat…
“Runn” He heard his young one. All the hungry kids ran straight towards the door, shoving past each other, each one hoping to snatch the bag from dad’s hands before the other could get a chance
“Rida.” He called out his wife. “Look I’ve brought biryani, dish it out, we will never sleep hungry from today inshaAllah.” She hurried towards him and with an expression of distrust on her face and carried away the bag.
On the other side things were taking a different turn.
It was 7am in the morning! Sara woke up with a start, she could feel her tummy cringe due hunger pangs. She quickly jumped out of her bed and made her way to the kitchen.
“What! No soda.” She slammed shut the fridge door shut, frustrated that she was unable to find her favourite soda. Quite angrily she headed towards the table to join her parents for breakfast. As she was filling her bowl with cereal, her ears caught some words, her dad was reading out a passage from the newspaper to her mother.
“Alam, 35yrs old, unemployed, frustrated as he was searching for a job for two years, mixed poison in his biryani and died along with his 4 kids and a wife. His family had stayed hungry for several days reported a distant relative. Their dead bodies will be kept for further investigation. Not just that, it’s becoming a trend as eight similar accidents has been reported this year in Pakistan. “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhe raji’oon” her mom uttered in a sad tone. Sara was in utter shock.
Both the stories simultaneously teach us important lessons:
Alam’s circumstances were no doubt tough, yet he committed a grave sin, not only did he commit suicide, he also murdered his family due to the fear of hunger and poverty. This reflects his ignorance of his Creator, His lack of reliance on Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) his inability to bow to the decree of Allah Azzawajal, his failure to realize that it was all part of the test from Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He).
The Only Provider and Sustainer of His creation provides to all
One of the names of Allah is Ar-Razzaq. The people in the past used to murder their kids due to the fear of not providing them with sustenance. However, Islam came and lifted up ignorance from them, this act was strongly condemned and forbidden. With the better knowledge of Creator, things became better and Muslims started depending on Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) for all their needs. Down the generations now, in our times today – sadly we have turned back to the Jahiliyah (ignorance) as we have disconnected ourselves from Ar-Razzaq, we have plunged into same miseries.
Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) has decreed a due portion of rizq for all of His Creatures. Notice the struggle of tiny ants, when they embark upon a frightful journey in search of food. Despite all the threats and hazards around, an ant continues struggling and receives rizq either little by little or all at once. Ar Razzaq devises means to provide them and they will not be deprived of their portion of rizq till death. Similar is the case with the rest of the animals, big or small, either they inhabit tropical rain forests or dry deserts. His Mercy is so magnificent that He doesn’t deprive even the disbelievers, the transgressors of Islam from sustenance.
Why do we suffer from poverty and hunger?
1 Allah with-holds provisions, to test his slaves whether they are patient with His will or show distaste and displeasure.
2 He deprives a person from provisions due to his sins and He punishes Him in this world by placing Him in hardships.
In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: “The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: ‘A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits.’” 1
It’s mentioned in another hadith:
”If Allaah intends good for His slave then He hastens his punishment in this world, and if Allah prescribes evil for His slave, then Allaah holds back his sins until He recompenses them for him on the Day of Judgment.” 2
3 He also expiates our evil deeds by inflicting hardships upon us as the hadith says:
“A Muslim is not afflicted with distress, nor sorrow, nor disease nor hardship, nor sadness nor any harm except that Allaah expiates from his sins even by a thorn that pricks him.” 3
4 He also saves his servants from turning committing rebellion as He says in Surah As-shuraa’:
“And if Allah were to extend the provision for His servants, they would surely rebel in the earth, but He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily, He is, in respect of His servants, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer.” 4
Reliance on Allah
Attachment to Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) through this strengthens one’s imaan as it places firmly tawheed in his heart, which provides a believer TawakkalAllah (trust in Allah).Trust in Allah makes impossible things possible to achieve, which is a known fact. It’s really baffling, at times when you absolutely, wholeheartedly rely on Allah and hold ’tawakkal’ tightly as a rope you are facilitated in every single step you take. The amount of your effort appears far less than the magnitude of help you get and eventually you land safely, removed from the catastrophe.
It is here ,where people exhibit incorrect attitudes. Some strive really hard in pursuit of rizq, they work hard to earn it at the expense of their Akhirah. Struggles to attain worldly provisions and comforts make them heedless towards their hereafter. They trust their abilities, not realizing that Allah will provide anyway, for as long as one holds on to His deen firmly, duniyah automatically follows, it’s usually a win-win situation for him. Some like Alam end up finishing their lives in desperation just because they are temporarily with-held from provisions. In both cases hereafter and Allah’s pleasure has been swapped with something so trivial which could be easily attained with just faith in Allah.
Isn’t it better to be deprived and show patience than to be blessed and show rebellion?
We learn from the story of a man in Qur’an who was mocked by an affluent man about his inferiority in the society due to his having insufficient wealth and entourage
Yet the poor man displayed the attitude of a true slave, he showed patience and replied with hope that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) would compensate him with a better reward in hereafter. On the contrary, the rich man turned rebellious and fell into disbelief.
Abundance of Rizq – Another Test
Sara failed like Alam, she had everything in abundance except for one can of soda. This is another format of Allah’s test.
1 He tests us by providing us in plenty to see if we are grateful and compliant.
’’…And We shall test you with evil and with good by way of trial.’’ 5
2 Whether we bring His blessings to proper usage. We utilize them for His sake on His way or we take them for granted as He says in Surah Fajr:
“As for man, when his Lord tries him by giving him honour and bounties, then he says: ”My Lord has honoured me.’’) (16. But when He tries him by straitening his means of life, he says: ”My Lord has humiliated me!’’” 6
3 We refrain from disobeying Allah by using His blessings against Him.
If we are in either of the two tests, let’s work hard and prevent ourselves from failing inshaAllah.