Hadith 24: Sustenance

On the authority of Abu Dharr al-Ghifaari, may Allah be pleased with him, from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), from among the sayings he relates from His Lord (may He be glorified) that He said, “O My servants, I have forbidden wrongdoing for Myself and I have made it forbidden for you. Therefore, do not wrong one another. O My servants, all of you are lost except those whom I have guided. Therefore, seek guidance from Me and I will guide you. O My servants, all of you are hungry except those whom I have fed. Therefore, seek food from Me and I will feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except those whom I have clothed. Therefore seek clothing from Me and I will clothe you. O My servants, you sin by day and by night, and I forgive all sins. Therefore seek forgiveness from Me and I will forgive you. O My servants, you will not be able to harm Me so as to bring any harm to Me and you will be able to benefit Me so as to bring any benefit to Me. O My servants, if the first and the last of you and the human and the jinn of you were as pious as the most pious heart of anyone among you, it would not add anything to My dominion. O My servants, if the first and the last of you and the human and the jinn of you were as wicked as the most wicked heart of anyone among you it would not decrease anything from My dominion. O My servants, if the first and the last of you and the human and the jinn of you were to gather together on [the same sector] of land and all asked Me and if I were to give everyone of them what he asked, that would not decrease what I have any more than a needle decreases what is in the ocean when it is put into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon for you. Then I recompense you for them. The one who finds good is to give praises to Allah. The one who finds other than that should not blame anyone but himself.” (Recorded in Muslim)

“O My servants, all of you are hungry except those whom I have fed. Therefore, seek food from Me and I will feed you.”

After mentioning what is needed for the sustenance of our souls, that is guidance, Allah (swt) mentions what is needed for the sustenance of our physical bodies, namely food. Without food we cannot survive. We are therefore in need of Allah (swt) to provide this vital sustenance for us.

How much do we take for granted that food and water will always be available to us?

We don’t need to look far in the world today to see how quickly Allah (swt) can bring a disaster in which everything we took for granted – a home, food, water, family – could be washed away in seconds. We would be left with no sense of security. At times like this we realise our total and utter dependence on Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) makes it clear in the Qur’an that He (swt) is the one who supplies us with sustenance:

“Then tell Me about the seed you grow in the ground. Is it you who makes it grow or are We the Grower? Were it Our will, We could crumble it into dry pieces, and you would be regretful. [Saying,] ‘We are indeed ruined. Nay but we are deprived’. Then tell Me about the water you drink. Is it you who causes it to come down from the rain clouds or are We the Ones who cause it to come down? If We willed, We verily could make it salt [and undrinkable]. Why the do you not give thanks [to Allah]?” (Surah al-Waaqiah:63-72)

All these blessings should be a source of us giving thanks, and turning to Allah (swt) to ask Him to secure our sustenance for ourselves and our families.

According to ibn Uthaimeen there are two ways of asking Allah (swt) for sustenance. One is to use speech and make dua to Allah, and the other is through action. The first type of action is the performance of pious deeds which is one of the best ways to secure sustenance from Allah (swt). As Allah says:

“And if the people in the towns had believed and had piety, certainly, We would have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth. But they belied [the Messengers], so We took them [to punishment] for what they used to earn” (Surah al-Araaf:96)

The second way to seek sustenance from Allah (swt) is through the actions that lead to the production of food. In other words, we ask Allah (swt) to provide for us and then we follow the steps that lead to the production or purchase of food, trusting that it is Allah (swt) who provides for us. We should always believe that if we seek sustenance from Allah (swt), He will provide for us.

Let’s reflect on the miracle that is the production of food and the sustenance for our bodies. Let’s ask ourselves if we are really grateful for what Allah (swt) has provided us with, and for how He (swt) has satisfied our hunger and thirst. Let’s ask Allah (swt) to continue to sustain us with the provision of food, water and shelter. And let’s be grateful for the fact that he has blessed us with this security.

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