By: H. Abu Hurairah Abdul Salam, Lc., MA (Director of Development and Philanthropic Cooperation of ZISQ Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta)
Every human being in the world will seek the sustenance that Allah has provided.
This word sustenance which has become Indonesian, is an absorption word from the Qur’an, which we find of them in QS. Al-Baqarah : 60, which means: And ‘remember’ when Moses prayed for water for his people, We said, “Strike the rock with your staff.” Then twelve springs gushed out, ‘and’ each tribe knew its drinking place. ‘We then said,’ “Eat and drink of Allah’s provisions, and do not go about spreading corruption in the land.”
“Eat and drink of Allah’s provisions, and do not go about spreading corruption in the land.” (QS. Al-Baqarah : 60)
Fortune, in a broad sense, is not solely in the form of material. Even Allah has guaranteed that every living creature will get its sustenance. Health, career, position, an opportunity to worship to having a sakinah family, pious and pious wife and children, all of that is included in sustenance.
Allah said in QS. Hud : 6, which means: There is no moving creature on earth whose provision is not guaranteed by Allah. And He knows where it lives and where it is laid to rest. All is ‘written’ in a perfect Record..” (QS. Hud : 6)
Unfortunately, many people still feel anxious, confused and worried about their sustenance. So that not a few of them are competing in seeking sustenance, even to the point of justifying something Allah forbids.
Meaning of Rizq (Sustenance)
Fortune is what we try and earn, and then we can use it. If we work, then from the results of that work, we get money, and then the money earned cannot be said to be sustenance if we have not or are unable to use it.
So someone who tried in his youth succeeded in becoming wealthy, and then he died. Some of the results of his efforts are not called sustenance because what he inherits is not his sustenance but someone else’s sustenance.
Likewise, with criminals or robbers, for example. From the results of his actions, he earned much money. So, is the money from the robbery worthy of being called sustenance? Some scholars think that sustenance is only lawful if the proceeds from theft are not lawful.
But many scholars argue that there is halal sustenance and non-halal; as long as we can take advantage of it, it is “fortune.”
Whether it is halal or not, we must see how it is acquired. In this context, Sayyidina Ali karramallahu wajhahu, in one of his Qasidahs, once said, which means: That the people who will regret the most in the future are, say, in our current terms, namely “corruptors”.
Because during his life, he tried to get so much money by bribing, cheating and kicking here and there and carrying out various ways to look for weaknesses in the rule of law, abusing position and power, and justifying any means.
When he died, his money was passed on to his heirs. While the heirs don’t know anything about it, they donate it, make waqf, contribute it to the poor who need it and so on.
So in the afterlife, he will say: it was a treasure that I worked for, but why did I get the sin, while the heirs he didn’t work for, but he got the reward. That’s about the regret of the corruptors when they are held accountable for their deeds in the world.
There needs to be more understanding about sustenance, which dominates the thinking of many people, that sustenance is synonymous with material money. If we examine sustenance, it is much broader than material things.
In the Al-Qur’an, the word sustenance with its various variants is mentioned and repeated 123 times. When each one is studied, it turns out that the meaning of sustenance is not only limited to something material in nature.
For example, So and so are having good luck, so what comes to mind is material things, companies, money, houses, vehicles and others.
Rarely do we hear anyone say that so and so has good fortune. The proof is that he diligently goes to the mosque, worships, attends taklim, and recites.
Some of us even say that it’s worship, not part of our fortune, even though this is our fortune too. Worship is a non-material sustenance.
There are Two Types of Rizq (Sustenance)
Then what exactly is meant by sustenance? The scholars say sustenance is a gift from Allah “Sustenance is a gift from Allah.” Is Allah’s blessing only in the form of money, position, house, food and drink? Certainly not.
Precisely food, drink, property, vehicles, houses and other things that Allah gives to anyone who is loved and who is not loved, who is loved by Allah and who is not loved, everything is provided. Non-Muslim Muslims, believers, infidels, and hypocrites are all given. This is if the sustenance is material in nature.
However, sustenance that is non-material in nature, such as faith, good deeds, helpful knowledge, and comfort in worship, is given by Allah only to unique humans who are loved by Allah, namely His servants who are loved and loved by Him.
So, why is there a shift in understanding that sustenance is only limited to money? Why can such an understanding be firmly embedded in the minds of Muslims? There are two trigger factors. Some are internal, and some are external. There are internal factors and external factors.
Suppose the studies and recitations are not funny. Internal or internal factors are caused because we want to maintain our knowledge, are lazy to read and study the Qur’an, and attend science assemblies. In that case, the number of participants in the recitations will be few. Ultimately, there will be competition between the ustadz and the comedian.
The second is external factors, external factors. It must be admitted that there are indeed groups of people who do not like Islam and Muslims. Then they introduce a materialistic notion: everything is measured by matter. When describing a successful person, let’s pay attention to movies, soap operas, telenovelas and others.
The way to describe it is synonymous with owning and driving a luxurious car, a magnificent house, branded goods, expensive jewellery, and not radiant money.
It is the knowledge that we have that is expected to give a correct understanding of sustenance. Fortune includes material and non-material things, including worldly and spiritual things, which will make us more pleased with the gifts from Allah, and will make us more grateful to Allah.
While people who are not knowledgeable will have a narrow understanding of sustenance, in his head and mind, sustenance is just “money, money and money”. As a result, he will find it difficult to thank Allah because everything is measured by money.
Ali Ibn Abi Talib radhiallahu anhu said: “There are two types of sustenance. The sustenance that seeks you and the sustenance that you seek. Fortune that seeks you will come to you even if you are helpless. As for the sustenance that you seek, it will not come to you except with your efforts. The first is a gift from Allah, while the second is justice from Allah.”
May Allah always provide convenience and blessing for the sustenance that we endeavour. Therefore, let’s be grateful no matter how small the form of sustenance that Allah has bestowed upon us. (***)
(Abstracted from the Khutbah June 17, 2022, at the Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta).