God’s Name Ar-Razzaq (The All-Provider)
By Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi
[Being Al-Razzaq (The All-Provider), there is a kind of justice and balance in what God the All-Provider gives to all of His human slaves]
In the Quran, Allah 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)?” (Fatir 35; 3)
In Arabic, the word “Ar-Razzaq” is an emphatic epithet of Allah that means that He 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:
“Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong” (Adh-Dhariyat 51; 58)
How God is Razzaq (All-Provider)?
1- God 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 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.”
(Al-Ankabut 29; 60)
2- “Ar-Razzaq” (The All-Provider) is He (God), who provides people’s bodies (with sustenance) by His grace, and adorns the hearts of the elite with true faith. One of the interpretations of the word “provision” therefore is material bodily sustenance, physical bodily needs.
3- Also, some scholars interpret the word “provision” as spiritual provision, that is, 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 the Quran, you feel secure and tranquil for being near to Allah. To that Allah 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.”
(Al-Imran 3; 37)
About prophet Moses, Allah says:
“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.” (Al-Qasas 28; 14)
In the same context, prophet Muhammad’s say goes:
“I stay with my Lord (Allah), and He provides me with food and drink.” He, peace be upon him, uses the words “food and drink” metaphorically to mean spiritual provision, which is the noblest and most sublime of all kinds of provision.
4- Moreover, the word “Provision” can be accurately defined as “something that you make use of”. To this, provision includes such things as wealth, knowledge, good manners, security, peace of mind, spiritual enhancement …etc. In fact, 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:
“And there is not a thing but with Us are the stores thereof. And We send it not down except in a known measure.” (Al-Hijr 15; 21)
5- “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 God and intimate to Him. Being linked with the upper world, they do not care about ephemeral mundane enjoyments. Hence, 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.
Someone has a good health but is poor while another is rich but lacks good health, and so on.
6- Being Al-Razzaq (The All-Provider), there is a kind of justice and balance in what God 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 everything 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.
Accordingly, the total number of marks is always the same for all people, that is, 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. To this Prophet Muhammad 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.”
Man’s Servitude towards God “Al-Razzaq”
1- If you are conscious of God being the All-Provider, it does not do you any harm to lose material provision, that is to say those who know God 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; he feels most miserable if he sells a piece of land at a certain price, but afterwards, its price rises a hundred times.
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.
2- Of the decorum of man’s servitude towards his Lord is to turn to Him in all issues, whether important or trivial, serious or paltry. This is because He 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.
In this context prophet Muhammad 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.”
Prophet, Moses asked God a very serious thing:
“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.” (Al-Qasas 28; 24)
Moses’ attitude provides clear evidence that a slave should ask his Lord for everything as
“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). (Ar-Rum 30; 40)
Allah says: “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.” (Al-Isra’ 17; 31)
Thus God reassures us that He has undertaken to grant us provision. Nevertheless, people strive and purchase their religion for the sake of provision.
3- It is 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. Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, says:
“Do not worry about your bellies!” Man should not worry more than necessary about worldly things, for Allah Ar-Razzaq (The All-Provider) is always there.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, says: “A person might be deprived of some provision due to a sinful deed.”
4- 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. This is partly true, as Allah says:
“And if they had believed in Allah and gone on the Right Way, We would surely have bestowed on them water in abundance.” (Al-Jinn 72; 16)
“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).” (Al-A’raf 7; 96)
5- He who knows that God is the only provider turns only to Him. And, 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.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, says: “A person might be deprived of some provision due to a sinful deed.” If you, for example, 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 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).”(Ash-Shura 42; 27)
So, 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.”
6- Man should be contented with Allah’s provision that He allots for him, that is, to be contented with your mother and father, whom Allah has allotted for you by His Divine Decree. This is the way Allah has made you. If you show any objection or dissatisfaction towards God this means that you are not a true believer.
You should be contented with Allah’s choice of your being born of whichever father and mother, your shape and form, your provision, your wife, your children …etc because it is Allah Who has chosen for you such wife or children, provision …etc. That is why most unbelievers spend their lives in agony and dissatisfaction. A true believer thinks well of Allah and be well contented with what Allah has allotted for him.
7- Man should be very careful and trustworthy of the provision that God gives him, whatever things He provides for him. This is because all the things that man has belong in reality to Allah, All Mighty. Allah, Most Gracious, describes true believers as:“And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes).”
(Al-Furqan 25; 67)