Knowing Allah thorugh His beautiful names 8: Ar-Razzaaq and Al-Wahhab

Knowing Allah thorugh His beautiful names 8: Ar-Razzaaq and Al-Wahhab

Allah’s beautiful name Ar-Razzaaq  has been translated in various ways, but they are all connected to rizq, which is provision.  So accordingly, you see the translation of Ar-Razzaq as the Total Provider or the Provider or the Sustainer. Also as the One who creates the sustenance for all His creation. And it is one of Allah Almighty’s favours, that He is the One who provides and distributes rizq.

In the Quran, there are many verses which talk about the name of Ar-Razzaaq, such as

إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ

God is the Provider, the One with Power, the Strong. (51:58)

وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ

And in the heaven is your livelihood, and what you are promised. (51:22)

Many other verses refer to Ar-Razzaaq, such as the very famous verse in Surat Adh-Dhariyat:

I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision nor do I want them to feed Me. Indeed it is Allah who is the Provider and the Possessor of strength. (51:56-58)

In this verse, Allah Almighty is introducing Himself to us, through His beautiful names, because we cannot comprehend Allah Almighty, and we do not know Him as He knows Himself. He is introducing Himself to us out of His mercy. We worship Him and we are introduced to His names by Him, because He is the Creator, and the Provider. He connected our life to certain things – having given us life, He facilitated the Earth for us to live on it, and survive on it. He perfected it, but unfortunately we have corrupted it, and we are still corrupting it.  Allah Almighty perfected the earth, and He says:

وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَاحِهَا وَادْعُوهُ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا ۚ إِنَّ رَحْمَتَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ مِّنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And do not corrupt on earth after its reformation, and pray to Him with fear and hope. God’s mercy is close to the doers of good. (7:56)

How actions affect rizq

There is a strong link between our actions and our rizq, which is usually imperceptible to us, but is there nonetheless. Though Allah Almighty is the Provider, He created the means for us to earn our provision. Certain actions yield certain provisions, and conversely by neglecting those actions we lose provisions. However, Allah Almighty can, without doubt, provide you with anything. For instance, Maryam (peace be upon her) was provided with fruits from the Unseen. Every time Zakariyyah entered her place of seclusion, he noticed her provisions there – deposited there out of thin air. He was surprised and asked her,

فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا ۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا ۖ قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Her Lord accepted her with a gracious reception, and brought her a beautiful upbringing, and entrusted her to the care of Zechariah. Whenever Zechariah entered upon her in the sanctuary, he found her with provision. He said, “O Mary, where did you get this from?” She said, “It is from God; God provides to whom He wills without reckoning.” 3:37

This is an exception – a karama (miracles that Allah provides for those who are close to Him). For the rest of us, the rule is to follow the means – in other words we have to study, work and exert efforts to earn our provisions. Rizq does not usually appear out of thin air or parachute down on us. The example of Maryam is not the norm. Therefore we have to get up in the morning and go to work and put in the hours and gain extra qualifications and do what is required from us. This is the general rule that Allah Almighty created, not only for humans, which is part of the system He created for all His creation – whether it is the birds, or the beasts in the land or the creatures in the sea, all creatures work for their rizq, apart from angels. Sometimes a pet may wake up and find food provided for them, but that is not the norm for most animals. It is the exception. Allah Almighty as the creator, designed the mechanism through which He provides for all of His creation. 

What exactly is rizq?

While we have been using the term provision to translate rizq, scholars have explained it in more depth. In theological discussions of aqeedah and theology, there are different definitions of rizq. One of the most well-known and accepted definitions is that provision is something that benefits someone. In Arabic the general definition of rizq is ‘anything that benefits you, or benefits anyone else whether he or she or it.’

Other scholars say rizq is what you own or possess. However this is not a comprehensive definition, because when you test it, it falls short. For instance, Allah Almighty provides for the birds and the beasts, but the birds and beasts do not have possessions as we do. They prey on other creation and consume it. Therefore rizq cannot be defined solely as possession, rather rizq is what benefits one.

What is the nature of rizq?

Another discussion amongst the scholars of theology (tawheed and aqeedah) say that rizq can be halal or haram. Allah Almighty provides the halal, however your rizq might be haram, your rizq might be mashbu (doubtful). Thus there are three types of rizq – permissible, impermissible and doubtful. The permissible is what is in line with the Shariah and in line with the Quran and the sunnah and the instructions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is halal rizq as Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا ۗ وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا ۚ فَمَن جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ فَانتَهَىٰ فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

Those who swallow usury will not rise, except as someone driven mad by Satan’s touch. That is because they say, “Commerce is like usury.” But God has permitted commerce, and has forbidden usury. Whoever, on receiving advice from his Lord, refrains, may keep his past earnings, and his case rests with God. But whoever resumes—these are the dwellers of the Fire, wherein they will abide forever. (2:275)

Profitfrom sales is halal rizq, in contrast to interest (riba) which is haram rizq. The doubtful category is the grey zone in between. If it is not clear to you whether something is halal or haram, or some elements are haram then avoid getting into doubtful matters, which are called shubuhaat in Arabic

An-Nu’man bin Bashir (may Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “What is lawful is clear and what is unlawful is clear, but between them are certain doubtful things which many people do not know. So he who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and his honour blameless. But he who falls into doubtful things falls into that which is unlawful, just as a shepherd who grazes his cattle in the vicinity of a pasture declared prohibited (by the king); he is likely to stray into the pasture. Mind you, every king has a protected pasture and Allah’s involved limits is that which He has declared unlawful. Verily, there is a piece of flesh in the body, if it is healthy, the whole body is healthy, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Verily, it is the heart.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Why we should avoid doubtful matters

The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave us an analogy, so we could visualise the grey area. He how can somebody be around doubtful matters. He said it is akin to a shepherd who is grazing around the boundaries of someone else’s land. At times his flock will stray into forbidden territory. Therefore his flock has taken what did not belong to him, which is an offence. Consequently it’s better for us not to take risks by grazing on the boundaries and much safer to stay well clear of the haram.

Allah Almighty is the Provider

Allah Almighty has kept the control of rizq and provisions and sustenance in His hands. He did not delegate this task. He is the Provider, as He stated:

God is the Provider, the One with Power, the Strong. (51:58)

Imagine if provisions were in people’s hands. When you have good relationship with them, they will be generous and nice to you. When you disagree with them, or do something which is not in line with their likings, they will just turn off the tap and stop your provisions. People do this all the time. But in reality Allah Almighty is the Provider. For instance if work in a company and they decided that they don’t like you or they have some financial difficulties they will simply make you redundant. If your rizq is in their hands, then you would have no food, no drink, nothing. However when you leave this company and put your trust in Allah Almighty and Allah Almighty will open new gates for you, which are much better than your previous company. Had you not been made redundant, you would never have got the better position in the other company and a better level of provision.

Ar-Razzaaq gives us strength

Allah Almighty is the One who is controls everything. He is the One who brought you in this world and looks after you. Even when you have ups and downs, face difficulties and challenges, experience sadness and struggles, are shaken by crises and calamities be they financial, physical, social, psychological, you know deep down Allah Almighty is looking after you, so don’t lose hope. Have strong faith and trust Allah Almighty deeply that He will deliver you out of your difficulty as He promised – inna ma’al usri yusra – with difficulty comes ease. Allah Almighty made this promise and He never breaks His promises. He is watching us – our intentions, our innermost thoughts and the whisperings of our hearts, so He knows if we failed the test or passed it. It’s all about having deep trust in Allah Almighty.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in a beautiful hadith, mentioned in Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, said that the creation of the human being begins at the point of inception when the semen fertilises the egg undergoes its embryonic development over 120 days until the angel breathes a soul into it and is commanded to record four things:

Shaykh: this is why I’ve recited this hadith for you

  • Provision
  • Lifespan
  • Actions
  • Whether his/her end will be miserable or happy i.e. end in Jannah or in Hell.

The very first thing recorded in the hadith is the rizq Allah Almighty has written – how many breaths you will take is your rizq – each inhalation of air. Scholars of theology and tawheed say that money is just one of form of rizq. Imam al-Qushayri (may Allah be pleased with him) explained beautifully in his book At-Tahbeer, his commentary on the beautiful names of Allah Almighty, that apart from food for the body, we have been provided with food for the heart. As Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him) stated:

Who created me, and He [it is who] guides me.

And it is He who feeds me and gives me drink.

And when I am ill, it is He who cures me

And who will cause me to die and then bring me to life

And who I aspire that He will forgive me my sin on the Day of Recompense.” (26:78-82)

He did not mention what kind of drink he is referring to. Imam al-Qushayri said here that the drink he means here is mahabba – the love of Allah Almighty. This is beautiful. We see this meaning in Ramadan when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was fasting, he said:

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited his Companions out of mercy for them, from observing continuous fasting without a break. They said: “But you observe fast continuously”. He replied, “I am not like you. I spend the night while my Rabb provides me with food and drink“. [Bukhari and Muslim]

This means that Allah has bestowed upon him the power of endurance like that of a person who eats and drinks. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not mean the physical or earthly food. He meant heavenly food.

Internal and external rizq

While external rizq takes different shapes, such as money, stocks, food and drink, internal rizq is beyond your imagination. Internal rizq includes openings from Allah Almighty, which we call fath. These are special insights to understand His words, understand the Quran, understand the Sunnah, wisdom from Allah Almighty, and special lenses which Allah Almighty might give to you to perceive the world in a different way. This is not acquired from books, but is a provision from Allah Almighty. 

It comes with effort and reliance like the bird in the hadith – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said if you rely on Allah Almighty with sincere reliance, He would provide for you as the birds who fly out of their nests in the morning on an empty stomach and return in the evening having  eaten the provision that was destined for them. They did not sit in their nests and find their rizq delivered to them (unless they were newly hatched and their mothers brought them their food), rather they actively seek their rizq, and they are so vulnerable and fragile. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not give the example of the lion or the leopard or other strong animals. He (peace be upon him) deliberately mentioned the bird, because it is weak. It does not what it will find that day, but it trusts Allah Almighty.

Put in the work and seek your rizq from Allah Almighty alone

As humans we too have been commanded to seek our rizq. Allah Almighty says in Surat al Jumuah,

فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَانتَشِرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَابْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

Then, when the prayer is concluded, disperse through the land, and seek God’s bounty, and remember God much, so that you may prosper. (62:10)

وَإِذَا رَأَوْا تِجَارَةً أَوْ لَهْوًا انفَضُّوا إِلَيْهَا وَتَرَكُوكَ قَائِمًا ۚ قُلْ مَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّهْوِ وَمِنَ التِّجَارَةِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ

Yet whenever they come across some business, or some entertainment, they scramble towards it, and leave you standing. Say, “What is with God is better than entertainment and business; and God is the Best of providers.” (62:11)

Though we are commanded to work and there is a correlation between working and receiving rizq as that is the means through which Allah sends our rizq, you can see that it is not a simple equation between working and earning because some people work harder than others yet receive less. While others become more successful.

Thus the link between work and our provision is further altered by the fact that work is not the only way we receive our provision – Allah Almighty can provide through gifts as well. He is Al-Wahhaab – the Provider of gifts, the One who gives with no expectation of any return. A true gift is when you give but expect nothing in return. The true wahhaab is Allah Almighty.

Rizq can also be spiritual, or intellectual, or status, or being loved by people, this is rizq from Allah Almighty. You may see someone who is trying hard to be loved by people yet people hate him and you may see people who are not trying to be popular, yet everyone loves them. This is mawaahib from Allah Almighty – provision from Allah Almighty and a sign of tawfeeq from Allah Almighty.

Connect your heart with Ar-Razzaaq

Understanding Allah’s name Ar Razzaaq means that you do not depend on others for your rizq, and recognise that they are not the real source of your provision, rather it is Allah – they are just the means through which Allah send your rizq. Connect your heart with Allah Almighty and know that your rizq is in His hands. Do your best, and leave the rest to Him. It’s reassuring to know that your rizq is not in people’s hands. We can use our network or access our contacts, but ultimately it is not them we rely on, it is Allah Himself. If you have a heavy weight which you can’t carry by yourself, then ask for help, knowing deep down that the real provider of this help is Allah Almighty.

Keep your intention purified and connected to Allah Almighty and rely on Him. Outwardly, do the physical work that is required – go to work, fulfil your job description and feel at peace. You ned not feel anxious or disturbed with the worry of what you will do if you become redundant or if you face some difficulty. Connect your heart to Allah Almighty. Do what is required to get out of this situation, or to find a new job, or resolve the issues but know that Allah Almighty will never let you down unless you let yourself down. Don’t tell yourself ‘I’m not sure if I can find a new job / I’m not sure if I’m going to get out of this trouble / I’m not sure if I’ll get a good salary / or sustain myself for the rest of the year’ These are shaytanic whispers. Have full trust in Allah Almighty.

Do not confuse being at peace with being lazy, because being at peace is not the same as being lazy, though from the outside they may look the same. The one who is at peace is not ruffled, while the one who is lazy can’t be bothered to work hard.

Depth of the Arabic language

The word Ar-Razzaaq is classified grammatically in Arabic as sighatul mubaalaga meaning that the action is performed continuously in abundance. Rather than saying Allah keeps providing for all of His creation without ceasing and without interruption in abundance, the structure of the Arabic word expresses this. No wonder Allah Almighty chose the Arabic language to carry the final revelation because of the depth and potential of each word to convey so much meaning.

How to increase your rizq

There are ways you can increase your rizq. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us that if you want Allah Almighty to increase your rizq and extend your lifespan then you should maintain good relations with your relatives. When you do this Allah Almighty will provide you with extra rizq. You are rewarded for fulfilling your obligation! Allah Almighty’s mercy is beyond our comprehension. This is not easy by any means – what if members of your family are mean to you, or rude? This is why your reward is beyond working extra time. Indeed the reward is tangible and experienced in this life. Thus if you want to increase your rizq, sometimes it’s not about working extra hours but fixing broken relationships within your family – the immediate and the extended family. This is why Allah Almighty is giving you extra reward precisely because it’s not an easy task.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mentioned that some of the Companions came to him (peace be upon him) and said,

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

A man said to Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him): “I have relatives with whom I try to keep the ties of relationship but they sever relations with me; and whom I treat kindly but they treat me badly, I am gentle with them but they are rough to me.” He replied, “If you are as you say, it is as if you are feeding them hot ashes, and you will be with a supporter against them from Allah as long as you continue to do so”. [Muslim]

How we can emulate the beautiful name of Ar-Razzaaq

How can we as the servants of Allah Almighty emulate His name Ar-Razzaaq? By providing for your family, sharing your provision with the poor and looking after your pets. Real provisions are from Allah Almighty, but you become the conduit through which His provisions pass. A link in the chain. The source is Allah Almighty, but as His provisions pass to you, you stretch out your hands to others, knowing deep down that you are not the provider, it is Allah Almighty. When you know this and understand it, it gives you peace of mind and makes you relaxed.

Allah Almighty is Al-Wahhab

Ar-Razzaaq and Al-Wahhab are close in meaning. We can reflect the name of Al-Wahhab by exchanging gifts as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

“Give gifts and you will love one another.” Al-Adab Al-Mufrad

Giving gifts strengthens the bonds between us and others. When Allah Almighty provides for us it is not because we deserve this rizq, but because of His generosity towards us. We cannot count the provisions of Allah Almighty.

وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ

And He has given you something of all what you asked. And if you were to count God’s blessings, you would not be able to enumerate them. The human being is unfair and ungrateful. 14:34

Allah Almighty is Ar-Razzaaq so His treasures and His chest of treasures are beyond our comprehension.

In the hadith Qudsi, Allah Almighty says,

‘If the first of you, the last of you, the jinn of you, the humans of you were to stand all together in one place and all of them and if they were to ask Me of anything, and I have given everything what they’ve asked for, this will not diminish My provisions or My sovereignty.’ (Muslim)

This means what He provides is not greater for Him than a drop in the ocean or a needle in the ocean, neither diminishes the ocean.

Ask Allah Almighty for anything and everything that is permissible

When you realise the extent of Allah’s ability to give, you can be bold in asking for more – knowing that whatever you want from Allah Almighty (that is halal and permissible to be asked from Allah) is easy for Him to give. Some people feel a bit shy to ask for small things from Allah Almighty, and only ask Him for big things but you can ask Him for all things – big or small. He loves to hear you ask.

Seek your provisions from Allah Almighty and don’t neglect the means

Seek your rizq from Allah Almighty and do not neglect the means to attain it. Keep good relations with your relatives, be generous in providing for others and do not be shy to ask Him and you will see the difference in your life inshallah ta’ala.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim – 6th June 2023

Transcribed by S Jawaid


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.