‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) saying,
“If you all put your trust in Allah with due reliance, He will certainly give you provision as He supplies provisions to birds who get up hungry in the morning and return with full belly at dusk.”
(Ibn Majah – hadith 4164; Nasa’I; Tirmidhi – Kitab az-Zuhd (Book on Asceticism), 2344; Musnad Ahmad – 1/30, 25; Sahih Ibn Hibban – hadith 730, Mustadrak Hakim – 4/318; Imam Tirmidhi said that it is an authentic hadith.)
Explanation of the Hadith
This hadith is one of the basic religious texts that deal with putting trust in Allah which is the greatest reason for attaining Allah’s provisions, as Allah says,
“And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (of every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.” (Surah at-Talaq, 65 : 2-3)
If people are pious and they put their trust in Allah, He will suffice them as far as their worldly benefits and the affairs of the Hereafter are concerned. This was elaborated when explaining the hadith reported by Ibn ‘Abbas – “Preserve Allah and Allah will preserve you.”
A scholar said, “Putting trust in Allah will suffice a person from whatever worries him.”
Putting trust in Allah means that one devotes his heart to Allah in order to attain interests and protect him from evils as far as the affairs of this world and the Hereafter are concerned. One should be quite sure that Allah Alone gives or abstains from giving and benefits or causes harm.
Sa ‘id bin Jubayr said, “Putting trust in Allah is the essence of faith.”
Wahb bin Munabbih said, “The ultimate end of belief is putting trust in Allah.”
Al-Hasan said, “Putting trust in Allah means that a worshipper trusts none but Him.”
Putting trust in Allah does not contradict taking the required steps
Putting trust in Allah does not contradict taking the required steps, because this was enjoined by Allah and this is the normal course of events, Allah says,
“O you who believe! Take your precautions.” (Surah an-Nisa, 4 : 71)
“And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (weapons, etc.).” (Surah al-Anfal, 8 : 60)
“Then when the (Jumu’ah) Salat (prayer) is finished, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah (by working, etc,).” (Surah al-Jumu’ah, 62 : 10)
Sahl At-Tusturi said, “If a person abandons taking the required procedures, he rejects the Sunnah. If a person abandons putting trust in Allah, he rejects faith. Putting trust in Allah is the mode of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and taking the required procedures is the habit of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). Whoever sticks to his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) mode should not abandon his Sunnah.”
The deeds performed by a worshipper
The deeds performed by a worshipper are divided into three types:
First type : The good deeds with which people are enjoined and which lead them to Paradise and save them from Hell. These deeds must be performed along with putting trust in Allah and seeking His help. If a person does not perform the required deeds, he deserves the legal penalties in this world as well as in the Hereafter.
Second type : The traditional habits Allah enjoined His worshippers to do such as eating when feeling hungry, drinking when feeling thirsty and warming oneself when feeling cold. If a person abandons such habits to the extent that he causes harm to himself, he deserves punishment. Yet, Allah may grant some of His worshippers the ability to bear some circumstances which others can not. For example, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) used to fast for two consecutive days, but he enjoined his Companions to doing so saying, “I am not like you. I am fed and provided with drink.” (Bukhari – Kitab as-Sawm (Book on Fasting), hadith 1962; Muslim – Kitab As-Siyam (Book on Fasting), hadith 1102)
In another narrative, he said, “I stay with my Lord Who feeds me and provides me with water.” (Bukhari in Kitab as-Sawm (Book on Fasting), hadith 1964; Muslim – Kitab as-Siyam (Book on Fasting), hadith 61/1105)
In a third narrative, he said, “I have a Deity Who feeds me and provide me with water.” (Bukhari – Kitab as-Sawm (Book on Fasting), hadith 1963)
This means that Allah feeds him and provides him with power represented by divine knowledge and gifts which make him live without food and drink. If a person follows this procedure and it does not dissuade him from obeying Allah, he is not to be blamed. Yet, if it prevents him from performing some of the duties prescribed for him, this is considered as a deniable act.
Third: The ordinary practices on which life in this world are based. Such practices may be violated for some people as Allah wills. For example, some people may be cured without using medicine. There is a controversy among scholars whether one should take medicine or put his trust in Allah.
Imam Ahmad is of the opinion that putting trust in Allah is better if one is able to afford its consequences as the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “These are your people and of them there are seventy thousand who shall enter Paradise without being taken to account and torment.” He said about them, “They are those who do not pronounce Ruqiah (incantation) on others, nor seek Ruqiah to be pronounced on them (as a means for protection from evil), but trust in their Lord.” (Bukhari – Kitab ar-Riqaq (Book on Heart Softness), hadith 6472)
Scholars who adopt the opinion that one should take medicine say that this was the habit of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) who used to stick to the best practices and deeds. They interpreted the hadith as referring to prohibited Ruqyah.
Such customs may be violated for some people for whom Allah grants provisions from taking the required procedures in this regard. If a person was granted excessive trust in Allah and knew that Allah would grant him provisions without exerting effort, it is permissible for him to abandon seeking provisions. This Hadith elaborates this idea. It indicates that people get tired in this world because they do not understand the true meaning of putting trust in Allah. If they are sincere in putting trust in Allah, He would grant them provisions with minimum effort on their part, just like Allah supplies provisions to birds who get up hungry in the morning and return with full bellies at dusk.
A person may be deprived of provisions because of the sins he commits, as the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “A worshipper is deprived of provisions because of the sins he commits.” (Musnad Ahmad – 5/277, 280; Ibn Majah – hadith 90; Sahih Ibn Hibban – hadith 872)
Jabir reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “A person will not die until he attains all his provisions. So fear Allah and seek provisions in a lawful way. Take lawful money and abandon ill-gotten money.” (Ibn Majah – hadith 2144; Sahih Ibn Hibban – hadith 3239- 3241)
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “A worshipper will have his ordained provisions. If he is content, Allah will grant him such provisions. If he commits sins in procuring such provisions, he will have no more than
If a person does not exert any effort to attain provisions, he is an incapable and sinful person.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and there is good in both. Cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter). Seek help from Allah and do not feel disabled. If anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, do not say, If I had done that, so and so would have happened. But say: Allah so determined and He executes what He has ordained. The word (if) opens the gates for Satan.” (Muslim – Kitab al-Qadar (Book on Predestination), 34/2664)
A person should take the required procedures and exert the prerequisite efforts and then put his trust in Allah. Putting trust in Allah does not contradict exerting the prerequisite efforts.
Mua‘wiyah bin Qurrah said: Umar bin Al-Khattab met some Yemeni people and he asked them, “Who are you?” They said, “We put trust in Allah.” Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “No, a person who puts trust in Allah is the one who exerts an effort and then puts trust in Allah.”
Putting trust in Allah with sincerity means that one knows full well that Allah guarantees his provisions and that provisions will be ordained for the believer as well as the unbeliever, as Allah says.
“And no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah.” (Surah Hud, 11 : 6)
Allah supports all living creatures with provisions although many of them are weak and are unable to obtain provisions. Allah also says,
“And so many a moving (living) creature there is, that carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you.” (Surah al-Ankabut, 29 : 60)
As long as a worshipper is alive, his provisions are guaranteed by Allah. Allah may support him with them without exerting any effort.
Al- Muthanna Al-Anbari, one of Imam Ahmad’s followers, said, “Do not care for provisions and do not be discontent with Allah’s provisions.”
The fruit of putting trust in Allah is contentment with the divine decrees and Allah’s ordinance. A person who attributes all his affairs to Allah and becomes content with His ordinance has already put his trust in Allah. This is the way Al-Hasan and Al-Fudayl interpreted putting trust in Allah.
Ibn Abi ad-Dunia said, “A wise man said, ‘Putting trust in Allah has three degrees – First is the abandonment of complaint, which is the degree of the ascetics; second is the contentment which is the degree of the sincere and righteous people; and third is love, which is the degree of the Messengers.’”
When a person puts his trust in Allah and he is patient with what Allah ordained, he is characterized as a patient person. If he is satisfied with what Allah ordains, he is a content person. If he has no choice at all beside Allah’s ordinance, he is a lover of Allah.
‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-‘Aziz said, ‘The main source of my happiness is contentment with Allah’s ordinance.”
By: Imam Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali , From the book: Jami’ al Ulum wal Hikam.