Rizq (رزق) or sustenance is only from God and He provides it for all creatures. Rizq in the Quran describes some of the things that increase sustenance, sustenance in the Hereafter and other instances in this regard.
The article covers the following topics:
Blessings on the Children of Adam
وَ لَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنىِ ءَادَمَ وَ حَمَلْنَاهُمْ فىِ الْبرَّ وَ الْبَحْرِ وَ رَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَ فَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلىَ كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلً ﴿70﴾
Certainly We have honoured the Children of Adam, and carried them over land and sea, and provided them with all the good things, and given them an advantage over many of those We have created with a complete preference. 1
One of the ways in which He has honored us – apart from the others mentioned in the verse – is by providing us with various types of eatables, clothes, and other pleasures 2 which are all part of the sustenance that He provides us with.
Rizq in the Quran in the Hereafter
فَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَ عَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ لهَم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَ رِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ ﴿50﴾
As for those who have faith and do righteous deeds, for them is forgiveness and a noble provision. 3
Two things will make us worthy of a ‘noble provision’ in the Hereafter:
- Good deeds
What is a noble provision (رزقٌ کریم)? Since the word karīm (کریم) applies to all noble and valuable creations, it covers a wide range of meaning which includes all material and spiritual blessings. Therefore, in the Hereafter those of God’s servants, who were believers and good, will be blessed with various types of noble and valuable blessings. 4
Rizq in the Quran: Providing Sustenance is an Attribute of God
اللَّهُ الَّذِى خَلَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يحُيِيكُمْ هَلْ مِن شُرَكاَئكُم مَّن يَفْعَلُ مِن ذَالِكُم مِّن شىَْءٍ سُبْحَنَهُ وَ تَعَلىَ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ ﴿40﴾
It is Allah who created you and then He provided for you, then He makes you die, then He will bring you to life. Is there anyone among your partners who does anything of that kind? Immaculate is He and exalted above [having] any partners that they ascribe [to Him]! 5
This verse mentions four attributes of God, each of which alone is enough for human beings to submit and worship Him:
- Providing sustenance
- Causing death
- Giving life
All these four aspects of our lives are in God’s hands. 6
Rizq in the Quran is not separate from creation, that is, sustenance is also creation itself. However, when we compare it to other creations, we call it sustenance as it is the reason for the continuation of existence. For example, human beings, bread, and water are different creations, but since our life is bound to bread and water, we refer to these as sustenance. Therefore, sustenance is also creation and the one who creates is the sustainer as well. 7
Rizq in the Quran: Sustenance is in God’s Hands
وَ مَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فىِ الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا عَلىَ اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَ يَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَ مُسْتَوْدَعَهَا كلٌُّ فىِ كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴿6﴾
There is no animal on the earth, but that its sustenance lies with Allah, and He knows its] enduring [abode and its temporary place of lodging. Everything is in a manifest Book. 8
The word dābbah (دابّة) refers to any creature that exhibits even the slightest movement and is mostly used for a particular type of moving creature. However, the context of the verse necessitates the (former) general meaning as the verse speaks of the extent of God’s knowledge. Therefore, the verse explains that the Rizq in the Quran of all and any type of moving creature is on God. 9
Believers and Immeasurable Rizq in the Quran
زُيِّنَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ الْحَيَوةُ الدُّنْيَا وَ يَسْخَرُونَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْاْ فَوْقَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَ اللَّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَير حِسَابٍ ﴿212﴾
Worldly life has been glamorized for the faithless, and they ridicule the faithful. But those who are God wary shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection, and Allah provides for whomever He wishes without any reckoning. 10
The believers have been promised countless and immeasurable Rizq in the Quran and this indicates that Divine rewards and bounties are not equal to our efforts and actions; rather, they are in accordance with God’s kindness, which is unlimited. 11
Mary’s Divine Rizq in the Quran
فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَ أَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَ كَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا كلُّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا قَالَ يَامَرْيَمُ أَنىَ لَكِ هَاذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيرْ حِسَابٍ ﴿37﴾
Thereupon her Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and made her grow up in a worthy fashion, and He charged Zechariah with her care. Whenever Zechariah visited her in the sanctuary, he would find provisions with her. He said, “O Mary, from where does this come for you?” She said, “It comes from Allah. Allah provides whomever He wishes without any reckoning.” 12
The sustenance in this verse – considering that Zechariah asks Mary,
O Mary, from where does this come for you?” She said, “It comes from Allah. Allah provides whomever He wishes without any reckoning”
– that Mary would receive at her place of worship was from the heavens and Divine and the following are proofs of this:
- Whenever indicates that this was always the case
- Rizq in the Quran is used in the absolute form and does not denote any particular type of food
- In reply to his question Mary replies, It comes from Allah.
- When he sees this state of affairs, Zechariah gets excited and asks God for a child, even though he is old and his wife barren.
This is nothing strange as later Prophet Jesus (peace be on him) asks God for food from the heavens which God sends 13 and also Lady Fatimah (peace be on her) and her family was sent heavenly food after three days of fasting and sacrifice for God’s sake. 14
The Martyrs’ Rizq in the Quran
وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ أَمْوَاتًا ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ ﴿169﴾
Do not suppose those who were slain in the way of Allah to be dead; no, they are living and provided for near their Lord. 15
Another one of the verses that is similar is the following:
وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَن يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ أَمْوَاتٌ ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَشْعُرُونَ ﴿154﴾
Do not call those who were slain in Allah’s way ‘dead.’ No, they are living, but you are not aware. 16
What does the life of the martyrs refer to? The life the verse is talking about is a felicitous life which only the believers benefit from in barzakh (although both believers and non-believers will all experience this form of life in barzakh –the realm between the material world and the Hereafter; however, for the non-believers it would not be a felicitous one as they would experience the consequences of their evil acts). 17
The reason why some of us cannot comprehend this is because we have limited our senses only to the perception of life in the material realm and do not wish to understand anything beyond that. And because some cannot understand this, they have been unable to differentiate between living that life in barzakh and annihilation.
Therefore, what the verse is explaining is that one should not consider those who were killed in God’s way as annihilated and nothing and what we understand of the concept of life and death does not apply to their death. Their death is a kind of life which you do not comprehend or perceive. 18
Rizq in the Quran: Sustenance of Children
وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا ﴿31﴾
Do not kill your children for the fear of penury: We will provide for them and for you. Killing them is indeed a great iniquity. 19
God is kinder towards human beings than their parents and our sustenance is in His hands. Great numbers of people or population has no effect on Him and, therefore, a child is not a cause for poverty. In contrast, sometimes our sustenance is linked to the sustenance of our children. In this verse, God states that both our sustenance and that of our children is in His hands 20 and this should bring us comfort and peace.
How to Increase One’s Rizq in the Quran
…وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّـهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا ﴿2﴾
وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ ۚ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّـهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا ﴿3﴾
… Whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter] and provide for him from whence he does not count upon. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Indeed Allah carries through His commands. Certainly, Allah has ordained a measure [and extent] for everything. 21
These verses are explaining a general rule that applies in all stages of life. The following points can be understood from them:
- If one practices Godwariness and does not go against God’s commands, he will find relief; this is an unbreakable promise.
- A pious person should never think that he is to be deprived from life as all affairs are in God’s hands and if he is pious, God will arrange the affairs of the world in a way that he would receive Rizq in the Quran from ways he could never imagine.
- Since a pious person holds back for God’s sake and puts his trust in Him, God is sufficient for him and will make him reach his goal.
- God has set a measure and extent for everything and the extent of the consequences of piety are those that are mentioned in these verses. 22
Rizq in the Quran: Working for Sustenance
The fact that God states repeatedly that He is the one providing Rizq in the Quran, does not mean that one does not have to work and can sit and simply wait for sustenance and provisions to be sent to him.
In a narration from Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be on him), he states:
اطْلُبُوا الرِّزْقَ فَإِنَّهُ مَضْمُونٌ لِطَالِبِه
Seek sustenance, for it is guaranteed for the one who seeks it. 23
Rizq in the Quran is only from God and no other being provides it no matter what else we believe. However, this does not mean that we do not have to work for our sustenance. Even the prophets and Imams (peace be on them) would work for their livelihood and would not just sit back and wait for a heavenly Rizq in the Quran to be delivered to them.
Another important point is that believers receive special help and sustenance from God; both in this world and the next.
- [17: 70]. Qarai
- Qarashi, A. A. Tafsīr Aḥsan al-Ḥadīth, 3rd ed. Bethat Publications. Vol. 6, p. 114
- [22: 50]. Qarai
- Tafsīr Namūna. Vol. 14, p. 135
- [30: 40]. Qarai
- Tafsīr Nūr. Commentary of surah Rum. Verse 40
- Tafsīr al-Mīzān. Vol. 16, p. 292
- [11: 6]. Qarai
- Tafsīr al-Mīzān. Vol. 10, p. 220
- [2: 212]. Qarai
- Tafsīr Namūna. Vol. 2, p. 92
- [3: 37]. Qarai
- See [5: 144]
- Tafsīr Aḥsan al-Ḥadīth. Vol. 2, pp. 65 & 66
- [3: 169]. Qarai
- [2: 154]. Qarai
- Tafsīr al-Mīzān. Vol. 1, p. 521
- Ibid. p. 522
- [17: 31]. Qarai
- Tafsīr Nūr. Commentary of surah Israʾ. Verse 31
- [65: 2-3]
- Tafsīr Aḥsan al-Ḥadīth. Vol. 11, pp. 209-210
- Mufid, M. (1413 AH). Al-Irshād fī Maʿifat Ḥujaj Allah ʿala al-ʿIbād. Edited by Aal al-Bayt Institute. Vol. 1, p. 303