Wasted Blessings

Wasted blessingsAllah (swt) has granted us many blessings, for which we should be thankful to Him. We show gratitude to Allah (swt) by saying ‘Alhumdulillah.’ Another way to thank Allah (swt) is to use those blessings in the most appropriate manner. This includes using them for the right purpose, in the optimum amount, and at the right time and place. We should try not to waste these blessings neither by over-using nor under-using, as Islam teaches us moderation.

Our blessings might be tangible, such as food and water, or intangible, such as our health and youth. We must take guidance from the Quran and the Sunnah on how to use them wisely. If we do so, we will benefit from these blessings in this world and in the Hereafter.

1. Water

Water is a precious blessing of Allah (swt), which we often use in excess.

“… eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31)

Wudu is a great Ibadah. However, the wasting of water is not allowed even during its performance.

Once the Prophet (sa) asked a person, who was performing Wudu: “Why are you wasting water?” The person enquired: “Is there waste even in Wudu?” Rasulullah (sa) replied: “Yes indeed, (do not waste) even if you are at the bank of a river.” (Ibn Majah)

Anas (rta) has narrated: “The Prophet used to take a bath with one Sa or up to five Mudds of water and used to perform ablution with one Mudd of water.” (Bukhari)

Aisha (rta) reports: “The Prophet (sa) used one Mudd of water for Wudu and one Sa for Ghusl.” (Abu Dawood)

On the average, most people use more than six litres of water for one Wudu and about 100 litres for a shower. One Mudd is approximately 1.03 litres, and one Sa is approximately 4.1 litres. In other words, we generally use much more water for Wudu and bathing than Rasulullah (sa).

Allah (swt) has made water for sustaining and nurturing life. He has given water for all of His living creation. As Muslims, we must not spoil the water for others by polluting it, nor deprive others by using more than our share.


  • During Wudu, don’t let the tap run continuously.  Don’t talk while performing Wudu, as you’ll be wasting water while conversing. Moreover, talking of worldly matters during Wudu is inappropriate.
  • Don’t use water excessively, while washing the car or watering the lawn.
  • Mend all leaking flushes, taps, and pipes, as this can lead to a substantial saving of water.
  • Use the shower sensibly. While waiting for the hot water to come in the shower, gather the running cold water in a bucket. You can use it to clean the bathroom.
  • Do not throw garbage, chemicals, industrial waste, and other hazardous waste in any water body.

2. Food

After mentioning all the different fruits and crops that He has given to the humankind, Allah says: “… and waste not by extravagance. Verily, He likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Anam 6:141)

On the Day of Judgement, each one of us will be asked about what we had used and misused, including the food that we consume and waste.


Smaller portions.  Don’t stack your plate. Take a little food and finish that before taking the second helping. Restaurants also promote bigger servings, which often cannot be finished in one go, especially by children. Take the leftovers home. Two people can even share one serving of an entrée or a dessert. By your own example, encourage your children to finish all the food on the plate.

Donate food.  A social worker once told about extremely poor women, who asked for bones that people left on their plates, so that they could clean them and cook food for their children. Sends shudders down your spine! There are people, who are desperate to make a meal out of throw-aways, and there are people, who are careless enough to throw palatable food in the garbage.

Give away the excess food to the poor in your area or to charity organizations. For instance, Alamgir Welfare Trust Karachi (contact numbers: 0333-315-5369, 0303-729-8052, 493-2283, 493-5824) offers to collect food from your function venue, which saves you the time and effort to arrange the delivery of food.

Recycling. Leftovers and excess food can be turned into a new dish! How about making Parathas with leftover Aloo Bhurta or Qeema! Leftover Salan can be re-cooked with rice to make a quick Biryani.

Food for Plants. Rotting leftovers, stale food, and even kitchen ‘garbage,’ such as vegetable and fruit peels, can be stashed at the back of the lawn in containers, along with leaves, some soil, and cut grass to make homemade fertilizer (or compost), which is excellent for your plants.

Feed animals. Another way to avoid wasting of food is to feed it to pets or birds. I have often observed elders crumbling old bread to feed the birds. Encourage kids to do the same.

3. Talent and Knowledge

Allah (swt) has blessed each one of us with special skills. Some are great at writing, while others at teaching; some are good at listening and giving consolation to the sick and the elderly, while others excel at cooking and sewing. However, many either are not aware of these God-given talents or do not consider them important. Some take these talents for granted, while others might be using them for purposes that are not dear to Allah (swt).


  • Do a self-appraisal by making a list of things you are skilled at, have a natural flair for or would like to learn or improve upon.
  • Utilize these talents at home and outside, according to the Quran and the Sunnah. Write meaningful articles or books, teach Tajweed or crafts, form a group to visit the sick in a hospital or cook for some elderly relatives on weekly basis.
  • Join organizations, groups or individuals, who are already involved in doing work to please Allah (swt).

4. Wealth

The Quran states: “But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shaitans, and the Shaitan is ever ungrateful to his Lord.” (Al-Isra 17:26-27)


  • Buy only when you need and not to hoard or splurge. Avoid impulse buying. Make a list of things you need and stick to it.
  • Don’t be tempted by advertisements.
  • Put a Sadaqa box or envelope in your house and encourage your family to contribute.
  • We hoard clothes, shoes, decorative items, cutlery, dinner-sets, linen… – most of these just lie in cupboards, hardly used. Keep a check on such spending as well.

5. Youth

The Prophet (sa) said: “The feet of a human being will not depart on the Day of Judgment from his standing before his Lord, until he is questioned about five things: his lifetime – how he passed it, his youth – how he used it, his wealth – where he earned it and how he spent it, and how he followed what he knew.” (Tirmidhi)

Youth is the age for high aspirations, productive work, and achievement. Its value is fully realized only when the limbs become less agile, you get tired easily, and start losing that sharp memory. Before that happens, why not strive to achieve Allah’s (swt) pleasure by leaning towards all that He has recommended and staying away from what He has forbidden?

6. Time and Health

The Prophet (sa) said: “There are two blessings, which many people lose. (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari)

Each moment passes, never to return. Are we doing all we can to make the most of it or are we busy in the matters, which will have scant or no value in the Hereafter? We might think slouching in front of the TV or gossiping over the phone is a good way to pass our free time. Of course, we need to relax, catch a nap, and call up friends. Nevertheless, some of our free time can be devoted on a regular basis to gaining or spreading knowledge, doing Nafl Ibadah or listening to Islamic lectures.


  • We can make a to-do list of our daily activities, set the priorities, and try our best to finish these tasks.
  • We can analyze our daily, weekly, and monthly achievements. This can slowly become a habit, which will save a lot of misappropriated time and energy, Insha’ Allah.
  • Our health is a blessing, without which we would not be able to enjoy any of the other blessings. When we are in good health, why waste it on frivolous acts, such as non-stop shopping sprees or hours in the beauty salon?


  • Use the perfect vision to read the Quran, Tafseer, and books of Hadeeth.
  • Use the sharp hearing to listen to the cries of the needy.
  • Use the agile limbs to go to the Masjid for Salah in Jamat and run errands for relatives and community.

In conclusion, let us take inspiration from these words of the Prophet (sa): “Allah will give shade to seven on the Day, when there will be no shade but His. (These seven persons are) (1) a just ruler, (2) a youth, who has been brought up in the worship of Allah (swt)  (i.e., worships Allah (swt) sincerely from childhood), (3) a man, whose heart is attached to the mosques (i.e., to pray the compulsory prayers in the mosque in congregation), (4) two persons, who love each other only for Allah’s (swt) sake and they meet and part in Allah’s (swt) cause only, (5) a man, who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illicit intercourse with her and says: ‘I am afraid of Allah (swt),’ (6) a man who gives charitable gifts so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e., nobody knows, how much he has given in charity), and (7) a person, who remembers Allah (swt) in seclusion and his eyes are then flooded with tears.”  (Bukhari)

Tipu Sultan

Hafsa Ahsan lifts up our spirits with an account of a Muslim leader, popularly known as the Tiger King.

In the wake of the current state of Muslim rulers, who succumb easily to their enemies, the life of Tipu Sultan stands as a shining example of a ruler, who chose martyrdom instead of defeat.

Fatah Ali Tipu was born on December 10, 1750, at Devanhalli, Saringapattam. His father was Sultan Haider Ali of Mysore.

He was trained in the art of warfare at a young age – specifically, fencing, sword fighting, and the use of the firearms. He also had a passion for learning, and his personal library comprised of more than 2,000 books in various languages.

Tipu Sultan earned the title of the ‘Tiger King’ as a result of a hunting experience, when he threw his sword and instantly killed a tiger that sprang up in front of his and his French guest’s horse.

In 1782, when Sultan Haider Ali was killed, Tipu Sultan took over the kingdom of Mysore. He proved to be an ideal and benevolent ruler. He treated his non-Muslim subjects justly. He took on many projects, such as the building of dams in order to facilitate agriculture. He built roads to improve the physical infrastructure. In addition, he improved the industrial infrastructure by introducing many new industries. Under his rule, he promoted trade and commerce on a large scale.

When the British came for trade in India, Tipu Sultan foresaw their aim to colonize the country. Hence, driving the British out of the subcontinent became his major aim. Realizing that they could not carry out their ulterior motives with him in power, the British allied with Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marhattas. What ensued were quite a few Anglo-Mysore battles, in which the army of Tipu Sultan fought against the British allied forces.

However, the British still couldn’t defeat Tipu Sultan, so they took help from two main traitors in the Sultan’s camp – Purnia, the military commander, and Mir Sadiq, the Prime Minister. During the fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1798, these two traitors played a major part in aiding the British troops to enter the capital city, without the knowledge of the Sultan.

When Tipu Sultan heard the news, he marched out of the fort with his small army. But Mir Sadiq prevented him by closing the gates of the fort. Fortunately, one of the Sultan’s loyal soldiers managed to kill Mir Sadiq. At the heat of the battle, Purnia suddenly ordered all the troops to go back to the barracks, thus clearing the enemy’s way. British troops started entering the fort. Tipu Sultan ordered for the gates to be opened, but the gatekeeper refused to take the order.

The Sultan was ordered to surrender and sign a peace treaty with the British. To this, Tipu Sultan replied: “A day’s life of a tiger is better than a hundred years of a jackal.” He then plunged into the enemy ranks with swords in both hands. He killed scores of them. Even when his mare was shot, he continued to fight on foot till he embraced martyrdom. Even today, Tipu Sultan’s statement is widely quoted in history textbooks, his name stands out among those, who chose to fight rather than surrender.


SujoodWe often find our minds wandering during Salah: tasks to be done, friends to call, memories of days gone by – all kinds of important and more often unimportant reflections vie for our attention, just as we are trying to call out to our Lord. Prophet Muhammad (sa) warned us that although Shaitan flees on hearing the Adhan and Iqama (calls to prayer): “He returns again, and whispers into the heart of the person (to divert his attention from his prayer) and makes him remember things, which he does not recall to his mind before the prayer and that causes him to forget, how much he has prayed.” (Bukhari)

Sometimes, we end up omitting from Salah, adding to it, or having doubts regarding a part of our prayer. In all three cases, we have been instructed by our beloved Prophet’s (sa) example to perform Sujood-as-Sahu (two prostrations of forgetfulness).

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas (rta): “The Prophet (sa) named the two prostrations of forgetfulness disgraceful for the devil.” (Abu Dawood)

Abu Hurairah (rta) describes the way the Prophet (sa) performed these prostrations: “He said Takbir (Allahu Akbar), performed a prostration of ordinary duration or longer, then he raised his head and said Takbir and performed another prostration of ordinary duration or longer, and then raised his head and said Takbir (i.e., he performed the two prostrations of Sahu, i.e., forgetfulness).”

The point of prayer, when the prostrations must be made, depends on the error committed.

The Error of Adding to Salah

When addition is made to the positions of Salah-bowing, prostrating, standing or an entire Rakah (unit or prayer)-Sujood-as-Sahu must be preformed after Salam.

The Prophet (sa) once made five Rakahs, instead of four, for Dhuhr. When questioned about the addition, he made two prostrations (Sujood-as-Sahu). He had also pointed out: “I am a human being like you and liable to forget like you. So if I forget, remind me…” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Note: If you realize you are adding a Rakah while still praying, stop and return to the original position before the addition was made, complete the Salah, and perform Sujood-as-Sahu.

Furthermore, if one adds Salam before completing the required Rakahs (for example, making two Rakahs and then saying Salam (ending Salah), where four Rakahs are required), the missing Rakahs must be prayed as soon as the omission is remembered. In this case, Sujood-as-Sahu should be preformed after Salam. “Once, the Prophet (sa) led the Dhuhr prayer, offering only two Rakat and then (finished it) with Salam. The people then informed him, upon which he proceeded and completed his prayer and then prostrated twice after Salam. He also said Salam after completing the two prostrations.” (Bukhari)

However, if your Wudu needs to be repeated (due to nullification: by passing wind, answering the call of nature or vomiting) before praying the omitted Rakahs of Salah, you must then repeat the entire Salah again, regardless of the Rakahs you had previously prayed.

The Error of Omitting from Salah

If omission is made from the positions of Salah, the prostrations of forgetfulness are preformed before Salam.

“Allah’s Messenger (sa) stood up for the Dhuhr prayer and he should have sat (after the second Rakah, but he stood up for the third Rakah without sitting for Tashah-hud (the sitting position after the second Rakah), and when he finished the prayer, he performed two prostrations and said Takbir on each prostration while sitting, before ending (the prayer) with Salam; and the people too performed the two prostrations with him, instead of the sitting he forgot.” (Bukhari)

The Case of Doubt in Salah

When unsure of how many Rakahs have preformed, the lesser number must be considered and the prayer accordingly completed with Sujood-as-Sahu made before making Salam. The Prophet (sa) has instructed:

“When any one of you is in doubt about his prayer, and he does not know, how much he has prayed, three or four (Rakahs), he should cast aside his doubt and base his prayer on what he is sure of, then perform two prostrations before giving salutations. If he has prayed five Rakahs, they will make his prayer an even number for him, and if he has prayed exactly four, they will be humiliation for the devil.” (Muslim)

However, if a person positively determines the number of Rakahs preformed, then he should complete his Salah accordingly with Sujood-as-Sahu after the Salam.

“If any of you is uncertain about his prayer (how much he has prayed), he should strive to achieve certainty, then complete his prayer accordingly and prostrate twice after Salam” (Bukhari).

Thus, our beloved Prophet (sa) has guided us in correcting unintentional errors in Salah, so we may defy Shaitan by making our prayers acceptable to Allah (swt) and continue to strive for perfection in Salah.

Addition to Salah. Addition of a prostration, Ruku (bowing), or Rakah (5 made, when 4 required). After Salam.
Salam is made before completing all required Rakahs (the Salam is considered an addition), as a result of what Salah is cut short (2 Rakahs preformed instead of 4). Forgotten Rakahs should be made and Sujood-as-Sahu performed after Salam.
Omission from Salah. A bowing, prostration, or sitting is omitted. Forgetting to say Takbir during the prayer. Before Salam.
Doubts in Salah. Uncertainty about the number of Rakahs performed. Assume the lesser number of Rakahs you are sure about, complete the remaining Rakahs, and make Sujood-as-Sahu before Salam.
At first, in doubt about the number of Rakahs made, but then positively determining the exact number. Complete Salah according to the determined number of Rakahs and make Sujood-as-Sahu after Salam.


The Call towards Allah (swt)

Vol 2 -Issue 4 Dawah The call towards Allah swt“So the earthquake seized them and they lay [dead], prostrate in their homes. Those who belied Shoaib, became as if they had never dwelt there [in their homes]. Those who belied Shoaib, they were the losers. Then he [Shoaib] turned from them and said: ‘O my people! I have indeed conveyed my Lord’s Messages unto you and I have given you good advice…” (Al-Araf 7:91-93)

This Ramadan, Allah the most Merciful, destined for me to attend Daur-e-Quran (Quran’s commentary and understanding) conducted by Sheikh Abu Khalid. When our discussion led us to the above Ayah, the Sheikh explained a critical requisite for every Da’ee (the one who invites towards Allah’s (swt) Deen): a sense of selflessness and sincerity towards everyone he invites. Vital for Dawah is the presence of an untainted feeling of empathy that is free from ridicule, ulterior motives, accusations, and selfish designs.

As human beings, we all judge a book by its cover, as only Allah (swt) knows what a man’s heart reveals and conceals. Our body language, tools of communication and mannerisms convey to others our purpose of action. If we are successful in translating our sincerity to others, they will realize that our Dawah is only for the sake and pleasure of Allah (swt) rather than material benefit. A selfless Da’ee does it out of care and concern for the well-being of the approximately 4.75 billion non-Muslim of today.

As Da’ees it is mandatory for us to constantly check our intentions: Do we want salvation for those who have not yet experienced the beauty of Quran and Sunnah? Or are we one of those who constantly speaks ill of other faiths and wants to see them doomed? If that is the motive, then it is in grave contradiction to what our Prophet Muhammad (sa) felt for people out of the fold of Islam. Allah (swt) has repeatedly referred to the Apostle’s (sa) love and sincerity towards the whole of humankind, although it distressed him when people refuted the word of Allah (swt). In one of the verses Allah (swt) states: “Perhaps, you, would kill yourself [O Muhammad saw] in grief, over their footsteps [for their turning away from you], because they believe not in this narration (the Quran).” (Al-Kahf 18:6)

Once a Jewish boy was seriously ill and the Messenger of Allah (sa) visited him to inquire about his health. As the boy lay in bed, the Prophet (sa) asked him to repeat: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.” The boy turned his face towards his father asking for permission. His father was silent, expecting Muhammad (sa) to leave upon this cold treatment. So the boy remained silent too. Allah’s Messenger (sa) did not give up; he repeated the request and the boy looked towards his father once again. His father still remained silent. The Prophet (sa) repeated his request a third time. When the boy looked towards his father for approval, his father’s heart melted and he said, “Do as Abu Qasim tells you to.” The boy recited the Kalima and died. The Prophet’s (sa) joy knew no bounds. His face radiated with delight and as he stepped out he glorified Allah for saving this boy from the Hell fire. (Bukhari)

This must be the level of every Da’ee’s earnestness and genuineness. The Quran is full of such examples of our Messenger’s (sa) sincerity, which enabled him to become Allah’s (swt) beloved. As Da’ees, if our motive is just that we will learn to love humanity in general and be concerned about their welfare.

Hope and Fear

Vol 2 -Issue 4 Hope & FearA true believer is like a bird flying with two wings. One constitutes fear and the other hope. Analyzing the optimistic side, concerning the colossal tragedy that struck Pakistan, one may find solace in Prophet’s (sa) Hadeeth narrated by Abu Huraira (rta): “The martyrs are of five kinds: One who dies of plague, one who dies of disease of his belly, the drowned, one who dies under the debris (of construction, etc.), and one who dies while fighting in the way of Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim) This is the reward for all God fearing Momins.

The Prophet (sa) has also said: “There are three (kinds of people) whose actions are not recorded: a sleeper until he awakens, a boy (referring to children) until he reaches puberty, and a lunatic until he comes to reason.” (Abu Dawood) We can earnestly pray that all the innocent children, who were crushed to death, find the everlasting peace in Paradise, Insha’Allah.

Incidentally, in August 2005, I was up in the same mountains, relishing the beauty of North Pakistan that is beyond words. Had I not been there, I would probably have never felt this grief, guilt, and anger, which I feel today.

Even prior to the earthquake, these people had harsh lives with no electricity, gas, and other heating equipment, especially during winters that lasted nearly six months. Last year, they had 17&1/2 ft. of snow. Their survival depended on chopping down trees for firewood and sincere prayers to Allah (swt). Among the many monstrous glaciers that rolled down taking along everybody and everything on their way, stood adamantly one that was still intact even in the heat of August summer.

In remote areas, the roads were no better than they are today, in the aftermath of the earthquake. We were driving at 30 km per hour, which was ‘jet speed.’ Our mobile phones rested in peace due to no signals. We had travelled to another time zone. The medieval times these mountain dwellers lived in made me forget that Pakistan was actually created 58 years ago. For the poor, time had frozen at the top of the mountains, while life, growth, and investments moved forward in the metropolitan areas of the country.

Apparently the habitants prayed regularly, thanked Allah (swt) for His blessings, offered sincere hospitality, and refused any kind of monetary assistance feeling offended.

No mortal can decipher Allah’s (swt) plans however this earthquake could have meant different things for different people. For some it was purification from their sins, for some it was a punishment from Allah (swt) and for spectators such as us, it was a stern warning to quit transgressing and return to the path of Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) states: “Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, and then it should quake? Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) was My Warning.” (Al-Mulk 67:16-17)

Quran also states: “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned…” (Ash-Shurah 42:30)

The killer earthquake swallowed one hundred thousand lives, rendered three hundred thousand homeless, and traumatically billed the government for a loss worth billions of US Dollars. The silver lining to the cloud was the eager spirit of community service that rose from the ashes. It felt good to see strangers going the extra mile to care for the injured and bury the dead. The nation united as one. It was Allah’s mercy that got instilled in our hearts of stone. It was Him, Who sent us relief. The Quran states: “Verily, along with every hardship is relief.” (Ash-Sharh 94:5)

However, the ground reality is still quite sticky. Major cities of Pakistan continue to be rocked every now and then, sending a chill down everyone’s spine. For the Friday (Jummah prayers) following the earthquake, the government announced an official nation wide day of repentance. In all Jummah prayers of that day, Muslims were to seek the forgiveness of Allah (swt). But I just wonder is a day’s repentance sufficient for a lifetime’s sins? Isn’t it about time that we mend our ways for good and start a new?

The International Red Cross released a World Disaster Report for 2005, stating that 360 natural disasters had been counted in 2004 in comparison with 239 in 1995. 901,177 people lost their lives in the last ten years, compared to 643,418 people in the previous decade. Their explanation for the rise in these figures is simply the growth of population.

The scientific and logical explanations to such phenomenon absolve people from their responsibilities and generate excuses, such as population density, poor infrastructure, etc. These are Satan’s devices to prevent people from a deeper introspection. We are so consumed by figuring out the scientific and superficial causes of these disasters that we forget we consist of not just bodies but also souls. Like it or not but every soul has to return to Allah (swt) eventually.

A dear friend of mine commented: “If everybody admits that this was a natural disaster, who is the Owner and the Creator of nature?” Do we not even want to think for a moment that this could have been the penalty of our wrongdoings? May Allah (swt) help us, if the rotting corpses don’t revive our faith and pull us out of this state of denial.

Allah (swt) destroyed all previous nations due to some highlighted sin of theirs, such as trade malpractices in the people of Madyan, arrogance among the followers of Firoun, etc. If today we were asked to conduct an individual self-appraisal, alarmingly, we would find multiple sins prevalent in our lives, for which entire generations were wiped out earlier.

For many of us who think Allah’s (swt) wrath is only for the heedless and we are ever so pious should consider the following Hadeeth narrated by Aisha (rta). Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “An army will invade the Ka’ba and when the invaders reach Al-Baida’, all the ground will sink and swallow the whole army.” Aisha (rta) inquired: “O Allah’s Messenger! How will they sink into the ground while amongst them will be their markets (the people who worked in business and not invaders) and the people not belonging to them?” The Prophet (sa) replied: “All of those will sink but they will be resurrected and judged according to their intentions.” (Bukhari)

Religion is no personal matter for Pakistanis anymore. Its time for every responsible believer to enjoin good and forbid evil if he wants to salvage himself. History proves if a nation indulges too deep in sins, no one will be spared. We have to be mindful, however, that we can be the next ones bearing the brunt of another natural disaster, God forbid.

Beautiful Names

Vol 2 -Issue 4     Beautiful names

1. Ar-Razzaq: The Provider

Allah says in the Quran: “… Is there any creator other than Allah, who provides for you from the sky (rain) and the earth?…” (Fatir 35:3)

Allah (swt) is the one Who provides sustenance as well as the means to enjoy that sustenance. He provides the mankind with different foods, as well as the sense of taste and hunger to enjoy it. ‘Rizq’ is a very comprehensive word that includes everything that we enjoy, benefit from, and make use of. Sustenance is of two types: one that benefits our body such as food, fresh air, and clean water; the other that benefits our soul, which, if properly used, can ultimately lead to Paradise, where Allah’s (swt) provision is eternal. Examples of this kind of sustenance are: knowledge to give guidance, speech to bear witness and to teach, and hands to distribute alms. Allah (swt) extends sustenance to whomever He wills. Allah (swt) alone, the Great and Glorious, is the Provider. We should rely on Allah (swt) and no one else for sustenance. We should understand that people or things are only the means of providing sustenance and not the providers themselves. Indeed, believing in the latter is a grave sin.

2. Al-Fattah: The Opener

By Allah’s (swt) providence, whatever is closed gets opened. He has the keys to the heavens and the earth. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “Whatever of mercy (i.e., of good), Allah (swt) may grant to mankind, none can withhold it …” (Fatir 35: 2) Similarly, He opens the doors of sustenance, and success in this world to whomever He wills. Doors of great empires were opened for the Prophets by the will of Allah (swt). The doors of knowledge are opened for those He wants to guide to the straight path. Allah (swt) unveils the hearts of people and shows them the light of Islam. He opens up the earth to provide fruits for its creatures. We should do good deeds so that the Opener opens to us an abundance of goodness.

3. Al-Alim: The All Knower / the Omniscient

Allah’s (swt) knowledge is infinite and perfect. Things are derived from Allah’s (swt) knowledge, while our knowledge is derived from the things we know. Allah (swt) has the knowledge of the seen and unseen, the past and future. Angels, while accepting the fact that Allah (swt) is All Knowing say, to Allah (swt) in the Holy Quran: “Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:32)

Similarly, our knowledge is limited to what Allah (swt) has given us. Allah (swt) says: “Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.” (Al-Alaq 96:4-5) People are liable to fall into Shirk, if they believe that anyone other than Allah (swt) has the knowledge of the unseen. Only Allah (swt) knows the state of the heart of people, for He says in the Holy Quran that He has the knowledge of our faith. So, we must perform good deeds for the sake of Allah (swt) rather than for showing off and be aware of the fact that Allah (swt) has knowledge of ones deeds and He alone can give the reward. At the same time, this attribute of Allah should serve as a warning not to commit sins – since Allah (swt) has the knowledge of our bad deeds, He can also punish us.