الرِّزْقُ رِزْقَانِ: طَالِبٌ، وَمَطْلُوبٌ، فَمَنْ طَلَبَ الدُّنْيَا طَلَبَهُ الْمَوْتُ حَتَّى يُخْرِجَهُ عَنْهَا،مَنْ طَلَبَ الاْخِرَةَ طَلَبَتْهُ الدُّنْيَا حَتَّى يَسْتَوْفِيَ رِزْقَهُ مِنْهَا۔
Livelihood is of two kinds: the seeker and the sought. Therefore, he who hankers after this world death traces him till it turns him out of it; but he who hankers after the next world, worldly ease itself seeks him till he receives his livelihood from it.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #431)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) beautifully explains the concept of livelihood or sustenance. He states that livelihood can be categorized into two types: the seeker and the sought. To understand the deeper meaning of this hadith, let us delve into the key words and their implications.
The word (rizq) "رِزْق" refers to sustenance or livelihood. It encompasses all the provisions and blessings that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grants to His creation. It includes not only material wealth but also spiritual and emotional well-being. The word (talib) "طَالِبٌ" means the seeker or the one who seeks something. And the word (matlub) "مَطْلُوبٌ" means the sought or the one that is sought after.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then explains the consequences of one's pursuit of either this world or the hereafter. He states that whoever seeks after the worldly desires and becomes engrossed in materialistic pursuits, death will constantly chase after him until it separates him from this world. This means that if one's sole focus is on accumulating wealth and worldly possessions, they will eventually be consumed by their desires and lose sight of the true purpose of life. Death will come to them, leaving them empty-handed and devoid of any spiritual growth.
On the other hand, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the path of seeking the hereafter. He states that if one seeks the rewards and blessings of the next world, the worldly ease itself will seek them. This means that when a person prioritizes their spiritual growth and strives to please Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), their worldly needs and provisions will be taken care of by Allah's grace. They will receive their sustenance from unexpected sources, as Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) is the ultimate provider and sustainer.
This profound hadith is in complete harmony with the teachings of the Quran. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of seeking the hereafter and not being overly attached to the material world. In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 28:77)
But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.
This verse encourages us to strike a balance between seeking the rewards of the hereafter and fulfilling our responsibilities in this world. It reminds us that our primary focus should be on the eternal life to come, while still fulfilling our worldly obligations with righteousness and integrity.
Another verse that supports the message of this hadith is found in Surah At-Talaq, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 65:2-3)
And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah - then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.
This verse assures us that if we fear Allah and rely on Him, He will provide for us from sources we could never imagine. It reinforces the idea that when we prioritize our spiritual growth and seek the pleasure of Allah, our sustenance will come to us effortlessly.
Reflecting on this hadith, we understand that our approach to livelihood should be rooted in seeking the hereafter. While it is necessary to fulfill our worldly responsibilities, our ultimate goal should be to attain the pleasure of Allah and secure our place in the eternal life. By prioritizing our spiritual growth and seeking the rewards of the hereafter, we will find that worldly ease and provisions will naturally come to us.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to seek the hereafter and bless us with abundant sustenance in this world and the next. Ameen.
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