This Khutba is about is about The First, The Last, The Manifest, The Hidden – namely, Allah. To be precise it is about a specific aspect of Allah, the Attribute of His Qudra, the Divine Omnipotence, The Divine Capability of Allah, literally "What He can do". So what does the Qudra of Allah extend to : "Indeed Allah, is over all things (i.e. everything), competent."
So what can He do? The answer is "everything", because by definition, every "thing" comes into existence through Him. But it is important to qualify that Allah only does that which is consistent with Him. This is because Allah's omnipotence necessarily relates to His Divine Nature which in turn necessarily entails His Divine Perfections. From His Perfections is that He is Unique, that He is not born (thus being the First without beginning), that He does not die (thus being the Last without ending) and hence the Christian claim that God can have a son – simply does not register as something God would do, because it is entirely inconsistent with who He is. Man is born and dies, God is not born and does not die – God cannot become man, just as you cannot have a squarecircle,
this is a logical fallacy, period.
So the upshot is Allah is in charge of everything because He creates everything. What this means is that just as Allah created everything, He is also in charge of its sustenance and maintenance:
And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.
When Allah who is over all things competent, tells us that He has taken upon Himself our provision, then why is that many of us who claim to believe in Him and His book, still feel a sense of anxiety with regards to our sustenance. Perhaps this returns to the strength of our faith, because our Rizq or sustenance pertains to not what we avail but what we amass, and this could be physical or spiritual, including the strength of our faith itself. Allah says:
It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge.
So whenever we have anxiety about our sustenance it is woth reflecting on our faith. We need to know is that the Heavens and the Earth were created precisely so that we come to understand, that Allah is our Lord and that He is over all things competent. Thus if we want to relieve ourselves of the burden of having to worry and provide for ourselves, we simply need to make firm the understanding in our hearts that it is Allah who provides. Often the reason many of us have to face shattered plans and dreams is precisely because we don’t relegate the matter to Allah, i.e. we choose to believe that at some level we have competency, that the job, the boss, our contacts will somehow save us. It is precisely to negate that belief that the winds of fate often ensure that our plans never come to fruition, to remind us, that He is in charge and that we need to rely on Him.
Allah wants us to understand that the world and everything in it were created for our sake, as a way of benefit and instruction, for us to learn through experience, intuition and observation that He is One and that He is over all things competent. As He says:
And fruits and fodder-For use and convenience to you and your livestock.
So the solution to the perennial anxiety of the nafs is to stop busying ourselves in what essentially is Allah's business. It is His job to take care of our jobs, our marriages, our children, our futures, etc. and it is our job to take the proper manners or means of travel towards Him. This means that we have to desist from postulating and conjuring up a million scenarios, to desist from projecting an imaginary past onto an imaginary future and to start living in the moment – to being a Slave of the Moment we're in.
If we read the Qu'ran, we will see it constantly reassuring us about our provision:
For Allah is He Who gives (all) Sustenance - Lord of Power - Steadfast (for ever).
The word used in the verse above for Allah is Al Razzaq, which actually means the Continual Provider. This means that Allah has not only destined us into being, but that He is continually destining countless and innumerable favours on us at every moment in perpetuating our being. Just think about thta, stop for a moment and count the blessings He is giving unto you right now, at this very moment:
And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.
Unfortunately as the verse above alludes, very few of us do actually stop to count and very few of us live in the commensurate state of gratitude. This lack of cognizance of the blessings coming down on us means we are instead constantly looking outside and worried about satisying ourselves based on projected fears/desires. The nafs' can never be satisfied with the outward, its desires are innumerable because beyond a point they are replacements to satisfy a deep innate inward desire that can only be satsified through the remembrance of Allah. As a commentator on modern times once said, "the essential emptiness of modern man is god-shaped."
Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.
Allah has created all of us special and unique. Just look at our hands, our fingers, each and every one of us has a unique mark (the fingerprint). It’s the same with the retinas of our eyes and how they respond to light – we are all uniquely special. But the key to us realizing our specialness is that we realize what we have been created for. Namely,to know and worship Allah. Until we are ignorance of this we remain a speck in the sea of the world, it is only when we realize this – that the world becomes a speck in our sea – or His sea, the sea of His Infinite Presence.
Allah is looking after all of us, this is a fact. In-fact he has already provided/apportioned much of our providence in His pre-eternal knowledge, for as the Qu'ran says:
Allah is the One who created you, then provided for you
This was why the Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) called upon Allah by referring to what was sent down to him (i.e. in the past tense):
"My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You have sent down to me, in need."
What the Prophet Musa was doing (as the past tense of the verb indicates) was asking for what was already decreed. All he was doing was using the key by manifesting his needyness, his faqr, in the present moment. And this is what in essence dua is, it is not some conditional plea to hold Allah to account, rather it is an opportunity to manifest our slavehood, our needyness – the key to unlocking what has already been destined for us. If they should be needy (lit. Fuqaraa), Allah will enrich them from His bounty.
For Allah will surely provide for us:
"We ask you not for provision; We (will surely) provide for you."
And there is none to provide for us, should He withhold:
Or who is there that can provide you with Sustenance if He were to withhold His provision?
Allah has guaranteed our Rizq, in-fact He has even guaranteed for us its place:
And in the heaven is your Sustenance, as (also) that which ye are promised.
This is because real sustenance, i.e.the sustenance in the heavens, is that which lasts/persists (Baqee), not that which perishes or is temporal (Fanee). So in essence the real sustenance is what we build for ourselves through our sincere actions and intentions for Allah in this life to become manifest in the next. To borrow a famous line: what we do in this life echoes for eternity in the next . And yet many of us don't get it:
But you prefer the worldly life, While the Hereafter is better and more enduring.
We just don’t get that the hereafter of permanence is better than the temporality of the present, the ephemeral world we live in. And verily the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present.
So let us not be distracted by temporal pleasures, that inevitably come to end, where in all we can do is talk about the fun we used to have. Let the real sustenance, i.e. that of permanence, be that for which those who wish to compete, compete. So for this let the competitors compete.
Sometimes Allah needs to remind us of this order of priority, because many of us as muslims have forgotten this as we chase after the world. It is important for us to reflect, if Allah is in charge – why are the muslims in the state they are in? Why do we see much of the Muslim world in a state of strife, calamity and poverty? How do we juxtapose this situation with the fact that Allah promises to look after all those who call upon Him.
The answer to this question lies in the fact that if we don’t lead our lives by Islam, then we expose ourselves to the sunnan (the way) of Allah in reminding us of what is in our best interest. As He says in His book:
Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done such that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].
Sometimes medicine can be a bitter pill to swallow. When muslims as a whole instead of practising their religion, find themselves upon the way of corruption – then they set themselves up for a lesson. And that lesson can be bitter, though it is what our own hands have wrought. Sometimes discipline can be harsh, but in its corrective measures lies a deep rooted mercy and concern to prevent a greater tragedy. This what in Arabic could be termed as "Lutf-al-Khafee", or hidden gentleness. Sometimes we only get the message when we get the equivalent of a cosmological slap, but if we turn back to Him – and the "slap" bequeths us a life of righteousness from that point on, was not that slap of ultimate benefit to us?
This would be in stark contrast to one who rejects Allah, who thinks that subsequent ease and affairs of this world opening up to him is sort of portent that the path he is upon is one of success, whereas in reality he is being set up for a killer-blow, one from which there is no getting up.
So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and
they were [then] in despair.
May Allah give us the chance to wake up before its not too late. To not rejoice in blessings of this world, except that we see Him as being the One who has provided and existentiated them for us.
He is always there for us, He has always been there for us and will continue to be. But if we don’t turn to Him, don’t realize this – He leaves us to our flimsy plans and stratagems, designed to fail.
May Allah bequeth us true faith and trust in Him. And the bequething of this realization is indeed a treasure that is for Him to provide. And that is not a thing difficult for Allah. To Him belongs all praise.
Delivered on: 03-May-2013