Each morning Allah showers His mercy upon us, even before the rays of sunlight reach our eyes. It is only through His mercy that we awaken from death itself. Each night, our souls leave our bodies only to be returned to us by the mercy and will of Allah Ta'ala. A process each and everyone of us go through everyday yet we fail to realise the power of the being who is behind this process.
It has been narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Maalik al-Haarith bin al-Haarith al-Ash'aree Radhi Allahu Anhu that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said:
"...Every person starts his day as a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or causing its ruin."
This Hadeeth informs us that every morning we are made responsible for the abode and actions of our souls. It is our personal choice which will either grant our souls freedom from the punishment of Allah and from the fire of Hell, or we could cause its ruin by following Shaytaan and his desires.
Allah Ta'ala has stated that if He is the buyer of the soul of a believer then in return for him shall be paradise:
"Verily, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be Paradise"
Therefore, it is the sole responsibility of man, to steer his soul in either direction. His actions and intentions will make his abode either Paradise or Hell. So each morning, while man has been classified as being the "vendor" of his soul, he goes out to seek his sustenance and livelihood. It is his option to either sell his soul, or to free it, to earn this livelihood.
Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mas'ood Radhi Allahu Anhu has narrated that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said:
"The seeking of a permissible (Halaal) livelihood is an obligation after the obligatory acts (Faraa'idh)"
On the authority of Hadhrat Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu), He Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam is reported to have also said:
"If you placed your trust in Allah, in the manner in which He should be trusted, then He would arrange sustenance for you just as He provides for the birds; they leave in the morning with their stomachs empty and return with their stomachs filled in the evening."
These two Ahadeeth outline the manner in which man should seek his sustenance. A manner in which earning a livelihood will not cause him to destroy his soul.
The seeking of sustenance is an obligatory act just as Salaah, Sawn, Zakaah etc are, yet earning one's sustenance should be done whilst placing trust and belief in Allah Ta'ala. We should convince our hearts to believe that no matter what efforts we put into earning sustenance, at the end of the day, it is Allah Ta'ala's will and decision as to how much we earn and what we shall receive. No effort of man can change the the amount that Allah Ta'ala has written for us.
Hadhrat Jaabir ibn Abdullah has narrated the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam as saying:
Verily a person does not acquire death until he receives his sustenance"
[Sunan ibn Majah]
On another occasion, Hadhrat Abu Dardaa Radhi Allahu Anhu reports the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam as saying:
"Verily sustenance seeks the servant (of Allah) more than the manner in which death seeks him"
From the above Ahadeeth we can deduce that no matter how much effort a person puts into acquiring his sustenance he will only receive that which Allah Ta'ala has written for him. But, at the same time, it is important to note that every man has to make an effort to earn what has written for him. In brief, we learn that every person has to make an effort to earn his livelihood. However, in order to earn his sustenance, he should not break the Laws of Allah Ta'ala instead he should have complete faith in Allah Ta'ala that it is He who will feed us and even if we were to break His Shari'ah to earn our sustenance we would never acquire more than that which is written for us.
Similarly, just as how death seeks out a man at one time or another, and is certainly to occur, just in the same manner, sustenance seeks the person and he receives the sustenance that is written for him without any doubt. The person who strives to earn his living by breaking the Shari'ah of Allah Ta'ala; whilst sinning and overlooking the requirements of Shari'ah seems to have this belief in his mind that he has, through using using every means possible, acquired a large amount of money, which would not have been possible if he had chosen to stay within the boundaries of Shari'ah.
However, this is far from the truth. A person, in reality, denies himself of the sustenance that was written for him by committing sins and breaking the Islamic Law. Primarily, he is denied from all the Barakah (blessings) that Allah places in the wealth of those who earn their money in accordance to Allah's pleasure and additionally, his the wealth the was written for him decreases due to his sins.
On the authority of Hadhrat Thaubaan Radhi Allahu Anhu, it has been narrated that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said:
"Verily a man makes forbidden upon him the sustenance (that was written for him) due to the sins which he commits"
[Sunan ibn Majah]
All the above Ahadeeth enlighten the believer to the reality of placing trust in Allah in attaining sustenance. It shows the believer that the giver of wealth and food is Allah Ta'ala alone and that we should concentrate of acquiring livelihood in the manner in which the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has shown us, for indeed sustenance is going to reach us no matter what happens, and our sins will actually will be the cause for our sustenance to decrease.
It is vital to note that the earning of Halaal livelihood. is directly connected to the eating of Halaal. Many people are in falsely deluded to think that Halaal and Haraam consumption is limited to the ingredients of a product. However, the chain of Halaal and Haraam begins from the earnings of person. Furthermore, the earnings of a person does not become Haraam only by a person selling alcohol or other forbidden products, but earnings will also have an indication of impermissibility is a person seeks that earning by neglecting his Salaah or any other Fardh (obligatory) activity. Similarly, if a person does not rightfully return money belonging to someone, or acquires money by cheating someone, then that money will also be regarded as Haraam.
May Allah Ta'ala save us all from the harms and punishments of Haraam earnings. May He give us the strength, ability, inclination and means to acquire sustenance that is totally Halaal so that we can make the nourishment our body receives from it can be a cause for good deeds. Aameen.
Insha-Allah, the following post on Halaal Sustenance will contain some verses and Ahadeeth on merits of eating Halaal and the punishments and harms of eating Haraam.