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Spiritual vs. Material

  • "Introduction"
  • "Sufli Rizq vs. 'Uluwi Rizq"
  • "Love Is Provision"
  • "Marriage Is Provision"
  • "Conclusion"
  • Download Word/Pdf

  • Rizq (provision/sustenance) has always been a source of anxiety and contention for people. Most crimes, oppression, and political/social unrest in the world occur due to people's greed over acquisition of rizq. Allah SWT is the one who created us and He knows our weaknesses and limitations, and that is why He SWT has taken the responsibility of providing for all humanity upon himself. Allah SWT has revealed over fifty verses in the Qur'an assuring us of His promise to provide for us. He SWT says:

    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. (Hud 11:6)

    And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised. (Adh-Dhariyat 51: 22)

    Indeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:58)

    Any believer with the reality of faith in his heart would not exhaust himself-physically or emotionally- over acquisition of provision. This doesn't mean a person should not work hard to earn his livelihood, it simply means that he works hard while having a deep conviction in his heart that the Provider will give him whatever is written for him. This helps him to maintain a balance in his life instead of working like a mule; and in turn Allah SWT puts blessing in his earnings so that little becomes sufficient.

    Sufli Rizq vs. 'Uluwi Rizq

    Scholars of Islam categorized provision into two major categories:Sufli and 'Uluwi. Sufli provision refers to everything related to material status and this dunya such as house, wealth, car, etc. 'Uluwi provision refers to everything related to after-life and ones spiritual status such as character traits, wisdom, vision, spiritual connection with Allah SWT etc. In this article we will InshaAllah discuss how to elevate some of the essentials of our lives from the low sufli provision to the high 'uluwi provision.

    Love Is Provision

    Love is an essential element of our lives. It stems from mercy that Allah SWT has characterized Himself with, and spread amongst us. Allah SWT has referred to Himself as Ar-Rahman (The Merciful) and Al-Wadood (The owner of love and compassion.)

    The Real Love is the one which Allah SWT has for His slaves and has spread amongst them. So the example of true love is Allah SWT's love for those blessed ones who receive it.

    Allah (SWT) shares with us His attributes because His' are the loftiest of all qualities and we are supposed to inculcate them in our manners. In doing so, Allah SWT becomes our role model and after that His beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW- the most perfect human ever to walk on earth.

    It is a sign of Allah SWT's love that He has shown us ways of reaching His approval, and in turn jannah. We, as Muslims, are supposed to learn His qualities and attributes and implement them in our lives. This is a sign of belief, respect, and mutual love in the relationship between the Creator and His creation.

    This is the kind of love that only aims to benefit and create goodness. It is pure Love without obsession, ownership, without any limitations and expectations of benefit, revenge or anger. This love protects the lover from hurting the beloved even by heedlessness and negligence. It is an infinite love without any boundaries that continues to grow and can lead us to the ultimate goodness: The pleasure of Allah SWT.

    The Journey of love starts with very small steps like the beginning of a sapling. Allah SWT then takes it, develops it, strengthens it, enhances it and allows it to grow into a strong fruitful tree in the form of love of Allah SWT in our hearts.

    Do you not consider the love of Allah as Provision? Is it not something that we are guided towards just like we are guided towards other types of provisions? Is it not a blessing just like food, wealth, vision, wisdom and other qualities? If so, what kind of provision is it: material provision (Sufli) or spiritual provision ('Uluwi)?

    Actually, this is the highest provision you can get!

    Let's analyze the difference between the style of love that Allah has bestowed upon us and expects from believers, versus the style of love we claim we have for one another. We can examine something very small yet significant from our lives. Sometimes people claim to love each other as brothers or sisters in Islam. If one of them receives a blessing from Allah, which is really a provision-whether material or spiritual, he is often scorned at by others; even those who claim to love him. He might receive silent treatment from his so called brother or sister, or even be shunned.

    Do you know what it means?

    It means that their brother's success in material life or gaining some good quality or even being involved in doing good deeds for Sabeelillah hurts them. They feel upset and jealous to the point that they can't even hide it! Shaytan creates a volcano of anger in their chests to the point they succumb to backbiting and start talking behind their brother's back about his faults, or generate rumors just to satisfy their jealousies.

    We as believers should ask ourselves how we would behave if we see someone around us succeed, whether materially or spiritually. Would we celebrate their success and pray for the continuity of their blessings or burn in the fire of jealousy and deny the goodness of Allah upon us?

    Every believer has a duty to protect himself against this possibility by inculcating true faith in his heart and being vigilant of any signs of jealousy and envy. This also requires knowing what real love is since this is the only way a person can try to develop it. Below are a few signs of true love that will help you monitor yourself when a situation arises that trials the sincerity of your love:

    1. If I receive any good news about you or see the blessings bestowed upon you, I should be very happy even if I gain nothing of what you have.
    2. This feeling, if real, will be reflected on my face, my smile and my du'a for you. I would love to see you receiving goodness even if this goodness makes you reach a higher place in Jannah (Paradise) than me.
    3. I would be eager to support you toward further success.
    4. I would envy you; the beautiful envy- the one recommended by Allah and His Prophet. This is the envy which motivates one to struggle to gain the same quality as his brother. It is recommended and desired by Allah and his Prophet SAW to imitate each other in goodness for the sake of Allah.
    5. I would spread the good news about you and would ask people to make du'a for you. I would love you more and ask Allah to increase His provision and bounty upon you.

    Now you can see that real love generates pure and beautiful goodness. It generates compassion, mercy, humility, healthy competition toward spiritual achievements and most of all, leads people to the attainment of love of Allah SWT.

    What can be more beautiful than wanting the best for your brother and sister even if you don't have it? What can be more pure than desiring the success and happiness for your brother and sister that you, yourself have not achieved? What can be healthier than being involved in a competition to receive more of Allah's blessings by competing in good deeds and being happy with each others' success?

    Marriage Is Provision

    Marriage is a celebrated Islamic tradition encouraged by both Allah SWT and His Prophet SAW. So, is it a material provision or spiritual provision?

    If you choose a spouse for beauty, material status, worldly gains, worldly success, out of desire and temptation than this is a low provision which can harm you in this life and the hereafter. This will eventually result in a disgrace and downfall for you and for Islam.

    Imagine what would happen if our criteria of choosing a spouse is their love of Allah, love of RasulAllah SAW, love of Islam, their concern of gaining the pleasure of Allah and the elevation of Islam? This will not only support us in our journey of iman but will lead us to the attainment of ultimate high provision which is the Love of Allah SWT.

    This will result in the elevation of our own-selves and Islam. This will help us remain steadfast in our journey of acquiring the love of Allah, the journey of setting a role model, living the qualities beloved to Allah and leaving behind a legacy-in other words, spreading the mercy of Allah on earth which is the purpose of our creation.

    What do you think now? Has your criteria changed? Would you choose a husband or a wife for the love of Allah?

    It goes back to your goal in life and what you really want. Do you want a child beloved to Allah and blessed by Him SWT? Do you want a relationship that can honor you in this life and the hereafter? Do you want to leave behind a child who can be sadaqa jariya (continuous charity) for you by carrying the noble message of Islam to humanity? Do you have the desire of attaining the highest provision of Allah on earth and in the hereafter?

    Try to develop the thinking and the realization about which rizq (provision) you are seeking and aiming to achieve. Once this thinking is developed, all your actions will then stem from this and attainment of your goal will be easier.


    All our lives we have believed rizq to be material possessions such as car, money, status, job, children etc. Did we ever think about the other, deeper dimension of rizq like the love of Allah, spiritual attainments, wisdom and vision from Allah?

    The highest provision is a believer's love of His Lord SWT. When this love is inculcated in the heart, it then radiates onto other people and believers are able to generate a mutual bond based on love and mercy. Once involved in relationships of pure love with each other, just imagine what kind of happiness and pleasure we would gain in this life and the hereafter and what kind of great legacy will we be able to leave behind! What kind of continuous charity (sadaqa jariya) will Allah allow us to leave behind, either in the form of children through a blessed marriage we discussed earlier, or in the form of good deeds!

    The choice is simple and clear!

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