Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verse 212..........Part 2
Worldly life has been glamorized for the faithless, and they ridicule the faithful. But those who are Godwary shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection; God provides for whoever He pleases without account. (Chapter 2: Verse 212)
When God says: ‘Worldly life has been glamorized for the faithless,’ He exposes those who believe that there is no existence after this life. We say to them: Be careful, your values are out of balance and you are making a poor judgment. How can you chase after what is clearly inferior, and ignore what is far superior and longer lasting? What is even stranger is that you make fun of those who made better choices and focused on the hereafter. God says: ‘and they ridicule the faithful.’
The believers commit themselves to the principals of faith. When you are committed, you restrict your movement in life. For example, you refuse to earn money from illegitimate sources, or through cheating others. Those who do not believe, on the other hand, are free to do whatever they please with no restrictions or fear of consequences. They go after life full force. Thus, you often see honest people of faith living a modest lifestyle within their lawful means; while dishonest people exploit others and build illegitimate wealth. They usually dress better, ride luxury cars, and live in bigger homes. And when the two meet, the people who cheat mock the ones who live on lawful income, why? Because they consider themselves better with higher standards of living; they have more money, better lifestyle and access to power. God answers: “But those who are Godwary shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection” Why on the Day of Resurrection, you may ask? Shouldn’t that be the case now as well? We answer that Allah is addressing what is visible to people. We look at appearances and possessions, while we don’t see the psychological comfort and the tranquillity of the believers. When an honest person goes to sleep, he or she has a clear conscience free of spiritual and moral guilt. He or she has not hurt others, has not accepted a bribe, or slandered anyone. Do you think this person will get a good night sleep? You bet. Such a state of comfort cannot be bought with all the money of the world. These comforts are invisible to others, so Allah did not include them in the comparison. He, the All-Wise, focused on the matters that will be clear for all to see. God says:
The wicked used to laugh at the believers–– they would wink at one another when the believers passed by them; And when they returned to their families, they would return mocking; And when they saw the believers, they said: "They have indeed gone astray." though they were not sent to be their keepers- (83:29-33)
God then moves from the scene of this world to the scene on the Day of Judgment:
So today the believers are laughing at the disbelievers, on luxurious couches gazing in wonder. Have the disbelievers been rewarded for they used to do? (83:34-36)
We answer: Yes our Lord, they have.
Here we should pause and take note that Allah used the word “Godwary” in the verse under study. He did not use the word ‘believers.’ It would have made sense if the phrase had read: “But those who have believed shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection.” Why did God choose to use “Godwary” instead, you may ask? We answer that Allah is not looking for names or titles. Anyone who says “I believe in God and His messenger” is called a believer. But that is not enough to earn the high rewards of the hereafter. Allah wants action and deeds, not mere words.
There are billions of people around the world who say: "I am a believer," and “I am Muslim.” We say to them: becoming a believer does not mean to label yourself as one; rather, it is the daily commitment to heavenly teachings. Thus, the All-Wise did not say: ‘those who believe will be above them on the Day of Resurrection.’ Instead, Allah put the focus on actions and said: ‘But those who are Godwary shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection.’
The verse ends with: ‘God provides for whoever He pleases without account.’ The verb ‘provides’ is translated from the Arabic origin ‘Yarzuq’ which also shares the root with the word ‘rizq’ or provision. What are provisions? Provisions are anything lawful that benefits you. Sadly, People often limit the word ‘rizq’ to money. But the word has a much broader meaning. For example, your physical health and ability is a provision. The knowledge and experience you have is also wealth. Likewise, wisdom and humility are rizq. Anything that can be used for the betterment of life is wealth. God says:
And God has favored some of you above others in provision. And yet, those who are more favored do not consent to share their provision with those whom their right hands possess so that they might be equal with them in this respect. How then do they deny God’s grace and bounty? (16:71)
Allah wants His creations to share their provisions with one another, whether it is money, knowledge, physical strength, or anything that may help advance the society as a whole. So, make sure that you don’t limit the word ‘Rizq’ to money; we all have something beneficial to give and share with others.
Keeping this in mind, what is the meaning of ‘God provides for whoever He pleases without account’? We answer that Allah gives without account because there is no authority higher than him that could question: why have you given so and so more than what he or she deserves? Allah gives without account because His depositories never run out; He is not governed by any law and He is the All-Generous, the All-Abundant. You and I do accounting because we have limited resources. But when all is limitless, there is no need for account. For example, if you have a thousand dollars in reserves and you give someone a hundred, you are left with $900 in savings. Soon, you would have to be careful as you give more and more. God, on the other hand, gives without the need to subtract from reserves because God is limitless. Allah multiplies the rewards of a good deed by seven-hundredfold and more. He says:
The metaphor of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is that of a grain which produces seven ears; in every ear there are a hundred grains. Allah gives such multiplies and increases to whomever He wills. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (2:261)
So, when you read ‘God provides for whoever He pleases without account’ then know that God may not give you according to the amount of your work, rather He increases by multiples, and no one can hold Him to account. He says:
What you have runs out but what God has endures, and We shall certainly reward those who remain steadfast according to the best of their actions. (16:96)
Thus, the phrase " God provides for whoever He pleases without account” is a reminder to all of us not to question God when we see someone who has been granted more than us in this life. We are not aware of God’s wisdom behind his provisions. More importantly, God’s provisions are often a test for the one who receives them and for the one who does not. The Almighty says:
And for man – when his Lord tries him by bestowing favors on him – says: "My Lord has honored me." but when He tries him through the restriction of his provision, he says, ‘My Lord has humiliated me.’ Not at all – but rather you do not honour the orphan. (89:15-16)
Take note that Allah answered both: the one who claims that provisions in this world are a sign of God’s pleasure, and the one who claims that poverty in this world is a sign of God’s displeasure, with the same answer: He says: ‘Not at all.‘ Indeed, you are wrong if you consider God’s provision a reward, and you are also wrong if you consider the deprivation of bounties as an insult. God’s provisions are a blessing only if you use them for good and to help others. God’s bounties should bring you closer to him in gratitude and appreciation, rather than distract you away from Him. Likewise, the lack of provisions is a blessing if it gets you closer to your Lord in prayer and humility, rather than make you angry at the world.
Another wonderful benefit of the phrase: ‘God provides for whoever He pleases without account” is to help you avoid falling into the trap of estimating provision strictly based on the amount of work you do. Often, you are mistaken in your calculation. For example, a farmer who sows seeds estimates his earnings and future income based on what he calculates the land to produce. However, he may get hit by bad weather or pests that destroy the produce. You and I must work hard using the means God put at our disposal, yet at the same time we should not rely on and make calculations based on these factors alone. We should do good honest hard work while putting our trust in Our Lord for results. God says in the 2nd and 3rd verses of chapter 65:
God will find a way out for those who are mindful of Him, and provide for him from where he does not expect. Whoever puts his trust in Allah – He will be enough for him. Allah always achieves His aim. Certainly Allah has set a proper measure for everything.