Iktisab Al-Rizq

Production function in the Islamic economy has been regulated by concepts of rizq and halal-haram sources of earnings. The term rizq is applied to connote means of livelihood and further production. It has been intimated by the Holy Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) that the rizq of an individual is predetermined by Allah, when he is in the womb of his mother. The concept of pre-determination of rizq has been tied with the legal mechanism of halal-haram means of earning it. It has been emphasized that the pursuit of haram activities to earn more and more wealth is fruitless, as the sum-total of one’s rizq during his worldly life is fixed. This is further reinforced by God’s commitment to feed, sustain and nourish all His creatures in the universe (al-Our‘an – 11:6). Once it is clear that Allah has taken upon Himself the responsibility to cater for one’s needs, attraction for indulging in haram activ­ities is minimised.

This does not imply the Shari’ah preaches ‘fatalism’ and disclaims enterprise. As shall be discussed later, the Shari’ah places due emphasis on initiative and creativity in the production of wealth. The theory of rizq is not related to entrepreneurial behaviour, it only sustains the legal framework of halal and haram. The obedience of law, in Islam, is not obtained through coercive appratus of state only, but a value-system has been invoked which inculcates willingness to obey. The theory of pre-determination of rizq is a part of the said value-system.

The concept of halal and haram in economics is also particular to Islam. In Western economics, all those activities which are worthwhile on utilitarian matrix of pleasure and pain can be undertaken by an indi­vidual or the society. There is no moral restraint in their pursuit. In the Islamic economy this cannot be so. All the activities have been divided into two main categories of halal and haram. (There are further refinements of these categories, which we are omitting for simplicity sake). As the general rule is that whatever has not been declared haram is halal, the list of haram activities have been laid down in the Shari‘ah. Similarly, those activities which are halal but their exact status could be doubtful have been categorically declared as halal.

lmposition of the super-check of halal-haram on the economic criteria of worthwhileness indicates a higher value placed at the moral standards. Mundane standards may recommend a production activity, but if the halal-haram mechanism disallows it, the activity shall be abandoned. This is true for all including the state. The criteria of investment in the Islamic economy shall be significantly influenced by it. Once again, it is demonstrated that economic activities do not occupy a central position in the Islamic scheme of life.

Jabir b. Abdulllah reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “O people, Fear God and cut your ambitions of livelihood, for a man will not court death unless he is provided full sustenance (decreed) for him even if he restrains himself from it. So, fear Allah and cut your ambitions in search of livelihood. Take what-ever is lawful and leave whatever is unlawful.” [1]

[1] Pre-determination refers to the knowledge of Allah about an individual’s conduct in the world. That knowledge by itself does not force him to do so. An individual adopts it by his free will, but Allah knows what he is going to do by his free will. So, predetermination of rizq, by no means restrains a person from doing what is best for him in this world.



Source: Economic Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): A Select Anthology of Hadith Literature on Economics, Muhammad Akram Khan. Republished with permission.

Copy URL