On every Wednesday, I will share a part of the translation of the book Kitab Al-Kasb (the book of Earning a Livelihood) written by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani.
Part 8: Taking Recourse to Causes Does Not Negate Reliance.
Allah, Most High, has commanded Maryam (Mary) to shake (the trunk of) the date-palm, as He, Most High, says, “And shake the trunk of the palm toward you to let fresh ripe dates fall by you,” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Maryam, verse 25] even though He is most able to provide her sustenance without her having to shake the palm and to toil, just as He has sustained her in her private chamber (or sanctuary for spiritual retreat), as He, Most Exalted, Most Glorious, says, “Whenever Zakariyya (Zacharias) went to her in he private chamber, he found supplies with her.” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Imran, verse 37]. For surely, He commanded her to do that (shaking the palm) as an indication to the servants of Allah that it is proper for them not to disregard the seeking of means even if they are certain that Allah is indeed the Provider.
This (i.e., the seeking if means) is in the manner of created beings, whereas Allah the Most High is the Creator, who at times creates not from a cause nor through a cause, as He has created Adam, may Allah’s blessings be on him. And at times He creates not from a cause but through a cause, as He created Isa, may peace be on him; and sometimes He creates from a cause and through a cause, as He Most High says, “O humankind, We created you from a male and a female” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Hujurat, verse 13].
Allah has enjoined marriage, and so to be occupied with marriage and the seeking of children does not negate the servant’s certainty that the creator is Allah Most High, and likewise the matter of seeking sustenance. Hence it is known that whoever thinks that the reality of reliance is in his disregard of earning, is himself contradicting the Law. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless and give him peace, alluded to this (fact) in his response to the questioner who asked, “(Shall) I let loose my she-camel and rely (on Allah)?,” whereupon he, may Allah bless and give him peace, said, “No, but rather you secure it and then rely” [this hadith related by Ibn Hibban and al-Tirmidhi].
And in the manner of this is a supplication to Allah, for we have been enjoined to supplicate, as Allah says, “And ask Allah for plenitude from divine grace” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Nisa’, verse 32]. It is known that what has been apportioned for each person will inevitably come to him, but one does not then proceed from this known fact to disregard supplicating to Allah and imploring Him.
The Prophets, peace and blessings are on them, used to ask for paradise even though they knew that Allah would enter them into it, and that moreover, He has promised them that entrance into paradise, and that He “never breaks a promise” [Al-Quran, surah Al-‘Imran, verse 9]. They were in security about the outcome and yet they asked Allah Most High for it (secure outcome) in their supplications.
Likewise, the matter of healing, for the healer is Allah, and yet He has enjoined on us medical treatment. The prophet, may Allah bless and give him peace, says, “Seek medical treatment O servants of Allah, for surely Allah Most High has not created a malady but that He also has created for it a remedy except for the malady of death,” or he says, “(the malady of) old age.” And the Messenger of Allah had indeed done the same on the day of the battle of Uhud, when he treated a wound that was inflicted on his face.
Therefore, the seeking of medical treatment does not negate having certainty that Allah is the true healer, and so likewise the seeking of the means of sustenance by activity does not negate having certainty that Allah is the Provider of sustenance.
One is filled with amazement at the Sufis that they do not refrain from eating the food of the person feeding them from out of the earning of his hand and the profit of his trade in spite of their awareness of it; for it earning was indeed prohibited then partaking of the income obtained by it would also be prohibited, since whatever that is gained by indulging in the prohibited is likewise prohibited.
Do you not see that in the case of the selling of wine by Muslims, when that is prohibited then consuming its price is also prohibited. Hence when none of them (the Sufis) refrain from partaking (of the earned food), we know then that their opinion about the prohibition of earning is the outcome of ignorance and indolence.