I’ve been thinking of the concept of rizq or what some people would call providence. It’s the belief that everything we will ever earn has been written for us while we were in the womb and although we can pray for it to get expanded, it’s pretty much set.

That’s both a good and a bad thing.

It means that because of this belief a Muslim should never worry about losing out because of following their convictions.

Last Friday I went to a program at an Islamic school in Mississauga. It was a women’s program and basically I was the highlight for the children’s program.

But I got there in a reasonable amount of time and I got to hear one of the speakers in the main hall, a good old friend of mine named Kathy Bullock. She lectures on Islamic studies and I think she teaches at a university and she knows way more than I do! Lovely person!

She was talking about how hijab can impact a woman’s livelihood. She gave figures for how Muslim women are the most discriminated minority in Canada and she related this incident I could totally relate to!

She said that a Muslim woman had answered an ad for a job in a bakery but when she arrived for the interview, the person took a look at her hijab and told her the position had been filled. She went home, changed her voice up a bit and called the bakery again asking if there was still a position available and the guy said  yes, there was.

Unlike most Muslim women who’d just skulk away thinking ‘why go there when they don’t want me…’ she went to the human rights board and the bakery was forced to hire her and she took the job.

She thought if they got to work with her and got to know her, they’d see she was a nice person.

That took me back to the jobs I applied for back when I dreamed of being a biological chemical technician. Aced the phone interviews! But when I showed up for the in person interview they told me the job was filled. Always knew I didn’t stand a chance.

It was ironic too because I only went into the sciences because I thought becoming an author was hopeless.

Then Kathy Bullock went on to warn us not to worry about whether or not we would receive our earnings.

And she related an incident that had occurred with Ali, the cousin of the Prophet (peace  be  upon him) and one of his highest companions.

What happened was that he had to go to a masjid to pray so he asked this man to hold the reins of his horse. When he came out of the masjid he had with him two dirhams he was planning to pay the man for the favour, but when he found his horse the man was gone and the reins were missing.

He went to the marketplace to purchase new reins and found that his own reins were there with a vendor. When he asked, the man said this fellow had sold them to him for two dirhams. Ali paid him the two dirhams and got his reins back and remarked about the incident that look how the man had fulfilled his rizq. He was going to receive two dirhams one way or another, that had been within his providence, but by stealing the reins he got his rizq in a haram (forbidden) manner instead of honestly.

I find this kind of story heartwarming and confirming and yet there’s a part of me that thinks other people, more cynical, would find it simplistic.

And yet…it must be so depressing for people who have no faith in God or any sense of providence.

Everything must seem so darn precarious! One wrong step and …disaster!!!

In some of the biggest moments of my life, I reiterated the idea that the impact of the event was already written for me, so no need to sweat. (of course I still sweated a little but not nearly as much as if it was all or nothing)

Maybe they see us as simplistic in our beliefs, almost fatalistic even.

And yet it really is so liberating to think that it’s already written for you! All you have to do is go out and strive your best to earn it…in a halal (permissible) way.

And to me the concept of rizq relinquishes the need to control, and acknowledges that so much of life really is outside of our control, so don’t fret it.

Alhamdu lillah. It really is comforting.