Short Answer: Allah is the One Who provides to all of His creatures. Allah holds ultimate power and control over all matters, and nothing happens except with His permission. Hard work for doing something good, always yields positive results, both tangible and intangible. Allah compensates the doer of good, the one who strives hard, with something good in return.
Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for sending in your question to our website.
Indeed, your question is a very relevant one.
Belief in pre-ordainment, predestination, the Divine decree, or “Al-Qadar” as we refer to it in Arabic, is one of the six articles of the Muslim faith.
Many Muslims keep pondering on the complexities of predestination throughout their lives.
It is our belief that Allah holds ultimate power and control over all matters, and nothing happens except with His permission.
However, He has granted us the free will to do as we please, to a certain extent.
Hence, there is prevalence of crime and evil actions upon earth. We choose to do these actions because of our free will, and He allows us to:
“No calamity can ever befall the earth, and nor your own selves, unless it be [laid down] in Our decree before We bring it into being: verily, all this is easy for Allah.” (57:22)
It is up to us to choose either path, as long as we live, and guidance is granted by Allah only to those who sincerely strive for it.
Provision and Hard Work
Now, on to the relationship between our pre-ordained provision and hard work.
Truly, Allah is the One Who provides to all of His creatures. He is the sole source of provision:
“And there is not a beast in the earth but the sustenance thereof depends on Allah. He knows its habitation and its repository. All is in a clear record.” (11:6)
You are right, that some of His creation appear to have it very easy as far as provision is concerned, compared to others.
That is, they enjoy good health, shelter, food, and love of family.
Whereas others might work very hard but remain hand-to-mouth, homeless, lonely, hungry, sick, and poor.
There are the fortunate ones, and the unfortunate ones, both.
This disparity does, apparently, seem unfair or unjust on the surface.
However, Allah has decreed this disparity Himself, based on His infinite wisdom, because there is great good in it.
To mention just one benefit of it: fortunate people get the chance to help those who are less fortunate, and thus earn good deeds and rewards.
Had there been no disparity in provision, no one would have helped or cared for anyone else. There would be no charity, and no giving, anywhere in the world.
The Law of the Farm
As for what you said about hard work. There is a universal law, called “the Law of the Farm”.
You might also have heard of what people refer to as “karma”.
What they refer to, are actually some universal laws and natural phenomenon that are based on cause-and-effect.
Just as the pull of gravity is a physical law that Allah has made all the creatures upon earth follow, so is the law of farm universal in its impact, application, and results.
What it states is, that a farmer must work hard diligently, with consistent discipline and patience, over a required period of time, in order to see the fruits of his labor (literally speaking).
There are no shortcuts. The plants and trees will take a certain time to grow to full fruition, once the farmer has put in the prerequisite tilling effort.
No power, technology, machine, or other force on earth can made the vegetation grow before the time of fruition that has been predestined by Allah:
“….For everything there is a time prescribed.” (13:38)
The same law applies to the honest and sincere hard work of all human beings.
Hard work for doing something good, always yields positive results, both tangible and intangible. Allah says so Himself, in the Quran:
“And that there is not for man, except that [good] for which he strives. And that his effort is going to be seen.” (53:39-40)
Dear questioner, Allah does not waste even an iota of sincere effort made by anyone — Muslim or not — who works hard for something.
He always compensates the doer of good, the one who strives hard, with something good in return.
Even those who do not believe in the Hereafter, are rewarded for all their good deeds, in the life of this world.
So your saying that if B slacks off, and still gets more provision than A, who works very hard, might only apply apparently (in numbers), and not in rewards.
That is, B might get more money or other assets without doing much (e.g. through an inheritance, or lottery wins), but the intangible provision will definitely be greater for the hard worker, A.
In the end, I would urge and remind you to be very wary of arguing or reasoning too much about the Islamic belief of predestination (al-Qadr). This is because Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once warned Muslims against debating too much on this topic.
Muslims submit to Allah’s Divine decree and believe that no matter how unfair or unseemly something might appear to be, to us, there surely must be some greater, unfathomable good in it.
And Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your question.
Salam. Please stay in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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