Al Hamdulillah, in my recent trip to Bangladesh, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a brother I’ve known for a long time. He is much younger than me, but a lot more mature and stronger when it comes to dealing with the trials of life.

He is a political activist and calls for pretty much what I call for – a unified Ummah living Islam as a comprehensive way of life. The only difference is that the consequences he has had to face for his political views are far worse than what I can ever even imagine.

He has been imprisoned a number of times, which has seriously hampered his studies and personal life. And if you were familiar with what imprisonment means in the Muslim world, you’d know that torture and terribly squalid living conditions are essential to the prison experience.

Why was he in prison? He’s a very nice person from a very good family background. He does not advocate violence. But the unfortunate reality in most Muslim countries is that any form of political dissent meets with heavy-handedness from the state machinery.

When I met him last time we spoke for hours, about many things. But it was just before he left my place that he taught me a lesson in Rizq that I don’t think I had grasped even after reading many articles, and even after delivering khutbahs on this topic.

As Muslims, we all believe that our Rizq (sustenance/provision) is from Allah. Having a firm belief in this should free us of worldly concerns about how we are going to afford a living if things go wrong, such as, loosing one’s job, or suffering a loss in one’s business etc. Moreover, this belief should help us not compromise fulfilling the obligations that Allah has placed upon us, fearing that fulfilling our Islamic obligations is going to jeopardise our livelihood.

However, it’s one thing to know it. And it’s quite another to live it.

As the brother was about to leave my place and we were waiting for the lift, he told me a story. He said he had to change schools when he was in grade five or six because his family had to relocate. That detached him from his old friend circles and made him form new ones. Just as he made new friends, at the same time his old friends got involved in drugs and crimes. He said it was the blessing of Allah that he found better friends at that time.

His old friends went to prison. Their studies were hampered. Their personal lives were affected.

He also had a similar experience. He went to prison. His studies were hampered. His personal life was affected.

Yet they went through the same ordeals for very different reasons. He took a path pleasing to Allah. Whereas, his friends took a path pleasing to their nafs.

He concluded that if his Rizq had been pre-written to be in jail, he would’ve ended up there anyway. But it was the route that he took that mattered.

The lift arrived. And he left. I came back to my flat thinking when and if I’ll even seem him ever again.

Just a few minutes later the doorbell rings. My mum walks in and says, “Look who I’ve brought back up.” She was not home when the brother left and she met him downstairs as she was coming back. Since it was dinnertime and he was leaving without have dinner at my place, my mum was not going to let this happen and so dragged him back up.

He joins us at the dinner table and tells me, “Tonight my Rizq was written here [at your place].”

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