The Teacher vs his Student on RIZQ

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By Imam Shamsi Ali

ONCE Imam Malik who was the teacher of Imam Shafi’i said: “sustenance (rizq) will reach you even without necessary efforts. You just need to trust Allah (tawakkal) that He is the provider and sustainer of the heavens and the earth, and He will surely will provide what you need. With or without you taking necessary steps Allah can provide.

The student Imam Shafi’i could not accept that opinion and disagreed with his teacher. He then asked: “if a bird doesn’t go out from her net how she will get her food (sustenance and provision)?.

The teacher and the student debated the matter and both insisted with their opposite opinions. The teacher, Imam Malik insisted that his opinion is true. And the student, Imam Shafi’i, also insisted his opinion is the true one.

One day Imam Shafi’i went out for walks and he saw a group of farmers harvested their grapes. Imam Shafi’i went to them and helped them. At the end of the day he completed the job, and they gave (paid) him with some grapes to bring home.

Imam Shafi’i was so happy on that day, not because of the grapes. But he just got a proof to bring to his teacher that he is right on the matter they both debated. He then rushed to his teacher to bring him the grapes and to convince him that his opinion is the right one.

Upon his arrival in his teacher’s home, he put the grape in front of him, smiled and said: “you see, if I did not leave my house today, worked for those farmers, I could have not earned these grapes. These grapes will not reach my hands without leaving my house and worked. The “rizq” will not be earned without our efforts.

His teacher, Imam Malik, smiled back, shook his head in respect of his student opinion and took some of the grapes. He put those grapes into his mouth and eat them joyfully then said: “as you see, I did not leave my house today. All of a sudden you came with these grapes to me. Allah sent my provision (rizq) without leaving my home. I just have put my trust on Him to provide me with these grapes today. And now he sent me mine through you”.

Finally, the teacher and his student laughed together. How two apparently conflicting opinions on a matter can be both correct. Depends on how see it and on which ground you see it.

This story is a great lessons on how our Ulama (Muslim scholars) should handle their differences. They (Imam Malik & Imam Shafi’i) did not blame one another, and each did not see his opinion as the absolute truth while others are wrong…

True knowledge leads to wisdom. Happy Wednesday! (*)

NYC Subway, July 3, 2024

(compiled by Imam Shamsi Ali).

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