The Sustainer of all provisions – Hatim’s story
Hātim al-Asam was one of the righteous persons who relied on Allāh (SWT). Though he had no money for himself or his children in his absence, he desired to perform Hajj. As the time of the Hajj drew near, his financial inability to complete the pilgrimage upset him until his daughter asked why he was crying, to which he replied his lack of expenses meant he would not able to go for Hajj.
She replied: “Allāh will provide for you from sources you could never imagine!”
He said: “What about your expenses?”
She replied: “Allāh will provide for us what we need.”
Eventually, the daughter convinced and reassured her mother that they would survive in their father’s absence. As Hātim left for his journey with no provisions, he followed the caravan walking behind it until the leader of the caravan was stung by a scorpion and needed someone to treat him with Ruqyah. So Hātim rose to the task following referrals by others due to his piety and knowledge, and with the permission of Allāh, the caravan’s leader was healed. As a reward, the leader announced he would cover all the expenses and provisions of Hātim along his journey.
Hātim thanked Allāh by saying: “O Allah! This is Your provision for me; show me Your provision for my household!”
A few days after Hātim left, the provisions he left behind had depleted and hunger began to affect his family members. Naturally, his family blamed the daughter who convinced them to allow their father to go in the first place. However, they were shocked at her reaction—she could not stop laughing!
“What makes you laugh while hunger is about to finish us all off?!”
She answered: “What do you think of our father? Is he a sustainer or a consumer of Allāh’s provision?!”
They assuredly answered: “A consumer of Allāh’s provision and Allāh is the Sustainer, Glory be His!”
She said: “Though the consumer of provision has left, the Sustainer of all provisions has always been there!”
Soon after, a knock was heard at the door; it was a man asking for some drinking water for the caliph. The daughter happily obliged and it was the most tasteful water the caliph had ever had. When he asked from which household the water was bought, his companions answered, “From Hātim’s house”. He said: “Bring him to me so that I give him a good reward”. They said: “He is performing the ritual of Hajj”.
So the caliph threw this belt, adorned with jewels and gems, at Hātim’s door and said “This is for Hātim’s household. Whoever loves me, let him do just as I did.” All the wealthy merchants and ministers obeyed this command until the belts were piled at their door. One of the wealthy merchants bought all the belts for a price that filled the house with gold that would be enough for them until their last day.
Undoubtedly, the family became elated but the daughter began to cry. Her mother asked: “How strange you are my dear daughter! We were crying out of hunger while you were laughing. And now, Allāh the Almighty removed our hardship and provided for us a great provision and you are crying. Why is that?”
The daughter replied: “This creature who can do his own self neither good nor harm (i.e. the Caliph) gave us a kind look which made us rich up until the end of days. How would it be if the Generous Creator of all gives us a kind look of His?!”