In many places in the Qur’an, Allah (swt) uses the phrase “out of what we have given” when He asks the believers to spend in the way of Allah, such as:
Those who rehearse the Book of Allah, establish regular Prayer and spend (in Charity) out of what We have provided for them secretly and openly hope for a Commerce that will never fail. (35:29)
Those … who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance. (42:38)
They spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on them. (32:16)
As Allah (swt) asks the believers to pay zakat and charity, He reminds them that all the wealth and property that they have actually belongs to Allah (swt) anyway. All righteous believers are cognizant of this simple and obvious truth. For even if we set aside the fact that everything in this universe are created by and therefore belongs to Allah, there is no wealth or property that one can claim that it is the result of his own exclusive effort. In this context, please note :
If one thinks that his wealth and fortune is a result of his own labor and talent, then that reflects a serious lack of understanding and insight on his or her part. While there is no denial that one should put efforts towards achieving his goal as Islam requires and as the Prophet (Pbuh) himself did, but to think that utilization of one’s talent and exerting his labor alone earned him his wealth is to deny both facts as well as to betray common sense observation.
There are many around us who with greater talents and more efforts fail to “succeed” in life and reach “financial security”. And there are those who within moments loose their vast fortunes, or suddenly become rich, due to market fluctuation, calamity, unforeseen business deals, or otherwise. And finally, there are always these basic questions to ask: Who is the One Who provided him with his talents and abilities? Who has provided him with that particular set of resources that he successfully utilized and which others were not provided with?
Who controls the events that occur in our day to day life and Who provided those particular chances and deals that contributed to his fortune? Wise people know the answers to these questions and, consequently, humble themselves and thank Allah (swt) for His favor.
About such people who think that it is because of their talent or enterprise that they had become wealthy, Allah (swt) says:
… When We bestow a favor upon him as from Ourselves he says, “This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge (I have)!” Nay, this is but a trial. But most of them understand not. (39:49)
Righteous believers, therefore, are always conscious about this true ownership of wealth and property that is at their disposal. Therefore, when a calamity befalls that results in the loss of that property or wealth, they do not break down but remind themselves with this: “This property and wealth belonged to Allah and He has taken it back”.
Subconsciously, we lay claim to perpetual ownership of all that is in our possession. One thinks: “This house is mine”, or “That bank balance is mine – I will use it for my needs.” Although everyone knows that he can die anytime, he is in denial of the possibility of his separation from his wealth anytime soon. The reality is that his house and wealth will remain, but their ownership will be transferred to someone else. Thus, only that much of one’s wealth can be considered as his which he has already used up or donated out. In a very profound hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) said:
The son of Adam claims: “My wealth, my wealth.” O son of Adam! Is there anything that is your’s except what you have consumed, what you have utilized, what you have worn and it was worn out, or what you given as charity and sent it forward? (Muslim)