Being a world of means, a human being requires sustenance and wealth to pass his life in this world. Hence, earning a livelihood and acquiring sustenance is a natural concern and worry of every person. No one wants to suffer poverty, thereby becoming dependent on anyone. However, people often neglect the real means and become overly concerned with the apparent means.

As believers, we understand that the systems of this world are merely the apparent means and the Real Provider is Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, if we wish to increase our rizq (sustenance), together with making an effort, our reliance should be on Allah Ta‘ala and we should follow the guidelines that He and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) have given.

On one occasion, a slave came to Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) seeking his assistance to pay his master a certain sum of money in order to buy his freedom, as per an agreement which they had made. Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked him, “Should I not teach you a few words which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) taught me; (the effect of reciting these words are such that) if you (supposedly) had a debt equal to Mount Seer, Allah Ta‘ala will fulfil it on your behalf?”

Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter taught him the following du‘aa:

اَللّٰهُمَّ اكْفِنِيْ بِحَلاَلِكَ عَنْ حَرَامِكَ وَأَغْنِنِيْ بِفَضْلِكَ عَمَّنْ سِوَاكَ​

“O Allah! Grant me enough of what you have made halaal (keeping me away) from that which you have made impermissible. And through Your grace, make me independent from everyone besides You” (Sunan Tirmizi #3563)

The commentators of hadeeth explain that Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) either did not have any wealth to give him, but he still wished to send him back in a nice way, therefore, he taught him this du‘aa. It is also possible that he could have assisted him financially, however, he chose to teach him the du‘aa as it would be of greater benefit to him. (Mirqaatul Mafaateeh vol. 5, pg. 304) By teaching him this du‘aa, Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was in fact turning his gaze away from the apparent means to the actual source and from the creation to the Creator.

The meaning of the first part of the du‘aa is that Allah Ta‘ala should grant us enough halaal sustenance which will be sufficient for us to fulfil our needs, and thereby save us from resorting to impermissible and haraam wealth. Once haraam enters our lives, the barakah and blessings of Allah Ta‘ala immediately vanish.

In the second portion of the du‘aa we are asking Allah Ta‘ala to make us independent of every other being besides Him. When a person becomes dependent on Allah Ta‘ala alone, he will be at ease knowing that Allah Ta‘ala will take care of all his affairs, since Allah Ta‘ala is in control of everything. On the other hand, when a person becomes dependent on others, he will find himself in a perpetual state of worry and concern.