Every moment in the life of every person who has ever lived and who will ever live in this world, from the time when they are a fetus in the womb until the day they die, has been predetermined by Allah and is already known to Him and this is called destiny(al-Qadar).
Dr Safdar Mehmood, a well-known columnist, writes about destiny in his columns ‘Muqaddar’ and ‘Fayyaz Awan ka fikar angaiz khat’ published in Daily Jang on Dec 21-23, 2014 which is litigable and put many questions for the readers. He quotes a letter written by Hasan Basri to Hazrat Imam Hassan taken from Data Ali Hajveri’s Kashful Mehjoob. According to him everything is written in fate and so there is no need to run after wealth and earnings. Kashf Al-Mahjub (Revelation of the Veiled) is no doubt a best teacher and the contents of the book show Hazrat Ali Hajweri was well versed in all the Islamic sciences. According to this book every good and evil that happens to man is decreed by God and all humans’ action and inaction is the act and creation of God-the concept given by Dr Safdar Mehmood in his article. But it is not easy to understand the book as it is written by a great saint and saints’ world is not common world. The same book has Data sahib’s very well-known quote that ‘our religion takes the middle course between free will and predestination’. And this is the essence of all this philosophy.
Philosophy on the concept of destiny and fate has existed since the Hellenistic period with different groups. Scholars and intellectuals of all religions have discussed it. Divine destiny is written by Allah in the Preserved Tablet (“al-Lawhu-Mahfuz”) including all that has happened and will happen. “There is no creature on the earth which is not dependent upon Allah for its provision. He knows where it lives and where it dies. They are all in a Clear Book.” (Surah Hud, 6) This verse expresses the absolute sovereignty of Allah over all beings and events. Thus, Allah is demonstrating us the power and comprehensiveness of His knowledge by illustrating in various verses of Qur’an that He is all-knowing about futuristic events before even He created them. But The Quran lays great emphasis on the free choice and moral conduct of the individual and community too. This is the essential hallmark of being human and it is the distinguishing feature between animals and humans. All our actions produce their desirable or undesirable consequences depending upon the action performed. One’s bad action can never produce good results and one’s good action can never produce bad results. Human beings only get what they work for. Sometimes apparently result comes quite contrary but this is only man’s limited approach that he can’t get that. And sometimes result is preserved for the next eternal world. Decisions are in the hand but not the result. The result is governed by the laws of Allah which Iqbal calls the ‘law of Mukafat-e-A’mal’-the fundamental principle of life according to the Quran and Iqbal. Allah no doubt, gives wealth or poverty, dignity or indignity to whomsoever He wills. If He wills, He can turn a beggar into a king and a king into a beggar. Dr Allama Iqbal though was a poet not mufti but his poetry does not contradict Islamic philosophy. In his work ‘Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam’ he starts the preface with the very first sentence: “The Quran is a book which emphasizes ‘deed’ rather than ‘idea.’”
Man has real ability and free will for choice and action. Man’s ability to move and to believe is an action that is truly attributed to him. Things that happen to a person without his will, such as sickness, death and accidents, they are purely divine will. However it should be noted that people are not predestined by Allah to enter Hell. Rather people will only bear their own sins that they themselves committed with free will and no one will be responsible for another person’s deeds. Destination is determined by every person’s actions in this life, made on the basis of his or her free choice. Had Allah pre-determined fate wholly before birth, there would have been no need for the Day of Judgment. Islam has the most elegant reconciliation of free will and determinism in the concept of predestination. A hadith reports about destiny, “Ali (r) narrated that one day the Prophet (s) was sitting with a wooden stick in his hand with which he was scratching the ground. He raised his head and said, “There is none of you, but has his place assigned either in the Fire or in Paradise.” They (the Companions) inquired, “O Allah’s Messenger! Why should we carry on doing good deeds, shall we depend (upon destiny) and give up work?” The Prophet (s) said: “No, carry on doing good deeds, for everyone will find it easy (to do) such deeds that will lead him towards that for which he has been created”. Then he (s) recited the verse: “As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him, and believes in al-Husna, We will make smooth for him the path of Ease (goodness) [Surah al-Lail (92):5-7] [Sahih Muslim vol.4, no.6400]
Destiny (Al-Qadar) is from the world of the unseen. What is known about it from the Quran and the Sunnah is to be followed and the Muslims must submit to it. Sufficient is what is revealed to the Prophet. Certainly, the Wisdom of Allah in al-Qadar cannot be questioned. Now Political situation of Pakistan has made people disappointed about government or so. Public wish and wait for a positive change in country which can lead them towards betterment. Though Dr safdar mehmood is right to say that our politicians are leading due to their destiny but awareness, struggle and action can still change the destiny of our nation. Here it reminds me a very inspirational story “Dosra Kutta” by Javed Choudhry. A worth reading story by Javed Ch which directs towards action and struggle side by side supplications and belief in fate.
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