Shortly before the scheduled end of its 28th mission, space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana as it reentered Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members.  It was indeed an unexpected, abrupt and horrible end of a momentous journey.

Can anyone believe that NASA, by any stretch of imagination, expected this catastrophic end to Columbia?  And, were they so careless as to neglect preparing themselves to the minutest details to avoid such disasters? Your answer to both these questions would most probably be ‘No.’ Then, why did it happen?

Of course, it was the choice of those seven crew members to travel in the space shuttle, but they didn’t opt for that tragic end.  And, herein lies the difference between the Islamic concept of destiny and the free will we human beings possess – we’re free to choose our actions but God has ultimate control over the outcome of those actions.  According to teachings of Islam, God (Allah in Arabic) has given humans free will to make choices in their lives but only God has foreknowledge of our destiny, and He has total control over it. (Read more: Concept of God in Islam)

Is every event of our lives predetermined? Is our entire course laid out for us and no matter what we do or how we try to avoid it, our lives will unfold in some predetermined way? Is there such a thing as fate or destiny? If so, what about free will? Aren’t we supposed to have the freedom to choose our actions? Isn’t free will negated if fate exists?

Predestination: An Islamic Perspective

To understand the Islamic perspective on destiny and free will, we first need to know a few basic facts which form the foundation of faith for Muslims:

1-      God is the Only Sustainer of the whole universe and He is the Most Merciful. The Quran begins with, “Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy…”

2-      God has created humans in the finest state. God mentions in the Quran: “We have certainly created man in the best of stature.”

3-      The primary objective of human life is to worship God. “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran, 51:56). It must be noted that the Islamic concept of worship encompasses all human endeavors that are pursued for just ends, and in accordance with God’s commandments.

4-      Our life is a test and we’ll be judged for our actions in the hereafter.  God says in the Quran, “Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion; and He over all things hath Power; He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.”

5-      He’s All Wise, and He tests us according to our strength.  The Quran cites: “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear: each gains whatever good it has done, and suffers its bad.”

6-      God is Omniscient and Omnipresent – i.e., he is fully aware of His creation and is always present.  He is also All Powerful, so whatever He decrees takes place, and whatever He does not will does not happen. God – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.

In other words, humans are God’s best creation who have a special purpose in life, i.e., to worship Him. Islam teaches that in order for us to freely perform in the test of life, He has given us free will to lead our lives as we wish, but the outcome of each of our actions is governed by the will of God. If God does not will for something to take place, it will not happen no matter how hard we try. And if He wills for something to occur, it will transpire no matter what we do to stop it.

One may say then, “What’s the use of striving in this life if we will get what is already decreed by God?”  This seems logical, but it is, of course, a misconception. In fact, Islam places great emphasis on making efforts towards a desired end. In the Quran, God says, “And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives And that his effort is going to be seen – Then he will be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense And that to your Lord is the finality”(53:39-42).

Again, making an effort is part of the power we have in the form of free will – if we waste it away with a complacent attitude, then we’re being ungrateful for the blessing we have. We must do everything within our power to optimize our lives – at the same time, we must recognize that God’s power and domain are far greater. He is not thinking only about us, but for the entire humanity, the whole world, nay, the universe itself! He is the One who, through destiny, balances the lives of humans, animals, plants, while at the same time harmonizing planets and other celestial bodies.

Many people protest that if God controls everything, why does He allow massacres of innocent people, torture, disease and the worst forms of evil to exist? Indeed, Islam does not ascribe evil to God. God allows tragedy and misery to take place in this world for reasons which often escape humans; it could be a test for those people, a form of purification, or warning for the rest of us to rehabilitate our lives. The Ultimate Truth is known only to God and our conviction is that God is Just and Good, even in those matters where we do not understand His Will. The Quran gives us a glimpse of this in the interaction between Moses and a learned man in Chapter 18, verses 60 through 82.

In addition, God has ordained accountability for humans on the Day of Judgment, when He will reward us for obeying Him and acting righteously in this world or punish us for transgressing His limits and living a whimsical existence. This further proves the importance of free will in our lives. God will judge us according to the choices we make in this life, not based on the destiny He has decreed for us. The Quran confirms this as: “Whoever does righteousness – it is for his [own] soul; and whoever does evil [does so] against it. And your Lord is not ever unjust to [His] servants.” (41:46).  

The Impact of Belief in Divine Destiny

Truly, when we accept the Divine Destiny we lead a more satisfying and productive life.  When we don’t get what we wish or strive for, our belief in divine destiny prevents us from becoming despondent or frustrated.  We accept the tragedy as a test from God and submit to His will with patience and dignity.

And if our plans work successfully or something good happens to us, belief in divine destiny will prevent us from becoming too boastful or arrogant.  Many successful people feel that their wealth and status are because they are smarter, wiser, stronger, or just more deserving of success than others.  But the truth is, they may have made certain choices, it is God who made those choices work out well for them.

God says in the Quran, “No misfortune can happen, either in the earth or in yourselves, that was not set down in writing before We brought it into being––that is easy for God–– so you need not grieve for what you miss or gloat over what you gain. God does not love the conceited, the boastful” (57:22-24). This mindset helps us live a fulfilling and happy life.  We become more thankful and learn to give empowering meanings to our experiences, whether good or bad.

The belief in divine destiny is also a great source of courage.  When we know that no calamity or harm can touch us without the will of God and the time of our death is prefixed, we lead a righteous and valiant life.  Quran mentions:

“Say, ‘Only what God has decreed will happen to us. He is our Master: let the believers put their trust in God.’” 

“Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction…”

In conclusion, Destiny is one of the articles of faith in Islam. It teaches Muslims to make the most out of their resources and leave the results to God.

15 Comments

  1. My husband and i got quite peaceful that Chris could carry out his investigation by way of the precious recommendations he acquired in your site. It’s not at all simplistic to simply continually be giving for free steps which often men and women have been selling. So we grasp we need the writer to give thanks to for that. The type of explanations you’ve made, the straightforward blog menu, the relationships you can aid to promote – it’s all remarkable, and it’s really letting our son in addition to the family feel that the concept is cool, which is wonderfully mandatory. Thank you for the whole lot!

  2. A lot of thanks for your own efforts on this blog. My mother loves engaging in internet research and it’s simple to grasp why. A lot of people know all concerning the dynamic method you make practical tricks via this web blog and even cause response from others about this concept plus my child is actually discovering so much. Have fun with the rest of the year. You’re carrying out a good job.

  3. I am glad for commenting to let you know what a fine encounter our daughter experienced viewing the blog. She figured out too many details, which included what it’s like to have a marvelous coaching spirit to get others with ease know various tortuous issues. You actually did more than our own expectations. Thanks for producing these useful, trusted, revealing and also fun tips on that topic to Evelyn.

  4. I must voice my passion for your generosity for persons who need assistance with your theme. Your personal dedication to getting the message across appeared to be remarkably powerful and has truly helped somebody like me to reach their targets. This invaluable hints and tips denotes a lot to me and even further to my mates. Thank you; from all of us.

  5. Thank you a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily remarkable opportunity to read critical reviews from this blog. It’s always so awesome and also packed with fun for me and my office mates to search your website at the very least 3 times a week to find out the fresh stuff you will have. And indeed, I’m always fulfilled concerning the very good guidelines served by you. Some two facts on this page are certainly the best I’ve ever had.

  6. I am commenting to make you understand what a nice encounter my cousin’s child gained reading your site. She came to find many details, not to mention what it is like to possess a very effective teaching nature to get the mediocre ones just fully grasp specific problematic subject areas. You truly surpassed people’s desires. I appreciate you for distributing such good, trusted, edifying and also unique thoughts on the topic to Janet.

  7. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an exceptionally nice possiblity to read in detail from this site. It really is very amazing plus packed with a good time for me and my office co-workers to visit your blog more than 3 times a week to read the new things you will have. And indeed, I’m also always motivated with all the very good tactics served by you. Certain 4 points in this post are clearly the finest we have had.

  8. I precisely wanted to thank you very much again. I am not sure the things that I would’ve handled without the entire methods provided by you over such field. It was the depressing circumstance in my opinion, nevertheless coming across the expert approach you treated that took me to cry for happiness. I’m thankful for your help and even have high hopes you realize what an amazing job you happen to be doing educating men and women via your blog. More than likely you’ve never met all of us.

  9. I precisely had to thank you so much once again. I’m not certain the things that I would have tried without the entire tricks discussed by you directly on this area of interest. It previously was the intimidating difficulty in my view, nevertheless finding out a new expert technique you managed it forced me to cry for delight. I’m happier for the help and as well , sincerely hope you find out what a powerful job your are getting into teaching people today via your web site. I am sure you have never encountered any of us.

  10. I want to show my thanks to this writer for bailing me out of such a difficulty. Because of searching throughout the the web and obtaining ways which were not productive, I believed my entire life was gone. Living devoid of the solutions to the issues you’ve resolved through your good review is a crucial case, and the kind that might have badly affected my entire career if I had not come across your website. Your good competence and kindness in dealing with almost everything was invaluable. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t encountered such a thing like this. I’m able to now look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time so much for this expert and effective help. I will not think twice to refer your web page to any individual who should get tips on this situation.

  11. I precisely had to appreciate you yet again. I do not know the things that I could possibly have followed without the entire opinions revealed by you directly on this concern. It had been the troublesome matter for me personally, nevertheless being able to view the very skilled strategy you processed that forced me to leap with fulfillment. I will be thankful for your information and in addition trust you recognize what a powerful job you were doing teaching many others using your blog. I am certain you have never got to know any of us.

  12. I simply desired to thank you so much yet again. I do not know the things I would have followed without the entire tips revealed by you on such a problem. This has been a real depressing case in my view, however , observing a new professional avenue you dealt with the issue forced me to cry for delight. I will be happy for this service as well as wish you recognize what a powerful job you are always providing instructing the mediocre ones via your blog post. Most probably you have never encountered any of us.

  13. I am also writing to let you be aware of what a wonderful experience my daughter went through checking the blog. She came to find a wide variety of pieces, not to mention what it is like to have an awesome helping nature to make most people smoothly gain knowledge of chosen problematic subject matter. You actually surpassed people’s desires. Many thanks for churning out these powerful, trusted, revealing and fun tips on your topic to Janet.

  14. I simply wished to say thanks all over again. I am not sure the things I would have carried out in the absence of the tricks provided by you relating to this field. Entirely was a real intimidating dilemma in my position, but considering your expert manner you solved it forced me to jump over delight. Now i’m grateful for the assistance and as well , wish you find out what a great job that you are carrying out teaching the mediocre ones through your web blog. Most probably you haven’t got to know any of us.

  15. I would like to show some appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of this type of matter. Right after scouting throughout the internet and coming across suggestions that were not powerful, I believed my life was gone. Living without the presence of answers to the difficulties you’ve sorted out by way of your main write-up is a crucial case, as well as those that might have badly damaged my career if I had not noticed your web site. Your actual know-how and kindness in touching all things was very helpful. I don’t know what I would have done if I had not discovered such a solution like this. It’s possible to now relish my future. Thank you very much for your high quality and results-oriented guide. I will not think twice to propose your web sites to any person who should receive recommendations on this issue.

Leave a Reply

15 Comments