God, Islam, Rasuls, Prophets, Angels, Muslims, Mankind

Is destiny predestined or changeable?

The issue of destiny seems to me a quite simple matter to understand. We usually have two questions about this:

1. If ‘destiny’ has been predetermined by Allah Ta’ala, then what is the use of us trying to change our destiny?


2. If we can change our own destiny, then why should we believe in the destiny determined by Allah?

Before answering these questions, we will try to understand the subject first with the help of some examples.

Example – one

Everything we see in the universe, and everything we can think of, has two sides. One part is pre-determined, and the other part is variable.

For example, if you wish, you can read this article and look at other articles. But, if you want, you can’t close your eyes and see this writing with your nose. You can try to see something with your nose closed, but you can’t see anything with a human nose. This is the nose through which human cannot see, it has already been determined by Allah Ta’ala. So people can’t see anything through the nose. Again, Allah Ta’ala has predetermined that man can see whatever he wants with his eyes.

Then suppose you can turn your mobile on or off if you wish. But, even if you want to, you can’t turn on the mobile by leaving the battery of the mobile open.

Then suppose you can read and write whatever you want on Facebook. But, if you want, you can’t make Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Google +. You have to use Facebook in the way that Mark Zuckerberg has set up Facebook.

There are two aspects to everything in the world. There is a little bit of freedom in everything, there is also a pre-determined formula.

We have a will power in life, but we also have limitations. Our will power can change certain things, but not many things. What man can change, and how much he can change, is determined by Allah Ta’ala.

Example – two

Every human being has some or the other power. Man can use that power through his free will. However, there is another power greater than that to control one’s power.

For example, if a minister wants to do something good for the country, he has the power. But the power of the Prime Minister is more than that. If the Prime Minister wants, he can block the power of the Minister. That is, the power of the minister is under the power of the prime minister. Similarly, the power of an employee in any office is under the power of his boss.

In the same way, Allah Ta’ala has given every human being some power, but all human powers are under the power of Allah Ta’ala. The name of this belief is ‘Taqdire’ belief.

Example – three

Allah Ta’ala has given us some will power and also limited the will. We can change our destiny through will power, but our will power and ability to change destiny is controlled by Allah Ta’ala Himself.

Imagine, there is a park on the side of the highway. A family in town went for a walk in the park with their 6-year-old child. The boy’s parents allowed him to play inside the park, but forbade him to go on the highway. As the baby began to walk down the highway to play, his parents grabbed him. While the child has the freedom to do whatever he wants inside the park, he does not have the freedom to go on the highway.

This example explains the limitation of human freedom of will and power, it is part of destiny. We do not have the power to do whatever we want. But God has the power to do whatever He wills. – It is the name of destiny to believe.

Now comes to the main question – “Is destiny predestined or changeable?”

One word in the middle of this question is past. The word ‘past’ relates to time. People usually divide time into three parts – past, present and future. People are subject to time. Man cannot imagine anything without knowledge of the dimensions of time. But, Allah is not subject to time, He is above time. In the case of Allah, there is no such thing as past, present or future. For example, Allah Ta’ala says –

To Allah belongs the knowledge of the unseen things of the heavens and the earth. The matter of Resurrection is like the twinkling of an eye, or faster than that. Surely Allah is Able to do all things. [Surah 17 / Nahl – 6]

This verse is very important for understanding destiny. Because, in this verse there are several conclusions about destiny:

Conclusion – One

Allah Ta’ala knows the unseen of everything in the heavens and the earth. Knowing the unseen here means that Allah Ta’ala knows the things of the future just as He knows the things of the past. That is, there is no difference between the past and the future in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.

Conclusion – Two

Allah Ta’ala is not subject to time, He is far above time. To him the past-present-future are all the same. As a result, the time duration from the creation of the world to the Day of Judgment is thousands of millions of years for man, but less than the blink of an eye to Allah. That is, in the case of Allah, there is no past-present-future.

Let me explain the matter in a little more detail.‘Time’ is also a dimension like length-width-height. Just as no human being can be imagined without length-width-height, so no human being can be imagined without time. When man takes shape on earth, he enters at a time; when death comes again, it is out of this time binding. So, people are subject to time. But Allah Ta’ala has no birth and no death, no beginning or end. [Al-Qur’an, 56: 3]. Therefore, Allah Ta’ala is not subject to time, but time is subject to Allah Ta’ala. People have present, past or future tenses. But in the case of Allah, there is no such thing as past-present-future. Man cannot think beyond time, but in the sight of Allah all time is the present time.

Conclusion – Three

Allah Ta’ala has given some power to everyone in His creation. But he is in control of all power. After these three conclusions we can say, “Our destiny is pre-determined by Allah Ta’ala” applies only to human beings. Not applicable to God. For, what is past for man is not ‘past’ for Allah; again, what is the future for man is not the future for God. In the sight of Allah, the past, the present and the future are all one. He knows the future as well as the past. When he determines the fate of man, there is no such thing as past, present or future. But since human beings live in the past, present and future, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that the destiny of human beings is determined from the ‘past’.

Now, let’s give some examples from the Qur’an:

Examples of the Qur’an – 1

See the following two verses. In the first verse, Allah Ta’ala says that the calamity that befalls man is determined. But, in the second verse, Allah Ta’ala says that danger befalls man because of his deeds.

The calamity that befell the earth and you is recorded in the Book before the creation of the earth. That is easy for God. [Surah 56 / Hadid – 22]

The calamity that befalls you is the consequence of what you used to do. And He forgives many of your sins. [Surah 42 / Shura – 30]

It seems that the two verses are opposite to each other? But it is not. If we take a look, when a person does something, he has a past-present-future. But in the case of Allah, the past-present-future tense is the same.

So look, when the matter of danger is related to Allah Ta’ala, He says – it is written before Allah before the danger comes, and it is a very easy task for Allah. But, when the matter of danger is related to man, Allah says – danger comes as a result of man’s deeds. In the case of Allah’s time and human’s time, – if we keep in mind the difference between the two, there is no contradiction between the two verses.

Examples of the Qur’an – 2

Now, look at the other two verses. In the first verse, Allah Ta’ala says – “If He had willed, man would not have done shirk.” But in the second verse Allah says – ‘The polytheists say, if Allah had willed, the polytheists would not have done shirk’.

Had God willed, they would not have associated others with Him. I did not appoint you as their guardian and you are not their executor. [Surah 6 / Anayam – 108]

The polytheists said: If Allah had willed, we and our fathers would not have worshiped anyone but Him, and we would not have forbidden anything without His command. This is what their predecessors did. The duty of the Messenger is only to convey the clear message. [Surah 17 / Nahl – 35]

Notice that the same thing is being said in two verses. The first verse speaks of the power of God, while the second verse speaks of the injustice of the polytheists. So, are the two verses contradictory?

Answer – No.

People can do shirk because Allah Ta’ala has given them the power to do shirk. However, giving man the power to do shirk does not mean that He has allowed people to do shirk. Allah Ta’ala has given us the power to see with our eyes, but He has not allowed us to see everything. On the other hand, Allah Ta’ala has not given us the ability to see through the nose, so we cannot see anything through the nose even after hundreds of attempts. We can do everything because of the limited power we have been given by God. Whatever good or bad we do, we can do it because Allah Ta’ala has given us that power. If He takes away His power from us, we will not be able to do any good, just as we will not be able to do any bad.

One more thing is noteworthy here. When people want something, it becomes part of time. If people want something now, it will be fulfilled in the future. But, when Allah Ta’ala wants something, it is not subject to time. That is, since the past-present-future sock is the same to Him, it becomes as soon as he asks for something. So, there is a big difference between what God wants and what people want.

For this reason, when the polytheists claim in the above verse – ‘We have done shirk because Allah wills’ – it becomes a false claim. However, Allah Ta’ala Himself has said – If I had wanted, they would not have done shirk. Here, it is important to understand the difference between what God wants and what people want.

Examples of the Qur’an – 3

See two more verses of the Qur’an. In the first verse, Allah Ta’ala says that without His knowledge, even the leaves of a tree do not fall. But in the second verse he says that unless a nation changes its own destiny, Allah does not change the destiny of that nation.

He holds the key to the unseen world, which no one knows except He. He knows everything on earth and in the water. Not a single leaf fell without his knowledge. In the darkness of the earth no grain sprouts, nor is there anything juicy or dry that is not in the clear Book. [Surah 6 / An’am – 59]

This is because God never changes the blessings He has bestowed on a nation until that nation changes its position. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing. [Surah 6 / Anfal – 53]

In the first verse it is said that not a single leaf of a tree falls without the knowledge of Allah, it is already written in the book. And, in the second verse it is said that unless man changes his destiny, Allah does not change their destiny by Himself. So are the two verses contradictory?

Like the two examples above, it is necessary to understand the difference between the power of God and the power of man. The first verse speaks of the power of God. But the second verse is about human actions and human power.

If we look at the second verse a little deeper, the matter becomes very clear. Allah Ta’ala has already given people some blessings or opportunities. If man takes that chance, his destiny will change. And if he does not take the opportunity, he will be deprived.

Now, whether people will accept or reject the blessings of Allah, it is possible for Allah to know in advance. Because, just as man has past-present-future tense, there is no such past-present-future tense in the case of Allah Ta’ala. Man’s past and future are the same for Allah. Therefore, Allah Ta’ala already knows about the future of human beings.

Here is another example to make the matter simpler. Suppose a field full of fresh grass. A shepherd put a rope around the neck of a cow and let her go. The cow has the ability to roam freely in certain parts of the field; it also has the opportunity to eat from wherever it wants. But as far as the rope around the cow’s neck goes, the cow was not given a chance to go outside the field and eat grass. Now, the cow can fill her stomach by eating fresh grass from certain parts of the field if she wishes, or she can fast without eating anything. The shepherd will not force-feed the cow.

Thus, Allah Ta’ala has already given us some blessings. If we try, we can achieve that blessing of Allah; and if you don’t try, you will be deprived of that blessing. One important thing to note here: since the shepherd is human, he is bound by time. The shepherd does not know whether the cow will eat grass or not. But since Allah Ta’ala is above time, He knows in advance whether man will accept the blessings from Allah or not. Thus, destiny is a matter that is changed by the overall will of God and the limited will of man. Here God’s will is not subject to time, but man’s will is subject to time.

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