Can the prayer change the fate of a man?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear Brother Burhan,Our destiny is written when we are still in the woumbs of our mothers and nothing will be added or subtracted from it after. But we are also told that to make dua for each and every things in our life. My question is if the destiny has already written for each person, will the dua changes the destiny of a person. One of my friend argues that the destiny will change with duas. Otherwise why we have been insisted to make duas and what is the use of dua if the destiny has been already written and will not change the destiny? Please do reply in the light of Quran and sunnah. Your brother in Islam Ashfaque

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Answer:

Can the prayer change the fate of a man?

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 57 Surah Hadid verses 22-23: No misfortune can happen on earth or in your souls but is recorded in a Decree before We bring it into existence! That is truly easy for Allah: In order that ye may not despair over matters that pass you by, nor exult over favors bestowed upon you.  For Allah loves not any vainglorious boaster

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anaam verse 59: With Him (Allah) are the keys of the Unseen the treasures that none knoweth but He.  He knoweth whatever there is on the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf doth fall but with His Knowledge: there is not a grain in the darkness (or depths) of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is (inscribed) in a Record Clear.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 22 Surah Hajj verse 70: Knowest thou not that Allah knows all that is in heaven and on earth? Indeed it is all in a Record, and that is easy for Allah.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 34 Surah Saba verse 3: The Unbelievers say "Never to us will come the hour". Say "Nay! But most surely, by my Lord, it will come upon you by Him who knows the unseen; from whom is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth: nor is there anything less than that or greater, but is (Decreed) in the Record Perspicuous.

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 94 Narrated by Ubadah ibn as-Samit Allah's Messenger (saws) said: The first thing which Allah created was the Pen. He commanded it to write. It asked: What should I write? He said: write the Decree (al-Qadr).  So it wrote what had happened and what was going to happen up to eternity.

Fate or Destiny (Al-Qadr) is nothing more than the documentation of the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of The Lord All-Mighty which He Commanded to be written and preserved even before the creation of anything in the Heavens and the earth; thus the Qadr itself cannot be changed or altered in the least.   

Allow us to relate two examples stated in the Glorious Quran to prove our point that dua (or anything else for that matter) does not change the Qadr or Pre-Ordained Destiny recorded with Allah Subhanah:

  1. The incident regarding the Noble Prophet Yunus (A.S.) who was swallowed by the fish and he supplicated Allah Subhanah from the depths of the ocean, and the Lord Most Merciful answered his prayers and delivered him from his distress.
  2. The incident regarding the Noble Prophet Zakariyah (a.s.) who was childless for an abject long time and in his old age supplicated Allah Subhanah to grant him a righteous off-spring.  The Lord Most Gracious accepted the supplication of the Noble Prophet Zakariyah (A.S.), cured his wifes barrenness, and bestowed upon him a son of the stature of the Noble Prophet Yahya (a.s.).

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 21 Surah Anbiyaa verses 87-90: And remember Zun-nun (Prophet Yunus (A.S.)) when he departed in wrath: he imagined that We had no power over him! But he cried through the depths of darkness "There is no god but Thou: Glory to Thee: I was indeed wrong!" 2So We listened to him: and delivered him from distress: and thus do We deliver those who have faith. And (remember) Zakariyah (a.s.) when he cried to his Lord: "O my Lord! Leave me not without offspring though Thou art the best of inheritors. So We listened to him: and We granted him Yahya: We cured his wife's (barrenness) for him.  These three were ever quick in emulation in good works: they used to call on Us with love and reverence and humble themselves before Us.

Ref: the case of Prophet Yunus (a.s.)

It is not as if that it was Decreed in the Qadr of Allah that Prophet Yunus (a.s.) would live in the stomach of the fish forever.and only because Prophet Yunus (a.s.) supplicated Allah from the bottom of the ocean to relieve of him of his distress, Allah Subhanah had to now change the Qadr and relieve him of his agony!

But it was already documented and a part of the Qadr that Hadrat Yunus (a.s.) would depart from his people in wrath, will be thrown in the sea, the fish will swallow him, and from the stomach of the fish Prophet Yunus (a.s.) would earnestly supplicate his Lord, and Allah Subhanah would accept the supplication of His slave and Prophet, and deliver him from his distress.

Thus brother, it is not the supplication of Prophet Yunus (a.s.) which changed the Qadr of Allah, but it was already in the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of Allah Subhanah that during that time of distress Prophet Yunus (a.s.) would call upon his Lord, and the Lord Most Gracious would accept his supplication and remove his distress from him. 

Ref: the case of Prophet Zakariyah (a.s.)

Similarly brother, it is not as if it was Decreed in the Qadr of Allah that He would not bestow a son to His Noble Slave and Prophet Zakariyah (a.s.)..and only because Prophet Zakariyah (a.s.) supplicated Allah Subhanah to grant him an offspring, Allah Subhanah had to now change the Qadr and grant him a son!

It was already documented in the Qadr or Pre-Ordained Destiny that Allah Subhanah would not bestow a child to Hadrat Zakariyah (a.s.) until his abject old age as a trial, and when the time of trial would come to pass, Hadrat Zakariyah (a.s.) would supplicate his Lord to bestow him with a son.and the Lord Most Gracious would accept the supplication of His slave and Prophet and bestow upon him his son and heir, Prophet Yahya (a.s.). 

Thus it is not that Allah Subhanah (Aoodobillah) does not know that His slave will ask for something, and He would have to change the Qadr every time He accepts the supplications of His believing slaves..but rather the dua or supplication one makes unto their Lord for something is already in the Perfect and Absolute Knowledge of Allah Subhanah which He recorded in the Qadr with Him.

Fate or Destiny (Al-Qadr) is nothing more than the documentation of the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of The Lord All-Mighty which He has commanded to be written and preserved even before anything in creation came into existence; such is the Perfect and Absolute Knowledge of the Lord All-Knowing, All-Wise.

Thus in conclusion brother, rest absolutely assured that the Qadr or Fate or Destiny which is recorded with Allah Subhanah can never ever change or be altered.nor does it ever need tofor the Knowledge of the Lord is Absolute and Perfect and the Qadr is no more than the documented Knowledge of the Lord Most Majestic with Him.

Your question: Otherwise why we have been insisted to make duas and what is the use of dua if the destiny has been already written and will not change the destiny?

Thus the question would arise: why should one make dua or supplications when what is written in the Qadr cannot be changed?

Answer: The one who makes the dua or supplication does not know the Qadr, for that is known to Allah Subhanah Alone.  The very fact that one who is in distress or in need supplicates his Lord signifies that the person recognizes the Power and Strength of his Lord Most Majestic and sincerely believes that none other than His Lord Creator can bestow him his need.and that is precisely why the Messenger of Allah (saws) declared in Truth that Supplication is worship.

Nu'man b. Bashir reported that the Prophet (saws), said, "Verily supplication is worship." Narrated by Ahmad and Sunan.

If one knew what is documented in ones Qadr, and it is absolutely evident that the Qadr cannot be changed or altered in the least.there would indeed be no need to make supplications; but because none knows what is documented in the Qadr except Allah Subhanah, it would only be an extension of ones true belief in their Lord that they supplicate the good and the lawful from Him and Him Alone.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your Brother in Islam,

Burhan