Fate and destiny.
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:
i've read a few hadith about the birth of a child and that a certain things are decided while he is in the womb of a mother. one of them being whether he/she will be righteous or wretches and if the child grows up being a faithful one until they are one cubit from heaven what has been written will surpass and they will become wretches and vice versa for righteous.
If such thing is written for that child then how is this a test? I mean how can a person change there fate in a case where Allah has already written for them what their future will hold?
I read somewhere that allah could've created mankind and instead of providing them with this life or giving them this time to repent he could've cast those to go in hell to go in hell and others to go to heaven but mankind would've argued that he wasn't given a chance therefore Allah created this life as time to repent and become righteous. This makes sense to me but when i read that what a person is to turn out like is already written before they are born then this life isn't a chance to repent because they can be righteous and GOD fearing but if they are meant to go to hell they will eventually revert to evil because what has been written will surpass?
Please help clear this confusion brother.
Appreciate your help
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Fate and destiny
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Dear and Beloved Brother in Islam, the all-important question that you have asked has perplexed many amongst mankind and it is of paramount importance to understand and comprehend the reality of the matter of fate or destiny, and the test of the application of the faculty of intelligence and the free will which Allah Subhanah has bestowed on mankind as a test, the outcome or result of which will determine the state of the person in the eternal life of the Hereafter.
Sahih Muslim Hadith 6392 Narrated by Hudhayfah ibn Usayd
The Prophet (saws) said: “When the drop of (semen) remains in the womb for forty (days) or forty nights, the angel comes and says: “My Lord, will he be good or evil?” And both these things would be written. Then the angel says: “My Lord, would he be male or female?” And both these things are written. And his deeds and actions, his death, his livelihood; these are also recorded. Then his document of destiny is rolled and there is no addition to and subtraction from it.
In light of the above authentic narration of the Messenger of Allah (saws) quoted, absolutely everything is predetermined; four of which are listed:
- Whether the new born will be male or female.
- What will be his ‘rizk’ or provision.
- What day, date, and place he will die.
- Whether the person will be an evil or good person.
We would just like to clarify here what is the actual reality of Fate or Destiny. To get a fuller understanding of Fate, it can be divided into two parts:
Part-1: One part of Fate is things over which the person has absolutely no control. For example, the three points in the above hadith: Whether one will be born male or female, what will his provision be, and what day, date and place he will die. These are the Decisions and Decrees of Allah Subhanah Alone, and no matter what a person does, he cannot change his Decreed sex from male to female, or change his appointment with death, etc. On all such Decrees of the Creator where man has absolutely no control, he will neither be questioned regarding these Decrees of Allah, nor will he be held accountable in the least for the fulfillment of any of these Decisions of Allah Subhanah.
Part-2: The second part of fate is not a Decision or Decree from Allah Subhanah, but is the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of the All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord. For example, it is written down before one is born whether he will be a good or evil person: but it is not as if Allah Subhanah (I seek refuge in Allah from saying this) is unjust, and has already condemned someone to be evil, so he has to become evil!!! Because Allah Subhanah is the All Knowing, He already knows from His Absolute Knowledge and Wisdom, what the person with the given free will and intelligence will do in the future; and thus what is written is not a Decision from Allah Subhanah, but rather a documentation of the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of Allah Subhanah.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 6.473 Narrated by Ali ibn Abi Taalib
While we were in a
funeral procession in Baqi Al-Gharqad, the Messenger of Allah (saws) came and
sat down, and we sat around him. He had a small stick in his hand and he bent
his head and started scraping the ground with it. He (saws) then said, "There is none among
you, and no created soul, but has his place written for him either in
In whatever thing man has absolutely no control or choice to choose, he will not be held accountable for them in the Just and Supreme Court of Allah Subhanah; but in whatever things man has a choice or a free will to choose amongst several options, he will be held accountable for choosing that option.
To understand and comprehend the true concept of Fate and Destiny, one must learn to appreciate the difference between the Lord All-Mighty being The All-Knowing and His being The All-Just!
Fate or Destiny is nothing more than the documentation of the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of our Lord All-Mighty of the conditions and the choices each in creation will make, which He Commanded to be written and preserved even before the creation of anything in the Heavens and the earth! Allah Subhanah is not bound by the dimension of time, as His Perfect and Absolute Knowledge comprehends and envelopes everything of the past, the present, and the future!
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chatper 57 Surah Hadid verses 22-23:
22 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:
23 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 Chatper 6 Surah Anaam verse 59:
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 Chatper 22 Surah Hajj verse 70:
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.
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 94 Narrated by Ubadah ibn as-Samit
Allah's Messenger (saws) said: ‘The (absolute) first thing which Allah created was the Pen. He commanded it to write. It (the pen) asked: ‘What should I write?’ He said: ‘Write the ‘Al-Qadr’ (Decree, Fate, Destiny).’ So it wrote what had happened and what was going to happen up to eternity!’
Allow us to relate a very simple example to clarify our point:
Just suppose a parent has a small son, and one evening the parent decides to put his son to a test and write down on a piece of paper the options he will give his son the next morning, and from his experience with his son, he determines what options the child will probably take when they are presented to him.
Example-1: Parent will give the option to his son to choose to go to school the next morning or skip school; and the parent, with his knowledge and experience, writes down the son would most probably choose the option to skip school!
Example-2: Parent will give the option to his son to choose to memorize the Quran or watch cartoons on TV; and the parent, with his knowledge, determines and writes that the son would most probably choose to watch TV!
Example-3: Parent would give the option to his son to choose to eat a wholesome and healthy diet of whole wheat-grain and vegetables or eat hamburgers and fries; and the parent, with his knowledge, determines and writes that the son, of his own free will, would most probably choose to eat hamburgers and fries!
Example-4: Parent would give the option to his son to choose to go to the local mosque to offer the dhuhr prayers or spend that time in the video-game arcade; and the parent, with his knowledge, determines and writes that his son, of his own free will, would most probably choose to spend the time in the arcade!
In all the above four examples, the probability is that any normal child, given a free will to choose between the two given options by his parent, would most probably choose the option which the parent had written down before the event took place! Because the child has been given a free will to choose, he is not bound to follow the option his parent had determined his son will take; but in all probability the child will take the option which his parent has pre-determined because the parent knows the temperament and condition of his child and knows exactly what his child will do in the given circumstances. The child has absolutely no control over the conditions and options set for him by his parent, nor is he bound to follow what his parent has documented the child would do, if given a free will to choose in the given circumstances.
But if the same parent gives the same options to his child, but promises a huge reward to his child (say, to buy him a brand new bike or the latest computer of his choice!) if he chooses the better of the two options; the smart and intelligent child would sacrifice the short-term gain in choosing what he desires and would opt for the option which would earn him the pleasure of his parents and the fulfillment of their promised rewards!
Similarly, Allah Subhanah has put mankind to a test by putting him in a set of conditions, and bestowed upon man the faculty of intelligence and a ‘free-will’ for a limited period of one life on this earth, to choose whatever one wishes to do. If man chooses to sacrifice his desire and of his own free choice, sacrifices his will to the Will of His Lord, he will earn His Pleasure and His Promised Rewards!
Since the Knowledge of the All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord of the Worlds is absolutely Perfect and totally Complete in all respects, He Knows and has documented beforehand what each amongst His creation, if given a free will to choose, would do in a given situation. Allah Subhanah, in His Perfect and Absolute Knowledge Knows beforehand who amongst His slaves will sacrifice their will to earn His Pleasure and His Rewards, and who amongst His slaves will choose to fulfill whatever their hearts desire regardless of the Will and Pleasure of their Creator; and the precise documentation of that Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of the Lord All-Knowing is what is known as Fate or Destiny or The Decree.
Just as in the above related example of the child who is not bound to do what his parent had pre-determined he would choose, but rather the child chose of his own free will to do what he desired to do; man too, has been given a ‘free will’ to choose whatever he wishes to do as a test from His Creator for a test period of one life on this earth!
The major difference between the knowledge of the parent and the Knowledge of Allah Subhanah is that the Knowledge of our All-Knowing Lord is Absolutely and Totally Perfect. It is possible that the child would choose something which his parent thought he would not, simply because the knowledge of man is limited; but since the Knowledge of our Lord All-Mighty is Absolutely and Totally Perfect, His Knowledge of what one will do of his own free will, can never ever be wrong or in error.
Neither the child in the above related examples, nor man in his test of life are bound to do what was pre-determined by the document; but rather, they were allowed to choose whatever they desired to do of their own free will; and therein was their test!
Just as a teacher does not declare a student ‘failed’ before giving him an opportunity to give his examination; the Lord Most Merciful does not ‘fail’ anyone before He gives them an opportunity to give their test of life!
He is indeed the All-Knowing, and because His Knowledge is Absolutely Perfect and Absolute, He knows everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the future; but He is also the All-Just, and He has given each human being an opportunity of one life time as a test to either choose of their own free will to accept His Guidance and submit to Him, or deny His Guidance and reject Him!
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 18 Surah Kahf verses 29-31:
29 Say "The Truth is from your Lord": let him who wills, believe; and let him who wills, reject (it)! For the wrongdoers (who chose to disbelieve) We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames) like the wall and roof of a tent will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass that will scald their faces. How dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!
30 As to those who (chose to) believe and work righteousness, verily We shall not suffer to perish the reward of any who do a (single) righteous deed!
31 For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneath them rivers will flow; they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade; they will recline therein on raised thrones. How good the recompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on!
Whatever one chooses to do of his own free will in his test of this short and transient period of one life time, will determine his outcome in the Eternal and Everlasting life of the Hereafter.
Dear and Beloved brother in Islam, it is of absolutely paramount importance that we understand the true concept of Fate and the bestowed ‘free-will’ to enable each of us to fulfill this test of life. If our humble and weak efforts have not satisfied your query, we request you in all humility to give us another chance to explain this concept or alternatively you may consult in person a good righteous God-fearing scholar who will be able to address this all-important matter to your satisfaction.
There are many amongst mankind who have absolutely misunderstood (or have chosen to misunderstand) this concept of fate and ‘free will’; and live their lives in ignorance and disobedience of the Divine law in their false hope that they will become righteous if their Lord has Decreed in their Fate to become righteous! Allah is our witness, their this false hope and belief will bring nothing but misery and perdition upon themselves on that Eventful and Tumultuous Day of Judgment in the Majestic and Supreme Presence of the All-Just Lord of the Worlds!
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,