Speaking in the knowledge of the certainy of fate and of the truth that there is good in all things
Speaking in the knowledge of the certainty of fate
and of the truth that there is good in all things
Allah has determined a specific destiny for every living thing. Everything people experience during their lives, or every task they undertake, or every word they utter, was predetermined by Allah before they were even born. Moreover, because Allah transcends time, the life of all things is lived out and concluded in His sight. However, a person who is bound by time can only experience life within it (in the order of a calendar). Just as one who is 40 today has lived 40 years—assuming the human lifespan is 80 years—his remaining 40 years have been encompassed in the sight of Allah. However, a human can only witness and experience these developments through time, or within the 40-year period ahead of him.
In short, what we describe as the future, or the sequence of events which are yet to happen, has already begun and ended within Allah's eternal knowledge. All that has already happened in Allah's sight constitutes a person's destiny. Everyone is accorded a fate from which they will not be able to escape. Just as one cannot change one's past, neither can one change one's future, because both have already been experienced, seen and perceived in the sight of Allah. However, some, because they do not have any such foreknowledge, believe their futures are in their own hands. Therefore, not believing in destiny they fall into the error of presuming that they can shape it. However, a person's whole life is like a film which has already been shot. As if being made to see what happens when watching the film, a person is in no position to change the film's script or intervene; so, in a similar way, is it impossible for that person to interfere in the events that play out according to his destiny.
In the Qur'an, we are told that Allah has pre-ordained a specific destiny for each and every individual, and that all will never experience that which has not already been prescribed:
Indeed, all things We created with predestination. (Surat al-Qamar: 49)
Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for Allah. That is so that you will not be grieved about the things that pass you by or exult about the things that come to you. Allah does not love any vain or boastful man. (Surat al-Hadid: 22-23)
As these verses explain, a specific destiny has been created, not only for each human being, but for all inanimate and living things, that is, all things. From the wooden table in your house to the shoes on your feet; from the rose seedling in your garden to the clothes in your wardrobe; from your friends to your cat, everything in existence is subject to a destiny determined by Allah. It is already foreordained what phases yourself and the things that belong to you, such as the table, the rose seedling, and your friends, will experience in the future. For example, it had already been known, far into eternity in Allah's sight, who would plant the seed of the tree from which the table was made, for how long and under what conditions the tree would grow, when, how and by whom it would be cut down, to which sawmill it would be taken, in what dimensions it would be cut, what quality and shape of table would be made of it, how you would decide to buy the table, where you would find it, when you will put it in your house, in which part of your house you would put it, and what meals you will eat, who you would talk to and what letters you would write at it, because Allah determined all such things before you were born, and knew, as in a single transcendent moment, how to bring them about. To you, however, you would learn of them only as they occurred, in sequence through time.
If a person is not informed of the reality of destiny, or has not fully understood its reality, he may act without considering that he is fulfilling the destiny prescribed for him, and be led astray by the sequence of events he experiences. For example, when he goes out to buy a dining table for his house, he looks through dozens of shops, changes his mind time after time in each case, thinks carefully, exchanges ideas and discusses his options with those with him. In the end, he believes he has taken a decision of his own deliberation. In fact, however, before he had set out to buy the table, the one he was ultimately to choose was already written in his destiny; therefore, he merely searched for, found and purchased that table which was already prescribed for him according to his destiny. The exchange of ideas, the discussions and his difficulty in reaching a decision, were all likewise determined according to a destiny prescribed by Allah.
Hence, for a person to feel pain, regret, sorrow or fear in response to a particular event, and to waste words such as "If only I had done such and such," or "If only I hadn't gone here or there," or to worry about the future is pointless in the extreme, because the person is fulfilling a life which has already begun and ended, and the events over which she feels regret or sorrow are part of that destiny. For example, when a person carries too many plates in her hands and drops and smashes them, she may feel regret, saying, "If only I hadn't tried to carry so many, then it wouldn't have happened." But the truth which she does not know, or has forgotten, is that it was determined, for that very moment, where and how every one of those plates would be broken. Indeed, it was fated who would break them, even before they were manufactured or before the person who would break those plates was born. A person should simply try to consider all the events which take place and take a lesson, that she may understand the wisdom behind them. However, feeling sorrowful over such things is futile, because she has no power to prevent what happens to her. We are told that such a person is powerless to prevent what Allah wills in the following verse:
If Allah afflicts you with harm, no one can remove it except Him. If He desires good for you, no one can avert His favor. He bestows it on whichever of His servants He wills. He is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Yunus: 107)
Those who surrender to their destiny know that there is an ultimate good in everything Allah brings about, even though it might appear adverse. They recognize the blessings and the wisdom in these events Allah has brought about and is grateful. If they cannot at first understand them, they put their faith in Allah and pray for Allah to reveal their purposes and their wisdom. If still they cannot recognize them, those who know that they will be brought forth on the Day of Judgment live in the tranquility and comfort of believing with certainty that Allah is the lord of eternal justice, and is compassionate and merciful.
Such people's submission and devotion can be clearly discerned in their speech. In no instance do they use words such as, "Why did that happen?" with reference to events. They speak in the knowledge that Allah has created everything in the best form, and that some happening which might at first appear negative will in the end bring some blessing.
In the Qur'an, Allah reminds us of this truth with the following verse: "It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know." (Surat al-Baqara: 216) Therefore, when confronted by an experience which appears as a setback, sincere Muslims' words ought to be, "My Lord brings about everything for a purpose, there must certainly be a good in this too," or "Allah ordained this to happen for our benefit." They never complain, as would the ignorant, such as, "Oh dear, what a pity, how could I do such a thing?" grumbling in a way which suggests a lack of submission and hope in Allah.
This manner of speaking, in the knowledge that everything and everyone was created for a specific good, is important for Muslims throughout their lives. They exclude nothing, no-one and no event from this understanding. They know that, when they face a setback, it is a reflection of ignorance to speak in a manner in opposition to their fate, and instead consider that occurrence to be a positive aspect of his fate. No matter whether they, or some else, committed a mistake, they would not say such things as "why did you do it," "this wouldn't have happened if you hadn't gone there." Rather, they speak as people who have grasped the truth in the verse: "… What assailed you on the day the two armies met was by Allah's permission…" (Surah Al ‘Imran: 166) They also know that unwanted outcomes through the lack of proper advance precaution is also part of their fate. Like someone watching a film many times over, seeing the same thing scene after scene. For that reason, immersing oneself in sorrow or regret, and forming illogical excuses, such as, "if this had happened, such else would have happened" is pointless. Whatever happened was for the best. Thus, in the Muslim way of speech, never is there any anger, rage, tension, complaint, disappointment, panic, fear or worry.
Even through events that are the most difficult and troublesome, believers try to discover their hidden good as well as the possible outcomes that would provide blessings, and speaks of these with sincerity. Those who behave as Muslims help to dispel panic and worry by influencing positively those around them.
In the Qur'an, Allah indicates to the faithful the manner of speaking which is required in times of difficulty, in this verse : "Say: 'Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in Allah that the believers should put their trust." (Surat at-Tawba: 51)
In another verse, our attention is drawn to the humble speech of the faithful, that is, those who know that fate or everything that occurs has been ordained ultimately for their benefit: "Those who, when disaster strikes them, say, 'We belong to Allah and to Him we will return' " (Surat al-Baqara: 156). The reward which Allah will give to those who understand this truth is described in this verse: "Those are the people who will have blessings and mercy from their Lord; they are the ones who are guided." (Surat al-Baqara: 157)
The manner of speaking of a believer, when saying, with reference to fate, that there is good in everything is very different from the "consoling," "calming" or "parroted" speech of one who is far from the morality expounded in the Qur'an. When confronted with similar events, some of those who have not adopted the morality set forth in the Qur'an may also use expressions as "every cloud has a silver lining." However, there is a certain difference in the way they employ it. Muslims say this from the heart, sincerely, from deep in their soul and with definitiveness. No matter how many times those with a corrupt morality may pass this phrase to their lips, the fact that they cannot express it as a heartfelt belief is revealed by the lack of trust in Allah reflected in their behavior.