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Fate and Destiny - How would one interpret this?

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Author Topic: Fate and Destiny - How would one interpret this?  (Read 334 times)
TEAM MV Founder
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« on: May 01, 2007, 05:07:36 am »


How many times have we heard confused minds inquire, if life is pre-destined, why should we humans be held accountable for our deeds?  But it's not as simple as that.  It involves a bunch of issues that are linked and inter-linked.  However, the matter is uncomplicated for all humble and discerning minds.

Trying to interpret fate and destiny:

Unlike the angels and a variety of beasts that dwell in this earth, human beings have the ability to choose their path of conduct. We could choose obedience, disobedience or something in between. It is our choice. Allah's judgement and decision are on the basis of these choices we make.

The Glorious Quraan makes it very clear that it is we humans who carve our personality and fate, the outcome of which is accordingly decided by the Almighty God. The Divine Power tests us in various ways. Life without trials and tribulations would simply negate the purpose of one's existence. Thus, no part of this planet is all heavenly. There are times when the Almighty Allah intervenes directly into our lives to make things happen or unhappen. But many a times He does not .. the reasons for which are known to Him alone.

".. Allah never changeth the grace He hath bestowed on any people until they first change that which is in their hearts, and (that is) because Allah is Hearer, Knower." (8:53) 'Al-Anfal'

".. Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts; and if Allah willeth misfortune for a folk there is none that can repel it, nor have they a defender beside Him." (13:11) 'Ar-Raad'

"It was never Allah's (part) that he should send a folk astray after He had guided them until He had made clear unto them what they should avoid. Lo! Allah is Aware of all things." (9:115) 'At-Taubah'

There are many questions that not even the greatest scholars or scientists can answer. The deep intricacies of life and of the Unseen are simply beyond our 'domain.' However, we do know for sure that whenever Allah decides not to intervene into our lives, allowing fate to take its course, it's not because He cannot, but it's because He chooses not to.

Humans have a variety of temperaments - kind, harsh, sympathetic, tyrannical, humble, arrogant, autocratic, lenient, apathetic etc. Apparently, according to the standard norms of the Glorious Quraan, it is the individuals who decide their actions. It's not necessary that every righteous person will be happy and prosperous in this world, and neither is it necessary that every vile one must suffer in the physical world. This is because Divine Justice which is the ultimate and most perfect judgement will be dispensed in the next world, not here. This is when the matter of trials, tests and reactions come into the forefront. Almighty Allah mentions in the Quraan that every single person (believer and non-believer) will face these trials and tests in some form or the other. These tests don't necessarily come through mishaps, disasters or being deprived. But the good fortunes and provisions of life have the same purpose where Allah wants to test the reaction of those who are more privileged than others. Check the following beautiful verses for a better understanding of this concept.

"And those who deny Our revelations .. step by step We lead them on from whence they know not. I give them rein (for) lo! My scheme is strong." (7:182-183) 'Al-Araf'

"Beautified is the life of the world for those who disbelieve; they make a jest of the believers. But those who keep their duty to Allah will be above them on the Day of Resurretion. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will." (2:212) 'Al-Baqra'

"We destroyed the generations before you when they did wrong; and their messengers (from Allah) came unto them with clear proofs (of His Sovereignty) but they would not believe. Thus do We reward the guilty folk; Then We appointed you viceroys in the earth after them, that We might see how ye behave." (10:14-15) 'Yunus'

"And guard yourselves against a chastisement whch cannot fall exclusively on those of you who are wrong-doers, and know that Allah is severe in punishment." (8:25) 'Al-Anfal'

"Even as those before you who were mightier than you in strength, and more affluent than you in wealth and children. They enjoyed their lot awhile, so ye enjoy your lot awhile even as those before you did enjoy their lot awhile. And ye prate even as they prated. Such are they whose works have perished in the world and the Hereafter. Such are they who are the losers." (9:69) 'At-Taubah'


Intent (or 'niyyah') i.e. doing righteous deeds with the thought of Allah is another important factor which is linked to human destiny and Salvation. We find many persons doing good deeds such as giving charity, helping the poor, taking care of orphans etc. yet they might not be believers. So, the question is, will Allah accept their good deeds? It is impossible for us to predict the ultimate destiny of any person. This can only be known to Allah alone. But according to the standard norms as stated by the Almighty Allah throughout the Noble Quraan, those who die as disbelievers will not be forgiven, regardless of their good practical deeds. This can be elucidated in yet another way. Our intentions are the basis of every good deed we perform. And our intention for every good deed is made up of two 'components' - practical and spiritual. The practical intent consists of the feelings of love and compassion in our hearts for those around us while the spiritual intent is to be constantly aware & conscious of the presence of God while performing righteous acts. Hence, the basis or the motivation of a righteous act should be both, the love of Allah (spiritual intent) and the love of humanity (practical intent). In some cases the love of Allah can be interpreted as one's conscience. Both are just as important; one without the other would make a righteous deed incomplete. Similarly, performing one's worship of Allah as a mere ritual without implemeting its values in our practical lives would be a waste of time.

"Ah, woe unto worshippers Who are heedless of their prayer; Who would be seen (at worship) Yet refuse small kindnesses!" (107:4-7) 'Al-Maoon'

"Lo! worship preserveth from lewdness and iniquity, but verily remembrance of Allah is more important. And Allah knoweth what ye do." (29:45) 'Al-Ankabut'

According to Quraanic values, it is incumbent upon us to make an intent for every act we perform. Even for offering salaah (daily prayers), fasting or going for Hajj (pilgrimage), it's essential to first acquire an intention in our minds for carrying out these duties.

Regarding life and death:

"He gives life and causes death, and to Him you will be returned." (10:56)

Allah ordains and decides when a living being is to come into this world and when it is to be taken away into the state of death. But the cause of death would (in most cases) be determined by that living being itself through factors such as health, age, diet, activities, lifestyle, profession etc. In other words, Allah's decision of causing death is interlinked with various factors that were predominant in a person's life. Of course, needless to say, if Allah wishes, He can decide and act alone anytime because He is totally independent of us. The reason why He mostly allows us to run our lives (and some of us run it well while some don't) is to give us a chance to prove our worth or otherwise.


It's important to know that the kind of explanation one might find satisfying on this subject depends upon the extent of one's spiritual inclination, which determines their sense of perception.

My explanation (that includes whatever I've stated above) is on the assumption that we have faith in the existence of the Divine Power and the Afterlife. It's also important to highlight that while discussing the Unseen it is impossible to cite proofs and evidences as in a courtroom argument. After all, the Almighty God has conveyed to us in very forthright terms that His clear protents will not be visible to us as long as our souls are retained within our earthly bodies; and this forms the cornerstone of Faith. The concept is narrated beautifully in the following verse.

"Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels ? Then the case would be already judged. All cases go back to Allah (for judgment)." (2:210)

Last but not least, let's not forget, no one's interpretation of the Quraan can be taken as the final one. The final explanation of every verse rests with Allah alone of which He will eventually inform us in the Afterlife. But at the moment, each one of us is entitled to interpret it to the best of our efforts and conscience .. unmotivated.
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