7. 1. WHAT IS DESTINY?
Destiny is Allahs knowledge of everything, what happened and what will happen in the universe, their characteristics, past and future in the past eternity and His determination and recording of everything in the preserved tablet (lawh mahfuz). In other words, destiny is the determination of the beings in accordance with a plan and measure.
When we want to write the word apple the form, order and the size of the letters are formed in accordance with our determination. It is clear that that word was not written by an unconscious pen or ink but by a clerk who has will, knowledge and power. So, the real apple is written and created by elements that are like ink by Allah in accordance with the form and characteristics determined by Allah.
The Book of Destiny
Trees, stars, mountains, vineyards and human beings are all words of power. They were created in accordance with the program of the destiny. A beauty and order in a building emerges as a result of a plan drawn by the determination of an engineer. Lets imagine that we programmed where when and how each brick would be used. The destiny of that building becomes determined by the drawing of such a plan. The building will be formed in accordance with that plan. This plan is called the Book of Destiny with the Quranic expression. The universe emerges as the building is constructed in accordance with that plan. When the building is constructed in the manifest world, the thing whose plan was drawn in the Book of Destiny becomes a reality.
Each one of us was in the Book of Destiny and in the knowledge of Allah before we were created. By being created we passed the stage of power. That is, we appeared in the manifest world. What is meant by the creation of things is going out of the stage of knowledge into the stage of power.
A tiny sample of the book of destiny of each being is present in its seed, pip and cell. The plan of an apple tree, that is, everything including the form, structure, color and smell of its flowers are coded in the chromosomes of the cells. All of these plans and programs that determine the genetic structure are tiny samples of the book of destiny. The structure of each being is shaped by the elements that act in accordance with the destiny program.
There is no use in talking to a person who does not accept the existence of the engineer about the plan of the building. It is unnecessary to talk about the plan and the program of the engineer with a person who ignores the engineer that draws the plan of the building. Similarly, it is nonsense for a person who does not believe in the existence of Allah to talk about the plan Allah determines or about destiny.
The fact that all of the organs of the human beings like the other beings were placed where necessary and with the optimum form and size show that they all take place with the determination of a plan and program. Each one of the characteristics of man is recorded in his cells with the spiritual pen of the destiny. Each moment, thousands of cells are exterminated and new cells are produced in his body. So, each moment, changes take place in mans body; Allah applies the plan in the Book of Destiny with his power and shows it to us.
Destiny is divided into two as compulsory and voluntary:
Compulsory destiny is the divine destiny that does not depend on human will. Issues like who a persons father and mother will be, in which century a person will be born, whether a person will be male or female are examples of compulsory destiny. It is meaningless to ask questions about this aspect of destiny. These kinds of questions will not cease. A person who asks why he was born in the 21st century would ask the same question if he were born in any other century. Man is not responsible for this destiny. They all happen out of the reach of his will. This determination and condition depends solely on Allahs knowledge and will.
Voluntary destiny is related to the actions that a person does using his own partial free will and wish. Their occurrence depends on the partial free will of man. What man is responsible for is that kind of destiny which depends on his own wishes and desires. For instance, Allah determined as a general rule that a student would pass when he studied and realized the necessary conditions to pass the class and that a student would fail the class when he didnt realize the necessary conditions. If a student studies and passes the class, the determination of Allah will be in this way.
It is necessary to remind something here. We use our partial free will. However, what is important is the divine will. We will do our best. If Allah wills, he makes us successful; if he doesnt, he wont. Therefore we cannot say, I worked, I must definitely succeed. It is Allah who will make us successful. For instance, we water our garden. If we dont, we will cause it to dry. It will be our responsibility. However, when we water it, we carry out our duty. If Allah wishes, He will grow it; if He wishes, He will decay it. If he grows it, we will thank Him for his grant. If he doesnt, we will look for a manifestation of mercy, we wont disobey him. Studying is like that. If we study and pass the exam, we will thank Allah. If we fail, we will show patience.
7. 2. DESTINY AND PARTIAL FREE WILL
Destiny and partial free will are parts of a situational and conscientious belief that determine the boundaries of Islam. They are not scientific or theoretical. However, everybody knows by his conscience that he has a partial free will and he can direct his actions in accordance with his intentions, inclinations and wishes.
When the believer wants to get rid of the responsibilities by attributing everything to Allah since everything happens as a result of the determination and creation of Allah, partial free will will come before him and say: You preferred doing it by your own wish and will so you have the responsibility. And then when nafs (the soul) says; If it is my responsibility, then all of the good deeds I have done belong to me, destiny will come before him and say, Know your place, it is not you who has done them. So destiny protects nafs from pride. It draws the border at this end of belief. Partial free will places responsibility on nafs and determines the border at the other end. This issue is not scientific or theoretical but conscientious; however, it may be made reasonable by some examples.
Both cause and effect are of Allah.
Allah made a cause for everything. He determined the way of obtaining apples as growing apples. Here the apple tree is a cause and the apple fruit is the effect. It is Allah who created both of them. The mother and the father are the cause and the child is the effect. It is Allah who created the mother and the father. He creates the effect in accordance with the cause we have.
Similarly, Allah ordered us to make some kinds of worshipping and attached the fruits of reward to them. Here worshipping is the cause and reward is the effect; both of them are of Allah. When man wishes the actions based on his will, Allah creates them. Allah says spiritually: My servant! Whichever way you wish to take with your will, I will take you on that way. Then it is your responsibility!
For instance, suppose that you took a child onto your shoulders and said to him, I will take you wherever you wish. The child wanted to go to a high mountain. He felt cold. You said you wanted to go there and gave him a slap. So Allah makes His divine will a condition for mans partial free will. This is his unchangeable law.
It is Allah who creates everything. He informs us the cause and its effect. Allah promises that He will answer when man wants something. If His wisdom finds it appropriate, he will give man what he wants or something better or he does not give him anything and leaves it to the hereafter, which is more fruitful for man. Unless man attempts to do something with his partial free will, Allah does not create that thing. So, Allahs divine will and absolute power depend on mans partial free will. Allah creates whatever man wants, whether good or evil. So man is responsible for his acts because he intends and wants to do something with his partial free will.
We can understand this by giving the example of the elevator. Suppose that there are groups of people chatting on each floor of a ten-storey building, and the basement floor is full of wild and poisonous animals. It is your choice which floor the elevator will go to. The elevator will take you to the floor whose button you push. That is the elevator operates in accordance with your choice. If you want to go to a good place, it will take you there; if you want to go the bad place, it will take you there.
Our partial free will is like in the example above; Allah informed us what is right and what is wrong through His prophets and books. We are in a position to choose one of these right or wrong alternatives with our partial free will. The divine will of Allah that encompasses human beings and all of the creatures and His absolute power become subject to the partial free will; Allah creates whatever man wants. The only thing that we possess is our choice, the act of pushing the button in the elevator. After this choice, all of the actions from the operation of the organs in our body to all of the activities in the universe to that effect are created by the divine will and absolute power of Allah.
When to apply to destiny
A person who improved spiritually sees the power of Allah in everything and says, Both the grace and sorrow coming from Allah are nice; he regards whatever Allah does as nice. A person who did not improve spiritually uses destiny for the problems and misfortunes in the past. He sees the negativeness as a result of destiny and such an approach becomes a consolation for his sorrow and problem.
Islam does not approve of destinys use for the issues about the future. That is, a student cannot say, If being a teacher is my destiny, I will be a teacher. I dont have to go to school. For instance, a student studies his subjects, does whatever necessary and takes the exam. He accepts the result as his destiny. Similarly a person cannot say, If being hit by a car is my destiny, a car will hit me and cross a street with heavy traffic with his eyes closed. He takes necessary measures to cross that street. If he is overrun by a car, then it is regarded that that was his destiny. Similarly, a person cannot say, If I am a person of Paradise, I will go to paradise; if I am a person of Hell, I will go to hell. Then why should I worship?
7. 3. ALLAH KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN ALL
Allahs knowledge includes everything that happened and that will happen. The fact that Allah knows everything pre-eternally does not make a person free from the responsibilities of the actions he did using his own will.
Knowledge is the shape of things in the brain; the thing known is defined as the existence of that thing outside. For instance, the shape of the apple outside is the thing known and its shape in our mind is knowledge. Our knowledge about the apple is dependent on the shape of the apple outside. That is, knowledge is dependent on the thing known. The thing known is not dependent on knowledge. That is, the shape of the apple outside does not have to be in accordance with the shape we know. Similarly, to know where and when the sun will rise, where it will be at a definite time is knowledge. The suns being in those places at those times is the thing known. Our knowledge is dependent on the movement of the sun, that is, the thing known. If the thing known were dependent on knowledge, the sun would have to rise in accordance with the time we wrote in the calendar.
As it is explained above, all of our actions are the things known, Allahs knowing them pre-eternally is knowledge. Allah knew and ordained pre-eternally what human beings would do using their own wills. Human beings did not have to do them because Allah knew and ordained them like that. If man has to do something, that is if something happens in spite of his will, then testing and trial, and offer become invalid.
What is azal (past eternity)?
Past eternity is not one end of the past chain. The expressions of past and future are for creatures. They are not for Allah. Allah is not bound with time. Time is a creature of Allah.
The relation of the knowledge of a person who has memorized Chapter al-Fatiha with the verses is the same. That is, his knowledge is aware of all of the verses of Chapter al-Fatiha similarly. However, there is a sequence among the verses. When he recites or writes the second verse, the first verse is in the past and the others are in the future.
Azal encompasses the past, the present and the future all. It contains all of them. We can understand it to some extent by the example of a mirror directed towards a table. When a mirror in the hand is directed on the table, suppose that the area seen in the mirror is the present, the area on the right is the past and the area on the left is the future. When the mirror is at a certain height, a small part of the table will be seen in the mirror. In this case the right side of the vision will be the past and the left side will be the present. However, when the mirror is moved upwards, all of the table will be seen in the mirror. This time there will be no precedence and antecedence between the happenings that will take place on the table. They will be all in the vision of one mirror.
The mirror here is knowledge. The mirror at the lowest level is our knowledge. The mirrors of prophets may encompass a lot of time related to past and future as a divine grace and miracle. Allahs knowledge encompasses the past, the present and the future at the same time. There is no precedence and antecedence for Allahs knowledge. Precedence and antecedence are for us. So, Allah knows the past and the present as he knows the present. That is, everything is in His view at the same time. Allahs knowledge encompasses all times and places.
7. 4. ALMS LENGTHENING LIFE
It is stated in the verses and hadiths that alms lengthen life. Alms contain all of the favors, grants, charity done for the sake of Allah. Our Prophet (PBUH) said, Only favors (all kinds of charity, good deeds, grants) lengthen life; only prayer returns destiny. A person becomes deprived of his food and because of the sins he commits. This hadith encourages believers to do favors and good deeds; and the good deeds prevent so many troubles we do not know from happening.
This destiny expresses a determination depending on time place and conditions. Since Allahs knowledge is eternal and it encompasses all of the times and places, Allahs eternal knowledge does not change and it contains all of the changes.
The time of death ordained by Allah and that is in Allahs knowledge does not change. Suppose that a mans conditional time of death is 60 years if he gives alms and 55 years if he doesnt. Allah ordains that persons life as 60 years because He knows that he will give alms. This time of death does not change.
Another meaning of alms lengthening life is related to its outcomes. A person who gives alms will receive a lot of rewards because he does something appropriate for Allahs consent. So, in a short life he can obtain more rewards in comparison to the length of his life. The night of Qadir can be an example for it. A person who evaluates that night adds 83 years to his life spiritually.
Another meaning of good deeds lengthening life is the continuation of a persons book of charity and good deeds after his death. For instance, the book of charity and good deeds of a person who brought up a good child do not close.
7. 5. IT IS ALLAH WHO CREATES THE EVIL AND THE GOOD
Allah creates all of the deeds that man does whether good or evil. For instance, it is Allah who creates the act of walking. It is Allah who creates the act of the earths rotating around the sun. The rotation of the earth is not dependent on its own will. Therefore it moves along the orbit that Allah ordained. However, man is not like that. Allah gave man the choice of deciding wherever he wants to go based on his own will.
Man is not like a robot. Robot does either of the things as he is programmed. It has no choice. However, man is not like that. He can choose whatever he wants. He can even choose one of the two same things, which shows the characteristics of the attribute will and its existence.
When a person wants to go to a place of worshipping, it is Allah who creates that action; it is also Allah who creates the action of going to a pub. Similarly, it is Allah who creates the action of drinking water and also the action of drinking alcohol. Since man chooses the place to go or the thing to drink, the responsibility belongs to him. So it is Allah who creates all of the actions we do whether good or evil.
Hidayah (Guidance to the right path) and dalalah (going astray) are of Allah
As the good and the evil are of Allah, it is Allah who creates hidayah and dalalah too. People cause each others hidayah and dalalah. A persons falling into dalalah is because of his misusing of his will. Allah does not drive a person into dalalah unless the person drives himself that direction. The same is valid for hidayah too. The fact that Allah gives hidayah to whomever He wants means, He will give hidayah to the people who have the adequate conditions for hidayah. Expecting hidayah from Allah without meeting any conditions necessary for hidayah is like expecting to obtain crops without sowing any seeds into the field.
7. 6. ALL OF THE GOOD DEEDS ARE OF ALLAH AND THE BAD DEEDS ARE OF NAFS (THE SOUL)
Allah gave man wonderful devices like mind, memory and imagination, and very fine feelings like sight, hearing, fear, love and affection. He advised man to use these feelings and devices for good and nice things and for charity; He informed us through His books and Prophets that His consent depended on it. Allah promised the endless happiness in Paradise as a reward if all of these feelings and talents were used in accordance with His orders. He threatened us with a punishment, Hell, if we committed bad deeds that He did not consent to. It is Allah who wants all of the good deeds and it is also He who gives the necessary things like mind, memory, life and information necessary to do good deeds. Allah creates and grants good deeds. If man does not understand it and thinks that those good deeds are of him and feels proud of them, the door of thanking closes for him and he may go astray. Therefore man has no right to appropriate them.
However, a person who uses this capital in bad ways that Allah does not want is responsible for these bad deeds and deserves to be punished.
We can understand it better with the following example:
Suppose that the state gives one of its officials enough money and appoints him to build an education complex. When the official carries out his duty, he cannot appropriate it by saying, I made this education complex.
However, if that official builds a pub instead of an education complex that he was ordered to do and harms the lives of a lot of people, he will have no right to say, The state is responsible for it because the state gave the capital for that pub.
It is the state that gives the capital in both cases. When the capital is used in accordance with what the state wants, the honor will go to the state. When the capital is not used in accordance with what the state wants, the person who uses it in the wrong way will be responsible for the evil and the harm that take place.
7. 7. DESTINY AND JUSTICE
Justice is defined as to give each owner of the right their due. Justice is divided into two. The first one is giving every being on the earth all of the devices and opportunities appropriate for them. The second is the elimination of injustice by returning the rights of the wronged people taking their rights
from the oppressors.
The second one will take place in the hereafter on a large scale. As for the first one, Allah created each animal in such a way that each animal is content with their lives; Allah made them love the food He ordained for them and created their bodies suitable for obtaining their food. He gave each one the most suitable body for their souls. He showed his justice by giving the sheep the most suitable body for its soul and the wolf the most suitable body for its soul. If the opposite had taken place, if He had given the sheep the soul of the wolf, it would have been an injustice.
One of the manifestations of the divine justice in this world is the maintenance of balance. Those who come to the world and those who leave the world as a result of death form a balance. All of the particles that go into the body of each being and those that leave their body are in equilibrium. Similarly, there is a balance and justice in the creation of the beings in accordance with their duty here and in optimum numbers. For instance, if lions reproduced in the same number as fish did, it would be a great injustice.
Allah, who has absolute justice, gave man a rank over all of the other creatures and a suitable soul and body. The body and the soul given to man are a grace and grant of Allah.
A man who works somewhere and who deserves to get a certain amount of money can have the right to file a lawsuit and complain that he suffers injustice when he is not given what he deserves. Filing such a lawsuit without working is an injustice.
Allah created man out of nothing; He did not make man a mine, plant or animal but a human being. As a matter of fact man did not obtain or deserve it. He cannot compare himself with others and cannot say, Why wasnt I given more? So, mans duty is only to thank Allah and to express his gratitude for the blessings he is given.
7. 7. 1. Isnt being exposed to negativeness an injustice?
Allah does not place anybody a burden greater than he can bear. The following is stated in the Quran;
On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear (Al-Baqara, 286).
Some troubles and misfortunes man suffers are in favor of him. Sometimes what we regard as good may be bad for us and vice versa. Because our aim is always directed towards the world, we do not want to undergo any trouble or hardship here. And then we want to go to Paradise. However, Allah knows us better than we do, so He ignores some of our wishes that may harm our eternal life. Instead of some of our bodily desires He gives us troubles and hardships. He saves our eternal life with what may seem as unjust.
Everything that Allah creates for us is good for us either directly or in terms of their results. What we see as unjust and bad may have something good hidden under it. We can understand it through the following example.
Suppose that there is a film that lasts two hours. It is clear that we cannot make a right decision if we want to evaluate the heroes of the film and whether there has been an injustice or not after watching only fifteen minutes of this film in the middle. We cannot know what happened before and what will happen later.
Similarly, the life of man is like that two-hour film. That film starts at the age of 14-15 and goes on till death. That film will be shown in the hereafter. The troubles and hardships that we see as injustice and unfairness in this world may save our eternal life. Some of the qualities that are seen as well and that are envied in this world may cause people to enter Hell. So, some of the things that are thought to be useful in this world may be a burden on man because of its responsibility in the hereafter; and some of the hardships and pains that are faced with patience may cause the forgiveness of mans sins.
7. 7. 2. How will destiny be just for a person who is born away from Makkah in knowing Islam?
Allah has absolute justice. As the understanding, talent and intelligence of each man is different in this world, the conditions and the problems they face are different. So the test and trial of each person will be different from the other people. Maybe some people will be asked only 5 questions, and for some people 500 questions will not be enough. We see this application in the world to some extent. For instance if we teach some students only 50 pages of a 500-page biology book because of the lack of teachers or for some other reasons, we will ask them questions covering only those 50 pages. If some schools have taught the entire book, the students of that school will be responsible for 500 pages. Since we, as slaves, try to act justly, can we think that Allah will act unjustly?
Allah informs us that He will not torment a tribe or nation unless He sends a messenger.
Nor would We visit with Our Wrath until We had sent an messenger (to give warning). (al-Isra, 15).
According to this verse, people of interregnum are people who have been saved from Hell. That is, it is stated that if a person is unaware of the reality of Islam due to some reasons, he will have no responsibility for it.
Maturidi, one of Ahli Sunnah scholars, regards it enough for such a person to know the existence of Allah. According to Ashari, a person to whom no reality of Islam has reached will go to Paradise even if he does not know Allah.
Being born in Makkah may be seen as an opportunity but its responsibility is greater. As a matter of fact, there were people who were born in Makkah and there were even the neighbors and relatives of the Prophet (PBUH) that were polytheists and unbelievers. If it was necessary for a man who was born in Makkah to be a Muslim, Abu Jahl and the uncle of our Prophet (PBUH), Abu Lahab would be Muslims.
So, there is no need to defend some people based on the misgiving that they suffer injustice. The test and trial and the responsibility of each person is different and depends on the place he is in, the opportunities he has and his talents and capability. Allah manifests His justice in the best way here too.
7. 8. SOURCES
- The Quran.
- Nursi, B. Said. Sözler (Words). rnk Neşriyat. Istanbul, 2006, p. 502 etc.
- Kırkıncı, M. Kader Nedir? Cihan Neşriyat. Istanbul, 1985.
- Is marriage qadar (destiny)?
- Since the good and the bad deeds of man were created by Allah, how can a person be held responsible for the bad deed that he commits?
- What is Compulsory and Voluntary Destiny?
- Is committing suicide present in the destiny of a person?
- What is the wisdom behind the fact that belief in qada and qadar is included among the fundamentals of faith?
- What is the meaning of "goodness comes from Allah and badness comes from His servants"?
- Why has man been given the faculty of will and how should that faculty be used?
- Is marriage Qadar (Destiny)? Do we have to marry the person written in our Qadar?
- What is partial free will?
- What is the Book of Qadar (destiny)?