Unraveling Fate and Destiny in Islam
Let me ask you a question.
When you woke up this morning, did you know you would be reading this article?
Most likely you did not. Most likely you made a random set of choices that led
you to this page. In a small sense,
those choices you made, brought forth your destiny which was reading this page.
However, it is your freewill to continue reading. You have the choice to stop
reading now and do something else. Whatever you decide to do, will effect your
Many people, Muslims included, are confused about fate and destiny. They are
not sure how much freewill they really have. They are not certain if they have
the freedom to make their own choices, or if Allah has forced them upon a
I always believe the best way to tackle any problem is to start with the
basics. So first, let’s lay some groundwork.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Allah is the creator of all things,
including our actions.
Belief in Allah’s
power, knowledge and control of all things is one of the six articles of faith in Islam. This is called Qadar, loosely
translated as Divine Destiny.
A person has the
freedom, the choice, to do as he/she wants.
We have no control
over the outcome of those choices.
The outcome of these
choices is our destiny. Only Allah knows what this destiny is.
Do You Control Your Destiny? Or Are You Enslaved to Fate?
For example, say for instance you decide to go into business for yourself.
You do all the necessary research. You
consult others in the field. You draw up a sound business plan and line up multiple investors. You do everything
possible to ensure that your business is a success.
Does any of this guarantee that your business will be successful? Not at all.
The economy may falter. You may have
miscalculated certain expenses. A natural disaster might wipe out everything you own. There are innumerable
occurrences that could adversely effect your business.
It is vital to the Muslim’s belief that we understand this concept. After all,
the word Muslim means “one who submits
to the will of Allah.” By accepting Allah’s power, knowledge and control of our
destiny, we learn to submit to what He
has prescribed for us.
Belief in Qadar, divine destiny, prevents us from becoming too boastful or too
despondent. When tragedy strikes us, we
must understand that it is the will of Allah, for it to happen. That way, we learn to accept it with patience and humility
rather than despair and frustration.
Of course, one may become saddened or upset about unfortunate events in their
life. We are only human and it is
natural to react a certain way with tragedy befalls us. However, the Muslim understands that no matter how difficult said
tragedy is, it was within the will of Allah, and we cannot let it paralyze us.
And if something good happens to us, belief in Qadar will prevent us from
becoming too boastful or arrogant. Many
successful people believe that they have attained their wealth and status because they are inherently better than
others. Or that they are smarter, wiser, stronger, or just more deserving of
success than others.
The truth is, they have no control over their success. They may have made certain
choices, but it is Allah that made those
choices work out well for them. If they had control over their success, then they should be able to control every
aspect of their life and never face any sort of adversity.
But the reality is that even the most successful individuals face some
hardships at some point in their life. Man
may choose a certain path. But it is Allah’s will that controls what destiny
that path will lead them.
Fate and Destiny According to the Quran and Sunnah
It is also important to understand that Allah has knowledge over all
things. Allah knows what will happen to
us before we do. Allah knows the outcome of all of our decisions. And Allah has
stated in His book, the Holy Quran, that
everything that will happen throughout all creation was already written.
Surah Al-Hadid (The Chapter of Iron) verse 22 states:
“No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but it is inscribed in
the Book of Decrees
(Al Lawh Al Mahfooz) before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy
And Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be
upon him) has stated in a hadith:
“Allah wrote down the decrees of creation fifty thousand years before He
created the heavens and the earth.”
From these two statements, we understand that Allah has written all things
in a Book of Decrees known in Arabic as
Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooz, and that this was done 50000 years before He created the heavens and earth.
This does not mean that we are forced to walk upon a certain path, or that we
have no freewill. This only means that
Allah is already well aware of all actions that we will take, and the outcome
of those actions.
At the same time, whatever we choose to do is governed by the will of Allah. If
Allah does not will for something to take place, then it will not happen no
matter how hard we try. And if He wills for something to happen, it will take
place no matter what we do to stop it.
Destiny is Real. Fate is Not
Muslims must believe in destiny, or more accurately, Divine Destiny
(Qadar). But we should not believe in Fate. Fate is defined as: “an event (or a
course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future.”
Nothing is inevitable as Allah has control over all things. And Allah controls
the Divine Destiny. People who accept fate, or that certain things are
inevitable, are fatalists, and tend to leave things to whim.
But a Muslim who believes in Qadar (Divine Destiny) will try to live according
to the laws of Islam, pray to Allah for guidance when making
decisions (Istikhaarah), and put their best effort forward in everything they
do. Then, they leave the outcome of these actions to Allah and accept whatever
He has decreed.
In summary, belief in Qadar (Divine Destiny) is made up of four things:
Understanding that Allah’s knowledge encompasses all of creation and He knows
everything that His creation will do. Even before they do.
Believing that Allah has written all that has happen in the Book of Decrees
Accepting that whatever Allah decrees will take place, and whatever He does not
will, does not take place.
Knowing that Allah has created all things, including the actions of His
Accepting Allah’s Qadar (Divine Destiny) will lead us to a more satisfying and
productive life, Inshallah.
And Allah knows best.