In the Islamic faith, there is an intricate interplay between the divine will of Allah and the actions of human beings. On the one hand, Muslims believe that Allah is omniscient and has predetermined everything that will happen in the universe. Nothing occurs without Allah’s permission, and everything unfolds according to His master plan. At the same time, humans have free will and are responsible for their choices and deeds. How do these two concepts coexist? This seeming contradiction has been pondered by Islamic scholars for centuries and speaks to the reality of fate and destiny in Islam its relationship with freewill.
This blogpost deals with our belief in predestination in Islam. Moreover, we will explore the divine destiny meaning, the concept of predestination in Islam and how it intersects with human free will.
‘Qadar’ or ‘Taqdir’ is an Arabic word. Qadar meaning is to measure.
‘Taqdir’ refers to the knowledge and decree of Allah, which has been decided about this universe and all the creatures in it, before It came into existence. This includes, but is not limited to, the sustenance a person will receive in their lifetime, the birth, the exact time of death, and happening the Day of Judgement.
In English dictionaries, taqdeer meaning is used so extensively. It translates to destiny, fate, predestination, decreeing, ordaining and measure etc. It refers to the idea that events in one’s life are preordained or predetermined by a higher power.
The concept of ‘taqdir’ implies that individuals have no control over their future, as it is all part of a divine plan. So a paraphrased meaning of taqdeer in English would be “one’s predetermined fate or destiny as part of God’s divine plan.”
Quran Verses about Destiny
Throughout the Quran, the concept of Qadar is repeatedly illustrated:
“Allah created everything according to its measure” [Surah Qamar:49]
Yet, crucially, this is not to say that everything is set in stone. This doctrine is accompanied by the equally significant teaching of free will.
Understanding Qadar / Predestination in Islam
Muslims belief that everything is predestined in Islam. It is the doctrine that Allah has predetermined everything that has and will transpire in this world and decreed it in a broad range of categories. These decrees are recorded in Lawh al Mahfuz the “Preserved Tablet,” from which no detail can be altered.
Muslims believe that Allah is all-knowing and has written down everything that has and will transpire in this world. This suggests that the future course of one’s life has already been set in stone. According to verses in the Quran:
“No calamity occurs on earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees before We bring it into existence” (Quran 57:22).
Many scholars have taken this to mean that Allah has preordained every aspect of human affairs. You should believe on what Allah has planned for you.
The Concept of Free Will & Human Actions
On the other hand, Islam states that humans are endowed with the capacity for independent decision-making, commonly referred to as man’s will. It is a force that allows individuals to choose and act, to make a difference in their lives and their attitudes. The Quran states:
“Whoever wills, let him believe” and “whoever wills, let him disbelieve” (Quran 18:29).
Consequently, Islamic teaching maintains that individuals are responsible for their actions and that these actions carry moral weight and consequences. Allah has given us freedom of the will.
Relationship between Destiny and Freewill
Understanding the simultaneous existence of predestination and free will has been a fundamental challenge in Islamic thought. How does a person exercise free will if everything they do is already known and recorded in the preserved tablet?
So how do Muslims reconcile these two seemingly contradictory notions of predestination and free will? The dominant theological view is that Allah has prior knowledge of all events, but He does not compel humans to act in a predetermined way. People have freedom of choice, even though they have believed in Allah’s grand plan.
Essentially, divine foreknowledge does not negate human responsibility. Muslims are encouraged to strive to lead righteous lives while recognizing that some overarching life events are inevitable as Allah wills. As everyone knows that death is predetermined but no one tries to commit it rather they are maintaining their health.
Misconceptions about Freewill and Predestination
Fate and destiny in Islam, a concept deeply rooted in Islamic theology, is often met with curiosity and misconceptions. As we delve into the topic a lot of questions about free will, arise in the mind of Muslim audience. It is crucial to address some common misconceptions surrounding predestination in Islam.
Predestination and freedom of choice
One common misconception to address is the belief that predestination negates free will. Actually, destiny and freewill coexist harmoniously. Muslims believe that while God has knowledge of everything that will happen, humans are bestowed with the freedom to choose their actions. This divine decree does not negate personal responsibility; rather, it emphasizes the importance of making righteous choices.
For example, in case of marriage the saying that couples are made in Jannah actually refers to Allah’s absolute knowledge. Everything is known to him in advance. The outcome of one’s efforts will be according to Allah’s decree and perfect knowledge; however, one must do efforts to find his/her match.
Predestination and human efforts
Another misconception is that the concept of predestination in Islam is fatalistic, implying that human efforts are rendered irrelevant. However, Islam teaches that while God knows the outcome, human effort and prayer play a vital role. It is emphasized in the Quran:
“There is nothing for man except that for which he strives” (53:39).
This verse highlights the significance of human endeavor and the pursuit of righteousness.
Predestination and accountability on one’s action
Furthermore, the belief that predestination absolves individuals of responsibility for their actions is another misconception that needs rectification. Islam places great emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability for one’s actions, despite the overarching belief in divine destiny. The Quran reminds believers that:
“Allah will never change the condition of a people until they change it for themselves.” (13:11)
This verse emphasizes the role of free will and the importance of personal efforts.
To understand more about these misconceptions read the two types of destiny in Islam:
Types of Taqdeer in Islam
There are two types of predestination in Islam, commonly referred to, ‘Taqdeer e mubram’ and ‘Taqdeer e muallaq.’
1. Taqdeer Mubram
Taqdeer e mubram encompasses events that are ordained without any possibility of alteration, such as birth, the time of one’s death, happening the day of Qayyimah or major natural disasters. These are recorded in Lawh al Mahfuz, before the existence of this universe, from which no detail can be altered.
2. Taqdeer Muallaq
Taqdeer e muallaq refers to events that are conditional, with Allah’s decrees shaped by human actions. As it is mentioned in hadith-“Nothing can change Allah’s will except dua”. This nuanced categorization cleared the coexistence of divine will and human participation.
The Power of Dua (Supplication)
One of the most potent expressions of this relationship between destiny and choice is the act of supplication, or ‘dua.’ It is a common question that can dua change qadr ? Dua is a means through which individuals can beseech Allah to alter or fulfill elements of their fate. But it applies only on Taqdeer Muallaq.
The Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, is reported to have said:
“There is nothing that can change the divine decree except dua.”
Predestination in Islam is a testimony to the profundity of faith and the wisdom of the divine. It offers solace in times of uncertainty and calls for active participation in the construction of one’s narrative. While the debate between predestination and free will remains a theological enigma, Muslims approach life with the understanding of both the eternal promises and the temporal trials as opportunities to strengthen their faith and character.
This Article strives to provide insights and guidance for Muslim readers to navigate the delicate balance between freewill and fate in Islam. Let this serve as a dialogue on the cosmic rhythm of Qadar and human endeavor, resonating with the age-old mantra, “trust in Allah, but tie your camel.”