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The sixth and final article of Islamic belief, as detailed by a famous prophetic Tradition, is belief in destiny, its good and evil. The original Arabic word translated as 'destiny' is 'Qadar', meaning, in its derivations, determination, giving a certain measure and shape, dividing and judging. As a term, it is defined by Islamic scholars as Divine measure, determination and judgement in the creation of things. Some scholars define belief in destiny as the conviction “that Allah Most High has ordained both good and evil before creating creation, and that all that has been and all that will be only exists through Allah's decree, preordainment, and will.”

Allah's knowledge eternally encompasses all things necessary, possible, and impossible. The crux of the purpose of existence is our full and experiential realization that Allah eternally and absolutely knows everything and that His Power is singularly orchestrating every event and thing, for Allah says in the Qur’an:

ﰃ  ﰄ    ﰅ   ﰆ  ﰇ  ﰈ  ﰉ  ﰊ  ﰋ  ﰌ  ﰍ  ﰎ  ﰏ   ﰐ  ﰑ  ﰒ         ﰓ  ﰔ  ﰕ  ﰖ  ﰗ  ﰘ  ﰙ     ﰚ  ﰛ 

Meaning: “Allah is He Who created seven heavens, and of the earth the like of them; the decree continues to descend among them, that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah indeed encompasses all things in (His) knowledge” (Q65:V12)

Because His Knowledge, Will, and Power are absolute and unbounded, Allah knows the results of all events and choices before their occurrence. A human being, however, does not have access to this knowledge, and thus he acts in accordance with a desire from within him. Even though his ultimate choice corresponds with Allah's eternal knowledge, he is still accountable for it. As some Islamic theologians have explained it, “Allah has willed that you act based on choice.” We are held responsible for choosing an act but not for creating the act itself. In other words, Allah creates the act and by our choosing it, we “acquire” it and are thereby held responsible for it. Thus, human actions are created by Allah but performed by us.

The proofs for this subtle relationship are many. For instance, an insane person, a child, and a sleeping person are not held accountable for their actions according to Sacred Law both in this world and the next. If a man sincerely forgets to pray or fast when it is obligatory upon him, he is not considered sinful. Similarly, the king Nimrod tried to burn the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him), as is detailed in a famous Qur’anic account, though Allah willed that the fire not burn His beloved Prophet. Nevertheless, even though he failed to execute his evil designs, Nimrod sinned for choosing to harm Ibrahim and is therefore doomed in the next world.

Because of self-conceit and the weakness of devotion, man tends to attribute to himself his accomplishments and good deeds and feels proud of himself. Whereas, as the Qur'an explicitly states: ﯕ  ﯖ  ﯗ  ﯘ  ﯙ 

Meaning: “God creates you and what you do” (Q37:V96), it is the Divine Compassion which demands good deeds and the Power of the Lord which creates them. Whoever ponders over his life, he will realize and confess to himself that God has directed him to good acts, usually prevented him from doing wrong deeds and by endowing him with the sufficient capacity, power and means required for any accomplishment, favored him with many accomplishments and good deeds. God guides man to good deeds and makes him succeed in willing and doing them, so the real cause of a man's good deeds is the Divine Will. A man can possess and own them by means of faith and sincere devotion and by praying to God to be able to deserve them, consciously believing in the necessity of doing them and being pleased with what God has ordained for him. He can never be boastful of his good deeds and accomplishments and put on airs among people; what behoves him is to always be thankful to God and humble.

On the other hand, while attributing to himself his accomplishments and good deeds, man likes to absolve himself of his sins and misdeeds by ascribing them to Destiny. However, since God never likes a sin or wrong act, nor approves it, it is man himself who causes sins and commits them by his free will. Yet it is God Who creates sins (in the sense of enabling them to take place or giving them external existence) as well as good acts, simply because if He did not do so, the free will with which He has endowed man, would be annulled. Man wills to commit his sins. As was explained earlier, God calls man to good deeds, guides him to them and always inspires them in him, but man commits sins of his own free will and disobeys his Creator. Therefore, man is completely responsible for his sins and misdeeds. However, in order to protect himself against sins and the temptations of Satan and his carnal self, man must both try to remove his inclinations towards sins through repentance and asking forgiveness for them, and direct and exhort himself to do good deeds through prayer, devotion and trust in God.

 

 

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