Understanding the Fate (Divine Will)

Faith in the Fate (Divine Will)

One of the pillars of faith that must be believed by every muslim, is the faith in the divine will, the good and the bad one. And the faith in the divine will has four levels, those are:

[1]. To have faith in the knowledge of Allah that exists before everything else. Among the realization of this level is that one must have faith that his deeds are known by Allah even before he does it.

[2]. To have faith that Allah had inscribed all of His wills (fate) in the well guarded-Tablet (Lauh al Mahfuzh).

[3]. To have faith in the will of Allah (masyiah) that every thing happens because of His wills.

[4]. To have faith that Allah has created every things. Allah is The Only Creator and beside Him are creations, including the deeds of mankind.

The indication of the first and the second levels above is the decree of Allah the Exalted, which can be translated as,

“Are you not aware that Allah knows all that is in the heaven and the earth? Surely it is all preserved in a Book. Indeed that is easy with Allah.” (QS. Al Hajj/The Pilgrimage [22]:70)

And the indication of the third level above is the decree of Allah the Exalted which can be translated as:

“but your wishing will not avail unless Allah, the Lord of the Universe, so wishes.” (QS. At Takwir/The Overthrowing [81]:29)

While the indication for the fourth level is the decree of Allah the Exalted which can be translated as:

“While it is Allah Who has created you and all that you make?” (QS Ash Shaffaat/Those who set the ranks [37]:96)

The last part of this verse shows that deeds of the creations are also creations of Allah.

The Kinds of Fate

There are two kinds of fate:

[1]. The general type of fate, that encompasses every thing. This fate is inscribed in the Lauhul Mahfuzh. And Allah had inscribed the fate of every single thing until the Last Day. This fate is prevails all creations. The messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “Indeed, the first of Allah creation is qalam (the pen). Allah decreed to that pen, ‘Write!’. The pen replied, ‘O my Lord, what should I write?’. Allah decreed, ‘Write the fate of every thing that happened until the Last Day.'” (Narrated by Abu Daud. Classed sahih by Sheikh Al Albani in his work ‘Shohih wa Dho’if Sunan Abi Daud’)

[2]. Fate that functions as the detailed version of the general one. This kind of fate consists of:

(a). Fate of Age: That is the fate as explained in the hadith from Ibn Mas’ood, where a fetus that already been blown with a spirit, while it was still in the womb of it’s mother, already got it’s fate settled in 4 things: (1) it’s provision, (2) it’s time of death (3) it’s deeds, (4) whether it will be prosperous or miserable creature.

(b). The annual fate, that is the fate that is set on the night of qadr every year, about the events for that year long. Allah the Exalted decreed, which can be translated as: “(We revealed it on the Night) wherein every matter is wisely determined.” (QS Ad Dukhan/The Smoke [44]:4). Ibn Abbas said, “On the night of qadr, it is inscribed inside the Mother of the Books every goodness, wickedness, provisions, and death occurred in a year (that year-translator).” (See: “Ma’alimut Tanzil, Tafseer of Al Baghowi”)

It is a must for muslim to have faith in these general and detailed kind of fate. Whoever denies even just a small part of these fate, he is considered as unfaithful to the fate, or divine will. And that means he refuses one of the pillars of the faith that must be believed.

The Mistake in Addressing The Fate

Among those who addressing the fate appropriately, there are people who deny the existence of fate, and there are also groups of people who are exaggerating in establishing the fate.

The first group is known as Qadariyyah. This groups further is divided into two sects, and the first sect is known as the most extreme one. They deny the knowledge of Allah over everything, just as they deny what had been inscribed in the Lauhul Mahfuzh. They said that Allah orders and prohibits, but Allah do not know whoever perform righteous deeds and committing sins. This matter is just be known to Him, and He has no knowledge nor divine wills before that. But this sect is already vanished and no more exist.

The second sect is the one believe in the knowledge of Allah, but they diminish the existence of deeds of creations in lists of Allah’s fate. They believe that the deeds of creations are discrete creature, Allah did not create them, nor wish for them. And this is the madzhab of Mu’tazila.

The opposite of Qadariyya is the group of people that exaggerate the existence of faith, thus they believe that a slave of Allah seems like forced to do things without any power and ability to strive on their own at all. They said that the slaves are forced to follow their predestined fate. Hence they are named Jabariyya.

The beliefs of both groups are wrong beliefs, as indicated by plenty of indications. Among those indications is the decree of Allah, which can be translated as, “for everyone of you who wishes to follow the Straight Way; but your wishing will not avail unless Allah, the Lord of the Universe, so wishes.” (QS At Takwir/The Overthrowing [81]:28-29). This verse clearly rebuts the wrong opinion of both groups above. In the verse, “for everyone of you who wishes to follow the Straight Way” is the rebuttal for Jabariyya because in this verse, Allah has confirmed the existence of wills (choices) for His slaves. That means mankind are not forced to follow the fate, and they have their own wills. And in next verse, He decreed, “but your wishing will not avail unless Allah, the Lord of the Universe, so wishes.” is the rebuttal for Qadariyya who said that the wills of men stands alone and created by himself without any relation to Allah’s will. And this is a mistake, since the verse reveals that Allah tied up the wills of the slaves and His wills.

The Straight Belief in Having Faith in The Fate (Divine Wills)

The right, and straight belief in this matter that every kind of obedience, wickedness, infidelity, and damages that occurred, happened by the wills of Allah, because there is no creator beside Him. All deeds of His creations, the good and the bad ones, are also His creations. And the slaves are not forced in every single thing he does, even he is given power to choose to do it.

As Safariny said, “The conclusion here is that the madzhab of the past scholars and the true Ahlus Sunnah believed that Allah has created the ability, wills, and the deeds of His creations. And the slave is the actor of the deeds he performed in essence, And Allah made him as the actor, as in His verse, which can be translated as, ‘but your wishing will not avail unless Allah, the Lord of the Universe, so wishes.’ (QS At Takwir/The Overthrowing [81]:29). Thus in this verse Allah had confirmed the wills of the creations and Allah revealed that these wills is not going to be happened but by His wills. This is the strict indication that is chosen by Ahlus Sunnah.”

Do Not Merely Rely on Allah’s Fate

Some people are mistaken in understanding the fate. They assumed that someone who believe in fate will just surrender to his fate without doing anything at all. For example is someone who left his wife for days to call people to Islam (da’wa) out of the town. And he did not left any wealth for his wife and children, saying that, “I surrender, and let Allah provide them sustenance.” Indeed, this is a clear mistake in understanding the fate.

Remember that Allah has ordered us to have faith in His divine will, and beside that Allah also ordered us to perform the causes to reach results that we want, and prohibit us to be idle. If we have taken the causes, but we got the opposite result, we should not be frustrated and desperate, because this is the fate of Allah. Thus, the Prophet-peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “Be haste in pursuing useful things for you. And ask Allah for His aid and do not be lazy. If something happened to you, do not say, ‘Suppose that I did so, the result wouldn’t so and so’, but say: ‘Qodarollahu wa maa sya’a fa’al’ (This has been predestined by Allah and Allah do whatever He wish) because the saying, ‘Suppose that..’ will open (the door) for Satan.” (Narrated by Muslim)

The Results of Faith in The Fate (Divine will)

Among the results yielded by having faith in the fate and destiny of Allah is that hearts will be content and free from worries in this life. Someone who knows that calamities are the fate of Allah, he will be sure that it must be happened and no one will be able to avoid it.

From Ubada Ibn Shomit, he ever said to his children, “You are not considered as faithful to Allah, until you believe in the divine will, the good and the bad of it, and whatever happen to you will not be missed from you, and whatever missed from you will not happen to you. I heard the messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “That is fate. Whoever dies without having faith in as this, will enter the Hell.” (Sahih. See: ‘Silsilah Ash Shohihah’ no. 2439)

Thus if someone understand the divine will of Allah in the right way, will be able to address all disasters with contentment, unlike those who believe in Allah’s fate in a wrong way, who will be distressed and restless in addressing disasters. Hopefully Allah will grant us patience in addressing all trials, which are the parts of His fate.

O Allah, we seek from You the Paradise and all words and deeds that get us closer to it. And we seek refuge from You from the Hell and all words and deeds that will bring us to it. O Allah we ask You, to make all fate You destined to us, to be the good ones. Amin O The Granter of Prayers.


[1] Al Irsyad ila Shohihil I’tiqod, by Sheikh Fauzan Al Fauzan.
[2] Syarh Al Aqidah Al Wasithiyyah, by Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Sholih Al Utsaimin.


Author: Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal
Article of www.whatisquran.com

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