Archive for the ‘Fate’ Category

Is supplication futile?

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Please, what is the relationship between dua (supplicating to God) and the Hadith which says that after 120 days of a fetus development in its mother’s womb that four things will be written for the baby, and nothing will be added and subtracted from the four things? In other words, can dua change the four things? If it can, then there is a misconception of what the Hadith says about nothing will be added or subtracted.

The hadeeth you refer to is reported by Muslim and rated authentic. It was narrated by `Aamir ibn Waathila. What the hadeeth says is that an angel is commissioned by God, after a fetus is 42 nights old, to fashion its form, hearing, eyesight, skin, flesh and bones. Then the angel asks God, “O Lord, male or female?” God tells him. Then the angels asks God, “And its lifespan?” God tells him. Then the angel asks God, “And its provision?” God tells him. Then the angel leaves with the paper in his hand, having added nothing else to it nor left out any of it.

Thus, what the hadeeth tells us is that four things are ‘written” for each human before he or she is born: His or her physical appearance, his or her gender, his or her lifespan and his or her provision and sustenance.

Writing these things means they are already known to God. People have changed their birth gender, for example. But it is the new gender that was written. God has already known about the change.

It is also important to realize that this “paper” is withheld from us. Only God and the angel who wrote it down know its content. People keep trying to change their financial situation and believers are encouraged to ask God to bestow on them wealth. God instructs us in the holy Quran, “And ask God from His bounty, for God is of everything Knowledgeable” (4:32). Whatever financial situation we end up with is foreknown to God. It is what was written down before we were born. We simply don’t know it. By not knowing, we have to work for it! By not knowing, we may keep asking God to change it. If we were to know it, we wouldn’t even try to change it, would we?

People keep trying to extend their lives. In doing so, they pursue methods which will keep them healthy, fight deceases and avoid risky behavior. By not knowing how long each of us will live, we can do all that. If we were to know, we would give up trying any of it.

The lesson learned from the hadeeth is the wisdom of the Beyond (Al-Ghayb); why it is kept hidden from us. It is precisely because we don’t know it that we supplicate to God to grant us what we hope for. It is precisely because we don’t know the Beyond that we keep trying to improve our lives. Supplicating to God and working hard for our goals are two things that God loves for us to do. Neither would be practical if we already knew the outcome.

God says in the holy Quran, “And say [to people], ‘Work! For God will observe your work, as well as His Messenger and the believers. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Beyond and the Presence then He will inform you of what you have been doing.'” (9:105).

And He also says, “And your Lord has said, ‘Supplicate to Me; I will answer you.'” (40:60) His answer is a fulfillment of what He has already written, but He wanted us to ask for it. This way, we keep remembering that He is the Source and He keeps showing us His Grace and that He listens.

To clear up any misconception, please go through the previous posts in the Fate category.

Waiting for a blessing

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

What about someone that is waiting for a particular blessing and it does not come? I know dua (supplication) and qadar (precision) meet and whichever is the stronger manifests. Yet, a blessing is a gift isn’t it? A sweet chocolate kiss from Heaven.

Is it the ego that prevents blessings from flowing?

This may not seem like a serious subject but it is…give me a good Sura (Chapter of the Quran) or ayat (verse) that defines blessings.

Ego, sin, impatience, doubt (including self doubt), etc. In other words: lack of true submission.

Picture an airplane full of food and medicine for victims of a disaster but is unable to land because of lack of runway. Blessings are kinda like that. Remember the hadeeth in which Gabriel told the Prophet (PBUH) when Laylat-ulk-Qadr is, and the Prophet (PBUH) went out to tell Muslims but because two Muslims were arguing loudly he was made to forget it? (Narrated by Abu-Saeed Al-Khudri and reported by Muslim). The scene was not welcoming to the blessing even though the Prophet (PBUH) himself was there.

One of my favorite verses is this, “He knew what is in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility upon them and rewarded them with a nigh victory.” (48:18) It always starts with us submitting, hoping and waiting without hurrying and with full faith that good will happen. Only then does it happen.

Your statement that dua and qadar meet and the stronger of them wins, needs discussion. I addressed a misunderstanding about this in a previous blog post. Qadar comes with or without dua and it can be a reply to a dua. It does not meet dua nor fight with it. Qadar does not mean fate; it means precision in measure and timing.

I read your response..you have a way of making things easy to understand. There is a youtube video that someone posted on a forum I follow. The young scholar discusses “the dua meeting the qadar”. The viewer gets the impression that supplication overrides destiny. I think you need to explain in your discussion that we can not mold the dua. We can not have dua be wishful thinking. I can not make dua and wish only for my knight in shinning armor. I can not have the mold. That is my shortsightedness and ego. Am I correct?

Contemplation is a part of reviewing the blessings. In hindsight, we see what Allah subhana wa taala has sent to us. And it makes sense. Trust me the past two years have been full of blessings yet I have felt as if I were in a dark wilderness, alone. When I take time to reassess I realize it could not have transpired any other way.

Yes, He is full of Mercy and He sends His Blessings. We are so scared of the blessings. There is accountability in accepting blessings. That is a part of submission. The runway in your example would be accountability in my words, correct?

You need to write on true submission. Honestly, we are so busy trying to be super-Muslims we forget the simple things. There is a fine line. We have to be busy with life while we wait for the guidance of Allah subhana wa taala. That is not easy.

I understand self-doubt to be an instrument of Shytan (Satan). I know dhikr (remembrance of God) and dua and salat (prayer) are cures as is the biggie sabr (patience).

Actually, we can mold the dua. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Let any of you ask his Lord all of his needs, even ask Him to replace the lining of his shoes that was torn!”, narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by Assuyooti who rated it authentic. Most scholars, however, have doubted its authenticity. The point of this hadeeth is that nothing is too small or too big to ask God for. When you really think about it, you will find that most of what we wish for in our prayers is rather trivial and that what is really important God is already taking care of. He is Al-Qayyoom (The All-Caretaker).

That said, your point is well taken. I understood it to be that a believer should not insist on an outcome. However God chooses to reply to his request should be reason for the believer to rejoice. That requires that the believer be in tune with what God sends his way. Otherwise he will not recognize the reply when it comes. That is the lesson of Salaat-ul-Istikhaara (consultation prayer). You are torn between two decisions and honestly cannot decide, so you ask God to decide one for you. How do you know what God decided and when? You will see it and feel it if you are tuned in.

The belief many Muslims have that supplication preempts destiny is a false doctrine which sadly most Muslims do not even review. It is a harmless false doctrine, though, so I don’t fret over it. Destiny never changes because God knows it already. He does not shape it for us. We shape it with our words and deeds out of our free will. He simply knows it already. It’s kinda like watching a recorded football match with your son who hasn’t yet seen it but you have and he made you promise not to spoil it for him. He can cheer his team till he’s blue in the face, but you know his team lost. They lost because they didn’t play well and didn’t listen to their coach. You had nothing to do with it! I can excuse non-Arabic speakers who do not know what the word Al-Qadhaa’ means, but what is the excuse of the Arabs? The word does not mean destiny and never did.

The “runway” in my previous example is the space in the heart that we leave open to receive God’s gifts. It’s what Rumi spoke of all the time. That space widens when we accept and narrows when we question. That is what true submission is about. After you read the Quran and recognize its truth, you let God in. Easier said than done though.

Tuning in…that is never explained enough and people run from pillar to post trying to understand how they know they are tuned in. It seems that we have a paucity of vocabulary or descriptors to help us understand when we are tuned in. I know in prayer there is a physical change when you are tuned in. Yet, there are not universal words to define the “tuned in” stage. Similar to the Zen. The area of the spiritual real and the physical real is fuzzy. You mentioned self-doubt. It is overwhelming for the psyche to live in the tuned in state for long periods of time. I am still trying to comprehend this one. Maybe that is what I was alluding to in terms of becoming reclusive; not that you do not wish to interact with the world but the need to be ” tuned in” is greater and you do not want to risk the goodness.

Your runway made me think…our trials are the shovel that make the path wider. Our trials are what makes us dependent upon Allah subhana wa taala. Rumi’s Love is so deep it is too simple. Once again it is the inability of our language to communicate to us what we have.

Salaat-ul-Istikhaara is the salaat for guidance when you have to make a decision. What about when you are in the wilderness looking for guidance?

As for understanding the Quran…there are times when Allah swt gives you a response as if you are slapped in the face and at other times one ayat takes months and months to comprehend.

Let me end with this: There comes a point in one’s life when you see the blessings. You become sure that the end of any given is going to be good; you become so used to this that the ordinary stressors disappear. You know from past experiences what the anticipated result will be. It is almost too much to take in. I guess this is being “tuned in”.

The reason why I am hung up on this is simple. I post on a forum I follow and often the responses become so obtuse that we forget in the wording, life is to be lived. We are ordinary people and Islam is a faith for the common man.

You really ought to give a kuthba (sermon) on this. Tell the imam (preacher) of your masjid (mosque) you need to speak to the youth. We are missing that in our masjids. The use of language to an audience that is real and meaningful.

Zhikr is the best way to achieve the tuned-in state, especially if it is done with mindfulness. But even when it is done by force of habit, provided the heart is sound, the believer will be eased into things. If you ever wondered why Zhikr is so lauded in Islam, that’s why IMHO.

Mindfulness is also the best way to understand the Quran. When you read the Quran mindfully, no word passes by without reflection. You ask yourself what does this word really mean? Why did God choose this word and not any of its synonyms in this particular verse and context? How is this verse related to the one before it and the one after it. That is the method taught by the late Sheikh Shaarawi, may God bless his soul. Suddenly, the Quran relates to your life intimately. You feel clued in.

A person in the wilderness looking for guidance will find it if he is really looking for it, because God says in the holy Quran, “And upon God is the orientation of the road” (16:9) You just walk the road and earnestly look for the way and God will show it to you. It’s a promise from Him.

On destiny and supplication

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

AssalaamuAlaikum akhi.

Hope you and your family are doing well by the blessings and mercy of Allah(SWT). I have a question on destiny and dua’a. I understand it is a very confusing topic. But, well I believe, we humans can sure speculate and understand a pattern of the same. InshaAllah.

My question is, 1. Do really Dua’a change the destiny of believers? If yes, then What about the dua’a(prayers) of disbelievers? Does Allah(SWT) accept their prayers also and change their destiny akhi?

2. Are their any factors that make our dua’s to be accepted soon by Allah(SWT)? I understand it is a matter which Allah(SWT) knows about and not us. BUt considering the limitations of our human mind, are their factors?

3. This is a bit off the topic, I have heard that we should not judge people by their appearances, as their imaan lies in their heart & Allah(SWT) knows the best what sort of person he/she is? But isn’t it that if imaan is there in our heart, it would be shown/seen out in our actions, behavior, our appearance? What is the Islamic & also your view point on it?

You can take one question at a time and answer it akhi. At your leisure. JazakAllah Khair.

Peace.

Wa Alaykum Assalaam, brother.

Destiny is not a confusing subject. It is quite simple. Only God knows where each of us will end up. Nobody else. He says in the holy Quran, “Say: None in the heavens and the earth knows the Beyond but God.” (27:65). Very straightforward.

Perhaps the confusion comes from the many opinions and theories people have formed about fate over the centuries. I’d suggest that you read the previous posts in this blog in the Fate category.

I think you are referring to the hadeeth, “Nothing holds back a Divine Decree except supplication.”, narrated by Salmaan Al-Faarisi and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it “sound but strange.” The authenticity of this hadeeth is suspect. But even if it were authentic, the word “Al-Qadhaa'” that appears in it is wrongly translated as destiny or pre-destination. This is a very common error that most Muslims fall into. Al-Qadhaa’ simply means Divine Decrees. What the hadeeth means is that God may suspend a Decree of His when the affected believer supplicates to Him. This does not change the believer’s destiny. God knew all along that His servant will call upon Him. He sends down His Decree then holds it. Why? In order to convey to us how much He loves supplication! This teaches us that if we want to be saved from afflictions and hardship, our best chance is to call upon God to save us from them. Amen.

God may reply to your supplication immediately or may defer the reply. He does that because He is the only One who has the whole picture. He grants everything in precise measure and timing. That is what the word Al-Qadar means. Another word that is wrongly translated as fate.

As for appearance, it can, as we all know, be deceiving. Some people look pious but are wicked inside. God says in the holy Quran, “And among the people is one whose utterance in this world you admire and he holds God a witness to what is in his heart while he is the fiercest of adversaries!” (2:204).

And the flip-side is also true. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “There may be a man, dusty and uncombed, whom people pay no attention to, but if He swears upon God for something, God will fulfill it!”, narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it it soundly authentic.

Is apostasy preordained?

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

What is apostasy? On a forum we are discussing Qadar and apostasy. Here is the question that is being discussed.
if a person apostated from Islaam, do you believe that Allaah ordained for that person to apostate from Islaam?

Isn’t it interesting how people would blame God for all their bad decisions, but when good things happen to them they take credit?

God tells us in the Quran how disbelievers on the Day of Judgment will try to weasel out of the responsibility for their bad choice:

“And they said, ‘If the Beneficent had willed, we would not have worshiped them (the idols).’ They have no knowledge of that. They are but conjecturing.” (43:20)

Let’s examine their statement. Is what they said true? It sure is! If God wills for something to not happen, it cannot happen. So, does their statement logically lead to the conclusion they hope to make? Namely, does the will of God lead to some people’s wrong decisions? If so, then how can He punish them for such choice? That’s what they are hoping to conclude; that they should not be punished for a bad choice which they could not but make.

This method of arguing is a well known pseudo-reasoning method called red herring (or smoke screen). You change the premise without appearing to do so. Thus, the logical conclusion will be different than if you stay with the original premise.

The diverted premise is that we do not have a free will. The will of God surpasses any will we may or may not have. The original premise repeatedly stated by the Quran is that we should be accountable for the decisions we freely make.

So, I can see two steps to refuting the argument posed by your question. First, we need to establish that we do have a free will. This blows up the red herring and brings us back to the original premise. Then we need to establish that the will of God does not contradict our free will.

Does anybody seriously doubt that we have a free will? We instinctively know it. We feel it. When we make a decision, we know that we have alternatives and we know that we freely choose one of them.

The free will is the pre-requisite for life on earth. Check out the Story of Adam and Eve post. If you have doubts that we do have a free will, check out the previous posts in the Fate and Free Will categories.

The will of God has been that we have a free will. That is why God says,

“And you do not will but that God wills” (76:30)

We could not will anything if God did not will for us that we can.

Whether one apostates or stays faithful is foreknown to God, but it is not preordained. God could have stopped that person from apostating, but He had decreed that our choices will be free. That necessarily means that He would not interfere with them. It also means that the responsibility for our choices lie with us alone. Any attempt to escape that responsibility is therefore indefensible.

Do nightmares foretell of pending punishment?

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

I have nightmares. Is God angry with me and showing me in my dreams His pending punishment?

We know from Chapter 12 that some dreams foretell the future in a mysterious or symbolic way. God does not tell ordinary people if they are going to Paradise or Hell except at the moment of death when the dying person sees his seat there. The only time it happened was when the Prophet (PBUH) told ten Sahaaba (his fellows) that they are going to Paradise. May you, us and our loved ones join them there.

I have become paranoid about this and my depression fuels my confusion, is it just all in my head?

I am worried and scared.

That is Satan scaring you. Expel him and put your faith in God.

If one commits sin, repents but gets weak and repeats the same sin does Allah get annoyed and stop loving you, is there no hope, how many times does Allah forgive before he stops giving you chances. I did this twice in Ramadhan and I am feeling a lot of despair right now and beginning to think all sorts about dreams.

How many times does God accept repentance? As many times as you are alive! God says that He loves the “oft-repenting” (2:222) and one of His beautiful Attributes is At-Tawwaab (The oft Accepting of repentance). God praised David in 38:17, Solomon in 38:30 and JobĀ  in 38:44 that each of them was Awwaab (keeps going back to God).

From Surat Yusuf (Chapter 12), does that mean ordinary people don’t get future telling dreams etc? That’s what I’ve been paranoid about thinking that the scary ones I’ve had may be from future? That’s whats put me in despair, I just hope its all in my head?

No. Ordinary people can get foretelling dreams, e.g., the king of Egypt in the story of Joseph (PBUH), but interpretation of dreams is not a science, it’s a gift from God. You cannot assume your dreams foretell your future. They most likely are random ramblings exasperated by your paranoia.

If you are unable to calm down with Quran recitation, faith, prayer and supplication, then you must consult a doctor. May God grant you His tranquility.

Can you tell me whether it is possible for Jinn/Satan to show you future events in your dreams, i.e. they travel very fast and them getting images from the future and then putting them in ones mind, is that possible?

No, it’s not, because they don’t know it and cannot know it. God emphasizes that in the Quran in many verses, for instance,

“Say: None in the heavens and earth knows the Beyond but God.” (27:65)

Does God deliberately misguide some people?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

In this verse, it sounds like God deliberately misguides some people. Please explain,

“Those whom Allah (in his plan) wills to guide – He opens their breast to Islam; those whom He wills to leave straying – He makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies; thus does Allah (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe.” – 6:138

I highlighted the answer to your question!

The will of God is not arbitrary; it’s meritoriously targeted. God makes that point over and over and over in the Quran. For example,

“So that God may torment the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the men and women who associate others with Him in worship; and that God may accept repentance from the believing men and believing women. And ever is God Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:73)

And

“How shall God guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and had witnessed that the Messenger is true and clear signs had come to them? And God does not guide the wrongdoing people. ” (3:86)

And God emphasizes His fairness over and over. For instance,

“Indeed, God does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom’s weight; while if there is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward. ” (4:40)

And

“Do the disbelievers await [anything] except that the angels should come to them or there comes the command of your Lord? Thus did those do before them. And God did not wrong them, but they had been wronging themselves. ” (16:33)

My question was, the meaning of WILLS in this context.

For example, can some people not be Muslim because of Allah’s WILL?

God’s will is not random. He does not will people at random to be guided and other people at random to go astray. That would be unjust and He does not do an atom’s weight of injustice.

His will has been that those who accept Him He will guide and those who reject Him He will leave astray. He does that because it has been His will to let man have a free will. As a result of that, and because He does not do injustice to anybody, His will has been in response to man’s will.

Hope that makes it clearer.

Does God control our actions too?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

God controls everything, right? Then He controls our actions too. So, if we sin, it means God is controlling that.

Among what God controls is the guarantee that your will is free! You would not have had a free will if God didn’t will for you to have it. Your exercise of your free will is therefore your own decision. God knows what you will do and can stop you if He wants to but He chose not to.

Does God already know if I’m going to heaven or hell? if GodĀ  has already pre-destined for us whether we will go to heaven or hell they why does it matter what i do?

Yes, He does know, but He did not predestine anybody. This is one of the most common errors Muslims make in understanding Al-Qadar, often wrongly translated fate. Al-Qadar does NOT mean predestination; it means precise amount and timing. The other word wrongly translated is Al-Qadhaa’. It does not mean predestination either; it means decree.

God did not predestine anybody to anywhere; He simply pre-knows what they will do with their free will and the consequences of their exercise of their free will. There would be no point to the free will otherwise, and there would be no point to warnings and prophets and neither to promises of rewards.

Let me repeat the example I mentioned a little while ago, and ask you to reflect on it: Suppose you came to me and asked, “How do I get to Joe’s house?” And I pointed you to Baker street. You, instead, took Hampton street! I tell you that Hampton street will get you to Sid’s house, not Joe’s, but you still took it anyway, did I force you to go to Sid’s house?

It is hard for the human mind to grasp this concept and harder yet to explain.

I beg to differ with the notion that it is hard to grasp and harder to explain. Once you grasp the concept of the free will, Al-Qadar becomes a straightforward notion. The problem that the debaters always have is that they keep bypassing the free will.

When God tells the angels to write all those matters down, it’s not that they are predestined, they simply are pre-known! That’s the key difference. Your knowledge of something does not mean you caused it. This also explains the rest of the hadeeths that speak of this matter.

If this is something you cannot comprehend, it is best not to speak of it.

I beg to differ. The six pillars of faith include faith in the precision of God’s provision (Al-Qadar), so it is incumbent upon every Muslim to understand it because faith in Islam is not divorced from reason.

On fate, destiny and pre-destination

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

You said that pre-destination is not in Islam, Allah has not pre-destined stuff? But I thought marriage and death were pre-destined?

God did not predestine anything in which He asked us to decide on. He decreed the time and place of our death, but He never asked us to choose death or life! Since there is no choice asked of us, there can be no conflict between the free will and a predetermined outcome. See?

Marriage is not predestined. You pick the woman and she either agrees or doesn’t, so how can that be a predestination? God simply knows who will be your wife.

Suppose you came to me and asked, “How do I get to Joe’s house?” And I point to you Baker street. You, instead, took Hampton street! I tell you that Hampton street will get you to Sid’s house, not Joe’s, but you still take it anyway, did I force you to go to Sid’s house?

This example I don’t understand, are you implying that Allah shows us the way but its our choice to pick which way to go?
But then doesn’t Allah already know that I would pick that way?

The fact that God already knows which way you will take does not mean He chose it for you! You chose it. Freely. To use the example I mentioned, the friend knew what his friend will do: he will take Hampton Street, even though he knows it won’t get him to Joe’s house, so whose fault is it?

What you are saying makes a lot of sense to me, my confusion is I took this course about pre-destination cause its something I haven’t been able to understand properly, and it said if something goes wrong, we should know that it was pre-destined.

So, just wondering does Allah know who is going to go to hell and heaven?

If something goes wrong, the most likely reason is that you did it wrong, like one who didn’t study well and failed the exam. It is possible that God will cause an effort to fail despite the person doing everything right to make it succeed. When that happens, it’s not because of predestination, but rather it’s because God’s knowledge is that it’s not good for you and He saved you from it!

Of course God knows who’s going to hell and who’s going to heaven, but that’s because He knows the future, not because He drove them there. They drove themselves.

Please explain Rizq and Naseeb

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

What are the concepts of Rizq and Naseeb? Are they fixed, or do they depend on the person?

Both! It is something you can never change, but because you don’t know what it is, it depends on you!!

Rizq means sustenance or providence and Naseeb means share or portion.

If you don’t work hard, you most likely are not going to get much, but God may give you something anyway. You don’t know and never will. If you do work hard, you most likely are going to get what you work hard for, but God may cause it to disappear from your hands. You don’t know and you never will.

So what are we supposed to do? Our best. We work hard for our goals, assured that God provides for all His creatures but also content with whatever God gives us.

God says in the holy Quran, “Indeed, your Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is ever, concerning His servants, Acquainted and Seeing.” (17:30). We learn from this verse that God’s provision is the right amount for each individual.

And He says, “And if God had extended provision for His servants, they would have committed tyranny throughout the earth. But He sends [it] down in an amount which He wills. Indeed He is, of His servants, Acquainted and Seeing.” (42:27) We learn from this verse that man has the tendency to do evil if he has huge wealth.

And regarding Naseeb, God says, “And do not wish for that by which God has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask God of His bounty. Indeed God is ever, of all things, Knowing.” (4:32) We learn from this verse that we get what we work for and that we should not eye what others get.

What is the point of supplication?

Friday, April 10th, 2009

If God knows that He will heal me at the time I was sick and supplicated him to heal me, then what is the point of the supplication? It was going to happen anyway, wasn’t it?

How do you know that?

God also knew that you will supplicate to Him.

God may or may not will your good health with or without your supplication. The supplication is something that God loves to receive from His worshipers because He loves to answer prayers. The prophet (pbuh) also said that supplication is the “brain of worship.” Supplications benefit the supplicant and please God.