Fate decree, free will, dua supplication
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Dear Brother Burhan,
I am in receipt of you three e-mails namely question nos. 230 - 1468, 9070 and 329 in reply to my question regarding Fate / Free Will / and Duaa, Jazaka Allah. Thank you very much for your kind reply. You have taken Great pain in explaining the subject. How ever it still does not clear my understanding. Hence I would like to put to you same questions in a different and more direct way as follows:
1. Fate / Destiny - what are the activities / items / deeds which are written before a person is born?
2. Free Will - which are activities / items / deeds a person can choose of his free will? and will Allah (SWT) not stop the person from choosing a particular thing if He (SWT) Wills?
3. Duaa - Part of activities / items / deeds in the life of a person are written in his fate. Remaining he is going to choose of his free will.
Then what is the significance of Duaa? Is Duaa going to change the fate?
For clarification I will give one example:
Rizq / Livelihood of a person is written in his fate, that is how much One is going to get, when and from where. If it is so then how is he responsible for if the source is Haram or Halal? How much is the involvement of his Free Will?
I hope you will feel offended by my above probing.
May Allah bless us with better understanding of his Words and bless us With
better following of Sunnah of Prophet (SAS).
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Fate decree, free will, dua supplication
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
We sincerely apologize for not being able to clarify your questions to your satisfaction, and none is to blame except my own shortcomings. Beloved brother, Islam is such a wide ocean of knowledge, that it becomes practically impossible for us to cover all aspects of the questions asked in a short article of a couple of pages. Thus when a brother or sister asks a general question, we normally tend to give a general reply; and when a brother or sister asks a specific question, we tend to give specific answers. We absolutely accept and admit our weakness and our shortcomings, and sincerely seek your understanding and forgiveness as your brothers and well-wishers in Islam.
May Allah Subhanah increase your quest for the knowledge of Truth, expand your and our hearts to accept the Guidance, help us, guide us, have mercy upon us, forgive us our short comings, and save you, us and all the believers from the torment of the Hell Fire. Ameen.
Q-1. Fate / Destiny - what are the activities / items / deeds which are written before a person is born?
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 1.315 Narrated by Anas bin Malik
The Prophet (saws) said, "At every womb Allah appoints an Angel who says, 'O Lord! A drop of semen, O Lord! A clot. O Lord! A little lump of flesh." Then if Allah wishes (to complete) its creation, the Angel asks, (O Lord!) Will it be a male or female, a wretched or a blessed, and how much will his provision be? And what will his age be?' So all that is written while the child is still in the mother's womb."
In light of the above narration, four things are predetermined:
- Whether the new born will be male or female.
- What will be his rizk or provision.
- What day, date, and place he will die.
- Whether the person will be an evil or good person.
We would just like to clarify here what is the actual reality of Fate or Destiny. To get a fuller understanding of Fate, it can be divided into two parts:
Part-1: One part of Fate is things over which the person has absolutely no control. For example, the three points in the above hadith: Whether one will be born male or female, what will his provision be, and what day, date and place one will die. These are the Decisions of Allah Subhanah Alone, and no matter how much a person makes supplication to Allah Subhanah, he cannot change his sex from male to female, or change his appointment with death, etc.
Part-2: The second part of fate is not a Decision or Decree from Allah Subhanah, but is the knowledge of the All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord. For example, it is written down before one is born whether he will be a good or evil person! It is not as if Allah Subhanah is (I seek refuge in Allah from saying this) unjust, and has already condemned someone to be evil, so he has to become evil!!! Because Allah Subhanah is the All Knowing, He already knows from His Absolute Knowledge and Wisdom, what the person with the given free will and intelligence will do in the future; and thus what is written is not a Decision from Allah Subhanah, but is written because of the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of Allah Subhanah.
Q-2 A. Free Will - which are activities / items / deeds a person can choose of his free will? and will Allah (SWT) not stop the person from choosing a particular thing if He (SWT) Wills?
Allah Subhanah has given mankind (and Jinns) two things which he has not given any amongst His creation:
- Intelligence or the Power of Reasoning
- A Free Will to choose whatever path he wishes to follow.
And these are precisely the things for which Allah Subhanah will take account from each individual on the Day of Judgement. Any person who, with his given faculty of intelligence strives and seeks the Straight Path and of his own Free Will accepts, obeys and follows it, will be rewarded by Allah Subhanah. The person who with his given faculty of intelligence and power of reasoning denies the ordained Straight Path of Allah Subhanah, and of his own free will rejects it, will have a severe accounting on that Inevitable Day.
Anything or any deed a person does which involves his own intelligence and the making of a choice, or an intention or an effort to do the deed, will be considered a deed done of his own free will; and thus he will have to account for it in the Just Court of Allah Subhanah.
For example, these deeds will be considered from ones Free Will:
- A person intends and strives to seek the Path of Truth, learns the Quran, prays the Salaat, pays charity, fasts, performs pilgrimage, etc..
- A person is obedient to his parents, honors them, obeys them, etc.
- A person is honest, truthful, sincere, etc.
- A person is dishonest, lies, cheats, and steals from people, etc.
- A person commits zina, drinks alcohol, murders people, etc.
- A person never bothers or intends to seek the Guidance of Truth, nor follows it.
And the things over which one has absolutely no control and no choice, Allah Subhanah will not question him about these things on the Day of Judgement.
For example, these are some of the things a person will not be held accountable for in the Court of Allah Subhanah:
- Why was he born black, or white, brown, etc.?
- Why did he not earn millions of dollars every year?
- Why did he die in America and not in Australia?
- Why did he die at age 42 and not age 89?
- Why he had only two eyes and not six?
- Why was he only 5ft. tall and not 7ft.?
Q-2B: and will Allah (SWT) not stop the person from choosing a particular thing if He (SWT) Wills?
Every thing that happens in this Universe happens with the Permission and Will of Allah Subhanah. The only free will one has is to make an intention to do a good or evil deed, and strive and make efforts to fulfill that intention; and that is precisely what he will be held accountable for. The outcome of the effort is in the Sole Control and Domain of Allah Subhanah.
For example, if a person of his own free will intends to build a hospital or an orphanage, etc. to earn the Pleasure of Allah Subhanah, and strives his utmost in fulfilling that intention; he will receive a full reward from Allah Subhanah, whether or not the building of the hospital or orphanage is completed or not.
Similarly, if a person of his own free will, intends to kill someone, and subsequently does all in his power to kill the person; whether or not the victim is actually murdered, the person will have a severe accounting in the Court of Allah Subhanah, unless he seeks repentance before his appointment of death.
Allah Subhanah does not stop the person making the intention, or from striving to make efforts to fulfill that intention; and that is precisely the test for which mankind will be held accountable for. Whether or not the striving of the person comes to actual fruitation, is in the Sole Control and Domain of Allah Subhanah.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 1.51 Narrated by Umar bin Al Khattab
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.
Q-3A: Duaa - Part of activities / items / deeds in the life of a person are written in his fate. Remaining he is going to choose of his free will.Then what is the significance of Duaa? Is Duaa going to change the fate?
The significance of duaa or supplication is a sign of the persons declaration of helplessness and humility in the presence of his Merciful Lord and Creator; for one, in humility and in hope, only beseeches and begs someone, when he knows that the Being he is beseeching and begging has the Power to fulfill his supplications. And it is this declaration of weakness, helplessness, and humility which is so loved and appreciated by Allah Subhanah from His believing slaves. Allah Subhanah does not love those people who do not beseech Him for their needs, because in their arrogance they falsely think that they are self-sufficient!
So much so, that the Messenger of Allah (saws) called act of duaa or supplication itself as ibaadah or worship!
Nu'man b. Bashir reported that the Prophet (saws) said, "Verily Duaa (supplication) is worship." Then he (saws) recited the Qur'anic verse, "And your Lord says, 'Call on Me. I will answer your prayer, but those who are too arrogant to serve me will surely find themselves humiliated in Hell!'' Qur'an 40.60.
This is reported by Ahmad and Sunan.
Q-3B: Is Duaa going to change the fate?
This is indeed a very very intelligent and weighty question, and due to my own short coming, I might not be able to do justice to your question in print; but if Allah Subhanah helps us, we will try our best to prove the point, Insha Allah.
The honest truth of the matter is that the duaa will not actually change the fate of the person, for the Duaa is indeed part of the fate!
Allah Subhanah knows what trials and tribulations will be laid upon the person; for all Allah Subhanah wants to see when He tries a person is what is the persons reaction, belief, and the deeds done in the face of these tribulations. The trial of the person is for a limited time ordained by Allah Subhanah, and when the ordained time passes, the trial is lifted. The belief, the reaction of the person who was in trial, and the deeds he did during his period of trial are what will determine whether the person passed the test ordained by Allah Subhanah, or failed it; and these deeds will earn the person his due rewards or his due punishments!
If the person who was put on a trial by Allah Subhanah stays steadfast and patient in his belief in the Power and Authority of His Lord, shows patience and forbearance during his time of trial, seeks only the help and support of Allah Subhanah, and thus constantly ONLY beseeches Allah Subhanah Alone to make his trial easy for him; he will pass the test and earn huge rewards from Allah Subhanah for his reaction to his trial.
But if the person who was put on a trial by Allah Subhanah, loses hope in his Lord and starts knocking on every available door: graves, other gods, idols, amulets, stars, sooth-sayers, astrologists, charms, etc.!, instead of the One and Only True Lord, he miserably fails the test ordained by Allah Subhanah and will thus have a severe accounting for his deeds on the Day of Resurrection!
The trial of both types of people will be lifted at the time Decreed by Allah Subhanah, whether the person afflicted with the trial seeks the help of Allah Subhanah Alone, or whether he seeks the help of any of his false deities! The difference is that the person who keeps his faith and hope firm in Allah Subhanah Alone, Allah will make the acceptance of the trial easy for him, give him peace and tranquility and patience and steadfastness; and for the person who loses hopes in Allah Subhanah Alone, and thus goes to other deities and demi-gods with his supplications, Allah Subhanah will take away his peace and tranquility and increase his anxiety!
But the trial will end only at the time Decreed and Ordained by Allah Subhanah for both types of people, whether they do duaa to Allah Subhanah Alone or not!
It is not as if Allah Subhanah does not know the affliction or calamity about to befall a person, and when the calamity suddenly afflicts a person and he makes dua and supplication to Allah Subhanah to remove his affliction, a sudden change of plans are made and Allah Subhanah expedites the end of the trial from him!
The trial befalls the person as a test ordained from Allah Subhanah, for a period ordained and Decreed by Allah Subhanah, and will end at the time ordained by Allah Subhanah! The All-Knowing Lord already knows that so and so person will keep his faith firm in Him, supplicate Him Alone, and the trial will be lifted at its ordained time! The All Knowing Lord also knows that so and so person will lose hope in Him, supplicate all and sundry to remove his trial, and Allah will remove the trial at its exact appointed time!
The difference being, the one who kept his faith firm passed the test ordained by Allah; and the one who lost hope in Allah Alone, failed the test miserably!
Three things a person does when afflicted by a trial ordained by Allah Subhanah will enable him to pass the test. If he misses any one of the three, which are no more than the offshoots of one another, he will invariably fail the test!
- Firm belief in ones heart of the Sole Power, Domain, Control, and Divine Decree of Allah Subhanah over all things.
- As a result of his firm belief, a Declaration from his Tongue in the form of supplications beseeching the help and guidance of The One True Lord Alone.
- And as a result of the above two, the Deeds that one does with his hands, limbs, and body.
Thus dua or supplications is an integral part of the test, and one that will determine whether a person passes or fails the test ordained by Allah Subhanah.
Q-4A: For clarification I will give one example:
Rizq / Livelihood of a person is written in his fate, that is how much one is going to get, when and from where. If it is so then how is he responsible for if the source is Haram or Halal? How much is the involvement of his Free Will?
Indeed, the amount of Rizk or sustenance of a person is written by Divine Decree, and the distribution of wealth is entirely, completely, and totally dependant on the Will of Allah Subhanah.
Allah Subhanah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 17 Surah Israa verse 30: Verily thy Lord doth provide rizk (sustenance) in abundance for whom He pleaseth, and He provideth in a just measure: for He doth know and regard all His servants.
Allah Subhanah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 13 Surah Raad verse 26: Allah doth enlarge or grant by (strict) measure the rizk (sustenance which He giveth) to whom so He pleaseth. (The worldly) rejoice in the life of this world: but the life of this world is but little comfort in the Hereafter.
The person has absolutely no control on HOW MUCH rizk will be distributed to him from Allah Subhanah; what he can do of his own free will is two things, and this is what he will be called to account for on the Day of Judgement:
- Of his own free will, he can make earning his rizk halaal or haraam.
- Of his own free will, he can spend the given sustenance in a good or evil manner.
Ref-1: Of his own free will, he can make earning his rizk halaal or haraam.
Example 1: It has been recorded that Hadrat Ali ibn Abi Taalib (r.a.) once went towards a mosque to pray. He saw a slave man in the street and asked him to guard his horse while he went into the mosque to pray. When Hadrat Ali (r.a.) had finished his prayer, while coming out he made an intention to reward the slave two dirhams for guarding his horse; but when he came out of the mosque, the horse was still there, but the slave, the saddle, and the reins were missing! Hadrat Ali (r.a.) went towards the market place and saw his very saddle and rein displayed in a shop and told the shop-owner that the saddle and the reins belonged to him. The shop-owner told Hadrat Ali (r.a.) that just a little while before a slave had sold these two pieces to him for a value of two dirhams! Hadrat Ali (r.a.) paid the two dirhams to the shop-keeper, took his saddle and reins, and declared: Glory be to Allah Who has sent the rizk of the slave as Halaal; but the person made it Haraam through his own deeds!
Example 2: A father comes home and intends to give his son $10.00 as pocket money the next day. The impatient son steals $10.00 from the fathers wallet at night, thus making what was coming to him as halaal anyways, to haraam!
Ref-2: Of his own free will, he can spend the given sustenance in a good or evil manner.
Example 1: One who has wealth spends in the way and cause of Allah seeking Allahs Pleasure and Good Will and gives in charity, orphanages, hospitals, builds mosques, schools, etc. Such a person, of his own free will, spends the wealth entrusted to him by Allah Subhanah in good deeds, and will earn a huge reward on the Day of Resurrection.
Example 2: One who has wealth spends the wealth on the haraam; wine, illegal women, gambling, etc. Such a person, of his own free will, spends the wealth entrusted to him by Allah Subhanah in illegal things and will thus have a severe accounting in the Court of Allah Subhanah!
Q-4B: How much is the involvement of his Free Will?
For a limited period of time, until one meets with his appointment of death, Allah Subhanah has given man a Free Will to do as man pleases; and that is precisely the test ordained by Allah Subhanah! Thus the Free Will and the efforts he takes to fulfill his intentions (good or evil) are absolutely in the control of the person, and thus he will be held fully accountable for only these two things!
Although Allah Subhanah can very well stop and hold the person from doing any evil deed, it is in His Wisdom that He permits the person as a test for a limited period!
Allow us to relate an example to make it clearer:
A teacher teaches his students for a whole year, and then tests them at the end of the year. During the test the teacher sees from over the students shoulder, that one student is writing all the right answers; but he does not say anything and allows the student to complete his test! Similarly, the teacher sees another student writing all the wrong answers, but allows the student to finish the test without saying a word to the student! Only when the time is over, the teacher determines who passed and who failed the test according to what is written by the students themselves.
Similarly, Allah Subhanah allows mankind to determine for themselves, for a test period of one life-time, of their own intelligence and free will, what path they are willing to take. He can very well stop the doers of evil, for He has Power over everything; but in His Wisdom He Allows man to complete the test! And on the Day of Resurrection He will announce the results of who amongst mankind passed the test, and who amongst them failed it!
Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 67 Surah Al Mulk verse 2:He (Allah) created death and life that He may test you, to see which of you is the best in deeds.
Your Statement: I hope you will feel offended by my above probing.
We assume that you inadvertently missed the word NOT in your above statement!
Allah is our witness brother, rather than being offended in the least, we are grateful to you for providing us the opportunity to clarify your questions in Islam. We consider ourselves amongst the most fortunate people on this planet earth, for it is truly nothing but the Mercy and Grace of Allah Subhanah that He has allowed us to do this humble service in His Cause. Allah Subhanah is our witness, we seek no fame, no gain, and absolutely no material benefit in the least for our humble efforts; we seek only the Pleasure and Good Will of our Merciful Lord.
If truth be told, there are some brothers and sisters who at times might cross the lines of decency and abuse us, curse us, threaten us, and if given the chance might even physically hurt us; for they may find that some of the practices they follow are not endorsed by Allah and His Messenger (saws). We have made it our duty and mission to declare what is said by Allah and His Messenger (saws), and let the Truth stand clear of the falsehood. We hold absolutely no hatred and ill-will towards any of the brothers and sisters who abuse us, for we know from the Quran and Sunnah that if Allah Wills and Pleases, He may guide them to the Treasures of Al-Islam in Truth. Our only intention is to bring whoever wishes to listen to good caution, believers and dis-believers alike, closer to the Guidance of Truth; and if we can bring even one person closer to His Creator with our humble efforts, we will consider ourselves indeed honored and blessed. May Allah Subhanah help us, guide us, have mercy upon us, accept our humble and weak efforts in His Cause, forgive us our short comings, and with His Grace, save us all from the torment of the Hell Fire. Ameen.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,