|Kitab-ul-Taqdeer (Book of Destiny)|
Man was born into a hostile environment - awesome forests full of terrifying wild killer-beasts and other fearsome gigantic animals; towering mountains with their looming rocks; limitless seas with their shocking storms; tumultous rivers and streams with their destructive floods; endless rains, snowfalls with petrifying thunder and lightning; awesome volcanoes with their fiery produce; earthquakes. All these destructive forces surrounded a vulnerable mankind who did not understand, and could not defend itself against, all these forces. Man was still unaware of the natural law of cause and effect and was ignorant of the possibility of harnessing these forces. Therefore, every destructive event was seen as an accident, happening by chance. That was the limit of human thought. Logically, a helpless, vulnerable, ignorant and poor creature in such environment saw itself as a captive of destiny. That, then, is Man’s first ever view of himself.
A weak, defenseless and vulnerable man has only one way to react to an awesome and dangerous element -- to submit & plead to it for mercy. This is what the early Man did. He bowed in submission to that huge fiery ball rising from the east every morning. He cowered down in front of thunder and lightning. Terrified by the overflowing river waters, he pleaded to it for respite. The lion, the snake and fire and rain became his idols. This gave birth to another belief, i.e. he must request a powerful force for help against dangers. Anthropologists refer it to as the Age of Worship.
Clearly, this human belief could not affect Nature which was bound by laws. Occasionally though, when their prayers were answered -- purely by chance -- they would grow firmer in their beliefs. Otherwise believing in their own helplessness, they would accept the situation as a matter of course.
The relatively more intelligent ones among them began exploiting this sense of helplessness by suggesting particular procedures of worship. This was the birth of the Age of Magic -- the practices of magic, sorcery, charming, occultism etc. Incidentally, this gave Man a little sense of his own power, i.e. he can, to some extent, control the forces of Nature. Still, his basic concept of his helplessness did not change. Man of this age did not possess the divine guidance of ‘Wahi’ and consequently, formulated his own ideas and concepts about his own self and the universe around him. Such concepts were later on referred to as RELIGION, and are commonly found in all religions, old and new alike. The basis of religion is the same all over the world.
Contrary to this, ‘Wahi’ (1) handed down its version of the concepts of universe, man and super-nature. They are:
The universe is not a result of, neither operates by, chance. It has been planned and purposefully created by an intelligent Being, and operates according to firm and permanent laws of Nature formulated by Him. The Being is refereed to as ‘Allah’. His laws are applicable to the physical universe as well as Man’s social life, both individual and collective. Nothing is outside the sphere of these laws.
Everything in the universe, with the exception of Man, must -- and does -- obey the laws of Nature. This is known as the ‘nature of things’. This ‘nature’ can not be altered. Therefore, every event in the universe takes place within the bounds of these laws. It is known as the ‘the Law of Cause and Effect’ in general, and ‘the Law of Result of Actions’ in particular reference to the human world, i.e., each and every act by Man -- even his thoughts -- produces a result.
Man has been created with the potentiality of discovering the laws of Nature, which enables him to harness the natural forces. Thus, the whole universe is bound but Man is not. He should not be scared of the universe. On the contrary, the universe should be ‘scared’ of Man. The universe is conquerable and controllable by Man.
Laws of Nature can be discovered by observation, study and experience. In today’s lexicon, it is known as ‘the Sciences’. But, knowledge of the laws for Man’s own life (the human side of it, not the physical) has been given to him through ‘Wahi’, preserved for ever in the Quran. These ‘human’ laws are also permanent and firm just like the rest of the laws of Nature.
The basic difference between Man and the rest of creation is that the universe is forced and bound to follow the laws of Nature while Man is not. He is free to choose --- either to live by these or any others laws.
Man is free to choose the laws he wishes to live by. But he must bear the consequences of his choice. For instance, one is free to consume poison as well as sugar, but the natural effect of one cannot be replaced by that of the other. That is beyond Man. This state of the Laws of Nature is applicable to Man’s earthly life as well as the Hereafter.
Allah is the Absolute Power that formulated, and now exercises perfect control over, these laws. Any law --- the formula of ‘if this happens, that will happen’ --- is next to nothing without the enforcing authority behind it. Permanence of a law as a living reality requires the implementing authority to be living and permanent ( Hayyei (حي) and Qayyoum (قيوم) in the Quran’s words).
The concepts just mentioned form the basis of a code of life known as ‘Ad-Deen’. This stands in obvious contrast as a challenge to Religion. The Quran elaborates these concepts in great detail. This, then, is the subject of this book which aims at explaining clearly the question of Destiny (Fate) which Religion has rendered so complicated.
(1) ‘Wahi’ is the Quranic term for divine messages from God (Allah) to His Messengers. Literally, it means a sharp, quiet and subtle signal.