|Kitab-ul-Taqdeer (Book of Destiny)|
The Universe, and everything in it, was created with its characteristics pre-determined and its behavior intrinsically programmed in it by Nature. Life,
The Inanimate, Plants & Animals
going through its evolutionary phases
from the simplest to the most complex, was no different till it reached the
human form. This was different from all previous creation. Sura
Momenoon: “We started creation of Man from essence of clay (inanimate matter) gradually taking it to sexual procreation. Thus We made his semen which impregnated the womb and came to stay in the female egg; then changed the semen into a leech-like from, which later transformed into a meat-like piece; then arose a skeleton within it which We covered with flesh. Then We made him into a creation of another kind!” --- (23/12-14). The attribute setting this new creation apart from the rest of the previous was ‘Divine Energy’ --- “and He blew into him from His energy and made for you (powers of) hearing and sight and thought” – (32/9). This deviation from the hitherto normal was done for a purpose: “Then We gave him hearing and sight; guided him onto the path to accept or reject it “ --- (76/2-3). Elsewhere: “We guided him to two paths” – (90/10). This testifies to the faculty of choice Man enjoys as compared to the rest of the Universe. Previously, only Allah had the power of choice. Now, Man was created in His image. Man’s faculty of freedom of choice is the colorful thread running through the fabric of the Universe. This
Manifestations of Freedom of Choice
has been allegorically illustrated in
the Story of Man’s creation where Man chooses to abide by laws of Nature of his own accord. It is creditable to him simple because he could have refused. A forced action, with no alternative, carries no merit. This new ‘free’ creature was told: “and He has rendered harnessable for you all whatever there is in the Earth and in the skies” --- (45/13). The modern age of science and technology is living testimony of this human attribute, i.e., to harness nature. Science functions on the firm basis of the laws of nature being consistent. The Quran refers to these laws as Allah’s will; the Universe is functioning under His will (laws of nature) and it is called its taqdeer (destiny).
As regards Man, his existence has two aspects. One: physical existence where he is similar to animals; two: human life where he should follow a code of law referred to as ‘permanent values’, given to him through divine revelation and meant to develop his ‘personality’.
Harnessing the forces of nature is a human attribute; keeping them
The Status of the Convinced
within the confines of the divine permanent-
value system is a humane (mo’min) attribute. This causes Man’s potential capabilities to manifest to incredible heights. The Quran refers to such men as ‘the elevated’ --- (3/138). This ambition to rise up was the driving force behind the phenomenal success of early Muslims. The selfish and the greedy exploiters of men, alarmed by the situation, got to work against it. They knew it very clearly that it is the Quran which taught them to be the masters of their
Revenge on the Momeneen
own fate. The Muslims had to be dissuaded
from the idea that Man can shape his own destiny. Therefore, their adversaries and opponents began – according to a well thought-out conspiracy --- to propagate the age-old belief of Magus of pre-decided destiny of Man. To start with, philosophical discussions on freedom of choice were initiated. Later, the concept of pre-destiny was cloaked in the sacredly religious garb of fabricated tradition of Mohammed. This era saw the appearance of the first-ever commentary of the Quran as well as the very first account of history (both by Tabri). Both the works were based upon oral tradition attributed to the Messenger through his companions. Collections of these traditions were compiled into book from around the same time. With the passage of time, the idea of pre-destiny of Man attained the sanctity of a religious dogma and,
Propagation of Pre- destiny
subsequently, an article of faith. The idea
spread the notion that dominance and subjugation, status, wealth, happiness and tragedy, success and failure, etc. are all directly controlled by Allah. No human effort can alter individual or collective destiny pre-decided by Him. Therefore, one should be content with whatever state one is in. The oppressor, the cruel, the tyrant, the exploiter are all but pawns in the great divine universal plan and so should not be blamed or complained against that is actually insolence to Allah Himself!
All this development took place during the monarchical period of Muslim history – very obviously, such concepts are very well suited to the motives and purposes of autocratic rulers. In addition to that, kingship and priesthood always have gone, and still, go hand in hand for their mutual benefit, i.e., to rule the populace. Thus, the religious support for such concepts was readily available. The whole idea was reinforced by the concept of mysticism which is really based upon indifference to the practical world and being in an eccentric domain of its own. The inactivity thus bred soon took life out of the Muslim nation. They began believing in the non-Quranic, un-Islamic ideology of contentment wit their lot. The state of affairs has been there for almost a millenium. Consequently, Muslims, the shapers of the world’s destiny, have been reduced to a lethargic, inactive, unscientific-minded group of believers in their
pre-decided destiny. But, tragically, Muslims today are torn
between the idea of pre-destiny and practices to change it. The paradoxical behavior is evident in cases like illness, murder, etc. where all efforts are employed to change the course of events. At the same time, strong belief in
The Psychological Dilemma
pre-destiny is verbally expressed!
Consequently, this split psychology renders people half-hearted and ineffective in their actions. A shaky hand always misses the target!
The correct way is for the Muslims in particular, and mankind in general,
The Correct Way
to examine their ideology in the light of the living Book
of Allah – the Quran. They should retain what the Book condones. All other notions should be discarded. The focal point of the Quran is the Law of Returns --- every human action bears a result, sooner or later. That makes Man responsible for his actions. Otherwise, the entire system of divine guidance is rendered pointless.
Furthermore, the idea of pre-destiny also makes a mockery of our judicial machinery. Why punish a criminal when he / she only was an instrument in the grand divine plan of things pre-decided at the birth of the Universe?
The same difficulty arises in the case of morality, too! I hope by now it is quite clear that the traditional notion of Man’s (or a man’s) pre-decided destiny does not hold any ground whatsoever. All human social problems are of their own making (42/30); and only they themselves can solve them as they are fully capable of and responsible for doing it.
From some quarters, an objection is raised to the idea of Man being the
master of his own destiny. It is said that this contradicts with
the omnipotence of Allah. But this objection is superficial. It would hold good if Allah’s authority was restricted by someone other than Himself, but not if He does it of His Own accord. In fact, it substantiates His potency when He formulates laws with the rule that those laws are unchangeable (10/64). He has Himself restricted His powers.
Some present an even flimsier objection in that emphasis on divine
Law in Nothing but Standing Orders
laws excludes the person of Allah.
The frivolousness of this argument is quite clear. Allah made some laws through issuing orders which stand for all time. By obeying His laws Man is actually obeying Allah.
Some object on my use of terms like Allah’s law instead of Allah’s
Order and Law
will or Allah’s orders (instructions). True, words are not
essential, actions are. But when certain terms tend to alter the real meaning originally intended, words do become important. Terms like ‘order’, ‘instructions’, etc. give the impression of being changeable, but ‘law’ comes out as permanent. Furthermore, obeying orders can be mechanical but following a law is with full awareness and conviction. A law can be tested for its validity by the results it claims to produce. This is exactly what the Quran has done when it says that ‘kitab’ (law) and ‘hikma’ (its purpose) are both from Allah. Therefore, every action can be seen to be according to the law or
Action and Result
otherwise from the result it does or does not bear. One
example is the establishment of the prayer system. The Quran claims: “Surely, ‘sala’ is to eradicate the obscene and the forbidden” ---- (29/45). It is common knowledge that it has not done that during all these centuries of Muslim history (except for a brief initial period). My view is that there is something wrong or lacking in the current idea and / or practice of ‘sala’. The Quran’s claim is not wrong. We (the Muslims) are.
That is but one example. The Quran presents all its laws with their purposes stated. They should be followed with periodic check whether the relevant purposes are being met (the claimed results produced).
That, then, is the essential difference between ‘mazhab’ (religion) and ‘deen’ (The Quranic System). The former requires mechanical carrying out of orders (rituals) whereas the latter requires following laws with full awareness and responsibility. That, in other words, is taqdeer (destiny), i.e., obeying Allah’s law out of choice!