FATE OR QADR.
14) PURPOSE OF LIFE
Could you explain to me the
Islamic view of the Divine Will and Decree (al-qada’ wa’l-qadar)? What
should I believe with regard to this topic?.
We could talk at length about the Islamic view of the Divine will and decree but to make the subject easier to understand, we will start with an overview of this topic, then explain as much as space permits, asking Allah to benefit us thereby and to accept our efforts.
Note that what is meant by belief in al-qada’ (the Divine will) is: certain belief that everything that happens in this universe happens by the will and decree of Allah.
Belief in Al-Qadr (the Divine decree) is the sixth pillar of faith, and no one’s faith is complete without it. In Saheeh Muslim (8) it is narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) heard that some people were denying al-qadar. He said: “If I meet these people I will tell them that I have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with me. By the One by Whom ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar swore, if one of them had gold equivalent to Mount Uhud and he spent it, Allah would not accept it from him unless he believed in Al-Qadr.”
You should also note that belief in Al-Qadr is not valid unless you believe in the four aspects of Al-Qadar, which are as follows:
1 – Belief that Allah knows all things, in general terms and in detail, from eternity to eternity. Not a single atom is unknown to Him in the heavens or on earth.
2 – Belief that Allah has decreed all things in al-Lawh al-Mahfooz, fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.
3 – Belief that the Will of Allah is irresistible and His decree is comprehensive, so nothing happens in this universe, good or bad, but by His Will.
4 – Belief that all that exists was created by Allah. He is the Creator of all beings and the Creator of their attributes and actions, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Such is Allah, your Lord! Laa Ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things” (Al-An’aam 6:102)
Correct belief in Al-Qadralso involves believing in the following:
That the individual has free will by means of which he acts, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight” (At-Takweer 81:28)
“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
That a person’s will and ability do not operate outside the will and decree of Allah, Who is the One Who has given him that ability and made him able to distinguish (between good and evil) and make his choice, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And you cannot will unless (it be) that Allah wills the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)” (At-Takweer 81:29)
That Al-Qadris Allah’s plan for His creation. What He has shown us of it, we know and believe in, and what He has hidden from us, we accept and believe in. We do not dispute with Allah concerning His actions and rulings with our limited minds and comprehension, rather we believe in Allah’s complete justice and wisdom, and that He is not to be asked about what He does, may He be glorified and praised.
This is a summary of the belief of the first generations concerning this important topic. We will discuss some of this in more detail below, asking Allah to help us to say the right thing:
1 – The meaning of al-qada’ wa’l-qadar in Arabic:
The word qada’ means perfection and completion, and the word Qadr means evaluating and planning.
2 – Definition of Al-Qada’ wa ’l-Qadar in Islamic terminology:
Qadr means Allah’s decree of all things from eternity, and His knowledge that they will come to pass at the times that are known to Him and in the specific manner that He has decreed and willed. They will happen the way they are meant to and the way they are created.
3 – Is there a difference between Al-Qada’ and Al-Qadr?
Some of the scholars said that there was a difference between them, but perhaps the most correct view is that there is no difference in meaning between Al-Qada’ and Al-Qadr, and that each of them points to the meaning of the other. There is no clear evidence in the Quran or Sunnah to indicate that there is a difference between them. The scholars are agreed that the one may be applied to the other, but it should be noted that the word qadar is most usually used in the texts of the Quran and Sunnah, which indicates that we must believe in this pillar. And Allah knows best.
4 – The status of belief in Al-Qadr in Islam:
Belief in Al-Qadris one of the six pillars of faith which were mentioned in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when Jibreel (peace be upon him) asked him about faith (eemaan). He said: “(It is) to believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in the Divine will and decree (al-qadar) both good and bad.” Narrated by Muslim, 8. Al-Qadris also mentioned in the Qur’aan, where Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have created all things with Qadr (Divine Preordainments of all things before their creation as written in the Book of Decrees Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooz)” (Al-Qamar 54:49)
“…. And the Command of Allah is a decree determined (qadran maqdooran)” (Al-Ahzaab 33:38)
5 – Aspects of belief in Al-Qadr:
Note, may Allah help you to do that which pleases Him, that belief in Al-Qadr cannot be complete until you believe in the following four aspects of this doctrine:
(a) Knowledge: this is the belief that the knowledge of Allah encompasses all things and not a single atom in the heavens or on earth falls outside of His knowledge. Allah knew all of His creation before He created them. He knew what they would do by means of His ancient and eternal knowledge. There is a great deal of evidence that points to this such as the verses in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“…. and that Allah surrounds all things in (His) Knowledge” (Atl-Talaaq 65:12)
(b) Writing: this is the belief that Allah has written the decrees concerning all created beings in al-Lawh al-Mahfooz. The evidence for that is the verse in which He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Know you not that Allah knows all that is in the heaven and on the earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (al-Lawh al-Mahfooz). Verily, that is easy for Allah” (Al-Hajj 22:70)
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah wrote the decrees concerning all created beings fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.” Narrated by Muslim, 2653.
(c) Will: this is the belief that everything that happens in this universe happens by the will of Allah. Whatever Allah wills happens and whatever He does not will does not happen. Nothing exists outside of His will. The evidence for that is in the verses where Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And never say of anything, ‘I shall do such and such thing tomorrow.’ (24) Except (with the saying), ‘If Allah wills!’ …” (Al-Kahf 18:23-24)
(d) Creation: this is the belief that Allah is the Creator of all things, including people’s actions. Nothing happens in this universe but He is its Creator, because He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs” (Az-Zumr 39:62)
“While Allah has created you and what you make” (As-Saaffaat 37:96)
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has made every doer and what he does.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in Khalq Af’aal al-‘Ibaad (25) and by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim in al-Sunnah (257 and 358); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Saheehah, 1637.
Shaykh Ibn Sa’di (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Just as Allah is the One Who created them – meaning people – He has also created that by means of which they act, namely their abilities and will, then they do various actions of obedience and sin, by the abilities and will which Allah has created. (al-Durrah al-Bahiyyah Sharh al-Qaseedah al-Taa’iyyah, p. 18).
Warning against arguing about issues of Al-Qadron the basis of (human) reasoning:
Belief in Al-Qadris the real test of the extent of a person’s belief in Allah. It is the true test of how much a person really knows about his Lord and what results from this knowledge of certain and sincere faith in Allah, and His attributes of majesty and perfection. That is because Al-Qadr raises many questions for the one who gives free rein to his reasoning to try to fully comprehend it. There have been many disputes concerning the issue of Al-Qadr and many people have engaged in debates and misinterpreted the verses of the Quran that mention it. Indeed, the enemies of Islam in all eras have provoked confusion in the Muslims’ beliefs by discussing the issue of Al-Qadr and stirring up doubts about it. So no one can have true and certain faith except the one who knows Allah by His beautiful names and sublime attributes, submitting to His commands with peace of mind and trusting in his Lord. In that case no doubts or specious arguments can find a way into his heart.
Undoubtedly this is the greatest proof that belief in Al-Qadris more important than belief in the other pillars of faith, and that the human mind cannot independently come to understand Al-Qadr, because Al-Qadr is one of the mysteries of Allah in His creation; whatever Allah has disclosed to us in His Book or on the lips of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) we know, accept and believe in, and whatever our Lord has not told us, we believe in and we believe in His perfect justice and wisdom, and that He is not to be questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned.
And Allah knows best.
Is it true that Allah determines the fate of a person when he is still in the womb? How about people who disobey Allah: Is it His intention for them to be disobedient?
As you are well aware, we are accountable to Allah for what we do in this life. He rewards us in accordance with our deeds. Hence, our deeds are chosen by us, since we have been given such a free choice. If we were denied such a choice and if our actions were determined for us by Allah, then it would not fit with Allah's justice that we should be accountable for them.
There is some confusion in people's minds about this question. This confusion is compounded by a wrong understanding of some Hadiths like the following one:
"The creation of each one of you is gathered together in his mother's belly for forty days in the form of a seed, then he is a clot of blood for a like period. The angel is then sent to him to blow the breath of life into him. He is commanded to write down four matters: his means of livelihood, life-span, actions, and whether happy or unhappy." (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
This writing down of these matters is not an imposition, except in such areas over which the man has no influence, such as duration of his life. When the angel writes a man's action, he simply documents that Allah has known long before the conception of that person in his mother's womb. We must not forget that Allah's knowledge is not increased as a result of any event of circumstances. He has known the number of human beings that would walk on earth, the fortune of each and every one of them, and the feelings of every single one of them at every moment of his or her life, long before the creation of Adam, the first human being. This is part of Allah's knowledge, but it is not predetermination, because Allah has created us with our free will and ability to choose. That ability must work within us. It is we who choose whether to obey Allah and disobey Him. Hence, we are accountable for our choices.
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )
When something unfortunate happens, most people say that it has been impossible to prevent it, because what is written cannot be changed. May I ask whether Muslims generally are afraid to accept the blame for their mistakes? We believe that giving life and taking it away is controlled by God only. What can we say about birth control which enables individuals to determine the number of children they have? On the other hand, life is lost in riots, when blind mob goes on the rampage and kills opponents at will. Please comment.
It is certainly true that the giving of life and taking it away are actions that take place only by God's will. It is He alone who originates life, takes it away and brings it back. It is He who created the first human being and devised the system of procreation so that generations of human beings would succeed one another to maintain human life on earth until the day "when God will inherit the earth and all those living on it."
When God created man, He wanted him to be in charge of the earth and gave him a will of his own to make his life a trial. He has made it clear that our life on earth is not the final chapter in our existence. After we die we are brought back to life at a time determined by God when we are given our reward for our good deeds or punished for our bad ones. It is most important, therefore, to take the chance of this life in order to ensure our happiness in the life to come. It is God's own will that our life span on earth is kept secret from us.
No one can ever tell when his moment comes and how he will depart from this life. Very recently, a group of people survived a plane crash and a bus accident in two different countries within the same weekend. Either accident could have seen them all killed, but they survived. As human life is shaped by God, people die at all ages. Children may die when they are yet newborn, in their early years and before they reach adolescence. Young men die in wars and by accident. Young women die in childbirth or succumb to killer diseases. These days, people die in the prime of life as a result of contracting AIDS. Those who live to old age eventually wither away. No one can say whether he will survive the next moment or live for another forty or fifty years.
That should be enough motivation for anyone to try to be always ready to meet God, having passed the test of life. While we certainly cannot say when we are going to die, we can influence certain causes of death. This does not challenge or alter God's will, but works within it. It is God who has set into operation the law of cause and effect. It is He who has given fire the quality of burning. If a human being is caught up in a burning house, he will certainly die, unless the fire brigade arrives in time. This is because for a human being to die by burning or to suffocate by the fumes caused by a fire takes some little time. If he is taken away within that period, and given the right treatment, he will survive.
In the first situation when he is caught in the fire, he is subject to the effects of certain causes in a particular situation. After the fire brigade has taken him away, he is subject to the effects of another set of causes which help preserve life rather than destroy it. In each situation he is subject to God's will which remains in operation. Infant mortality rates throughout the world have been significantly reduced through the implementation of the immunization program. Incidence of the major childhood diseases has been controlled, but does that mean human beings have taken over the control of childhood mortality?
By no means. What has happened is that children have moved from one set of prevailing conditions to another. Before they were immunized, they could easily suffer any of the childhood diseases which can cause death or disability. After a child is immunized, he is better able to fight those viruses and escape those diseases. The process of immunization does not function in isolation from God's will. In fact, it functions by God's will.
This is exactly what Umar ibn Al-Khattab said to Abu Ubaidah, another companion of the Prophet, when the latter questioned him about his order preventing entry to and departure from an area where the plague was widespread. Abu Ubaidah asked him: "Are we trying to escape from God's will?" Umar answered: "Yes, we try to escape from God's will with God's will."
This means that if we avoid certain causes of death we remain subject to God's will, because avoiding them and preventing certain causes of death is also part of God's will. We apply this law everyday in our lives. We know, for example, that drinking clean and purified water will help us stay healthy. On the other hand, drinking polluted water can cause illness and death. Therefore, governments try to make drinking water safe.
When we travel to an area where we are not sure of the quality of water, we drink either bottled or boiled water. Do we, as a result, avoid disease and death? The answer is yes, indeed. But do we prevent the operation of God's will? Certainly not, because we are taking precautions in order to produce new effects of another set of prevailing causes. In other words, we are benefiting by the operation of the law of cause and effect which is part of God's will.
In the same vein, people who resort to birth control methods are likely to have a smaller number of children than those who do not. That is because such people resort to certain causes which have the effect of preventing conception. It is also His will that a female egg will not produce life unless conception takes place. This is not different from a woman remaining childless if she does not get married.
Similarly, those who are killed in wars or riots would have survived if they did not happen to be at the receiving end of a bullet or shrapnel, or have not been too close to where a bomb exploded. These days, many Muslims understand this fact in a very narrow sense. They have learned that when a human being is still an embryo his life duration and means of livelihood are written down. They understand this an impossible position from which they cannot be released. Hence, they are not ready to do anything that does not take their fancy. They wait for things to happen to them because whatever they do is not going to affect them.
This attitude is not acceptable from the Islamic point of view. Indeed, God has encouraged us to take every possible means to improve the quality of life. This applies to all aspects. The examples we have cited are mostly concerned with health, but if you look at social life, you find that the Islamic system provides social security through the working of zakah, and ensures that wealth is not concentrated in the hands of the few while the overwhelming majority of people suffer poverty and deprivation. If Muslims implement that system then they have taken steps which have the effect of making their social life much better and happier. It is unfortunate that the majority of Muslim communities today do not take such measures and steps to improve the quality of life. They try to put the blame for their suffering on God's will.
The early Muslims understood the operation of God's will in a very positive way. Hence, they were able to deal with every situation and try to ensure a better life for their community and the next generation. They took the fact that the duration of a person's life is written before his birth in a definitely positive manner. When they faced tyrants they stood up to them. They realized that tyranny cannot shorten their life span. They will die at their time known to God. But if they remained idle, they would still die at the same time. [This rectitude provided them with deeper faith to stand up against tyranny.]
It is as the Qur'an says to those who were reluctant to join the Muslim army at the time of the Prophet, because they feared death:
"....Say, Had you remained in your houses, those for whom slaughter was ordained would certainly have gone forth to the places where they would be slain...." (Aale-Imran 3:154)
That is because going to war, or a campaign or jihad, does not shorten a life God has determined to be long. To die in war is to die at the end of one's life, as it had been determined by God. A person who stays at home would also die at the end of his life. Only the means of death may be different.
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )
When something happens, we say that it has happened by Allah's will. But then we say that man is required to abide by Islamic teachings and he will be either rewarded or punished for his actions. I realize that certain things like health and illness, birth and death, etc. are out of our control. But I have also heard it being said that with regard to financial earnings, a man cannot exceed what Allah has fixed for him. It is up to him to earn his money through legitimate or illegitimate means. At the same time, when someone has a large number of children, people will say Allah will provide for them. Could you please comment on these points.
No believer will question the fact that it is Allah who has created the universe and who has set all the rules of nature in operation. On the basis of this common acceptability, everyone agrees that weather conditions, birth and death as well as effects of natural forces and conditions on man happen by Allah's will. We are not considering here the argument of non-believers who try to explain these phenomena away, by saying that they are the product of natural forces and natural laws. When you ask them who has devised these natural laws and set them in operation, they have no convincing answer. But to a believer who accepts that all these have been put into existence by Allah's will, no conflict arises between the divine will and his own choice.
What is very important to remember is that it has been Allah's will to create man with the ability to determine his own actions. Moreover, human life is made in such a way that man is influenced by his own actions. When you do something, its results must affect you in one way or another. If they were to have no effect at all on you, then you lose the motivation or the incentive to do anything at all. The point you have mentioned with regard to a person's earnings is rather misleading. A government employee who can get away with embezzlement of funds and remains in his job for several years will be able to amass a wealth which he could not hope to have received otherwise. We cannot say, therefore, that he would have ended up with the same amount of money whether he resorted to embezzlement or chose to be honest and not to take a single riyal in an illegitimate way. If this is true, people will sit idle and wait for their provisions to come to them.
Similarly, a person who drinks or smokes will have the ill-effects of both substances. A smoker is likely to develop lung cancer or heart disease or any one of the other diseases associated with smoking. If he does not smoke, the likelihood of him suffering any of these diseases is greatly reduced. The same applies to alcoholic drinks and their effects on health. We cannot, then say that whatever man does, he will end up suffering the same diseases. Nevertheless, you have accepted that our health condition is part of Allah's will. How can we reconcile these two sets of facts? The answer is simple.
Everything operates according to Allah's will. Nicotine, which is the poisonous substance in tobacco, produces its effects by Allah's will. It is He who has given it its qualities. Therefore, when man inhales this substance, he cannot escape its cumulative effects on his health. This effect is, therefore, produced by Allah's will. What this means is that when man inhales nicotine he sets up Allah's will to operate on him in a certain manner. When he refrains from smoking, he sets it to operate in a different manner. In both cases, he is subject to Allah's will, but the end result is widely different.
The other point which we have to clarify here is Allah's advance knowledge of what we are going to do in our lives. Allah knows before He creates any man or woman or indeed any creature what this creature will do and what others will do to it and what will happen to it at every moment of its life. He knows who of us will be a chain smoker and who, like myself, cannot stand the smell of tobacco.
He similarly knows who will have lung cancer as a result of smoking and who will be spared that agony. This knowledge does not interfere with man's choice. It is not the way that Allah has created a particular person that influences which make him take up this dangerous habit. In the final resort, it is his choice which determines what happens to him. As you see, there is no conflict between Allah's will and man's choice. Man's choice is indeed part of Allah's will, in the sense that it is He who has given man this ability, told him of its effect on him and allowed him to exercise this freedom of choice throughout his life. This is what makes man accountable for his choices. If his choice was not a free one, accountability would not come into it, in the same way as all animals are not accountable for their actions. They do not have free choice. As for children and what Allah provides for them, again this is a simple matter. Allah tells us in the Qur'an that everything that walks on earth will have its provision set for it by Allah.
Nevertheless, if we were to stop working and consume what the earth produces of vegetables, fruit and cereal, etc. we will very soon go through all that is available on earth and find out that we have nothing to sustain us for another day. At the same time, when we work we are able to increase production manifold. If you were to ask any scientist one hundred years ago whether the earth will be able to support five billion people, his answer would have been a decisive 'no'. Nor would he have imagined that the population would reach this figure in 1988.
His answer was most probably according to his knowledge of the potentials of the earth. He could not have imagined the effects of electricity and other sources of energy on man's productivity. The earth could not have supported this number of people if we were still using the same agricultural and industrial techniques we were using one hundred years ago. In this example, man's work is a very important factor in the equation of productivity and consumption. It is the means with which we are working that make all the difference.
I have some questions about Islam, could you explain them for me? Are all of man’s actions, such as birth, death, his day-to-day behaviour, and all that he thinks about doing decreed by Allah? Is our life programmed by Allah before we are born? Or do we have freedom of choice and can we decide and do whatever we want, without that being controlled by Allah? In brief, do we do whatever we want or what Allah has created us to do?
Answer: Praise be to Allah.
It should be noted that some of our circumstances are forced on us, and we have no choice in it, such as the day when a person is born, the colour of his skin and eyes, and when he will die. All of these are matters over which people have no control, rather they happen to them by force. Given that these are matters in which people have no choice, they do not have anything to do with Paradise or Hell, torment or blessing.
But some actions are the subject of choice, such as whether to believe or disbelieve, or worldly matters such as choosing what to eat or drink, and where to live.
There is nothing of that nature which is entirely outside the will and decree of Allah. But how does that happen?
Belief in al-qadar (the divine will and decree) is one of the pillars of faith. The Muslim’s faith cannot be valid unless he accepts that everything comes from Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have created all things with Qadar (Divine Preordainments of all things before their creation as written in the Book of Decrees Al‑Lawh Al‑Mahfooz)” [Al-Qamar 54:49]
Indeed, the names of Allah include al-Qaadir, al-Qadeer and al-Muqtadir (which refer to His being All-Powerful). The heart of the matter is that Allah possesses the attributes of knowledge, power and will.
Based on that, if people who do deeds want to do them, whether they are sins or acts of obedience, then Allah inevitably knows that, indeed He knew that in eternity past, before He even created the universe.
Then after He knew it, He wrote it with Him, then when they wanted to do it, He willed that they should do so. If He did not will that, then they would not do it. He is All-Powerful, and He is the Creator of people’s deeds because He is the Creator of the human beings who do them.
So all the deeds of mankind are written with Allah, because Allah has prior knowledge of them. This does not mean that Allah compels people to do what they do, rather they have freedom of choice with regard to their deeds. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful” [Al-Insaan 76:3]
But their actions are not compelled by Allah, for Allah does not force His slaves to do anything.
Imaam Ibn Abi’l-‘Izz al-Hanafi said concerning a similar matter:
If it is said, How can Allah will something that He is not pleased with and does not like? How can He will it and create it? How can His will be reconciled with His hatred for it?
It should be said (in response) that this is the question which has caused divisions among the people and has caused them to follow different paths and opinions.
It should be noted that what is willed may be of two types: that which is willed or wanted for itself, and that which is willed or wanted for something else.
I would like you to explain the meaning of this Hadeeth:
Narrated Abi Abdurrahman Abdullah bin Mas'ud, May Allah is pleased with him: Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said,
"(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who breathes the soul into him, and is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature's) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). So, by Allah the One, a man amongst you may do good deeds till there is only a cubit between him and Paradise and then what has been written for him decides his behavior and he starts doing (evil) deeds characteristic of the people of the (Hell) Fire. And similarly, a man amongst you may do (evil) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and the (Hell) Fire, and then what has been written for him decides his behavior, and he starts doing deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise." Narrated by Al-Bukhari.
To be honest with you I feel bad
sometimes that I may do good deeds while it is written that I am from
the people of hell. I wish you answer me, thanks a lot for your efforts,
may Allah greaten your reward.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Those who are ignorant of Allah and His names and attributes misinterpret their true meanings and turn people against Allah and put obstacles between the people and loving Allah and drawing close to Him without realizing.
We will mention some examples of that, such as that they try to make people with shallow knowledge (or weak faith) think that no acts of obedience towards Allah will do any good, even if that is done for a long time and a person has tried his utmost to do it properly both outwardly and inwardly; and that a person cannot be safe from the plot of Allah, rather it is Allah’s way to take the obedient one who fears Allah out of the mosque and into the brothels, and from Tawheed and tasbeeh to shirk and flutes, and turn his heart from pure faith to kufr.
They narrated sound reports concerning this that they do not understand properly, and false reports that the Prophet never said, and they claim that this is the essence of Tawheed. End quote. Al-Fawaa’id (159).
Then Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: … So this poor person no longer sees actions as being good or bad, so he does not feel comfortable when doing good, or feel distressed when doing bad. Is there any more effective way of putting people off Allah and making them hate Him than this?! If all the heretics strive hard to make people hate religion and put them off Allah, they could never have come up with anything worse than this.
The one who has this belief thinks that he is reinforcing the ideas of Tawheed and the divine will and decree, and refuting the innovators and supporting Islam, but by Allah, a wise enemy is less harmful than an ignorant friend. All the revealed Books and all the Messengers bear witness to the opposite of that, especially the Qur’aan. If those who seek to call others to Allah follow the method that is established by Allah and His Messenger in calling people to Islam, the whole world would be reformed in such a way that there would be no corruption after that.
Allah tells us – and He is the One Who is truthful and fulfils promises – that He only judges people on the basis of their actions, and recompenses them for their deeds, and the one who does good should not fear any injustice or unfairness; He will never cause the deeds of any doer of good to be lost, no matter how small, or wrong any soul in the slightest. Allah says :
“Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a small ant), but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward” (An-Nisa’ 4:40)
Even if it is the size of a grain of mustard seed, He gives reward for it and does not cause it to be lost. He recompenses bad deeds with the like thereof, and cancels them out if a person repents, regrets it and seeks forgiveness and does good deeds, or if calamities befall him. But He rewards a good deed anything from ten fold to seven hundred fold or more.
He is the One Who reforms the misguided and turns back to Him the hearts of those who turn away; He accepts the repentance of sinners, guides the misled, saves the doomed, teaches the ignorant, guides the confused, reminds the heedless, gives refuge to the lost. When He sends a punishment, it is only after severe rebellion and stubborn turning away, and after calling the people to turn back to Him. End quote.
There follows a great hadeeth which was narrated by al-Bukhaari (3208) and Muslim (2643) from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him). Some people were confused about the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) “one of you may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the decree overtakes him and he does a deed of the people of Hell and enters it. And one of you may do the deeds of the people of Hell until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the decree overtakes him and he does a deed of the people of Paradise, and enters it.”
This is an example of what Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) tried to point out of saheeh reports which are not understood properly.
The answer to this is that it applies to the one who does not do deeds with sincerity and faith, rather he does deeds of the people of Paradise as it appears to people only, as is explained in another version of the hadeeth that was narrated by al-Bukhaari (4207) and Muslim (112) from Sahl who said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the mushrikeen met in battle and fought. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went back to his camp and the others went back to their camp, there was among the companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) a man who killed anyone (of the enemy) who got in his way. They said: No one has done better today than so and so. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Rather he is one of the people of Hell.”
A man said: I am going to follow him. So he went out with him; every time that man stopped, he stopped with him, and when he hastened, he hastened with him. He said: The man was badly wounded, so he sought to hasten his death. He put the handle of his sword on the ground and its tip in the middle of his chest, then he leaned [on his sword] and killed himself. The man went to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah (S). He said: “Why is that?” He said: The man who you said was one of the people of Hell and the people were astounded by that. I said, I will find out about him for you. So I followed him until he was badly wounded, then he sought to hasten his death. He put the handle of his sword on the ground and its tip in the middle of his chest, then he leaned on it and killed himself. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “A man may do the deeds of (the people of) Paradise, or so it seems to the people, although he is one of the people of Hell, and a man may do the deeds of (the people of) Hell, or so it seems to the people, although he is one of the people of Paradise.”
As for the one who does the deeds of the people of Paradise in a real sense, sincerely and on the basis of faith, Allah is too just, merciful and generous to let him down at the end of his life.
Rather these are the ones who are guided, directed and helped to persist, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world (i.e. they will keep on worshipping Allah Alone and none else), and in the Hereafter. And Allah will cause to go astray those who are Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers), and Allah does what He wills” (Ibraaheem 14:27)
“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our paths (i.e. Allah’s religion — Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinoon (good-doers)” (Al-‘Ankaboot 29:69)
“Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the Muhsinoon (good‑doers) to be lost” (Yoosuf 12:90)
“They rejoice in a grace and a bounty from Allah, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:171)
Ibn al-Qayyim said in al-Fawaa’id (p. 163): With regard to the fact that a man may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the decree overtakes him, this refers to the actions of the people of Paradise as they appear to other people. If it was a righteous deed that is acceptable to Allah, then Allah would love it, accept it and not cancel it out. Someone may say that this phrase, “until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit”, does not support what we have suggested; the answer to that is that if deeds are to be judged by the way they end, this man did not have enough patience to complete his deeds properly; rather there was a hidden problem and something wrong with his deeds, by means of which he was let down towards the end of his life, so that hidden, serious, fatal problem caused his downfall at the time of need. If there was no problem and no insincerity, Allah would not have turned his faith into disbelief. And Allah knows better than all people what they do not know of each other. End quote.
Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The words “as it appears to people” indicate that what is hidden may be different from what is apparent to people, and that a bad end is because of a hidden problem in a person that people are not aware of, whether it is a bad deed and the like, so that hidden quality may lead to a bad end at death.
Similarly, a man may do a deed of the people of Hell, but inwardly he has some good quality, and that prevails at the end of his life, and leads to a good end for him.
‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Abi Rawaad said: A man was dying and he was being prompted to say Laa ilaaha ill-Allah, but the last words he said were, “He does not believe in what you are saying” (referring to himself), and he died like that!
He said: I asked about him, and found that he was addicted to alcohol!
‘Abd al-‘Azeez used to say: Beware of sins for it is sins that led him to this bad end.
In general, how people end up is the consequences of what went before, and all of that has been previously written in a Book, hence the salaf greatly feared a bad end, and some of them would feel anxious when remembering previous sins.
It was said that the hearts of the righteous are concerned about how their life will end, and they always wonder: how will our end be?
The hearts of those who are close to Allah are concerned about previous sins, and say: How will our sins affect our ends? Sahl al-Tastari said: The one who has started his journey towards Allah fears that he may fall into sin and the one who is close to Allah fears that he may end fall into kufr (disbelief).
Hence the Sahaabah and the righteous salaf who came after them feared that they might become hypocrites, and their fear and anxiety were intense. So the believer fears lesser hypocrisy for himself, and worries that it might prevail at the end of his life, and take him into a state of major hypocrisy, as it was mentioned above that hidden problems may lead to a bad end. End quote.
Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam (1/57-58).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood, “until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit” means, Paradise. It does not mean that his deeds bring him to this position until there remains nothing but a cubit, because if he were doing the deeds of the people of Paradise in a true sense, Allah would not let him down because Allah is more generous than His slaves. Imagine a person devoted to Allah, and there is nothing but a cubit between him and Paradise: would Allah turn him away? This is impossible. Rather the meaning is that he does the deeds of the people of Paradise as it appears to others, until when there is nothing left of his lifespan but a little, his heart drifts away – Allah forbid; we ask Allah to keep us safe and sound. This is the meaning of the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood: when there is nothing left between him and Paradise but a cubit with regard to his lifespan, otherwise he was not doing the deeds of the people of Paradise in the first place.
We ask Allah not to misguide our hearts. (So the person referred to) is striving but in his heart there is some hidden evil that leads to his doom when there is only one cubit left when he dies. End quote from al-Liqa’ al-Shahri (13/14).
Some scholars suggested that the person mentioned in the hadeeth may be striving in a true sense, until when his lifespan nears its end, he meets a bad end, and dies in a state of kufr or sin, but this is rare. This also goes back to something hidden or some serious evil quality that the person persisted in, such as corrupt belief or a major sin that dooms one to Hell, which led to his bad end. We ask Allah to keep us safe and sound. So the hadeeth is to be understood as a warning that no one should rely too much on his deeds and we should ask Allah for steadfastness until death, for hearts are between two fingers of the Most Merciful and He turns them as He wills.
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Muslim: What is meant by a cubit is an indication of how close he is to death, and whether he will enter Paradise or Hell after that, and that there is nothing between him and his reaching that abode except a cubit, like that which remains between him and his reaching any spot on earth. What this hadeeth means is that this may happen in rare cases to some people, not that it is the norm. Moreover it is a sign of Allah’s kindness and mercy that people may revert from evil to good in many cases. As for their reverting from good to evil, this is very rare and hardly ever happens. This is like the words of Allah (in the hadeeth qudsi):
“My mercy precedes My wrath and prevails over My wrath.” That includes those who turn to the deeds of Hell by disbelieving or sinning, but they (the scholars) differ with regard to whether they will abide therein forever or not. The kaafir will abide in Hell forever, but the sinner who dies believing in Tawheed will not abide therein forever, as stated above. In this hadeeth there is a clear confirmation of the divine decree, and that repentance erases all sins that came before it, and that whatever state a person dies in, he will be judged accordingly, whether it is good or bad, but those who commit sins other than kufr are subject to the will of Allah. End quote.
What should be noted in this context is that the same hadeeth which confused you also contains the answer to this confusion. That is because it does not only confirm the concept of the divine decree and Allah’s prior knowledge of His creation and His prior writing of their deeds, but in this and similar texts, in addition to all that, there is also affirmation of His commands and prohibitions, and that Allah does not punish them or bless them on the basis of His knowledge concerning them only, but rather on the basis of what they did and earned themselves.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
This hadeeth and similar reports point to two concepts:
1 – The prior decree, which means that Allah already knows who are the people of Paradise and who are the people of Hell before they do any deeds. This is true and must be believed in. Indeed the imams, such as Maalik, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad, have stated that the one who denies this is a kaafir. Rather we must believe that Allah knows everything that is going to happen before it happens, and we must believe in what He has told us that He has decreed will happen and has told us of it before it happens.
2 – That Allah knows all things the way they are, and He has made for things means that may lead to these things. So He knows that these things could result from these means, as He knows that this man may have a child by means of having intercourse with a woman that makes her pregnant. If this man says: Allah knows that I am going to have a child so there is no need for me to have intercourse, then he is a fool, because Allah knows that it will come about by means of what He has decreed of intercourse. Similarly a man knows that crops will grow as the result of his watering the seeds that he has planted, but if he says: He knows that it will happen so there is no need to plant seeds, then he is ignorant and misguided because Allah knows what will come about by those means.
Similarly, if He knows that this one will be blessed in the Hereafter and that one will be doomed, we say: it is because that one does the deeds of the doomed, so Allah knows that he will be doomed because of his deeds. If it is said that he is doomed even if he does not do anything, this is false, because Allah does not admit anyone to Hell except for his sin, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “That I will fill Hell with you [Iblees (Satan)] and those of them (mankind) that follow you, together” (Saad 38:85). So He swore to fill it with Iblees and his followers, and those who follow Iblees have disobeyed Allah, may He be exalted, but Allah does not punish anyone for what He knows he will do until he does it.
Similarly Allah has decreed Paradise for the people who believe in Him and obey Him, so the one who is decreed to be one of them is guided by Allah to believe and obey. The one who says, I will enter Paradise whether I am a believer or a disbeliever, if He knows that I am one of its people, is fabricating a lie against Allah. Allah knows that he will be admitted to it by faith, so if he does not have faith he will not be the one who Allah knew would enter Paradise, rather he will be not a believer but a kaafir, and Allah knows that he will be one of the people of Hell, not one of the people of Paradise.
Hence Allah commanded people to pray, seek forgiveness from Allah and other means. The one who says, I will not pray or ask, and I will rely on the divine decree, is also mistaken, because Allah has made praying and asking means of attaining His forgiveness, mercy, guidance, support and provision. If He has decreed some good for a person to be attained by means of du’aa’ that will not be attained it without du’aa’. What Allah has decreed and knows about people’s situations and how their lives will end, it is only decreed through the means that lead to that specific outcome. Nothing in this world or in the Hereafter happens except through means, and Allah is the Creator of the means and the ends.
With regard to this matter, two types of people go astray. There are those who believe in the divine decree and think that it is sufficient to attain one's aims, so they turn away from the prescribed means and righteous deeds. They will end up disbelieving in the Books of Allah, His Messengers and His religion.
(The other group) ask for reward from Allah as a hired man asks for his wages from his employer, relying on their own power, strength and deeds. These people are ignorant and misguided, because Allah has not enjoined His commands upon people out of need, and He has not imposed His prohibitions out of stinginess, rather He has enjoined what is in their best interests and He has forbidden that which is bad for them. As He says: “You will never be in a position where you are able to harm Me and you will never be in a position to benefit Me.”
The one who turns away from the commands and prohibitions, promises and warnings, and focuses only on the divine decree has gone astray, and the one who strives to follow the commands and prohibitions and ignores the divine decree has gone astray. Rather the believer is as Allah says: “You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)” (Al-Faatihah 1:5), so we worship Him by following the command, and we seek His help on the basis our belief in the divine decree. End quote.
Muqtatafaat min Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (8/66 ff).
And Allah knows best.
I heard only 3 things in Islam that are predestined: birth, death and rizq. However someone recently told me, that marriage is also included in this list and Allah has already decided? I would like to know if this is true or not, and my second question is: Is it true that du`aa can change our fate? Thank you.
It is true that birth, death and rizq have been predestined while the human being is just created in his or her mother's womb as the hadith in Sahih Muslim: "Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in the mother's belly for forty days in the form of a seed, then he is a clot of blood for a like period, then a morsel of flesh for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows the breath of life into him and who is commanded about four matters: to write down his means of livelihood, his life span, his actions, and whether happy or unhappy. By Allah, other than Whom there is no deity, verily one of you behaves like the people of Paradise until there is but an arm's length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him and so he behaves like the people of Hell-fire until there is but an arm's length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him and so he behaves like the people of Paradise and thus he enters it."
to this hadith, we believe everything in our life is predestined but at
the same time we do not know what Allah has written, and we choose in
our life our real fate. As the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)
said to his companion:
"Do your job
as everybody will be guided to what has been destined for him/her."
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net
I know that belief in the Qadar (Divine predestination) is a prerequisite for sound faith. However, I'd like to know if there is any conflict between the Qadar and Du`a'? How can the Du`a' influence one's Qadar, which is already predetermined by Allah, Most High. Jazakum Allah Khairan
Du`a’ is the essence of worship as stated in an authentic Hadith.
Qadar (Divine predestination) is a pillar of faith in Allah, as
the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, mentioned when asked by
Angel Jibril (Gabriel), peace be upon him, about Iman (faith),
saying: "It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His
Messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in Divine predestination,
both the good and the evil thereof." (Reported by Muslim)
"Qadar, or Divine predestination is of two kinds:
1. Unconditional predestination
2. Conditional predestination.
Du`a’ has nothing to do with the first kind, while it may change the second one. This ruling is based on the Hadith that reads: "Nothing could change the Qadar except Du`a’." (Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 5, Hadith no. 277; Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 3, Hadith no. 139; and classified as Hasan (good) Hadith by Al-Abaani in Sahih Al-Jami`, Hadith no. 7687)”
Shedding more light on this issue, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and member of the Fiqh Council of North America, answers:
"Du`a' has great power; it can change many things. We should always pray to Almighty Allah and should never give up hope in the acceptance of Du`a'. Du`a’ is the most important act of worship. It does not mean that we or any other human or jinn have power, but it means that Allah, the Almighty, has power and He can do whatever He wills. Du`a’ is the recognition and acknowledgement of our dependence upon Allah, Most High, and our deep faith that He can change anything. There are many verses in the Qur'an and many Hadiths that emphasize the importance and necessity of Du`a'. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Du`a’ benefits in the things that have happened as well as the things that have not happened yet. The calamity comes down, but the Du`a’ confronts it and they may continuously wrestle until the Day of Resurrection." (Reported by Al-Hakim.)
Hadith, it is reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon
"Nothing can change the Qadar except the Du`a’…"
This Hadith is reported by several authorities on Hadith, such as Imam
Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, Al-Hakim, and Ibn Majah… etc. Most of the scholars of
Hadith consider it an acceptable Hadith.
A. Those that are known as Qada' Mubram (absolute decrees);
B. Those that are known as Qada' Mu`allaq (conditional decrees).
The absolute decrees do not change, but the conditional one may change if and when the conditions are fulfilled. Such decrees are based on the fulfillment of causes, as well as Du`a’. However, it is important to keep in mind that every thing is in the pre-existent knowledge of Almighty Allah. The knowledge of Allah, Most High, does not change, but the conditional decrees may change. Allah Almighty says in the Qur'an: "Allah effaceth what He will, and establisheth (what He will), and with Him is the source of ordinance." (Ar-Ra`d: 39)
Some people raise this question: if Allah Almighty knows the future and His knowledge is always true, then things must happen according to His knowledge. Then how can there be change and how can we say that we have freedom? Actually, Muslim scholars have pointed out that knowledge (`Ilm) is an illuminative, but not necessarily always an effective, attribute. Allah the Almighty does know everything, but in whatever areas He has given us freedom to act, we do act freely. We are responsible for the things in which we have freedom. He will judge us according to the freedom that He has given us.
The great scholar of Islam, Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah bless his soul, states: "Allah Almighty has created His creation with some causes. He has commanded His servants to follow those causes in order to receive His forgiveness, His mercy and His reward in this life and in the Hereafter. Whoever thinks that he or she can achieve anything simply by trust and by neglecting the causes that Allah Almighty has commanded him or her to follow; or whoever thinks that objects do not depend on the causes, is really mistaken." (Al-Fatawa, 8/530)"
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net
If a person had no chance to learn about Islam and have died as a polytheist, what will be his fate at the Judgment Day? Will he be responsible for his ignorance?
And also, if a Christian person was very good in this life, what will be his fate? He will be punished in the Hell with atheists and polytheists forever?
The first rule decided by Allah Almighty is that He does not punish people without sending a messenger to guide them and convey the message. So, with regard to this person, there will be two situations:
One is when the da`wah was conveyed to him without our notice, then he would have refused after being informed.
Or he might have not been approached by anyone in this life and he himself did not make effort to find it out by himself.
In the latter case, this person will be tested on the Day of Judgment and his decision is in Allah’s control; so Allah will not punish him before establishing the proof on him.
The same rule applies to Christians because after Islam the deen acceptable to Allah is Islam. If he was good in this life, Allah will reward him in this life only. The Qur’an tells us: “There are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us (Thy bounties) in this world!" But they will have no portion in the Hereafter.” (Al-Baqarah 2:200) But if he wants the reward in the Hereafter, he should follow the path of Islam.
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net
I have heard in certain lectures given by the shaikhs here in America who consider themselves Salafee, say things like this: My mother is a kafira and I know she is going to hell. Saying that they know for sure that a certain person is going to hell, is this permissible in Islam? Can we say that a certain person is going to Jahannam because of their religion?
Answer: Praise be to Allah.
According to Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, the basic principle is that the issue of who will go to Paradise and who will go to Hell is the matter of ‘aqeedah based on what is said in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and there is no room for reasoning or ijtihaad in this matter.
If the Qur’aan or Sunnah says that a specific person will be in Paradise or Hell, we bear witness to that. At the same time we hope that those who do good will go to Paradise and fear that those who do bad will go to Hell, but Allah knows best how people will end up.
The issue of saying who will go to Paradise or Hell may be divided into two categories:
1. General statements, which have to do with people’s qualities, such as saying, “Whoever associates anything with Allah in an act of major shirk is a kaafir who is beyond the pale of Islam, and will be in Hell.”
Similarly we say that whoever fasts Ramadaan out of faith and in the hope of receiving reward will be forgiven his previous and future sins, and that an acceptable Hajj has no other reward but Paradise. There are many such statements in the Qur’aan and saheeh Sunnah.
If a person asks, “Will the one who calls on anything other than Allah and seeks the help of anyone but Allah be in Paradise or Hell?” we would say that he is a kaafir who will be in Hell, if he is shown clear evidence that he is wrong but he stills persists and dies believing that.
If it were said, Whoever does Hajj then does not commit any obscene or immoral act, and dies after his Hajj, for example, what will his fate be? We would say that he is in Paradise. Or the person whose last words in this life are Laa ilaaha ill-Allah will be in Paradise, and so on.
All of this has to do with people’s qualities and does not apply to any specific, named person.
2. Specific statements referring to people by name, stating that a particular person will be in Paradise or in Hell. This is not permissible except in cases where Allah or His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have informed us of it.
Whoever Allah or His Messenger have mentioned by name and stated that they will be in Paradise are definitely among the people of Paradise, such as the ten who were given the good news of Paradise (al-‘asharah al-mubashsharah), foremost among whom are the four Khulafa’, Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan and ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with them.
Those who the Qur’aan and Sunnah mention by name and state that they will be in Hell are definitely among the people of Hell, such as Abu Lahab and his wife, Abu Taalib, ‘Amr ibn Lahiy, and others.
I would like to know, if "Allah" has your fate written already and in your kismat it says you will kill someone how do you stop this and why should you be punished for this as there is no way you can stop it from happening.
Answer: Praise be to Allah.
Allah has decreed what He has decreed. One of the pillars of faith is to believe in al-qadaa’ wa’l-qadar (the Divine will and decree). Allah has created people and He knows what they are going to do, because of His vast knowledge. He has given His slaves freedom of will, and has shown us the right path, so whoever does good, it is for his own benefit, and whoever does evil, it will count against him. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning);
“So whoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. (7) And whoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.” [Az-Zalzalah 99:7-8]
And Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“By Nafs (Adam or a person or a soul), and Him Who perfected him in proportion; (7) Then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right for him. (8) Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself i.e. obeys and performs all that Allâh ordered… (9) And indeed he fails who corrupts his ownself (i.e. disobeys what Allâh has ordered …)” [Ash-Shams 91:7-10]
No sir, my answer has taken Islamic teachings into account, because God has instructed us to look around us and learn from the lessons that life events may place before our eyes.
He says in the Qur'an: "Say: Consider what is it that is in the heavens and the earth; and signs and warners do not avail a people who would not believe." (Younus 10:101)
The Qur'anic verses and the Hadiths that call on us to study, reflect, take heed and learn are numerous indeed. Besides, we have learned from Islam as well as from what we see around us that there is a law of cause and effect which operates by God's will. For example, fire burns. Therefore, when you put something close to a fire, it is burned. If you light up a match and put your finger on top of its flame, you will immediately feel a burning sensation. If you do not, no such feeling will be experienced by you. This is an example of the working of the law of cause and effect. You do not place your finger close to the flame of a match and say that God's will may prevent the fire from burning it. It is certainly true that God may stop the action of the fire, but it is His will that fire should burn. Therefore, when we place things in a fire they are burned. This applies to everything and all conditions and situations in life.
A person who smokes has a much higher risk of suffering one of the serious diseases that smoking causes, such as a wide variety of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic bronchitis, etc. Most of these are fatal. Therefore, the effect of being a heavy smoker is likely to be the suffering of one or more of these diseases, any of which can cause death. That same person would most probably not suffer from the disease which kills him if he does not smoke. If we were to say that he would still have suffered the same disease, which is caused by nicotine or carbon monoxide, when he did not have either of them through smoking, then we are saying that an object could be burned without a fire, or drowned without coming near water.
Perhaps you would say that he might not have suffered that disease, but he would still die at the same moment, by some other reason. I would say that we do not know that, but most probably he would have lived longer, because he would be enjoying better health over a longer period of his life. Here we come to the Hadith which you have mentioned, and which is at the center of this argument. There is no doubt that the Hadith is authentic. Let us not speak about the details of the writing and why it should be written, or where it is written, etc.
We know than an angel writes down four things, including the duration of the life of the yet unborn baby. Now, the angel does not determine that duration. It is God who determines it, according to His knowledge which is perfect, absolute, unlimited by the confines of time or place. I have explained on several occasions that God's knowledge is perfect and complete. Nothing is added to it as a result of any event, because time does not apply to God in the same way as it applies to us. When God instructs the angel to write these four things, He is fully aware what the person concerned will be doing in his life and what harm he will cause to himself and what damage to his health he may perpetrate. He takes into account the effect of all these on his health and knows whether he will have lung cancer as a result of smoking or coronary heart disease as a result of drinking, or he would be obese as a result of overeating and lack of exercise. So He gives him forty or fifty or sixty years of life in accordance with the effect of so many factors on his health and on his life as a whole.
God will certainly give a longer life duration to a person whom He knows will be following a healthy lifestyle. Now the choice of lifestyle is a personal choice, which we do by our own free will. Had our actions been imposed on us by God's will, then God would not have held us to account for what we do in this life. It is because He has given us free will that He subjects us to His judgment on the day of resurrection. He knows that what we do is our own personal choice. Therefore, we cannot escape the consequences.
Moreover, there are authentic Hadiths which speak of prolonging life. In one of these, the Prophet is quoted as saying: "He who likes to be given an increase of provisions and a longer duration of life should be dutiful to his parents."
Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
· "What is the purpose of L I F E?"
· "My life?"
· "Your Life?"
People everywhere are asking the questions; "What is the purpose of life?" and "Why are we here?" You might be amazed to learn, that Islam is providing clear and concise answers for these questions.
Most of those who reflect or think about life in any detail will consider and ponder these questions. There are as many different answers to these questions as there are people asking the questions. Some would hold that the purpose of life was to acquire wealth. Yet suppose they were to acquire millions of dollars, what then would they claim is their purpose after doing so?
If the purpose of life is to become wealthy, there would be no purpose after becoming wealthy.
The fact is that when people approach their purpose here in this life from the aspect of only gaining wealth, after collecting the money they have dreamed of their lives loose purpose and then they live in restless tension suffering from a feeling of worthlessness.
How could wealth then be considered as the aim of life?
Could the acquisition of wealth guarantee happiness? Of course not.
When we hear of millionaires or members of their families committing
suicide, how could we consider the purpose of life would be to gain
Wealth and its accumulation as a purpose would be doomed to a temporary
success at best and in the end it would only spell out self destruction.
The word for total surrender, submission, obedience, purity of heart and peace in the Arabic language is "Islam". Those who try to perform these actions are called "MU-slims" [Islam-ERs].
To a Muslim the whole purpose of life is "ibadah" or worship to the One True Almighty God on Terms and under His Conditions.
The term "worship" to a Muslim includes any and all acts of obedience to Almighty Allah.
So his purpose of life is a standing purpose; Worshipping Allah by accepting Allah's Will over his own.
This act of ibadah [worshipping, thanking and extolling the Greatness Almighty Allah on His Terms and Conditions] is for the Muslim, throughout his whole life regardless of the stage. Whether he is a child, adolescent, adult or aged person, he is seeking after the Will of the Almighty in all these stages.
His life here on earth although short, is full of purpose and is totally
meaningful within the complete framework of total submission [Islam].
Because Islam teaches that this life is only a test or trial for the individual to show him his true nature it is only natural that he would accept death as not so much an ending to everything but more as a beginning of the final and lasting life in the Hereafter.
Before entering into either of the final lodging places i.e.; Heaven or Hell, there must needs be a Day of Judgment or showing of one's true self to make them aware of their own nature and thereby understand what they have sent on ahead during the life here on the earth.
Every person will be rewarded [or punished] according to their attitude, appreciation and efforts during this stay on earth. None will be asked about the actions and beliefs of others, nor will anyone be asked regarding that which he was unaware of or incapable of doing.
As the life here is considered as an examination for the individual, the death stage is considered as a resting period after the test. It could be easy for those who were faithful and dedicated or it could be grueling and horrible for the wicked.
Reward and punishment will be in direct proportion to each person and it
is only Allah, alone who will be the Final Judge over us all.
· The first life is a test.
· The life in the grave is a resting or waiting place before the Day of Judgment
The Day of Judgment brings about the clear understanding of what will
now happen to the individual based on his own desires and actions.
Following this clear understanding of life, the Muslim's purpose is clear.
First of all, he has no doubt in his mind that:
· He is only created by Allah.
· He is going to spend a period of time in this material world [called "Ad Dunyah" in Arabic]
· He knows he will die.
He knows he will spend time in the grave, either pleasant or difficult
depending on his own choice of attitude and actions
· He knows he will be judged according to the most fair of standards by Allah the Almighty, the All Knowing.
· He realizes his attitude and actions are going to come under very close scrutiny.
· He knows that this short life compared to the Eternal Life was in fact, only for a test.
This life is very meaningful and purposeful to the Believing Muslim, as he realizes that it will determine is outcome and permanent position in the Next Life.
The Muslim's permanent purpose is to Surrender, Submit, Obey, in Purity
and Peace to Allah the Almighty, carrying out His Orders and staying in
some form of worship to Him as much as possible everyday.
· Establishing the regular five times ritualistic prayer [salat] in the stated times (in the mosques for the men when possible)
· Paying the charity tax [Zakat = about 2.5% of one's holdings - not his income, annually]
· Fasting the month of Ramadhan [lunar calendar]
· Pilgrimage to the House of Allah in Mecca at least once in the life of the person, provided he has the ability and the way is safe.
For a disbeliever the purpose of this life is to collect and amass great
wealth, money, power and position. Over indulging in eating, drinking,
drugs, sex and gambling are a high priority to them. But all of this
will not avail them anything good in the grave, on the Day of Judgment
or in the Next Life. Eventually he will be faced with the question:
· Now what?
· What's Next?
· Where am I going?
· What will happen to me?
He will come to know. For sure he will come to know. But then what will the knowledge avail him?
Look how Islam solves the mystery of the puzzle of life. It provides the answers to the questions and concerns of the human beings on all levels and in every aspect. It is really quite simple.
The purpose of life as understood by the Believing Muslim can be simply stated in only two (2) words:
· Obey God.
Our only purpose and salvation lie in these two words.
We must come to know our Creator, Sustainer and Ultimate Judge. We must
learn to believe in Him, thank Him, praise Him, honor Him and worship
Him, alone without any partners from His Creation. We must learn about
His Messengers and Prophets, peace be upon them, and the message with
which they were all sent. We must learn the Word of God as was directly
revealed, preserved and memorized and passed down by memory throughout
all the generations of Muslims to the present day.
Excerpted with slight modifications from:www.islamtomorrow.com/