A6.1 Within the knowledge of Allah (The Exalted) there is what was going to happen in the world and whatever servants were going to do, Allah (The Exalted) found this out from the beginning and wrote it down.
(It was written because we were going to do it and not because Allah wrote it and we did it.)
A6.2 He wrote goodness in some people’s fate and wrote badness in another person’s fate. He did not make the person helpless by writing this down, but wrote down what the servant was going to do.
A6.3 If He wrote evilness in a person’s fate then this is because the person was going to perform evilness and if He wrote righteousness in a person’s fate then this is because the person was going to perform righteousness.
A6.4 Allah (The Exalted’s) knowledge or due to Allah (The Exalted) writing this down did not make a person helpless.
A6.5 It is forbidden to discuss or debate the subject of destiny, a person should only think they are not helpless like stones and therefore cannot do anything according to their will, but actually Allah (The Exalted) has given humans the power to do as they please and the reward and sin is based upon this power of will.
A6.6 To believe yourself as totally without will or totally helpless is a misguided belief.
A6.7 After performing bad deeds you should not say that this happened because it was Allah (The Exalted’s) will and therefore it was in my destiny, but all good things are done with the pleasure of Allah (The Exalted) and all bad deeds are done with the pleasure of one’s desires.
Let’s look at a story of two skydivers to understand how all of this works together. This is not a true story.
There were two friends, Abdur Rahman and Abdullah. They were both Muslim but not practicing Muslims, meaning they didn’t pray Salah, fast, give zakah or perform Hajj. They only prayed on when they went to Friday Jumuah, and only went to Friday Jumuah when they had nothing better to do.
They both lived what people these days call a “great life.” They liked football, cricket, rock climbing, and mountain biking. But the one sport they had yet to try was skydiving. So they decided to sign up for skydiving lessons together. They went through a two week course, and were soon ready to go up in a plane just to leap out.
One beautiful sunny day, they climbed aboard a privately owned Cessna 182 (plane), giddy and happy to try their hand at skydiving. The plane took off from the runway and was soon cruising 10,000 feet above the earth. Before long, it was time for the jump. Abdur Rahman wanted to go first. He was always the less patient of the two. He checked his equipment, made sure everything was in order, gave his friend the thumbs up sign, and jumped out. Abdur Rahman had never felt such joy and freedom. His initial fear was overcome by the feeling of pure freedom. He didn’t even feel like he was falling. He felt like he was flying.
He moved his arms and legs in different directions to make his body spin and twirl through the air. The ground looked so far away; he thought he’d never reach it. Finally, after about two minutes of free fall, it was time to pull his ripcord. He reached for it, pulled, and waited for the jerk of his parachute. But there was no jerk.
Okay, Abdur Rahman nervously thought to himself, no need to panic. There’s a second cord. He reached and pulled that one. Once again, no chute. Now he panicked. What was fun and exciting a few seconds ago was suddenly scary and foolish. Why did he ever do this? Why did he let that idiot Abdullah talk him into this? The ground no longer looked far away. In fact, it was horribly close and getting closer by the second. This couldn’t be happening! This wasn’t right. He was only 25! He had so much life to live. He wanted to get a good career. He wanted to get a higher degree. He wanted to visit places in Europe and America. This was not fair! How could God do this to him? Why was Allah going to let him die like this? What had he ever done to deserve this? (These words are not allowed, we cannot complain to Allah and blame Him, this is HARAM!)
In his last moment, with his last breath, Abdur Rahman cursed God for being unfair and was thus cursed forever. Abdullah did not see what happened to his friend. He watched Abdur Rahman jump of out the plane and then lost sight of him. It didn’t matter. They would certainly meet up on the ground, safe and unharmed. Like Abdur Rahman, Abdullah was thrilled by the joy of the dive. He also felt like he was flying through space and his body was a rocket ship. And when it was time to pull the cord, his also failed. The second one didn’t work either.
Abdullah realised his end was near. He thought about all the things he had done throughout his life. All the missed prayers. The forgotten fasts. The delayed Hajj. The denied charity (zakah). He thought about the parties, the girls, the drinks and all the other stuff he was going to meet Allah with. And he was scared. Not so much about death, but about meeting Allah with so much sin on him. Abdullah knew he only had a few minutes until his death, so he decided it was best to beg Allah for forgiveness. It was time to repent for everything he had done wrong in his life. He knew he should have done it earlier, but hey, better late than never!
So he began to repent and make dua to Allah to forgive him for his sins. He repented for everything he could remember and even those things he didn’t. He only wished he could have spent more time worshiping Allah and less time having fun. Suddenly, as the earth rushed towards him with merciless fury, Abdullah felt a jerk. His chute had suddenly opened up! He was so close to the ground now that it only slowed down his descent. But it was enough to keep him alive. He fell through a tree, hit every branch on the way down, and landed with a thud that broke virtually every bone in his body. But he was alive!
Days later, while recovering in his hospital room after surgery, Abdullah decided to make a change. He vowed to live his life in accordance with Islamic principles. He never missed a single prayer after that. He never touched another drink nor went to another party. After completing his Masters, he shocked his family by announcing he was getting married at the young age of 26 and going overseas to study Islam. He wanted to be a scholar and teach Islam to others. From that point on, Abdullah lived his life as an excellent Muslim and served Allah to the best of his abilities.
Destiny and Decree (The Moral of the story)
This story should illustrate how Qadar and Qadaa (destiny and decree) work together. It will also show that we have free will and are not being treated unjustly by Allah.
Both of these young men were living lives that would lead them to hell. They were only nominal Muslims and were fully engaged in living a sinful life. They made choices that eventually led them to jump out of a plane. All of these things they did were recorded in the Preserved Tablet (Lowhe Mahfooz) long before the world was created. This was their Qadar; their destiny. But it was Allah’s decree that their parachutes would fail. This was something they had no control over.
Perhaps if Abdur Rahman had asked Allah for forgiveness, perhaps he would have been forgiven. Only Allah knows. But the point is that Abdur Rahman did what came easy to him. He cursed Allah and was thus doomed to hell.
Abdullah on the other hand did what came easy to him. Despite his previous shortcomings, he still believed in Allah, even though that belief was weak. Abdullah also made the conscious decision to use what little time he had to repent for his sins. Rather than waste time panicking and screaming, he prayed and made dua.
As it turns out, Allah did not decree for Abdullah to die that day. Allah decreed for the chute to open, and for Abdullah to live longer. Abdullah then makes the decision, with his own free will, to change his life around and become a more dutiful slave of Allah.
So where Abdullah was at one point headed to hell, what was written caught up to him, and he began to do the actions of the people of paradise. Hopefully, this was a good introduction to the subject of destiny, fate, qadar, and qadaa