Sunday, March 31, 2013

EXPLORING THE CONCEPT OF DESTINY

Assalam oalaikum,

So far I have mentioned about the factors which show us that palmistry is a complete hoax. Any kind of fortune telling is strictly prohibited in Islam. I have also discussed that the root cause of all these fake practices such as palmistry, horoscopes, tarot cards etc is the irresistible desire to know about one’s future, beforehand. Some people believe that being forewarned is forearmed. So they think that if they know about any impending calamity beforehand so they can take requisite steps to curtail or avert the damage. This fear arises due to insecurities and lack of faith in Allah (swt). I shall not discuss about his point here as I am inclined towards something else, which is the primary factor that makes people indulge in the malpractices such as palmistry- namely the curiosity to know about one’s future.
But what exactly is the future or destiny?
Is it in our hands or is it being controlled by someone else? Do we build our own future through hard work, right strategies, right attitude and right decisions or is it something preordained, i.e. has it been decided in advance for us and we merely have to play our part like puppets? The questions are simply many, but the answer is only one. The issue of destiny is quite a sensitive and intricate one. Hence, it should be dealt with carefully. Exploring and understanding this issue in the light of Islam is necessary so that we do not indulge in any kind of ignorance or sin. Remember, we first need to study this matter in its various perspectives in order to shed all the wrong notions associated with it. After all it is only in the light of reality that we can see clearly things and stop groping in the dark.

I have tried to interpret the Islamic concept of destiny and all its facets systematically, for a better understanding.

Firstly, Allah (swt) has written our destinies in the sacred tablet in the Heaven, which is known as the Loh-e-Mehfuz. This shows that our destinies are predetermined. We cannot make our future bright ourselves unless luck is on our side. We cannot decide or influence our time of birth or death. There is a hadith to substantiate this fact that destiny is preordained. According to that hadith, Hudhaifa b. Usaid reported directly from Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) that he said, ‘When the drop (of semen) remains in the womb for forty or fifty (days) or forty nights, the angel comes and asks: My Lord, will he be good or evil? And both these things would be written. Then the angel asks, ‘My lord! Would be male or female? And both these things are written. And his deeds and actions, his death, his livelihood; these are also recorded. Then this document of destiny is rolled and there is no addition to and subtraction from it’. In the light of this hadith we can conclude that the statement that ‘Man is the master of his own destiny’, is a misconception. In another hadith, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said, ‘I fear on account of my nation three things, after my death. I fear that their Imams leader would oppress them, that they would believe in astrology and that they would disbelieve predestination. (Referred by Ibn Akasir and Ibn-Abdul Barr).
 After getting to know about the preordainment of our destiny, some people start drawing the wrong conclusions. They begin to argue that if everything is predetermined so what is the need for us pray since we will eventually get only as much as we are ordained to get? What is the need to work hard when we may easily get what we are destined to get? Why should a murderer or a thief be accused if he was destined, by the Divine Decree, to commit a murder or theft? As a matter of fact, the predetermination of destiny does not imply that man has no choice. At every step in life, we do get options and we also have the freedom to choose the option which we prefer. The option that we ultimately choose is written in our destiny beforehand, because Allah (swt) is the All-Knowing. He knows well that when confronted with a situation, which way we will eventually choose. Besides this, there are two views about destiny, one being that man is constrained by whatever has been ordained by the Divine Decree. He has no freedom of choice and he has to play his role, just like a puppet. The second opinion is that man is the powerful enough to do as he pleases. He can control his destiny and has complete freedom. Both these viewpoints oscillate between the two extremities of complete freedom and complete bondage and neither of them is true. Man has the choice to lead his life either according to the Will of Allah (swt) or according to his own whims and fancies. The conscience of a man prods him to do good deeds whereas the Satan, who is man’s biggest enemy, entices him to do evil deeds. If a man has a strong faith then he resists the Satanic temptations at all costs.
The concept of destiny is definitely intriguing. However, too much curiosity about destiny has been forbidden. In a hadith Sayyindina Hurairah (ra) says that once Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) appeared while a group of Companions (ra) were discussing about the concept of destiny. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) forbade them from discussing about this concept. He said that the concept of destiny was meant to be believed in but not argued and debated on. He had got infuriated on hearing the discussion of the Companions and had asked, ‘Is this what you have been commanded with or was I commissioned with this? Those before were destroyed because they had started discussing at length the concept of destiny. I command you not to discuss the concept of destiny’. (Mishkat-al Masabeeh)

So, I guess we should abide by the orders of Prophet Mohammad (saw) and stop behaving contentiously for our betterment.

In my next post, I shall Inshallah discuss about the tactics used by the palmists to fool around the people.  

Keep Me In Your Prayers.
Amel Soname
Amel_soname@yahoo.com

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