Significance of Iman in Good or Bad Destiny
“Man is a (strange) creature, when we grant favor on him, he behaves arrogantly and turns his back, but when misfortune befalls him, he begins to lose heart.”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Faith in Destiny is a fundamental subject of Iman.” (Abu Dawud)
“Qadr” is the Islamic terminology that denotes ‘Destiny’. Generally, it is expressed as “Taqdeer”, “Naseeb”, Fate, Luck etc. The following points refer to the meaning and benefits of Faith in Destiny:
- Everything that happens or will happen to a person in this life or in life after death is in the knowledge of Allah before it is going to happen and is inscribed in the “Book of Decrees”. This fact is stated in verse 22, chapter 57 of the Quran.
- The fate of a person depends on how he or she uses his or her “free will” with respect to obeying the order of Allah. The below verse refers to the fact that Allah has given human beings free will:
“This is the truth from your Lord: Now whoever ‘will’ may accept it and whoever ‘will’ may reject it” (Quran 18:29).
- Based on acceptance or denial of the Order of Allah, everyone gets reward or punishment from Him. Allah says:
“Everyone will enjoy the fruits of the good that he has earned and shall suffer for the evil that he has committed.” (Quran 2:286).
- Human beings are responsible for their own deeds done by them of their free will. One cannot escape from the consequences of his own deeds. He gets that for which he has worked. By doing good deeds, one gets a good result and by doing evil deeds, a good result cannot be expected. There is no luck without any effort. Everyone needs to try to get what he or she desires. Allah says:
“Verily! Allah will not change the condition of people if they do not change their state themselves.” (Quran 3:11)
“Man is a (strange) creature, when we grant favor on him, he behaves arrogantly and turns his back, but when misfortune befalls him, he begins to lose heart.” (Quran 17:83)
The above reaction is generally observed in some people during good and bad times. However, a believer’s reaction to destiny is unique. When he succeeds in doing good deeds and gets a better result, he extends gratitude to Allah for His help in this achievement. He is not arrogant of his success, nor claims that this achievement is because of his performance. Similarly, if any misfortune happens to him, he neither blames fate nor breakdown nor loses hope. He considers this has happened with the approval of Allah for his weakness or as a test for him. Allah says:
“No affliction can ever appear except by permission from Allah. Whoever believes in Allah, Allah guides his heart and Allah has knowledge of everything” (Quran 64:11).
He also believes that Allah has given him the power to bear the hardship. He does not breakdown at misfortune. He faces the hardship with patience. He tries his best to overcome the difficulty. He never approaches unlawful means to overcome his hardship:
“Allah does not burden any human being with a responsibility heavier than he can bear” (Quran 2:286).
The message in above mentioned verse revitalizes a believer when he is tired at hard work. He gets extra strength and moves forward to complete his task. Thus, Faith in Fate leads to successful completion of any work by believers.
A believer believes that supplication and righteousness can bring a positive change in destiny. If any misfortune comes due to sin he has committed, he does not lose hope. He repents replaces the sin with good deeds. In this way, he does not continue to sink into more sins but gets out of it and proceeds on the right path.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Verily a man is deprived of Provision because of Sin he commits, only supplication changes destiny and only righteousness can increase the life span” (Nasai, Ibn Majah).
Sometimes hardship and misfortune happen as a test. Allah says:
“Indeed, we created man from a mixed sperm-drop, to try him, and therefore we made him capable of hearing and seeing. We showed him the way, whether to be grateful or disbelieving” (Quran 76:2-3).
Sometimes small punishment and hardship may happen in this world as a part of fate for correction from mistakes and sins. This is like an early warning to help people to protect themselves from repetition of committing sins and neglecting duties. This protects believers from repeated mistakes and save them from a bigger punishment in this life and in life after death. Allah says: “Even in this world we shall make them taste lesser torment before that great torment (in Afterlife) so that they repent and return (to right path)” (Quran 32:21).
A believer in “Fate” does not entirely depend on his good deeds. He does good deeds and tries to make deeds pure and prays to Allah for acceptance. Remembering Allah during any action, helps to make the efforts sincere and pure. Allah bless sincere and pure efforts in achieving fortune.
While continuing to strive for the best, a believer also relies on Allah for results. Reliance on Allah about fate helps to avoid unlawful actions in time of hardship. Allah protects such believers in all situations: “Truly Allah defends those who believe. Verily Allah does not like anyone who disobeys Him” (Quran 22:38).
Sometimes, hardship and difficulty may also happen in the life of a true believer. This is only because Allah wants to elevate his status in this world and in the afterlife through his patience during hardship. In fact, these types of virtuous believers who are patient during hardship and at times of difficulty always have peace of mind.
The above Islamic concept of fate is very helpful for a balanced, peaceful, and beneficial life. This provides a believer contentment of the soul in all situations. His condition is much better compared to those who suffer from frustration at odds or show a rebellious attitude towards fate. Frustration by losing something (like money, jobs, death of relatives, sickness, etc.) may lead to further loss. For example, frustration and tension of a person who has lost his job may lead to sickness due to anxiety.
On the other hand, pride and unlawful temptations of more power and more wealth than what Allah already has given makes one aggressive for more and leads to dishonesty and rivalry. This is the reason we see corrupt leaders create anarchy in the country just to grab power unlawfully. We see greedy people in power enjoy national wealth unlawfully. Their actions increase injustice, oppression, and poverty in the country. Thus, peace and prosperity in the country is affected due to the lack of commitment to Faith in Destiny. We can only overcome these types of problems by humbleness and patience as per teachings of Islamic Faith about destiny.
People sometimes wonder if everything is predestined then why do we need to try? Once a companion of Prophet (PBUH) asked him this question. He asked: “O Messenger of Allah, why should we perform good deeds, why not depend upon our destiny? Thereupon he said; no perform good deeds, for everyone is facilitated in that for which he has been created “ ( Shahi Muslim 2647 ).
The beneficial relation between misfortune and fate is unique. Let us take an example from a real-life situation:
Suppose your son has gone to school but he has not yet returned, and it is getting late. Your stress and concern gradually increase with the passing of time. After some time, you call the school,then the hospital and finally the police station to inquire about where he is. You are now on the verge of collapsing due to stress and tension. About an hour later, you see your son enter the house with his friend with whom he went to enjoy a movie in a local Cineplex or attended the lecture of a scholar. Now what you do in this situation? If you had firm conviction in destiny (Qadr), you would not become nervous and would do everything for his safety without being stressed which would help you avoid any mistake in this process that usually happen due to anxiety. Remaining cool, working for his safety without anxiety and relying on Allah for whatever happens to him, is a requirement of ‘Iman in Destiny’, which would relieve your stress.
Suppose your son died due to a car accident. What should have been your response? If you break down at this loss and become nervous, you cannot bring him back. However, Iman in Destiny can help you to accept this loss and be patient. When any difficulty comes in the life of a believer, he accepts this with patience as this is what is decreed by Allah.
Thus, Faith in Destiny teaches us to be positive in attitude in all that matters to us. This sort of positive attitude saves us from breaking down during difficult times, provides patience to maintain normalcy at odds, and gives us strength and steadfastness to proceed forward peacefully with wisdom for success. Thus, Faith in Destiny provides peace, prosperity, and happiness in all situations.
Based on the above discussion with reference to the Quran and Hadith, Faith in Destiny may be summarised as follows:
A believer must continue to do good work and avoid unlawful actions by maintaining faith in Allah for the results of his or her actions. He or she should not break down at misfortune nor should be arrogant of any success. He or she should always rely on Allah for whatever happens in life. These type of behavior of a believer is the true reflection of Faith in Destiny. Only this type of faith in destiny brings contentment and success in life. Without this type of Faith in Destiny, no human being – rich or poor, strong, or weak, healthy, or sick – can avoid sufferings at difficult time and live with satisfaction and happiness in all situations.