How many times have people shrugged their shoulders and said, “God didn’t want it for me.” Another good one is, “If God wanted, He would have given it to me!” And the list of excuses go on. Imagine a farmer who didn’t plant his crops properly and was lazy to take care of it. When harvest season came he couldn’t reap much benefit from his crops. Would it make sense if the farmer blamed God for not attaining generous produces?
Islam teaches to first do our part and then rely on God’s assistance. There is a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
“A man said, ‘O Messenger of God, should I tie up my camel and rely on God, or should I leave it loose and rely on Him?’ The Prophet replied, ‘tie it up and rely on God.” [al-Tirmidhi]
One of the important factors of being a Muslim is belief in predestination. Predestination is divine decree of all things before their creation. God wrote down His perfect Will in a precious book called the “Book of Preordainment.” Now here’s the question, is what God wrote the reason for our actions? God is The Just so He would never be unjust to any of His creation. Our actions stem from our own free will. However what we do, God is already aware of. To understand, we need to know that predestination has two parts.
God is All-Knowing
The first part is that we know God is in charge of all things in the universe and beyond. He has infinite knowledge of the past, present, and future. Not a leaf falls from the tree but He knows of it. God says in the Quran,
“He is God besides whom there is none worthy of worship the all Knower of the seen and the unseen. He is the Most Gracious the Most Merciful.” [Quran 59:22]
God had written everything about His creation before He created the heavens and the earth! Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“God decided the decrees of creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth…” [Muslim]
Our Free Will
The second part of belief in predestination is that we make our own choices. Yes, God has given us the freedom to make decisions which is a great courtesy from Him. We have the right to choose our own paths by accepting what we want and rejecting what we don’t want. God has bestowed every individual with many gifts and talents, and it is up to us how we make use of it. Whether we will be grateful towards our Lord or unappreciative, it is totally up to us.
Picture a teenager who just asked his parents if he could go to his friend’s house. They ask if his homework is done. He says no, so they tell him he can not go until he finishes his school work. Instead, he decides to sneak out of the house and goes to his friend’s house. Even though he lives in his parent’s house and should obey their rules, he has the free will to decide to disobey them. Likewise, God sets rules but gives us the freedom to choose how we will live our lives.
Avoiding the Blame Game
Just because God knows what our actions will be and has allowed them to happen by decreeing it, doesn’t mean we should not take responsibility for our own actions. Instead of blaming fate and being apathetic, we should always try to do or be the best in any situation. In that way every effort we make with good intention can be rewarded. God will Judge each of us based on our individual choices.
Justice and Fairness
Imagine a kingdom ruled by a king and one of the member of the palace breaks a rule. How do you think the king will react? Most probably that person will be punished for his crime. However, God gives us chance after chance to turn towards Him and accept the truth. God is never unjust to His creation. God has already showed us the light and the path towards His pleasure. For the ones who were patient and worked to obey God, He has prepared Paradise. And for those who ran far away from virtue, their destination will be away from any sort of goodness.
God’s Purpose For Us
Definitely God knows what will happen to everyone. He knows which of us will choose guidance and which of us will go astray. However, this does not mean that we live our life with our eyes shut. God has sent His Messengers, His Books, and His guidance for a purpose. This purpose should give us a strong reason in life, which is to submit, obey and worship the One and Only God. When we believe in God, then we become a representative of Him on earth. We all have a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s about time we accept it.