Destiny in Islam: Revisited

Destiny in Islam: Revisited

Fate and Destiny Part 2

One of the most popular articles on this website is the one entitled Fate and Destiny in Islam. This page has brought me quite a few visitors over the past couple of years.

Yet, despite my sincerest desire to explain this difficult subject in a clear manner, I still get a lot of questions on the topic. Hence, I decided to revisit Qadar and Qadaa (predestination and decree) and delve deeper.

I realize now that I can’t do justice to this topic in one article. So I decided to turn it into an entire series. Inshallah, by the time all is said and done, you’ll have a good understanding of fate and destiny in Islam.

A Hadith About Destiny

I’m going to get things started by presenting a hadith about destiny. At first glance, this hadith might confuse you. But don’t worry; Inshallah, I plan to explain everything by the end of this post.

Verily the creation of each one of you is brought 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, then a morsel of flesh for a like period, then an angel is sent to him 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 he will be happy or wretched. By Allah, other than Whom there is no god, 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 and thus he enters it; and one of you 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.

Now reading this hadith, it may seem as if you have no choice in how things turn out. You might think you have no free will and that Allah has already planned out everything you’re going to do and that’s the end of the story.

Not so fast.

Let’s remember that Allah is perfectly just. He would not punish us for something that we have no control over. He would not arbitrarily make Joe Muslim do the actions of the people of paradise and then at the last moment make him do something that sends him to hell. That would not be just.

Nor would Allah make Joe Pagan do the actions of the people of hell and at the last moment he becomes like the people of paradise and is rewarded with heaven.

Things don’t happen like that.

Four Parts of Belief in Qadr (Destiny)

Before going any further, I must emphasize the fact that as a Muslim, you MUST believe in Qadr (destiny). Even if you don’t yet fully understand it, accept it for now. It is one of the articles of faith in Islam and cannot be discarded.

There are four parts to believing in Destiny in Islam. If you’re Muslim, I doubt you have any problem accepting any of them. But understanding them in the light of qadr and qadaa will help a lot with this difficult subject.

  1. Allah’s Knowledge: Basically, this is accepting that Allah knows EVERYTHING. He knows what has happened and what has not happened. He knows what would have happened if something did not happen. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, escapes His knowledge. Get it? Got it? Good.
  2. The Writing: This means that everything in existence, all actions, speech, events, EVERYTHING, was recorded in the Preserved Tablet (Lawhil Mahfuz). This is confirmed in the Quran where Allah states:  “Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy.” Chapter 22, verse 70.
  3. Allah’s Creation: Accepting that Allah has created all things. This includes physical things like humans and animals, as well as non-tangible things like our actions and world events.
  4. Allah’s Will: Accepting that nothing happens outside of Allah’s will. If Allah does not will for something to happen, then it will never take place. And if Allah wills for something to happen, then with absolute certainty, it will happen.

Qadar and Qadaa

Next, we have to try to truly understand the difference between Qadar and Qadaa. Often, Muslims use these two words interchangeably when in fact they are very different.

“Qadar” comes from the word Qadr which means “Power” or “Ability.” Qadar refers to the preordained chain of events that make up our destiny.

In other words, Qadar are the things that happen in all of our lives, both big and small. When you get up in the morning, pray, brush your teeth, eat breakfast and then head out for work, these are all part of your Qadar.

“Qadaa” means “decree” or “order.” A similar word is Qadiyy, which is a Judge.

When we use the the word Qadaa in this sense, we are talking about Allah’s decree. Your birth, your death, natural disasters, accidents, and things like this are all part of Allah’s decree. They are things that no one has any control over.

You have some control over your Qadar. You can choose to believe in Islam or not. You can choose to go to work or not. You can choose to run through the streets naked as a jaybird.

Or not.

But you have no control over Allah’s decree. You may choose to work, but you cannot choose to be wealthy. Your wealth is part of Allah’s decree.

You may choose to live a healthy lifestyle, but you cannot choose to always be healthy. If so, then no one would ever get sick! Sickness and health are part of Allah’s decree.

If you decide to work hard and live healthy, then you are living out what was written for you in the Preserved Tablet. And if such habits lead to more money and health, then that is Allah’s decree.

Likewise, if the stock market crashes and you lose all of your wealth, or if you are suddenly diagnosed with a serious illness, that is all part of Allah’s decree which you have no control over.

The benefit of understanding these facts is that it helps us to maintain an even keel in times of difficulty and ease. Knowing that calamities and blessings both come from Allah helps us to be patient and put our trust in Allah.

Two Skydivers

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. 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 an “extreme life.”

They liked rock climbing, and mountain biking, and scuba diving and all sorts of yuppie, upper-middle-class, spoiled American-type sports.

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, giddy and happy to try their hand at skydiving.

The plane took off from the runway and was soon cruising 10000 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 exhilaration 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 Hawaii.

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?

In his last moment, with his last breath, Abdur Rahman cursed God for being unfair and was thus cursed for eternity.

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 exhilaration 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 realized 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.

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 recuperating in his hospital room after extensive reconstructive 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 frequented 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 exemplary Muslim and served Allah to the best of his abilities.

Destiny and Decree

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 eons before the world was created. This was their Qadar; their destiny.

But it was Allah’s decree that their parachutes would malfunction. This was something they had no control over.

Perhaps if Abdur Rahman had asked Allah for forgiveness, perhaps he would have been pardoned. 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. Inshallah, we’ll continue this discussion in the coming weeks.

You may have questions about this topic and I encourage you to write them in the comments below. I will answer each one as best as I can.

Please continue to the next post in this series: Destiny in Islam: Allah’s Knowledge.

And Allah knows best.

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57 Responses to Destiny in Islam: Revisited

  1. Thank you. You have projected the concept of Qadar and Qadaa in such a pleasant and digestible way. I look eagerly to your next instalment, Insh-allah.

    • You’re welcome T Sadiq, Alhamdulillah. Inshallah the next installment in this series will begin to explain the four levels of belief in Qadar. Please make dua that I present the information accurately.

      • please do keep it coming brother I would like to hear more scenario’s stories that touches the urban muslim lifestyle in America and is wife and kids predestination also

  2. JazaakAllah for your article. I have a question for which please answer as best as possible inshaAllah.

    I understand that The Writing means that everything in existence, all actions, speech, events, EVERYTHING, was recorded in the Preserved Tablet (Lawhil Mahfuz). This is confirmed in the Quran where Allah states: “Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy.” Chapter 22, verse 70.

    AlhamdulilLaah. My question is if whatever is recorded in Lawhil Mahfuz is a ‘record’ of whatever human beings will do, choose etc. ,am I correct in understanding that the things in the BOOK are a record, that it is not something Allah(swt) decided for each human being before his creation – I hope you get my point – it is a record of the future – every minute details due to Allah’s infinite knowledge – but it is not Allah’s ‘decision’ on what a particular person will do – although he has all knowledge of what the person will do.

    I hope I have put my doubt clearly across.

    • As-Salaam Alaikum Sajja Ahmed,

      You are right that the Record (Al-Lawhil Mahfuz) is a recording of everything that will happen. This includes everything that will ever happen in the universe.

      It is not just a record of human events, but also a record of natural disasters. Even the movement of dust through the air or a leaf falling from a tree.

      You are right that it does not mean that Allah has predetermined what every person will do; it just means that Allah has pre-knowledge of everything that every person will do.

      And Allah knows best.

  3. I am still confused about some parts of this article. For example, the part in the story where Abdur Rahman’s parachute did not open- was that the Qadaa of Allah or the Qadar of whoever packed the parachute? And with examples used earlier, you may choose to work hard in life, but is your resulting wealth Allah’s Qadaa or your boss’s/customers Qadar? If many events are essentially a network of Qadar, then does that mean that Qadaa only applies to natural events such as earthquakes, tornadoes, famine, etc?

    Natural disasters are certainly decreed by Allah, and no human has a say in them- that is Qadaa. But if someone decided to not give you a paycheck or pack your parachute right, is that not their Qadar? Or is their Qadar Allah’s Qadaa?

    In short, I still don’t understand Qadaa and Qadar, unless Qadar is all human choice, and Qadaa is all natural events.


    • As-Salaamu Alaikum Imran,

      You’re not alone when you say this is a confusing subject. I’ll try to simplify it as best as I can and may Allah forgive me if I’m wrong.

      Allah controls everything. He has power over everything.

      Qadaa means decree. Qadr means destiny.

      You have the freedom to make your decisions. And your decisions affect your destiny.

      You have no control over Allah’s decree.

      You make the decision to take a certain job and work hard. This is your destiny.

      If someone decides not to pay you, they’ve made a decision and that may affect your destiny or it may not. If Allah has decreed for you to eat so much food and have so much wealth, you will still have it, regardless of what your boss does.

      The best thing I can advise you to do is just understand what you have control over: your actions. Do what is best with your actions and Allah will reward you accordingly.

      If Allah decrees adversity, accept them as His decree and He will reward you accordingly.

      Most things in life, you have no control over. Just focus on what you do have control over: Your Actions.

  4. As-Salaamu Alaikum,

    My question is related to Punishment and Reward. Please advise me.

    Q- Would it be right to say that Allah punishes or gives reward over our choice or intention (i.e. Qadr) and not the action itself (i.e. Qada). If we intend to steal some money tomorrow bur Allah decrees that we couldn’t find any money to steal, are we supposed to be punished too?

    Thanks and best regards

    • Wa Alaikum Salaam Mohamad Rosli,

      This is a good question. Please consider the following Hadit:

      He who intended to do good, but did not do it, one good was recorded for him, and he who intended to do good and also did it, ten to seven hundred good deeds were recorded for him. And he who intended evil, but did not commit it, no entry was made against his name, but if he committed that, it was recorded.
      Sahih Muslim

      From this, you can see that Allah does not punish for evil deeds that are not fulfilled. However, a person should work to keep evil intentions from ever entering their mind.

      And Allah knows best.

      • But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
        And he who intended evil, but did not commit it, no entry was made against his name, but if he commited that, it was recorded. This is a false teaching. If you have sin planted in your heart, you have already committed the sin as stated above.

        • Let me futher explain this and I am quoting the Holy Bible in the book of Matthew 5:28. If you have intent in your heart do do evil you have already commited sin in your heart. Evil desires lead to physical sin in the flesh. If you keep desiring to smoke a cigarette, your gonna smoke a cigarette. If you keep lusting after a women’s beauty, your gonna sleep with her. These examples go on and on with any evil intent, so it is best to keep a pure heart. This is done by recieving the holy spirit and living by spirit and not the flesh. The flesh was born into sin, but the holy spirit is born of God. Matthew 5:28 are the teachings of Jesus.

          • Let me take this a step further. EVIL DESIRES GIVE BIRTH TO SIN, SO KEEP A PURE HEART!

  5. Assalamoalaikum brothers and sisters in Islam.
    The question if Allah (swt) has written our destiny or not is so confusing. I have read articles about it but none have come to a logically answer. Islam is logic you will surely accept this. Science is proving everything mentioned in the Quran which people before us have not understand. Examples:verses where Allah (swt) talked about DNA and fingerprints. A simple example is when a certain Dr Moore read the Quran and saw the verses where Allah spoke about the formation of the baby in a mother womb. He converted to Islam. He uses his brain or is it his destiny to become muslim. These are a few examples but there so much in the Quran. Now let come to our question.
    Has Allah written our destiny. If yes one question to ask first is If someone is a drunkard which according to all of us Allah has written his destiny. So who can change his destiny. Who can go beyong or above the decree of Allah (SWt).
    According to me and some basic research I made I have come to the following:
    When Allah (swt) creates our Ruh He knows perfectly well (because Allah SWT knows the past the present and see the future) what we will do on the earth. Either we will be good, obedient to the saying of the messengers or not. He knows also that given that Ha has given us a perfect brain that we will used compare to other creatures which are some what like programmed. So Allah SWT knows that we will use it either in a good way or not. As He is filled with pity for us that why He sent down messengers and books to guide us in the path leading to the eternal world which He has promised. So He has given us the freewill to choose. Noone can accept that Allah has written him a bad destiny or good destiny. Everythings is done by us whether good or bad and according to our actions that we will be judge. If we accept that our destiny has been by Allah (SWT so what the purpose of judging us on the day of judgement. If a policeman tells you to drive in a no entry road and put you a contravention afterward. Surely you will tell him that you told me to drive so why you are giving me a contravention. Do you think it is fair. Surely not. So Allah SWT has not written that you will do this or that. Also we have heard that we are on a test here. If we having a test so where the question of destiny is then. Yes we are on a test except that we have been given all the answers in advance to pass this test. The answers are the teachings of messengers and books. If you read the Quran at many places Allah (SWT) invites us to use our brain to ponder on His creations. So if we rely on destiny when we will use our brain.

    I read in the Quran where Allah says something like this: everything good happen to you is from me and when bad happened to you it is from you own hand. If you read the Quran and understand it you will see that everythings written in it is guidances. If Allah SWT has written our destiny so there is the use of reading the quran, where is the use of sending prophets and books. Reading to get what. You read to increase your fear In Allah, to please Him and live according to the last prophet and to learn not to make the mistake of the past people.

    One thing that we must think that we are not robot created by Allah but Human beings created by Allah with a brain that we must use to detect what is good or bad.

    What Allah means by destiny is the process that every human beings should pass through like birth and death. Nothing more.

    If we rely on destiny we become lazy, we remain idle nothing more. The example is here brothers and sisters. If we read the history of Muslims in the past what have they achieved. They were founder of medicine, astronomy, etc etc. Were this their destiny No but they used their brain, achieved and show the world that with Allah’s given knowledge what we can achieved. Now compare our state. Is there any Islamic state who can say that we can match the kafirs states. None. Why, because it suited some people to lead us to idleness, laziness, achieving nothing, bringing there people to illiteracy just to rock the chair. What is happening to the arabs countries is this destiny of these innocent people. No. They were forced to believe in something that lead them to begging. Is this what Allah wishes for us Muslim. Sure no.

    Islam is not a religion like other religion but a religion where there are everything inside. We just need to us our brain, follow the last prophet.

    May Allah SWT guides me in the right pass to defend Islam.

  6. Assalamualaikum
    I’m actually confused by the word “will”. When we say everything happens according to the will of Allah are we simply saying everything happens with Allahs permission or are we saying everything happens because Allah wants/orders those things to happen.
    I will relate to your example of the skydivers. Abdur Rahman cursed Allah swt and was doomed whereas Abdullah repented for his sins. Did Allah actually want/order Abdur Rahman and Abdullah to do what they did or is it simply that Allah gave permission for them to do what they did?

    Jazak Allah Khair

  7. Assalamualaikum, i have read that our mother Hawa was created from the rib of our father Adam. is every wife is create from the rib of her husband in this world?? if it is, then where is their pair whose death come before marriage or who has many wives or many husbands?? are they have many pairing?? now a days many people make relationship before marriage & some of them getting married with that person with whom he or she was affaired. in islam relationship before marriage is haram, i want to know about marriage decision is qadar or qada?? if any person like someone but have no relationship with him or her is he or she can beg to Allah that please Allah make us pair?? or it is already decided that who will be his or her lifepartner?? do we have any freedom of choise about our marriage?? please reply me.

    • Wa Alaikum Salaam.

      I think I answered these questions already. If there is something I missed, please let me know. I sent you an email; you can reply or send me questions at any time, Inshallah.


      • Can I please have the same response emailed to me. I am struggling w/ this and have the same question. Please may Allah bless you and Ramadan Kareem.

  8. Assalamualaikum, i have known that our mother Eve was created from our father Adam’s rib. i want to know that in this world is every wife is created from their husband’s rib? if it is, then where is the paired person of them who is dead before marriage?? or some are marry many times like second or third marriage, is their pair is more than one?? now a days many of us make affair with someone & some of them do marry the person with whom they were engaged or some are not. we know that before marriage relationship or affair is haram for muslim boys or girls, then making relation & then marriage is order from Allah to them? is marriage qadar or qadaa? if any person like someone but have no relation with him or her , is he or she can make du’a to Allah for giving marriage him or her with their liking person as his or her pair ?or there is no option or no benefit to begging Allah to choose someone as husband or wife because of it is predestined?pls give me ans.i had written my post once before but don’t know i can’t see my post in this que ans list, if it is possible pls email me in my email address. i m waiting for ur reply brother.

    • Wa Alaikum Salaam,

      I apologize for the delay in answering.

      Only our mother Hawa was created from the rib of man. All other women come from their mother’s womb. But because the first woman was created from a rib, most women do share certain characteristics. That is why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised men to be kind and patient with their wives.

      Marriage is from the Qadaa (decree) of Allah.

      But if a person has sex out of marriage, that person is still responsible for that action. Allah did not make them do it. In fact, Allah commanded us not to do it, but that person disobeyed His commandment and will suffer the punishment unless they repent and Allah forgives them, or they take the punishment in this life.

      If you like a person it is okay to make dua to Allah to marry them. Just keep in mind that what you want may not be the best thing for you and Allah may not give it to you because it is not good. So it is best to make dua to Allah to guide your decision and make the best decision about who you marry. The best dua for this is dua Istikhaarah, which I talk about here.

      Yes, there is certainly benefit to begging and asking Allah for what you need, so long as you are patient with it.

      When we say that things are predestined, this means that Allah already knows that they’re going to happen. It does not mean that they’ve already happened and we’re just acting it out. There are certain things that are definitely going to happen at certain times and there is no changing that such as our birth and our death.

      But Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said that the dua can alter Qadar. So some things that happen on a daily basis can be changed by dua.

      For instance, let’s say it is in your Qadar to get sick because you ate some bad meat. But before you ate that meat, you made dua to Allah. Even though that action has already been destined, your dua can block it from happening and you may eat the meat without getting sick.

      However, if it is decreed that you are to die on a certain day, there is nothing you can do to stop that; no dua at all can stop that as all of our lives have a preset time limit.

      But things like sickness, accidents, and other tragedies can be averted through dua.

      I hope this helps you understand, Inshallah. Qadar and Qadaa are very deep subjects and you should not spend too much time fretting over them. Just put your trust in Allah and make dua to Him constantly, and follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as best as you can.

      And Allah knows best.

  9. hello brother, i m searching my question & answer which i have post here but i can’t see my post!! 2 times i have written but i don’t know what problem is going on brother?

  10. Asalam alaikum brother,

    I hope when you receive this message it finds you in good health.

    I very much enjoyed both your topics regarding fate and destiny. What I enjoyed greatly is how coherently you were able to compare it to real life situations, this which is not used upon by many who preach Islam today (in my opinion). I believe your explaining of these topics were not only informative for Muslims but I’m pretty sure to those interested in the religion and other individuals as well who might be misinterpreted by how Islam is negatively portrayed in certain aspects of the world today.

    One concern I had though was when you stated, “They liked rock climbing, and mountain biking, and scuba diving and all sorts of yuppie, upper-middle-class, spoiled American-type sports.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do not see how these activities can be defined as “spoiled American-type sports”. There is no difference between basketball and rock climbing, soccer and scuba diving or cricket and mountain biking. I’m sure you meant no harm intentionally, but it is somewhat ignorant, and just to clarify, I am not a yuppie, not a middle-class let alone an upper-middle class and lastly, I am not even an American. Nonetheless, I commend you for your great work.

    I just have 3 questions, the second from a previous poster that I don’t believe you answered but found extremely interesting.

    1. You stated earlier to an individual, “You are right that it does not mean that Allah has predetermined what every person will do; it just means that Allah has pre-knowledge of everything that every person will do.”

    In layman’s term basically you are saying Allah has not decided what a person will do, but he has knowledge of what they will do. Now I have an example. Rahim chooses to go to school this morning. Allah has pre-knowledge of that. But whether Rahim attends class or not is not predetermined (I think?). Now lets say Rahim attends class and has a regular day, however if he doesn’t attend he is caught in a fire in the cafeteria. Are you saying this is Allah’s decree? This was preventable I’m assuming, as Rahim could have chosen a different path (i.e., to attend class), am I correct? I’m just looking for clarification.

    2. This was posted by a person in your first installment. Another individual replied, but provided a somewhat contradictory or confusing reply.

    “Salam !

    If God knows HOW and WHEN we will die then why is it that if someone kills me he/she will go to Hell ?

    So God must’ve known that that person will kill me, because God himself says that nothing can be done in this world without my permision or without God knowing about it because God knows and controls Everything.

    Then God should show the killer the right path or stop him from doing such act …. if God says we are here on a test then why would the killer be thrown in Hell because without God’s permision a single leaf cannot move that means God knew about this so why should he/she be punished for this crime because then God must’ve planned this for him/her as well the day he/she was born!”

    Now brother as we know, it is pre-scripted at birth when and how we die (i.e., heart attack, cancer murder, etc).

    For example, Yasin murders Ibrahim by shooting him in the back of the head in a stairwell of an apartment building. Allah scripted the death of Ibrahim when he was still in his mother’s womb, this cannot be overturned as you wrote on August 20th, 2012, “However, if it is decreed that you are to die on a certain day, there is nothing you can do to stop that; no dua at all can stop that as all of our lives have a preset time limit”.

    Murder is a sin. Allah chose for Ibrahim to die in this fashion many many years ago and for Yasin to be the perpetrator. Why is Yasin going to hell (unless he is forgiven by the family of Ibrahim and Allah)? I understand we have Qadar, the “power” or “ability”, as Yasin did. He had the free will, he chose to carry a gun and enter the stairwell that day but remember, Allah choose for Ibrahim to die this way, however Yasin must still must live with the sin of taking another person’s life, someone’s son, brother, husband, co-worker, friend, but most importantly, a human being. Why is that? Is this somewhat contradictory?

    3. On another page (, a person posted the following Hadeeth

    “As you live, so shall you die; and as you die so shall you be raised”

    The poster interpreted this by saying, “The first half of this Hadeeth mentions the way in which man will acquire his death. The Hadeeth mentions that a person will die in the manner in which he lived his life.”

    Now, to reiterate, Allah has pre-scripted when we will die, but I’m sure as you see around the world, for example young children (lets just say under the age of 10) die from being shot while being an innocent bystander in school or in the mall, a car crash where someone else was driving, leukemia, living in a war-torn country such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, etc.) Now my question is due to their age and them being young, whether, 2, 4, 6, or 7, how was their death contributed to the way they lived? They were young, barely able to differentiate between right and wrong and even have the ability to cause much sin at such a young age. I can use many examples, even as in how a terrible sinful person lived a healthy lifestyle but why did they die of old age. Maybe the poster misinterpreted the Hadeeth, or maybe I did, nonetheless I am interested in your opinion and hopefully, clarification.

    Lastly, on part 1 you replied to a user’s comment who stated there is a thin line between destiny and fate, to which you replied, “In Islam, we really only believe in destiny. Fate, as it is understood in English, is like an external power (not God) that controls our lives and we’re just slaves to it.

    But you are right…even in the English understanding, there is a slim difference between the two.”

    I agree with you, as with many translations from Arabic to English there tends to be disagreements and misinterpretations over slight meanings of a word. The way I look at it, as long as you are well intentioned in your meaning is all that matters as the interpretation of the translation of words will forever be argued by opposing scholars.

    Thank you for reading this as I will greatly appreciate your feedback. And just to repeat, in no way am I questioning your intelligence or saying you’re wrong, I’m just looking for clarification.

    May God bless you.



    • Wa Alaikum Salaam J,

      Thank you for commenting. Whoa, this is one of the longest comments I’ve had in a while, so I’m going to try to be thorough, Inshallah.

      1. Referring to those activities as spoiled American-type sports was just me being a little snarky and sarcastic. Please don’t take me too seriously in that regard; I was just utilizing a little creative freedom. You are right; there’s no difference between those activities and basketball. I was simply trying to paint the picture of wealthy Westerners and those activities are done more by wealthy people than lower income people.

      2. I’m not sure if you were asking the question yourself, or answering the other person’s question. Either way, I’ll try to explain.

      We are all responsible for our sins. The guy who pulled the trigger is responsible for his actions. But his actions were known to Allah before they were even created.

      Sometimes people think that predestiny means that Allah has plotted all of these things to happen like we plot a story. If a person is murdered, I wouldn’t say that Allah has “chosen” for them to die that way, like we “choose” to have certain characters live or die when we create a story. But Allah “knows” it will happen and He “allows” for it to happen according to His wisdom and justice.

      But ultimately, we choose to do certain actions, therefore we are responsible for them.

      3. I would have like to seen the source for that hadith used in this article, but the author did not post it. But assuming it’s an authentic hadith, his interpretation sounds good, and Allah knows best.

      Without seeing the Arabic and the chain, it’s hard for me to determine what the true meaning would be. But just going by the English, I tend to agree with what the author wrote.

      It sounds like the hadith is supposed to mean that if we live righteously, doing the best we can as Muslims, making up for our mistakes and asking for repentance, then we will die on this same path, Inshallah.

      And if we die on the path of righteousness, then of course, we should be raised in the state of righteousness also.

      I do not believe it meant the manner in which a person dies, but instead it means the state their soul was in when they died.

      So if they lived their lives constantly transgressing the laws of Allah, then they will most likely die will transgressing, and they will be raised in a state of transgression. Which means, they will earn Allah’s punishment.

      Once again, I can only go by the English meaning, so I’m at a bit of a disadvantage. If you know the source of the hadith, please let me know as I would like to read and study the original Arabic and then perhaps ask some other people who are more knowledgeable than I am.

      As for the comment about Fate, I do try to depend more on the Arabic wording than the English, because as you said, there can be a lot of disagreement with the wording. But I look at the word “Fate” as coming from the Greek mythological understanding of fate. This understanding held that our lives were controlled by three goddesses who controlled fate (I forgot the exact story, but I know I’m close). The western understanding of fate stems from this same Greek pagan understanding.

      I really wanted to set a clear distinction between the Islamic understanding, and the Western understanding.

      And Allah knows best.

      Thank you for all of your questions and comments, J. Please continue to contribute as I always believe I have much more to learn.

      May Allah reward you and increase you in faith and reward, Ameen.

  11. Asalam alaikum brother,
    I have read both of your articles on fate and destiny and i am really thankful to you for sharing such a great piece of information. At the same time a couple of questions raised in my mind after reading this information i.e. is it true that our spouses have already been destined by Allah for us and he has written the time and place of all marriages happening on the earth. It would mean that people trying to get married could only marry if Allah has written it to happen. There are people who try hard to get married at a certain age but it doesn’t materialize due one or the other reason and the people around them always blame them and say that why you are not getting married or why you didn’t get married at the early age etc. In this particular case they are trying hard to get married but something is not working in their favor or they don’t have any control on their circumstances. Moreover there are people who get married without any efforts on their part. I am quiet confused on this particular point. Could you please shed some light on this aspect as well if this has been destined already that whom we are going to get married when and where or do we have any control over this.

    • Sister I am by no means an Islamic scholar but I have wondered about this too. I believe that Allah has control over who we marry, when, and where. I don’t think we have control over it. I think that Allah just makes things fall into place. Like say you go to a wedding one night and you meet a guy there and that guy turns out to be your husband. It was Allah’s decree that you would go to that wedding for the sole purpose of meeting your future partner. Or you could be at school, grocery store, or you parents can make an arranged marriage for you. Many times people think that a woman has to “look” for a “husband” or vice versa. When in fact whether or not we will be married or have kids is already decreed. We just have to be patient. Although it can be hard especially from pressure of friends and family. I know!!!

  12. Salam I have very important question plz answer them . . I hope that u will clear my misconception . Destiny is form parts of the 6 articles of faith in Islam . Is destiny what Allah has decided for us  or what will happen in future n which Allah is aware of ? On what basis can Allah decide what will b our destiny . For eg , a child is born in a Muslim family n when he grows up , he will follow Islam . Likewise , if a child is born in a hindu family , he will follow hinduism . According to the Glorious Quran , the Kafir will go to hell ! Isn’t Allah unfair ! U will probably say that we have to give dawah to guide them . Let me ask u something , if a Christian propagate Christianity n ask us to become a Christian , I guess we will not do so . Likewise , if we give dawah to a Christian , he will also not convert to Islam . I have another question . How can Allah decide our destiny , that is , how will we born , etc. On what basis do he decide . For eg , a child is born is a family of Afgan who are terrorist . When he grow up , he is misguided by his parents to become a terrorist n start killing people . That means allah himself has decided to make him take birth in this family of terrorist n from his birth , he was expected to bcome a terrorist .  May Allah forgive me for everything wrong I’ve said . Plz answer my questions

    • Wa Alaikum Salaam,

      Allah does not force us to do anything. You know that when you get up in the morning, it is your decision to pray or not. You make that conscious decision. Allah does not send an angel down to you with a sword commanding you to pray or lose your head.

      But, Allah does know what you’re going to do. He does know if you will pray or not. He is aware of all things, whether they have happened or not. But being aware of something does not mean He forces us to do that thing.

      Allah may decree for a person to be born in a Christian or Hindu or Muslim family. But that person, when they grow up may be exposed to Islam and it is their choice whether to accept it or not. Many Christians and Hindus have been exposed to Islam and have chosen to accept it. And there are many people who were born to Muslim parents and later on chose not to follow Islam.

      These people make these decisions of their own free will.

      Allah will not punish anyone with hell who has not been exposed to Islam. If a person dies without ever having been given dawah, then Allah will test them on the Day of Judgement to see what they will believe.

      • If you don’t mind me asking you a personal question. I have been struggling with an issue of career changes for about a year or two now. I went to college with the intent to become a physician. I majored in psychology to get a edge on medical school applications. I didn’t realize how little I was informed about the whole process of applying to medical school until my second year. I still had to take a lot of science classes and hadn’t even done any volunteer work in college for doctors. I had been taking all psych courses and alhamdulilah aced all of them easily. It came down to the start of my third year when I had to make a decision of what I was going to do. I panicked. I hadn’t completed science courses and I wanted to get married and raise my children whenever it happened, which I didn’t know would be that feasible if I went to medical school. Family was very important to me. I spoke to some people and mostly got the message that going to medical school and choosing a career in medicine with such a focus on family was a Difficult route. My parents were supportive of whatever I did, as long as I was happy. I, in what seemed like a good decision or maybe the easy direction then, decided to get my doctorate in psychology. Herei am today with a doctorate, completing fellowship as a last requirement to get licensed, but I’m not happy. I see medical residents and think that was my passion. Throughout the years, especially this year, as I had to move out of state for the first time for work and have a lot of time to think, I have come to realize that I made a mistake. I blame myself for this mistake and I wonder what the future holds for me. I wonder did Allah mean for me to go down this path, was it his will because I sometimes wonder would I have gone this far if it wasn’t. I definitely chose it, but why didn’t i leave it throughout the 5 years. Working at a hospital had made me realize a lot and has forced me to reconsider my life goals, as I am surrounded by doctors and get excited about the work they do, rather than the work I do s a psychologist. I now speak to residents who tell me having a family and being a doctor isn’t as much of a challenge as i thought, but why had I not met these people earlier. i know i tend to glamorize the doctor life and maybe don’t want to hear the negative, as i also hear some doctors say they don’t sleep much and spend leSs time with their kids as women, than they want. i just wonder why i chose the field i did because my reasons don’t feel valid anymore. it has nothing to do with money, more job satisfaction, as i don’t have that now. Some say wait until you finish this year and see people on your own to see if you find a passion as a psychologist and others say go to medical school. I’ve prayed and am looking for direction, but feel entirely lost. Sorry for the long rant, but I really need some advice from an Islamic perspective.

        • As-Salaamu Alaikum Sister Fatima,

          This would be a great topic for tomorrow’s live show. I think I’m going to use it, Inshallah.

          I can’t speak for Allah, so I can only give you what I’ve learned.

          There’s nothing Islamically wrong with being a doctor. Nor is there anything Islamically wrong with being a psychologist.

          We need Muslim women doctors. And we also need Muslim women psychologists.

          There’s good in both fields, and there’s bad in both fields.

          If you intend to use whatever skills Allah gave you to please Him, He will bless whatever you do.

          Consult your heart. Talk to people you trust and who know about both professions (I’m an accountant by trade so I really don’t know much about either). And then, when you have all the facts and you really know what it is that would make you happy, make up your mind to go for it.

          And then…make Istikhaarah. Allah says in His book:

          So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely upon Him.
          Chapter 3, verse 159.

          Do exactly what Allah tells you to do. Consult others in this matter. Then make a decision. Then put your trust in Allah. You put your trust in Allah by making Istikhaarah after you’ve come to a decision.

          In the dua of Istikhaarah, you’re asking Allah to give this thing to you if it’s good for your life and for your religion, and to take it away from you if it’s bad for your life and your religion.

          That is how you put your trust in Allah.

          If your decision is good for you, Allah will make it easy for you and you’ll find few obstacles in the way. But if you find that things are not going your way, or there’s always something keeping you from moving forward with your decision, then that’s an indication that Allah knows there’s something bad involved and you should do something different.

          My point in all of this is to say, it’s not about what Allah “wants” you to do. Allah wants us to obey Him and trust in Him. So do just that.

          Do your research, consult your heart, talk to those you trust, make a decision, make Istikhaarah, and then….

          Put your trust in Allah.

          May Allah make things easy for you, whatever you decide to do.

          P.S., I think it would so cool to have a Muslim woman who’s both a psychologist and an MD. Just sayin’.

          • Walakumsalam Brother Ibrahim,

            I really appreciate you talking the time to respond. I am working on just that, I have talking with family and people in the field. My heart is pulled towards medicine, but my head sometimes holds me back because of the time commitment and the sacrifices, which will increase with age. Some say try the field you are in to give yourself a fair shot, as I am currently on fellowship, and others say if your not happy then make the switch. I have been told it will take at least 2 years for me to even get into med school because of the pre-reqs I didn’t complete, which has become an obstacle, but I just don’t really know. Ultimately, I think I would be happiest with an MD, and I think being in psychology has made me appreciate my passion even more, but then again you never know because things may seem greener on the other side. I wish there was an easy way, but you are right, it’s an individual thing. Thanks for clarification on Istikara, I actually was praying more for if I should even attempt to go to medical school. I hadn’t completely made a decision, but was hoping to get some guidance from Allah. Had some confusing dreams though. Hopefully your use of this is your show was of some help to someone.

  13. For the correct interpretation of the Hadith “In every one of you, all components of your creation are collected together in your mother’s womb by forty days…” please read the following paper:

    Human Development in the first 40 days

    This paper reviews the hadith of the Prophet which describes the embryo in the first 40 days (narrated in Saheeh Muslim and Saheeh Al-Bukhari)



  14. this subject always confused me and I would like to say thank you for putting it in a very simple manner it was explained very well , however the main point that always confused me was not addressed above but it was addressed in one of the comments which finally put my mind at ease . my main issue with understanding this topic was , if everything is written and allah knows everything we’re going to do then what is the point of being tested on this earth to see if we are good or bad muslims and whether we are going to jannah or gohanam , it seemed like a pre-determination . however as I was scrolling down the comments , I read the comment stating that allah has pre-knowledge of whats going to happen and suddenly it clicked , just because everything is written does not mean we have no freewill it just means allah is already aware of the actions we are going to make . again thank you because this has been bugging me for a while .

  15. my question is if someone murders another person is that a choice or free will and that was his time destined is such a way ?

    • For the murderer, it was his choice and free will. For the murdered, it was destined for him to die at that time. Only Allah knows if it could have happened in a different way. I tend to believe that it could have happened differently, but for whatever reason, Allah allowed it to happen that way.

      Allah knows best.

  16. Thanks for explaining this topic so clearly. However one question still is confusing my mind and would like to seek your clarification on this. Say for instance Allah has decreed lots of wealth and hapiness for a boy who is born in a slum. This boy doesnt get any education and is neither hardworking. He is a lazy lad who spends most of his time sleeping. In this case none of his activities compliment him to grow wealthy, Can you please explain how he can be wealthy.

  17. for example, if i dont praying salah or fast so it’s mean that it’s has been written in festiny by ALLAH? and if i am divorce so it’s mean it’s has been written by ALLAH? tell me please i am confused

  18. Our principal has taken 500000 lakh rs from me to get my lecturer post sanction. I hv the requisite qualification to be a lecturer. Bt the principal who was jst M.A. unable to be a qualified principal. according to UGC to be a principal of college one must hv Phd. So he applied as a lecturer in English dept as I was in 3rd rank of the same department after our principal’s application I was ranked in 4th number nd was dropped of sanctioning my post as the government sanctioned only 3 post in each dept. I hv quarrelled with my principal to do my post nd he convinced me that it was by mistake he applied for assistant lecturer nd promised me to do my post nd for that he took another 50, 000 rs from me nd told he will now apply for principal nd automatically my post will be sanctioned as I will be on 3rd rank again. Bt alas instead of doing my post he managed a phd certificate by fraud means from a university nd became a full fledged principal nd getting 130000 rs/month nd enjoying a luxury life.I asked him several times abt my post bt he jst replied it will be done nd thus 3 years hv passed still my post is not done nd without a single penny doing my job. So where is Justification of Allah ? ALLAH is giving money to that fraud principal who is not truely a phd holder who has taken whole money of our families deposit among which some were for my mother’s Hajj. I thought after sanctioning my job I will send my mother for Hajj.Now the 550, 000 rs hs totally gone even the post is not done yet . Why Allah is favouring the principal who has grabed not only my money bt also from some others.And if we dare to do something he threatened us that he will send negative report to the Directorate of Higher Education nd our post will not done. Now waiting for Allah’s justice , dont know when our post will done . Hey Allah give us justice our life is going to spoil plz help Allah.waiting for your reply too

  19. Assalam o Alaikum,

    I wanted to know is marriage destiny or do we have free will. I have more questions to ask if I could get your email that would be helpful. Thank you

  20. Salam,

    Thank you for this article, by far the easiest to understand that I have came across, so now I have a better understanding than before.

    I am wondering if you can help me, I have an anxiety disorder since I was about 15 years old (I am 34 now, female). I take medication for this.

    My anxiety worsens and it consumes me when I fee guilty for an action (small or big) that I realize was wrong or should have been avoided. It will consume me with guilt and shame every second. Why would this be after asking for forgiveness?

    Currently there is something bothering me that is not regarded as haram or halal (I have searched a lot) and there is no specific Hadith or anything on it……some people have difference of opinion on it.

    Feeling anxiety…….

    1. any suggestions or advice for me?’

    2. Also, would this disorder be from Allah? I’m confused on why this has been with me since I was young

  21. 1. Your problem is easy to handle as you are aware of your condition. My suggestion would be say, Zikr very often. Chanting Zikr is remembering Allah all the time. This will help you to overcome /eradicate your condition.
    2.Anything that happens to us is from Allah. That’s why we turn to Allah to come out of something we don’t want /like.
    During your 5times prayer ask and beg Allah to help you to cure you from this condition. Allah will give you what is good for you.
    Remembering Allah most of the time (Zikr) will replace the guilt you carry in your brain.

  22. As Salam Alaikum Everyone,

    I know this is an old post so hopefully people read this.

    Thanks for this wonderful post, the most do make sense that we are given a free will, it is our choice what we do and how we do it. Allah always knows what will happen to us but he has given us Quran- guidance of life, Example of our prophet Muhammad (pbuh), so if we follow it Allah (swt) will send his mercy and blessings. Allah (swt) even test those who prayed five times a day and follow sunnah because Allah (swt) wants to know how strong we are with our iman and deen.

    This is my true story, I was married in Feb 2016 before marriage after I saw her, I prayed day and night for 10 days, Tahajud, 5 times prayer, I even did wazifa and istikhara for her. 1 night it was bad dream but I thought it was nothing so I continue for next 7 days and I had good dreams. In ten days they replied YES to proposal, and in next days we got married, the 1st thing I did was I took her to Umrah and I prayed more there. We were together for 20 days but we did not connect at all. When I came back to Canada I would fight with her every 2nd day. So, I decided to go back to India to fix it but in just two days she left because she can not live with me anymore.

    Now after 5 months of divorce, I have not gone a day regretting and guilty of things that I have done. I have realize it was all me because of my anger, depression issues.

    Now, I could have used my free will and use the guidance of Quran and Sunnah of Muhammad (pbuh) to save my marriage. Allah (swt) gave us a mind to understand and do things. If I would have follow then I would have been more patience, I could have been not hot temper. I can not go back to her because of triple divorce, which I did not know before that once you have given triple divorce its irrevocable.

    The point is Allah knows what will happen to us but he has given us free will to make decision for our selves and if it is good Allah would bless in it.

    Though, one thing I do not know why Allah (SWt) made me such a way that I get depression and anxiety. Because I know so many people who cheat on their wife but yet there wife love them, they have money and friends. They are happy well more happier than me.

    Only if I can have my ex Wife back but unfortunately we will have to go through Halala process.

    May Allah (swt) forgives me if I said anything wrong.

    Allah hafiz

    • Everything happens by Allah’s decree. But you can only operate with the free will that you have. In other words, don’t worry about Allah’s decree because you have no control over it (except to make dua). Do what you can with the gifts and choices Allah has given you.

  23. Assalam o Alaikum,

    I wanted to know marriage is Allah’s decree like my birth, death, natural disasters, accidents etc or do we have free will.

  24. But what can be the destiny of a 5 year old small girl who was dead after being horribly raped? What does Allah want to prove by this action? What was the fate of the girl? Please clear these things to me as soon as possible….

  25. Asalam alaykum….i clearly understand the whole comcept. Buh in my situation i resigned my job because i didnot like it and i had medical issues, before doing this i made istikharah. After leaving with no back up plan (which i feel i should have endured)…have been jobless for seven months now
    Now is it allah’s plan for me to leave this job and why i am feeling so guilty about this step.
    And shoul i jus take any job i see than wait for my dream job ?

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