Saturday, March 27, 2010


As part of a discussion, a friend wrote: I tend to disagree with the concept of life paths being pre-programmed (due to some evidence in hadith etc.). But at the same time cannot fully defend this position.If that is true, the even intentions are pre-programmed. What do we do about that? I understand a discussion on pre-destiny will not take us very far.
Answer: Holy Quran 2:49 And (remember) when We delivered you from Fir\'aun's (Pharaoh) people, who were afflicting you with a horrible torment, killing your sons and sparing your women, and therein was a mighty trial from your Lord.
Notice in the above verse, Allah is stating that even the worst attrocities committed are with his knowledge and permission_ nobody can do anything without Allah allowing it to happen. Pharoah and his people perpetrated the terrible crimes, but they could only do so because Allah let them, as Allah meant it as a mighty trial of the Bani Israel. If God had not willed it, they would not have been able to do anything. Pharoah, Bani Israel and all of us, we are all responsible for our intentions and what we try to do. The outcomes are pre-destined.It is attributed to the wise Ali (the Prophet's companion, cousin and son-in-law), that someone once asked him the difference between pre-destiny(taqdeer) and (tadbeer) [the ability to plan and do]. He asked the person to stand and fold one leg up and balance himself on the other, the person did so, then he asked the person to lift both his legs up, ie stand without support, that he couldn't do. Then Ali said, the first act (standing on one leg) was tadbeer, and no being able to stand without any leg to support is taqdeer. I do not think intentions are pre-programmed, I think we are free to think and choose, and come to our own conclusions, and then try and act upon them. Its the outcomes of our actions that are already decided, and that is why we are adviced sabr [patience] when things are not going as we would like them to be. This also neccessarily requires us to also remember that Allah is Just, Merciful, Ever-Watchful, All-Knowing and Omnipotent, that He will definitely recompense those who suffer, will not try anyone beyond what they can bear, will reward beyond limits, and is capable of turning the tide anytime, thus the belief in the power of prayer and supplication. Striving to do what is right is what we will be judged on, so we must think and try to do the right things. We are not responsible beyond that, or so I think! Perhaps its the attitude that matters...
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