In the early sixties, a friend and I were travelling by a London underground train. Two tall and strongly built gentlemen probably from Africa or the West-Indies were sitting opposite us. Upon seeing them my friend said to me that Allah (SWT) had given them everything but the finishing touch, since to him they appeared ugly. As a Muslim I could not accept such a remark, since this goes against Islamic teaching. One must always remember that Allah (SWT) created us all, we are all equal and we all have an individual identity, and unto Him we shall return. Allah (SWT) does not impose any burden upon anyone person that he cannot bear. In reply to my friend I said, "Look my friend, Allah (SWT) has given you an elegant finishing touch but don't forget, when the time comes, (The day of Judgement) you will be questioned on how you have used your smart, good looking finishing touch".

Suppose you are the manager of a factory and the gentleman sitting opposite you is your subordinate. The owner of the factory has given you certain limited responsibilities, which include the responsibility of that particular gentleman working under you. If anything goes wrong he will be held responsible to you, not to the owner and you will be responsible to the owner. On the Day of Judgement we shall be questioned only to the extent of our responsibility and not beyond this.

Many people think that there are good fortunes waiting for them around the corner, and they wait and wait for good fortune to knock on their door. After a long period of waiting when they realise that good fortune did not strike, they become frustrated and lose their balance of mind. We also find people in this world who think everything is within their power and control. They think that they can do any right and wrong at will, take any action without consideration for others. According to the Quran, both are wrong. A mumin's (Believer's) duty is to work and earn a living with honest labour, then whatever the outcome, good or bad they know it is the will of Allah (SWT), since they tried their best, and left the results to Allah (SWT).

Believers maintain a balance, they never wait around hoping that success will come to them, nor do they live an arrogant life believing that everything is in their own control.

Mumins work honestly because they know it is one of their obligatory duties and they obey the order of Allah (SWT). They follow the middle way, and for whatever they achieve or receive they thank Allah (SWT) and whatever misfortunes befall them they bear them with patience.

"...with Allah (SWT) are the treasures of the heavens and the earth; but the hypocrites comprehend not." (Q63:7)

"...We have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of the world..." (Q 43:32)

"And will provide for him from (a quarter) whence he hath no expectation." (Q 65:3)

Muslims of today are confused in their concept of Taqdir (predestination). Whatever Allah (SWT) has created in the heavens and earth, it is all created with Taqdir and Allah (SWT) alone controls everything, and He asserts certain immutable laws. His system is that He orders and arranges everything which happens and is to come. We human beings perceive all things through our sensual organs, which are limited, once our limited senses have perceived the effects of Allah (SWT)'s orders, those effects change in their qualities and attributes. This is why we often fail to understand Allah (SWT)'s wisdom in ordaining for us what He has ordained. At the same time our very senses are accountable for what they perceive, and for the way in which we interpret and act upon those perceptions. Nevertheless, even though human beings are limited in their understanding, even the simplest and least educated of us is able to understand that everything which happens has a cause, and events only change when a cause is in existence, it is a small step from this to reaching the understanding that Allah (SWT), the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is the First Cause of everything.

In many cases whenever physical events or chemical events take place many objects become weakened, disappear or die. When various atoms come together to form a compound many changes occur. We could say that such disappearing and reappearing is only transformation into other states (atoms, elements, compounds and so forth), and whenever they come together they introduce themselves with new attributes. Continuously elements disappear, and new elements come into existence. However, there is a difference in human beings, in as much as some have greater or lesser wisdom and physical capacities, some are born with genius and some are mentally retarded, there are those who are wealthy and others who are poor. So far as the individual capacity or capability is concerned we must believe that this has been predestined for us, this is a result of divine Taqdir, written down for any given person long before they were even created.

The Prophet (S.A.S) said that Allah (SWT) wrote the fate of all things 50,000 years before He created the heavens and the earth. Islam teaches that man makes his own fate within his given capability. Again if the Almighty should wish at any point to change His own immutable law (or system of nature) which He Himself created, no power can stop Him. As He Himself says in His Holy Quran :

"Doer (without let) of all that He intends."(Q85:16)

"And whosoever Allah (SWT) guides there is none that can misguide him." (Q 39:37)

Allah Almighty also says : "If Allah (SWT) afflicts you with harm, then there is none to remove it but He, and if He intends good to you there is none to repel His grace." (Q 10:107)

Again Allah (SWT) says 'And with him are the treasures of the unseen, no one knows them but He, He knows what is in the land and in the sea, and there falls not a leaf but He knows it nor a grain in the earth or anything green or dull but He knows it' (Q6:59)

The holy Quran also states that: "No evil befalls Earth nor in your souls but it is in a book before we bring it into existence".(Q57:22)

Our Prophet Mohammed (S.A.S) said, "Nothing repels whatever has already been predestined except supplications, or good actions."

Allah (SWT) the Almighty Has said in the Quran "And whatever afflictions befall you is on account of what your hands have written". (Q43:30)

"No bearer of a burden shall bear the burden of another and man shall have nothing but whatever he has strived for".(Q53:38-39)

Why then all these confusions, misunderstandings and differences of opinion among the various schools of thought in Islam about Taqdir? The way I see the matter is that long before our creation, Allah (SWT) the Almighty fixed the destinies and fates of all His creations, but there are exceptions. Human beings have been given the power to influence anything within the law up to a certain limitation which is determined by Him alone. Human beings have been blessed with an intellect and a will power which man himself can manoeuvre within the scope of his limited ability, which is granted to each individual in accordance with the range of abilities with which he was created.

He has been taught what is good and what is bad and what the results of good and bad actions are. This teaching was first given by Allah (SWT) the Almighty Himself to Adam (AS) and then to the sons of Adam (AS) and He chose His own Prophet from the sons of Adam (AS) to teach the sons of Adam (AS). The rest of creation, the stars, the moon, light, good, bad and so on are all orders and are moving within His predetermined circle of orders. All His creation is created with a purpose, all of creation is obeying Allah (SWT), but they are orders only. This means they have no power but to obey Allah (SWT).

His law of order is present everywhere all the time and no other order has the power to penetrate into His law of order (or His system of nature), without His authority. He is the only Absolute and power, only man and Jinn are created with Nafs, with the power of evolution, and He put His order (i.e. soul) into the body of man. But the Nafs of a person can follow righteousness or wrong doing. If it goes along the path of wrong doing following the orders of the devil. A person can change his Nafs, making it head the right direction, along the straight path (Siratul Mustaqim), which is the path which is pleasing to Allah (SWT) the Almighty. Allah (SWT) states that He created Adam (A.S) with two options, one with intention and the other with action. We ourselves are moving within these two circles.

All His subjects have been created for His Ibadat (worship) as explained earlier. Islam teaches us the unity of Allah (SWT) and unity amongst ourselves, that there are no differences in rank, colour or creed of riches or poverty, between a king or a beggar, between the learned and the illiterate, Chinese or Japanese, Asian or European. We are all the children of Adam (AS) and Eve (AS), so we are brothers to each other and we are all servants of the Almighty (SWT).

Congregational prayer in Islam is the solution to all these problems and we should practice our prayers five times a day accordingly. Whatever is inside us cannot be seen by others and is often invisible to ourselves. Many things sit within ourselves such as passion of hope, greed, pride and jealousy all interlinked with each other. When these become too large, they possess us, when they shrink they become invisible, but they are contrary to the laws of Allah (SWT) the Almighty. Therefore as Muslims we should seek to purify ourselves from everything which has been outlawed by our Lord Allah (SWT) the Almighty. Then, and only then, right and wrong will become clearly visible to us with the assistance of Allah (SWT). Only then will we be able to say that Islam is not only for Arabia or the middle East, but that Islam is truly a religion for the whole of mankind.

In the Quran Allah (SWT) states "So Allah (SWT) gave them the reward of the World and the good reward of the Hereafter. Allah (SWT) loveth those whose deeds are good." (Q3:148)

We must stick to our declaration of faith and depend on Allah (SWT) in all facets of our lives.

Allah (SWT) has also said "But Allah (SWT) is your protector, and He is the best of all helpers."(Q3:150)

People who sacrifice themselves for the sake of Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) Has said about them, "Think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah (SWT) as dead, say they are living with their Lord, they have provision".(Q3:169) But Allah (SWT) also warns those who are not conducting their lives in accordance with the rules of Islam.

"Those who have purchased disbeliefs at the price of faith, harm Allah (SWT) not at all, but theirs will be a painful doom." (Q3:177)

So here we can see that disbelieving in Allah (SWT) or betraying Allah (SWT) or being in breech of trust of Allah (SWT), people cannot bring any harm to Allah (SWT) but harm will come to themselves. In other words they are purchasing hell at the price of Iman. At the same time Allah (SWT) has declared in the Quran about those who believe in Allah (SWT), "And as for those who believe and do good works, he will pay them their wages in full. Allah (SWT) loveth not wrongdoers".

Islam is a most practical, modern and natural religion. It never stops giving concessions in all walks of life provided one follows the Quran and Hadith. It will provide all immunities, necessities and welfare for mankind but forbids what is wrong for man, human beings are not sent for Islam, but Islam is sent for humankind.

In the Quran we find the verse, "surely the way of life acceptable to Allah (SWT) is Islam"(Q3:19). Allah (SWT) Has also said "See you not, how Allah (SWT) has made serviceable to you whatever is in the sky and whatever is in the Earth and also made His bounty followed to you exceeding measure (both) seen and unseen." (Q31:20)

So a Mumin (believer) must know with confidence that Allah (SWT) alone Has the ability to provide for Him, no one else has the power to overcome His power of decision. "He is the knower of seen and unseen"(Q32:6)

"Faint nor grieve for ye will overcome them if you are a believer"(Q3:139)

Again Allah (SWT) the Almighty Has said "And that Allah (SWT) may prove those who believe and may blight the disbelievers"(Q3:140) or "deemed that you will enter Paradise while yet Allah (SWT) knoweth that of you who really strive, and knoweth those (of you) who are steadfast"(Q3:142)

If we follow the messenger of Allah (SWT), our Prophet Muhammed (S.A.S) with honesty and sincerity, then and only then will the help of Allah (SWT) reach us.

But suppose if we read and commit to memory the codes and signals and terms and conditions of all types of car driving instructions, still we cannot claim we are drivers unless we actually take a driving test, pass and are given a license.

This is why we must practice whatever we learn in Islam. May Allah (SWT) the Almighty assist us and grant us true understanding and may He enable us to practice His commands in full accordance with the law of Allah (SWT) and in the footsteps of His messenger Muhammed (S.A.S) Ameen.

The Muslims of today should understand that when we are taught how to develop and become members of the technically advanced states, there is also a hidden agenda. The hidden purpose in the unfaithful projects is to achieve their political goals. On one hand it appears that they are providing assistance, on the other hand they want us to have dependency on the developed states. We should understand that whenever any developed country comes to the aid of any particular undeveloped country, they will first determine if the country in need is strategically important to them and if it will serve their purpose, only then will they provide any form of aid. As long as their hidden objectives are served they will close their eyes as to whether their aid actually reaches the needy people. As a result, their aid usually goes into the pockets of many government officials or military personnel, or the Head of State, thereby demoralising the poor throughout the country.

Just as a building with weak foundations is likely to collapse, so do the governments of the developing nations. Their foundation, the economy, unity of the people and faith is weak, therefore one government after the other continues to collapse. The superpowers sit back and enjoy this entertainment, as the poor countries suffer in this perpetual cycle of deprivation. The unstable and poor countries just become progressively poorer and the stronger and richer countries continue to thrive, often at the expense of the poorer countries.

This is evident when one casts an eye over current world events. Whether it is trouble brewing in the Middle East, agitation in Algeria, unrest in Afghanistan, instability in Indonesia, or civil war in Nigeria, it is clear that the seeds are often sown by the so called superpowers who are able to take advantage of the infighting among the Islamic nations. It is a tragic realisation that it is in fact these very Islamic nations who are providing economic and political stability to the superpowers through supplying them with raw materials such as oil and by buying western arms, often used to fight each other. This status quo not only encourages Muslim dependency on the West but also strengthens the economic base of the West, the very strength which in turn is used against the Muslims themselves.

It is tragic to note that the so called Muslim leaders are often too busy acting in their own self interest and safeguarding their own power base rather than acting in the interests of the Islamic nation as a whole. A behaviour which, as alluded to above, offers fertile ground for sowing the seeds of discontent and destruction for the Western powers and is indicative of having sold ourselves to Shaytan. We, as brothers of Islam, must be aware of this behaviour and prevent it from happening. We must seek help and protection from Allah (SWT) alone against the evil intentions and plans of the enemies of Islam. We must cease to believe that the source of all prosperity is dependency on Western powers and must learn to be independent and depend only on Allah (SWT) as no one but Allah (SWT) can help us in our endeavours. To achieve this, we must surrender ourselves to Allah (SWT) and ask for His help in all walks of life and we must ask for protection and guidance from Him alone to free us from the clutches of Shaytan.

Oh brothers in Islam, ask for power from Allah (SWT) to overcome the deception of Shaytan "(they are) those who, if we establish them in the land establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoy in the right and forbid the wrong: with God rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs."(Q22:41)

So it is not only as individuals, but collectively as a nation, we have sold ourselves to the shaytan, and then blame Allah (SWT) and taqdir. This philosophy of 'blaming the Taqdir' often emanates from is propagated by certain teachers in Islam. However, if these teachers are really what they claim to be, then their intentions must be questionable. It should be acknowledged that some teachers are only acting to serve and advance their personal cause and are less concerned with leading the masses astray. On the other hand, the 'true' teachers who practice self abstinence will concern themselves only with teaching the correct way in all things.

It is important to explain the notion of Taqdir here. Allah (SWT) says in Surah Yasin that He has fixed the taqdir of the sun and the moon, it will not change, it will always happen as it has been fixed but not for human beings. He has given human three options. He meant Hell for the kafir, whichever route they take their ultimate destination in Hell. There are others called munafiq (hypocrites), they, along with stones, will be the fuel for Hell fire. While, Allah (SWT) has sent Prophets (A.S) to the believers and has asked them to make their own taqdir.

It should be noted, however, that although we may try to make our own taqdir, outcomes may not be as we desired. Since, it is Allah (SWT) who ultimately controls everything and every outcome. For example, one may invest very heavily in a business but this investment may not accrue desired profits while the reverse may be true for someone who made a lesser investment. In other words, we do not know the future and cannot guarantee desired outcomes, but we must work hard and invest towards our future in the hope of building a better future for ourselves especially in our future after death.

Allah (SWT) says in the holy Quran that human beings will be given what they strive for. Allah (SWT) says to the believers that they should do their duties patiently. Allah (SWT) the Almighty, the All-powerful and only protector invites Mumins (the believers in one Allah (SWT)) and welcomes and extends His help to them, but if we fail to take advantage of this offer, it is but a failing and weakness of our Iman (faith). So our duty is to work hard with good intentions irrespective of the outcome. We must learn to thank Allah (SWT) with gratitude, because Allah (SWT) says in the Quran that there is no bad luck to Mumins.

Whatever is in our destiny is presented to us by God, by HIS grace and mercy. We must accept it with thanks otherwise we will make our lives miserable. If we are appreciative of this mercy then God will see that we are pleased with our destiny and so then HE will be pleased with us.

E.G. If you have planted a garden with your choice of everything and see how it grows and somebody else comes and tells you that she/he does not like this or that and prefers some other kind of arrangement, then ask yourself how you would feel? God says that whomever is thankful for what we have given them, then your lot will be increased.

E.g. If we look at natural things we see that everything has an order a system to which it belongs, there is a reason for it being so. You find that their are specific purposes, fruit trees are usually high and do not grow low like shrubs, if this order was reversed then it would create chaos in the ecosystem involving that tree etc. Something would suffer somewhere down the food chain. The only way things change from their natural disposition is called karamat (miracle). This occurs if God is pleased with you and allows it to happen which in ordinary circumstances would not happen. There is no point in fighting that which you cannot change .You have no choice about the life of your children or how they are going to be born, with what features. You should not worry about these things as this is in the hands of God, in HIS power not yours. You should simply accept what God has ordained for you.

E.g. if someone says I am ugly, I have no good luck, bad luck etc then you will never be happy. Everything has come from God so we must accept it, because what HE has created is best in all circumstances and not the particular environment you have found yourself in, to make you think that you are deficient in some way. If one should try to change things then these changes might not be necessarily the best for me, following my own rules.

E.g. A country would stand to a halt if everyone had their own rules and no regulations, there must be a core set of rules so that everyone is kept in some kind of order, a common law has to exist to maintain the system.

E.g. If you go down a one way street and you are stopped by the police, what do you say to him when he asks you why you have committed that offence?. I was following someone else? Then he would say to you do you know what kind of person you are following?, a new driver?, a criminal?

In this life the norm is not always the best, they might have their own reason for doing something in a certain manner, you too must know why you are doing it not simply following blindfolded. The day the policeman catches up to you in life then you will be asked questions and there might be no answers to give. How many times will the policeman let you off, we must accept the laws set to protect us.
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