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Verses of the Qur'an about the Destiny

Some verses of the Holy Qur'an expressly support the rule of destiny. They state that nothing happens in the world without the Will of Allah and that every event is already recorded in the Book'.

A few of the Qur'anic verses to this effect are quoted:

"Every affliction that falls on the earth or yourselves, already exists in a Book before it is brought into being by us. No doubt that is easy for Allah to accomplish". (Surah al-Hadid, 57:22)

"With Him are the keys of the invisible. None but He knows them. And He knows what is in the land and the sea. Not a leaf falls, but he knows it, not a grain amid the darkness of the earth, nor anything green or withered but is recorded in a clear Book". (Surah al-An'am, 6:59)

It is often seen that in the sentence, "there is nothing green or withered, but it is recorded in a clear Book", the word, Book is taken to be referring to the Qur'an, but it may be said with certainly that here the word, Book' does not refer to it. So far as we know, not a single reliable expounder of the Qur'an has interpreted the verse that way.

"They said: Do we have any say in the matter? Muhammad, tell them: All matters belong to Allah. They try to bide within themselves what they do not reveal to you, saying: Had we had the matter in our hands, we would not have been slain there. Say: Even though you had been in your houses, those appointed to be slain would have been slain by your sworn enemies while you were in your beds". (Surah Ale Imran, 3:154)

"We hold the store of every thing and we send it down in an appointed measure". (Surah al-Hijri, 15:21)

"Allah has set a measure for all things". (Surah al-Talaq, 65:2)

"Surely We created everything by measure". (Surah al-Qamar, 54:49)

"Then it is for Allah to have in error whom He will and to guide whom He pleases. He is the Mighty, the Wise". (Surah Ibrahim, 14:4)

"Say: Allah! Owner of Sovereignty! You bestow sovereignty on whomever you will and you withdraw from whomever you will. In your Hand is all that is good. No doubt you have power to do everything". (Surah Ale Imran, 3:26)

There are other verses which indicate that man is free and he can change his destiny:

"Allah never changes the condition of a nation unless it change what is in its heart". (Surah al-Rad, 13:11)

"Allah coins a similitude: a town whose people that lived secure and well content. Its provisions came in abundance from every quarter, but its people denied the favours of Allah, so He afflicted them with famine and fear because of what they used to do". (Surah al-Nahl, 16:112)

"Allah did not do injustice to them, but they had wronged themselves". (Surah al-Ankabut, 29:40)

"Your Lord does no injustice to His slaves". (Surah Fussilat, 41:46)

"We have shown man the right path. Now it is upto him to be grateful or thankless". (Surah al-Dahr, 76:3)

"Muhammad say: This is the truth from your Lord. Let him who believe in it, and let him who will reject it". (Surah al-Kahf, 18:29)

"Corruption has become rife on land and sea because of the misdeeds of the people". (Surah al-Rum, 30:41)

"Whoever seeks the harvest of the hereafter, We shall give it to him in abundance, and whoever seeks the harvest of the world, We give him a share of it. But in the hereafter he shall have no share". (Surah al-Shura, 42:20)

"As for him who desires the worldly pleasures, We swiftly provide in this world whatever We will to whomever We please. Then we assign to him Hell in which he shall burn despised and rejected. As for him who desires the hereafter, strives for it as he should, and is a true believer, it is such people whose efforts shall be appreciated by Allah. Each group will receive its share from the bounty of your Lord. And the bounty of your Lord is not limited" (Surah al-Isra', 17:18-20).

There are many other verses of both the categories. Most of the expounders of the Qur'an and the scholastic theologians consider the verses of the two categories to be contradictory to each other. According to them it is necessary to accept the verses of one category and explain away those of the other. This way of thinking appeared in the second half of the first century. The exponents of human liberty and the doctrine of free will tried to interpret the verses of the first category. They came to be known as the Qadarites. Another group inclined to the doctrine of predestination, interpreted the verses of the second category, and was called the Jabarite or predestinarian. Gradually two big groups of the scholastic theologians, two schools of theology came to be recognized. They absorbed in their ranks both the Jabarites and the Qadarites which ceased to exist independently. The Ash'arite school advocated predestination and the Mu'tazailite supported doctrine of free will.

Adapted from the book: "Man and Destiny" by: "Shahid Mutahhari"

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