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Dr. Shabir Ally, from Let The Quran Speak, addresses this question in the video below:
Aisha Khaja: So, Dr. Shabir, the question that we have today is how can one ask God to change one’s destiny when we should actually be satisfied with God’s decree for us.
Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, the questioner here seems to have in mind the dua or supplications that we make and in our supplication where we should be asking for things. And who knows if the thing we may be asking God for has already [been] prohibited for us in what He has decreed.
So, are we asking God to change the decree? To answer that, I think we need to understand that the future before us is a collection of both fixed items and flexible items. So, if it is something that God has fixed, yeah for sure, we cannot change that.
Aisha Khaja: Fixed meaning like what’s an example of something that’s fixed?
Dr. Shabir Ally: Let’s say that God has fixed the time of your death, as a single example. And you’re praying: God give me a longer life. Well, he’s not going to give you a longer life because He’s fixed the time of your death. But now what’s the purpose of praying in that case?
Well, the purpose of praying would be that your prayer itself would be acceptable as a good deed and God will store up a reward for you in the life hereafter as a result of your prayer. But then the other aspect of this is that we don’t know in what way God has fixed your time of death.
Maybe he has fixed two times. One time if you didn’t pray and another time if you did pray. So, let’s say, you know, God forbid, that He has planned for me to die tomorrow. But I’m praying to God: please give me a longer life because I want to do more good deeds in the world.
And before I die and God decides, okay, as a result of this prayer, I’m going to extend you another five years. Well, then does it mean that I’ve changed anything in the decree of God?
No, because in His decree there was already this pre-plan that’s either the guy dies tomorrow or he dies after five years, depending on whether or not he prays.
If he prays to me, I extend and so on. So, there can be some flexible aspects in the decree of God and in this way. In fact, in my research into this I came to believe that there are many more flexible things in the future than people usually imagine.
Let’s say the sustenance. So, people are praying for God: please give me sustenance. And in our belief, we say that all sustenance is coming from God, and that the sustenance is also fixed.
But it could be fixed with some possibilities. It’s this way if the person pursues this, but this way if the person pursues another route. So, perhaps if the person works hard he gets more sustenance. But he’s not creating it himself or inventing it himself. He’s getting that which God decreed.
But God decreed perhaps less if the person didn’t make effort and more if the person did make effort so regardless of which the person gets, he’s getting that which God decreed but he didn’t have to get that he could have gotten the other option as well. It’s just about which path you choose. …
Continue watching for full transcript. I hope this helps answer your question. You can also check out more from Let The Quran Speak at the link here.
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