So, how could belief in Divine Decree shapes the believer’s attitude?
According to Islam, belief in Predestination aims at being an incentive to supporting good and defying evil. And, when the sacrifices of those who struggle against evil increase and the time of their striving is extended, belief in Predestination turns into a source of comfort, consolation and support for them in moments of despair and when no way out of the existing state of affairs can be sought.
Just to make sure this is crystal clear. The concept of Predestination means that all incidents and events – be it good or bad – are in fact divinely predetermined. Nothing can take place in the universe except with Allah’s Will and Power. In fact, everything in the universe was preordained even before the creation of the Heavens and the Earth and that all past, present and future life events are not in any way new to Allah the Almighty. This can be attested to by the following Qudsi (Divine) hadith which relates what may mean,
Abdullah Ibn `Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah decreed the measures fifty thousand years before He created the Heavens and the Earth.” (Jami` At-Tirmidhi)
And the hadith narrated by `Abdul-Wahid Ibn Sulaim who said: “I arrived in Makkah and met `Ata’ Ibn Abi Rabah. I said: ‘O Abu Muhammad! Some people with us speak about al-Qadar.’ `Ata’ said: ‘I met Al-Walid Ibn `Ubadah Ibn As-Samit and he said: “My father narrated to me, he said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah saying:
“Verily the first of what Allah created was the Pen. He said to it: ‘Write.’ It asked:’What should I write, my lord?‘ He said: ‘Write what was decreed about everything till the Last hour comes'”(Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Alabani)
Accordingly, all life occurrences are predestined by Allah the Creator; the believer is then demanded to repel the preordained evil by means of the preordained good such as in repelling disbelief by means of belief, innovation by means of Sunnah of the Prophet, sin by means of obedience, ailment by means of medicine, ignorance by means of knowledge, aggression by means of striving, and poverty by means of labor, etc.
Therefore, it is completely wrong to regard predestined incidents in part. This partial view may make us decline to face evil when it appears and rather make us think we should surrender thereto and never try to resist it. Notwithstanding, if we have a comprehensive look at the incident, we would then realize that it is Allah Who throws good and evil before us in this present life; He puts us to the test as to see what choice we may make. Given this, when evil occurs, the believer is faced with three available choices:
First: To accept, embrace and cherish evil;
Second: To give up to evil;
Third: To repel evil by means of good.
Undoubtedly, the third choice is what is intended here as a test to the believer’s will as cited by Ibn Taimiyyah from Imam `Abdel Qadir Al-Jilani.
This can be illustrated by a simple but dramatic example: if someone cheats on others, breaks the oath of allegiance to his country, kills the innocent, and takes what is not his by means of deceit, fraud and aggression, then the believers will have three choices which run as follows:
- Either they accept, embrace and support the evil he has committed and thus become “accessories after the fact” and they may even start to justify atrocities of the perpetrator;
- Or, they surrender to evil and submit themselves to the will of the perpetrator and dare not defy him in any way out of cowardice and fearfulness;
- Or, they stand by the truth, do their best to support it, defy the evil with all possible legitimate means, and try to restore the truth to its owners.
It is now obvious that the last choice is what is demanded from true believers and those who claim to be faithful followers of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).