Belief in the Divine Decree and Predestination is one of the pillars of faith in Islam.
The Muslim’s faith is not complete unless he knows that whatever befalls him could not have missed him, and whatever misses him could not have befallen him. Everything is subject to the Will and Decree of God.
All the disasters and tribulations that happen on earth, or happen to the individual, or to his wealth or family, etc., were known to God before they happened, He has written them in Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh (the Preserved Tablet) as He says:
مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَبْرَأَهَا ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ
No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah: (QS: Al-Hadid : 22)
Patience is a Virtue
No matter what disasters befall a person, it is good for him, whether he realizes that or not, because God does not decree anything but it is good, as He says:
قُلْ لَنْ يُصِيبَنَا إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوْلَانَا ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
Say: Nothing will afflict us save what Allah has ordained for us; He is our Patron; and on Allah let the believers rely. (QS:At-Taubah : 51)
Every disaster happens by God’s leave. If God had not willed it, it would not have happened, but He permitted it to happen and decreed it, and so it happened. God says in the Quran:
مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَمَنْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
No affliction comes about but by Allah´s permission; and whoever believes in Allah, He guides aright his heart; and Allah is Cognizant of all things. (QS: At-Taghabun :11)
Once a person knows that all calamities happen by the will and decree of God, then he has to believe and submit and be patient. The reward for patience is Paradise, as God says:
وَجَزَاهُمْ بِمَا صَبَرُوا جَنَّةً وَحَرِيرًا
And reward them, because they were patient, with garden and silk, (QS:Al-Insan : 12)
The position of patience in relation to this aspect of faith, in particular, is like that of the head in relation to the body. Patience is a noble attribute with good consequences. Those who are patient will have an unlimited reward, as God says:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ ۚ لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا فِي هَٰذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةٌ ۗ وَأَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةٌ ۗ إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
Say: O my servants who believe! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord; for those who do good in this world is good, and Allah´s earth is spacious; only the patient will be paid back their reward in full without measure. (QS: Az-Zumar 39: 10)
Another good outcome to perseverance through the Decree of God is the believer (in particular) is rewarded in both good times and bad. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for all his affairs are good, and that is for no one except the believer. If something good happens to him, he expresses gratitude, and that is good for him, and if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (H.R. Muslim)
God has taught us what we should say when calamity strikes, and has stated that those who are patient will have an honorable position with their Lord:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنْفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient, (QS : Al-Baqarah :155 )
Benefits of Belief in the Divine Decree and Predestination
The benefits of Divine Decree and Predestination can be highlighted through the following points:
Peace of Mind
A Muslim who believes in Divine Decree and Predestination will have his mind at ease when he knows for certain that what befell him could not have missed him and what missed him could not have reached him.
The believer doesn’t grieve about anything befalls him because he doesn’t say things that reflect discontent like: “if I did such and such then such and such would have happened”.
Also, he doesn’t worry too much about the future because he believes that everything is already written. What he should worry about is his deeds and doing good.
Believing in Divine Decree and Predestination gives the believer the will power and determination to go forward in the way of God.
A Muslim doesn’t fear anybody because he knows that no one has the power to afflict harm on him without it being decreed by God. The Prophet clarified this point to Ibn Abbas saying:
“If the whole nation were to gather together to benefit you they would only benefit you with that which Allah had already written for you, and if the whole nation were to gather to harm you they could only harm you with that which Allah had already written to harm you. The pen has been lifted and the ink has dried (a phrase meaning: everything has been decreed or settled)” (H.R. At-Tirmidhi)
Believing in Divine Decree and Predestination teaches the Muslim to be modest and humble, This is so because everything that a Muslim does is by the will of God so if he succeeds he knows that God helped him in doing it, he doesn’t succeed because he is intelligent or because he is rich or because he deserves it and likewise, a person isn’t poor because he is stupid.
This stops pride and arrogance from creeping to his heart because he knows that God can afflict him with harm and deprive him from the bounties he boasts about.
Total Dependence upon God
A Muslim takes precautions, does as much as he can and then depends upon God because Divine Decree does not stop him from taking precautions and utilizing worldly means.
Prophet Muhammad said:
“Take precautions as everybody is guided to that which has been destined for him.”
If something bad comes to us, it is because of our bad doings and if something good reaches us then it is from God’s grace.
مَا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِنْ نَفْسِكَ ۚ وَأَرْسَلْنَاكَ لِلنَّاسِ رَسُولًا ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا
Whatever benefit comes to you (Oh, man!), it is from Allah, and whatever misfortune befalls you, it is from yourself, and We have sent you (Oh, Prophet!), to mankind as a messenger; and Allah is sufficient as a witness. (QS: An-Nisa’ : 79), (T/Imt/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)