In a famous hadith (known as the hadith of Jibril) the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was asked: “what is Faith (Iman)?
The reply of the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was: “For you to believe in Allah, His angels, books, messengers, the last day and you believe in decree, the good and the evil of it.” (Muslim)
Part of decree is to know that
· Allah has prior knowledge of all that will take place.
· All has been written and is preserved with Allah.
· All that takes place can only happen with Allah’s permission, intention and creative power
Hakim al-Ummah, Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanawi in his work “Living as a Muslim” mentions the advantages of belief in destiny and having trust in Allah as numerous.
· No matter what hardship or misfortune befalls one, the heart will remain firm and the person will know that this is what Allah had intended, and its opposite could not have happened. Furthermore, when He wills it will be removed.
· One who had understood and accepted the concept of destiny will not be overcome with frustration at the delay in the passing of a hardship.
· The believer in destiny will not adopt unlawful ways and means to combat a difficulty, as he understands well that the elimination of the hardship is not possible without the will of Allah.
· The believer in destiny will resort to supplicating to Allah along with adopting materialistic means. Such a person believes that nothing can be gained without His will. He thus derives greater hope and strength by supplicating to Allah. (This leads to) an additional benefit of strengthening one’s relationship with Allah by means of resorting to supplication, which is the basis of peace and all comfort.
· He will not attribute success, accomplishment and excellence to his own efforts; rather, he will attribute everything to the will and pleasure of Allah
The end result of all that has been mentioned above is that such a person will be grateful in times and occasions of success and prosperity, and he will be patient when failure and adversity overtake him. This is the great advantage which Allah points to in the following verse:
لِّكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ
“So that you may neither grieve about what has escaped you, nor over-exult (become too happy) and Allah does not love any self-admirer, overly-proud)” (57:23)
The Islamic concept of destiny should not be misconstrued; hence, the essential and correct ways and means for (attaining) worldly affairs (in normal circumstances) should not be discarded on the supposed pretext of resignation to destiny. Instead, a person who possesses true belief on destiny will employ even the weakest of means and will further have hope that Allah can make these (weak) means effective too. Thus, he will never lose hope. This is contrary to the misconception some people have. (page 43-44)
It is for this reason the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: …“Make effort to acquire that which will benefit you, seek Allah’s assistance and do not become weakened. If something was to afflict you, then do not say: if only I had done it like this or that; rather say: The decree of Allah and what He wills He will do, since ‘if (only)’ opens the doors of Satan. (Muslim)
May Allah strengthen our Iman, protect all of us from trials & Calamities and grant us the spiritual strength to live and die on that which He loves and is pleased with.”