Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I am suffering a great deal of waswass regarding the issue of Destiny. I hear people say different things about it: Allah is in control of everything,
or our decree can be changed because of our actions. It is on my mind most of the time and giving me a lot of stress, making me worry about many elements in my life, feeling like I have to manage everything and not mess up ANYTHING.
Everything is within Allah’s will, even our sins (He does not force us, but He allows us to sin, so it is our responsibility). Thus, we cannot blame Him for our sins. But are the outcomes of our sins (and good deeds) entirely our fault as well?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, I pray you’re well.
Do not delve too much into the question of Divine Decree, as it is something that the mind has not been created to comprehend in detail, nor will a person be asked about it. What matters to you and I is what is within our ability to know and act upon. Anything else, particularly without any guided study, will only cause waswasa.
Take a simple example; the movement of your arm. You know you have a sense of will to move it or not move it. You also experience some power and ability to move it, should you so wish. When you move your arm you observe that you have moved it. All of this, your perceived will, ability and act, are experienced and witnessed by you. However, do you know the exact physiological mechanism by which all this happened? Do you have knowledge, understand, or even observe the neurological and muscular changes and interaction occurring in your arm and brain during the simple process? It’s unlikely.
Likewise, every one of us perceives our ability to act, whether to do good or to sin. This is our free will. God knew from pre-eternality that which we would choose and he creates for us what we choose, whether to be obedient or to be disobedient. How this all happens, and the full wisdom of God’s acts are not known to us, and nor is Allah obliged to explain anything to us.
This is the nature of a true Deity who holds absolute Sovereignty over his creation, ‘He is not questioned about what He does, but they will [all] be questioned.’ [21:23]
Changing Divine Decree
There is nothing beyond God’s knowledge, and His knowledge and Decree never change. What was meant to be will be and that which was not, will not. Therefore, no act of a created being, whether virtuous or sinful, changes, interferes or ‘messes up’ the Divine Decree. Everything that was, is and will be has been written and preserved in the Guarded Tablet, and this does not change.
What we perceive as changes in circumstance, answering of prayers, calamities and trials, are all part of Allah’s Decree, which preordained everything from pre-eternality, is already written, though we experience unfolding in time and observe as ‘changes’. In reality, these ‘changes’ and their causes were already destined.
The above is a brief summary of this subject. If your doubts are due to a basic lack of knowledge, then I recommend studying aqidah. You may take one of our free courses online. However, if these are constant issues and affecting your faith and practice, then you may also want to seek further support or counseling to get to the root of your doubts and fears.
Remember, we are only held accountable for that which we are capable of knowing and doing, nothing more. All you need to concern yourself with is doing good deeds and avoiding sins. Leave anything beyond your ability to understand or act upon. The hows and whys do not affect the outcome of you next life, actions do.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.