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Is the Night of the 27th of Ramadan Special? – Ustadha Shehnaz Karim

* Originally Published on 30/06/2016

Ustadha Shehnaz answers the important question of whether or not the night of the 27th of Ramadan is special. She speaks of the meanings behind seeking out the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr) .

Divine Decree and Misgivings

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.

Example

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.

Waswasa

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.

Warmest salams,
[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. 

Finishing Ramadan Strong – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

* Originally Published on 5/06/2018

In this reminder, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin gives advice on how to take advantage of the last ten nights and days of Ramadan. He discusses their virtue, the value of seeking Laylatu ‘l-Qadr, and the example of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in reviving these last ten nights. He compares Ramadan to a marathon and urges us not to give up and to put in every last bit of effort even if we won’t get first place. Ustadh Amjad highlights the spiritual magnitude of these last ten nights and particularly of Laylatu ‘l-Qadr, within which, he says, an action is multiplied 30,000 fold. He stresses encouraging one’s family to perform night devotion, even if a little, just as one would be avid for them to claim a million-dollar prize. He closes emphasizing the importance of even small acts of worship to make the most of what’s left of the month.

 

Free Will and the Divine Decree: A Reader

“And you cannot intend (to do anything) unless it is so willed by Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.” [Quran 81.29]

Destiny and Human Responsibility in Islam

Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree

Why Does the Qur’an Say Allah Misguides the Disbelievers? The Question of Free Will

Is Iblis Really from the Jinn? Why Is Iblis Blaming Allah for Leading Him Astray?

Do We Have Choice? And Does Allah Prevent That Choice from Being Realized?

How Can Allah Punish Disbelievers If He Is the One Who Veils Them From the Truth?

How Are the Prophets Protected from Error and Sin?

Do We Have Choice? And Does Allah Prevent That Choice from Being Realized?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As Salaam alaikum,
1. Does Allah create our choices?
2. When we ask Allaah to give someone guidance how does Allah’s help to this person manifest itsef in regard to his free will?
3. When Allaah miraculously saves a Prophet or saves someone from some harm coming from the enemy, is this just Him occasionally stopping the enemy’s free will? Like when the disbelievers didn’t to destroy the spider web on the cave…
4. How do we deal with mentally challenged people? I know they are not responsible in front of God but why do they exist?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Everybody has choice (ikhtiyar), and therein lies the secret of responsibility (taklif) before the Divine.
But there is no such thing as choice being prevented and the like. It is possible that what people wish to do doesn’t always happen as they intended, yet this doesn’t negate choice as people aren’t running the world– Allah is. With that in mind, don’t overcomplicate such discussions lest you put yourself into some degree of hardship.
(1) Allah is the Creator of absolutely everything. The human being has no power in and of himself, and does not create his own actions, yet is responsible by virtue of his being able to act.
(2) Supplication benefits. [see: Can Supplication Change Destiny?]
(3) They had the choice to break the spider’s web, but they chose not to.
(4) There is wisdom in the creation of everything– sometimes such wisdom is apparent and sometimes it is not. Something we can appreciate from the existence of such people is the magnitude of the Divine Favour upon us.
Please also see: Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree and: Suffering and Divine Wisdom
Consider taking: Excellence in Faith & Action (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion) and: Islamic Beliefs for Seekers: Dardir’s Kharidah Explained
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Can Supplications Change One’s Destined Life Expectancy?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Can supplications change the one’s life expectancy? If so is there any duaa to ask Allah for a long and good life  filled with obedience and good deeds?

 

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

No, supplications cannot “change” one’s life expectancy.

One will only live as long as Allah willed one to live. This is decree (qada’). However, our supplications may alter the way things seem to be unfolding, which is destiny (qadr) as we see it.

Though, we understand that such changes were decreed in eternity by Allah, and not something new, and ‘different’ to what was ‘supposed’ to happen.

Ask Allah, with heartfelt sincerity, for success, well-being, forgiveness, righteousness, and all pious traits. Strive to live the sunna, and become of those who are ever turning to Allah.

Please see: Can Supplication Change Destiny?

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answer:

Destiny and Human Responsibility in Islam

Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I’ve been having strong doubts about Islam due to difficulty accepting the belief in Qadr.

This verse from Imam al-Tahawi’s creed strongly bothers me, for example.

83. The Garden and the Fire are created things that never come to an end and we believe that Allah created them before the rest of creation and then created people to inhabit each of them. Whoever He wills goes to the Garden out of His bounty and whoever He wills goes to the Fire through His justice. Everybody acts in accordance with what is destined for him and goes towards what he has been created for.

Also this: 44. The same applies to all actions done by people, which are done exactly as Allah knew they would be done. Everyone is eased towards what he was created for and it is the action with which a man’s life is sealed which dictates his fate. Those who are fortunate are fortunate by the decree of Allah, and those who are wretched are wretched by the decree of Allah.

I used to believe that Allah loves and wants the best for all his creation. But now I have to believe that he tests the non-Muslims to justify damning them to perdition. How is this fitting for a kind and loving God? This belief is causing me distress in religion and life. Also doesn’t this mean that Firoun and Shaytan etc. were only fulfilling their purpose of creation?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

I believe you have a misunderstanding of this issue. Allah’s preeternal will coincides with His preeternal knowledge, and this by no means negates the free will of man and jinn.

That is to say, Allah in preeternity knew and, based on His knowledge, willed that Firown would be the way he would. Allah decreed the actions of Firown as per His preeternal knowledge of Firown’s choices. Of course, there is no implication of time sequence in this (see below on Allah’s timelessness).

But in his own lifetime, Firown chose to act the way he acted, and was not forced by any means. The two realities are not mutually exclusive. We affirm human free will, and we also affirm divine knowledge, will and power.

This issue is a complex one that is difficult for the mind to grasp at even an elementary level. Indeed, at the root of our difficulty is that we cannot fathom the divine attribute of ‘timelessness.’ He Most High is the First and the Last, without beginning and without end. He is not bound by time, since time itself is His creation. As our Master Ibn Ata’illah states, “Allah existed, and there was nothing besides Him. And He is now just as He was.”

So all of creation, and all moments of creation, are “laid out” in front of the Divine, as it were. There is no ‘before/now/after’ with respect to Allah. So from the divine vantage point, Firown’s place in the Fire is not ‘after’ Firown’s birth… Divine knowledge of Firown did not increase one iota after Firown. This is essential to understand. It was already done, in a sense.

“They did not estimate Allah His rightful estimation; indeed, Allah is strong, mighty.” (22:74)

I would advise you to study creed under qualified scholarship. You may want to take the following course for example: Islamic Beliefs for Seekers: Dardir’s Kharidah Explained

And Allah knows best.

wassalam

Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Destiny and Human Responsibility in Islam

Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life

Can Supplication Change Destiny?