Tey Qadr Taqdeer (Destiny)

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Destiny is like a ubiquitous cloud over our lives. It heavily influences the events, the decisions we make, who we spend our lives with. Destiny has always been referred exclusively to a predetermined course of events. It is believed that there is a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual. And all major events in our life such as birth, marriage, major illnesses, accidents and death are pre-destined. Throughout their lives, people have a lot of interest in them. It is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed natural order to the universe. It is said that Allah commanded the pen to write Taqdeer (Destiny) in Loh-e-Mahfooz (Preserved Tablet) before the creation of the universe. It is general and comprehensive one that covers everything in minute details and whatever is written on the Preserved Tablets is not subject to any change whatsoever. There are also people who believe that some parts of the Taqdeer (Destiny) Written by Allah can be changed with prayer and by performing good deeds.

Submitted: December 22, 2009

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Submitted: December 22, 2009

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Destiny is like a ubiquitous cloud over our lives. It heavily influences the events, the decisions we make, who we spend our lives with. Destiny has always been referred exclusively to a predetermined course of events. It is believed that there is a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual. And all major events in our life such as birth, marriage, major illnesses, accidents and death are pre-destined. Throughout their lives, people have a lot of interest in them. It is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed natural order to the universe. It is said that Allah commanded the pen to write Taqdeer (Destiny) in Loh-e-Mahfooz (Preserved Tablet) before the creation of the universe. It is general and comprehensive one that covers everything in minute details and whatever is written on the Preserved Tablets is not subject to any change whatsoever. There are also people who believe that some parts of the Taqdeer (Destiny) Written by Allah can be changed with prayer and by performing good deeds.

In our routine life we use the word Taqdeer (destiny) quite redundantly and frequently and for almost everything. When someone leaves the home to earn he thinks that he will get whatever is written in his Taqdeer (Destiny) and someone who does not have a house of his own when quizzed “when will you make your own house?” says if it is destined to be I will have it. If someone is poor or rich it is his Destiny. That the time of marriage is predetermined and when it will come people will get married and to whom they will marry is prewritten. A sense of destiny in its oldest human sense is in the soldier's fatalistic image of the "bullet that has your name on it" or the moment when your number "comes up," or a romance that was "meant to be." Similarly, it is believed that the Person’s livelihood, life-term, deeds and his status in the Hereafter (wretched or blessed) are written while in the mother’s womb at an early stage of his development. So on and so forth.

If one has to do whatever he is been destined to then the rewards and penalties look illogical. Let’s say if someone does good deeds than according to the belief that Destiny is predetermined he is not doing such thing with his own free will and goodness; rather it was imposed on him. Likewise whoever does a bad deed cannot be held responsible because, like the good deeds, it is also prewritten. So in either case no one actually should be rewarded or penalized because they have not use their own will to decide between the good and bad, since it was predetermined they were forced to do it. If this is the case then the million dollar question is, what was the rationale behind the creation of heaven and hell when everything had to be preordained? Not only that, the benchmarks set for the entry in to heaven or hell is the good and bad deeds respectively. It is a common knowledge that according to law no punishment or incentive can be given for something that has been enforced; so how can Allah, The Most Just, reward or penalize someone for something that has been inflicted upon him by predetermined course of events? We believe that what we will earn is already written, yet we leave out of houses to earn; going one place to the other to make money. We say that the time and to whom we will get married to is predetermined, but yet the mothers make laborious efforts to find a suitable match for their sons and daughters. When someone gets a divorce we say that it was prewritten and it is his/her bad luck; whereas we all know that the couple should settle their dispute and if they fail the family should intervene and resolve the matter and avoid divorce as much as you can. If every effort of resolution fails only then give the divorce and that too after a thoughtful process. If divorce is predetermined for a person than what is the need of all these reconciliation efforts, the citation of which we get from Quran as well.

One other aspect about Taqdeer (Destiny) that is commonly used and believed is of an annual Taqdeer and for this they refer to the Night of Decree (Lailat al Qadr). During the Night of Qadr (Night of Decree) Allah sends down His decrees from heaven to earth; in it He destines the actions (deeds, sustenance, births, deaths, etc) of His creation for the next year. They quote the following verse of the Holy Quran to support this; which says “In that (night) is made distinct every affair of Wisdom.” (44:4) This means that annual provisions are made up there in the skies every year for the year to come just like companies make annual reports and budgets on a specific month of the calendar year. The annual closing and provisioning (budgeting) of a mid level company normally takes more than one day. While for a large scale organization it takes weeks and months to finalize the budgets for the next year and here we are talking about all the creatures of the Universe. Just think for a second is it possible to make provision for the entire creation in just one day? And His creation includes mankind, animals, trees, plants, birds and literally everything that exists in the Universe. So how can we say that Allah makes allocations and destines whatever is going to happen in the next one year in the life of His all creations? This concept clearly lacks logic. It is pretty obvious that there is some misconception about the concept of Taqdeer (Destiny) and most of the connotations derived are misleading and sounds unrealistic.

A man asked Hazrat Ali (A.S) what is Taqdeer (Destiny)? Ali (A.S) asked him to lift his one leg and stand on one leg only, he did. Hazrat Ali (A.S) then asked him to lift his second leg too, he said I can’t. Ali (A.S) told him that when you lifted your one leg it was in your control and when you failed to lift your second leg it was something which is not under your control. So the question is what really Taqdeer (Destiny) is and what is meant by control?

The word Taqdeer (Destiny) is derived from the Arabic word Qadr and the most appropriate word for it in English can be capability. According to Hazrat Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal (R.A) the word Taqdeer in reality is Tey Qadr – Taqdeer, where “Tey” mean you and Qadr is capability, so Taqdeer is nothing but YOUR CAPABILITY. The word Tey can be expressed both as you or your submission. There are people who use their ability themselves so it becomes the Tey Qadr as in your capability and there are people who submit their capability to someone and he then makes the best utilization in whatever way he feels like so it becomes Tey Qadr as in Linked Destiny.

One’s capability in reality refers to the quality he brings to light either by chance or by his own attempts. Capability is the name of a property or quality and The Nature has essentially granted everyone with every type of quality at the time of their birth and every one possesses it regardless of someone being born handicapped or with some deficiencies. This quality/property will be called his Taqdeer (destiny). Every human has all the qualities but it is a norm that people tend to highlight only one or few of their qualities with the passage of time either by taking chances or due to environment. After that they get used to it so much and adjust themselves with the particular quality that they simply ignore their other features, otherwise every human has all the qualities.

If you will use your quality with your own hands and efforts it will become your capability - destiny and if you will submit it to someone then it will become linked capability - destiny. This surrendered capability - destiny works on a little bit different pattern but in both cases the result is the same. It is a general observation that at every point in life you always have two options and you have to choose one of them like choosing between vice and virtue, good or bad, one decision or the other, one job or the other so on and so forth. At this point no one will compel you or force you to choose a certain path; you will make your own decision. And whatever path you will decide the rewards and penalties arising from it will be your responsibility. After you have decided and the outcome is known to you, then you will say that it was my Destiny.

In order to go to the moon you must have the capability which Neil Armstrong possessed but since I do not have it in me I can’t go. Neil Armstrong highlighted his ability by making strenuous efforts and became the first person to reach the moon. After he reached the moon then he said that it was my capability - my Destiny. There is a difference between his ability and that of others. Similarly, to swim you require a certain skill and ability but if you lack it; you cannot swim to the bottom of the sea no matter how much you desire because it require a certain skill. But the day you have reached there by giving prominence to the required skill, you will say that it was my Destiny. Likewise to become a financial analyst the analytical skills are required and only those who have refined this ability will become financial analysts. A swimmer becomes world champion by practicing his ability either by himself or someone tells him about the hidden talent he has got so it becomes the linked Destiny. As a matter of fact every individual crafts his own destiny either with his own will or by the order of the person to whom he has submitted his capability.

A perfect household example of this can be that while you are eating dinner some guests arrive unexpectedly and you ask them to join in. Once they have eaten, we normally say that this particular food had their stamp; but before that we didn’t have any knowledge that they will come and eat with us. It is perceptible from the above examples and it is very important to understand that UNLESS SOMETHING TAKES EFFECT IT WILL NOT BE CALLED DESTINY. The Destiny is always related to the past or something that has happened and not of the future because the destiny is not related with the future. Whatever is going to happen in future with regard to my Destiny, no one knows about it except Almighty. Once something has happened, if you deliberate on it you will feel that either you have done it with your own will or someone has got it done forcefully; there is no third option. In both ways it was my capability which I have used myself or linked usage of capability forced me to do a certain task. Once it has happened and recorded it became my destiny.

Allah, as The Most Knowledgeable and Knowing, Knows that which quality someone will highlight and exploit, at what time he will utilize it and where he will bring it into play. This Knowledge which Allah has from the Day One is mostly being referred as Loh-e-Mahfooz (Preserved Tablet) and people misinterpret it as Taqdeer (Destiny), predetermined and prewritten. These words predetermined and prewritten both are objectionable. Whatever someone has achieved or will achieve by making use of his capability either by himself or by linkage in both situations it was in the Knowledge of Almighty Allah from the Day One. Taqdeer (Destiny) is about past, something which has been achieved, so it has no concern with the future and since only Allah Has the Knowledge of the future so we cannot connect Taqdeer (Destiny) with Him. No doubt Allah Has the Knowledge of what someone will do and to what extent someone will go for a certain cause but it is not imposed and enforced by Him.

But there are two things that Allah Has kept in His custody by force; “birth” and “death”, if you want to call it Destiny you may call it but the word used for it is Qaza, something which is enforced and one has no control over it. The place and time of birth and even mother of the child is predetermined and it is the Decision of Almighty Allah. Similarly the time and place of death is also the Enforced Decision of Allah and it is Qaza. It is important to note here that Destiny is the name of a course of action while there is no action in the birth and even in death as it brings life to a halt, so it is not Taqdeer rather it is Qaza. It is only the Beginning and the End which are Enforced and Predetermined by Almighty and whatever exists in between is your actions based on your ability. Whether you do it yourself or surrender it to someone; it is only you who will make use of your capability and after you have done it then you will call it Taqdeer (Destiny).

This aspect is succinctly told by W. Somerset Maugham from an Arab tale:
Death speaks: There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, “Master, just now when I was in the market-place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not be able to find me.” The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and rode away as fast as the horse could gallop. After the servant has left, the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?” “That was not a threatening gesture,” I said, “It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

Once Hazrat Iman Hussain (A.S) was walking down the street and he got hit by stone thrown at him by a person. Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S) turned around; the person who had done this act asked him don’t you believe on Destiny? To this Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S) said that I do believe in it but I just wanted to see whose face is blackened in the course of action of Taqdeer. It is pretty clear that only after Hussain (A.S) was hit by stone he called it Destiny and it contained an action as well.

There was a time when I also believed that Taqdeer (Destiny) is prewritten and things will happen as they are destined to be. I refrained myself from making an effort to find a job for about a year and a half because I thought that a job will fall in my lap automatically without making any effort. But to my surprise nothing really happened and I remained jobless for that period, I was perturbed and frustrated. In frustration I went out in search of a job. To my amazement, the moment I started making an effort I soon found a reasonable job. The bottom line is I had to act according to my capability and after I have done it, I came to know that it was my Destiny and I learned it the hard way.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Qadr (capability) increases or decreases over a period of time. This practice is according to the dynamics and system of this world. Certainly if one will not use any of the talent it will become lessened over a span of time. And if you will keep using your talent it will definitely increase with the passage of time and experience. For example 100 students graduated in finance from an institution and ninety seven out of those hundred students starts practicing finance while the rest of the three don’t. Those ninety seven will definitely enhance their financial skills over a period of time with the exception of the three who chose to work on different lines. After sometime if you will ask them something about financial term and practice they would say they have forgotten all but that finance is some subject. Similarly, if a doctor will not practice as physician he will forget about the benefits and side effects of different medicines. A lawyer also forgets about the laws, rules and regulation if he does not go through them regularly.

We normally use word form for a batsman who is timing the ball immaculately, this happen just because of persistent practice. But at times, a batsman loses his sublime touch and timing when he stops practicing his skill due to some injury or any unforeseen circumstances. We then say that he has lost his form because he lacks match practice and to get in to form he must garnish and practice his competence before playing cricket at national or international level. The bowler faces the similar dilemma and goes through the same procedure. This happens with every sportsmen but giving example of all will make this piece lengthier. In nutshell the capability of person keeps increasing or decreasing as per the utilization or non utilization respectively.

Until now we have discussed Qaza (Enforced Decision) in terms of birth and death only; now let us see with a different angle and in broad spectrum. As we all know that the birth and death is the Decision of Almighty Allah as the Creator and Owner, Birth is the name of a beginning while we all know that death is the end. Based on this, we can safely say that every beginning and every end of our daily routine life is also Qaza, Will of Allah, because in our routine life there are plenty of things which begins and ends and it has continuity as well. But, bear in mind that whatever we will do in between is our capability and definitely in our control, it is just the result on which we do not have any control. It is in His Knowledge that I will reach office at this time (birth) and will leave at this time (death) but how I will sit in office and use my capability solely depends on me and Allah Knows about it. Once I have reached home, while reflecting back on the events of the day I will say to myself that it was my Taqdeer (Destiny). Similarly when a lawn tennis player reaches the court it is the beginning of a new match and once he has finished it marks the end of the match. But how he utilizes his capability and skill during the match is up to him alone and no one will force him to play good or poor. So on and so forth.

Summing up, every beginning and every end is the Decision of Allah which is called Qaza and whatever exists in between is my capability (Qadr). Destiny is not about the future, it is about the past events. It only becomes Taqdeer (Destiny) once it is done. Lastly the word Taqdeer is not mentioned in Quran but word Qadr is, we all know about Surah Al-Qadr, and the word Qaza has also been mentioned in Quran several times. Lastly the Decision of time (birth and death) rests with Almighty Allah alone and capability and its usage with me; one is Qaza and the other becomes Taqdeer (Destiny) after the course of action.


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