DIVINE DESTINY AND DECREE AND HUMAN FREE WILL

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The Qur’anic word translated as “destiny” is qadar. In its derivations, this word also means “determination,” “giving a certain measure and shape,” “dividing,” and “judging.” Muslim scholars of Islam define it as “Divine measure,” “determination,” and “judgment in the creation of things.”

As terms, qadar or Destiny means to predetermine or preordain within a certain measure, while Decree means to execute or put into effect. To be more precise, Destiny means that everything that exists, from subatomic particles to the universe as a whole, is known by God Almighty and measured, identified and established by Divine Eternal Will. His Knowledge includes all space and time, while He Himself is absolutely free of both of them. Everything exists in His Knowledge, and He assigns to each a certain shape, life span, function or mission, and certain characteristics:

God knows what any female bears and what the wombs diminish and what they increase; and everything with Him is by a determined measure. (13:8)

The sun and the moon are by an exact calculation . And the stars and the trees both prostrate (before God in perfect submission to His laws). And the heaven—He has made it high, and He has set up the Balance; so you must not go beyond (the limits with respect to) the Balance, and observe the Balance with full equity, and do not fall short in it. (55:5–9)

The universe’s exact measure and balance, order and harmony, as well as that of all it contains, clearly show that everything is determined and measured, created and governed by God Almighty. All seeds, measured and proportioned forms, and the universe’s extraordinary order and harmony, which has continued for billions of years without any interruption or deviation, demonstrates that everything occurs according to God Almighty’s absolute determination. Each seed or ovum is like a case formed by Divine Power into which Divine Destiny inserts the future life history of a plant or a living being. Divine Power employs atoms or particles, according to the measure established by Divine Destiny, to transform each seed into a specific plant, and each fertilized ovum into a specific living being. This means that the future life history of these entities, as well as the principles governing their lives, are pre-recorded in the seed or the fertilized ovum as determining factors and processes. Plants and living beings are formed from the same basic materials. However, there is an almost infinite variety of species and individuals. Plants and living beings grow from the same constituent basic elements, and display great harmony and proportion. Yet there is such abundant diversity that we are forced to conclude that each entity receives a specific form and measure. This specific form and measure is established by Divine Destiny, that is, Divine measuring, determining, and establishing.

 

Gulen, Muhammed Fethullah. “The Essentials of the Islamic Faith” The Light, Inc. 2005.