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Taqdeer (Fate)


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Belief in Taqdeer is a principle article of the Islamic faith. This is often
a misunderstood concept giving rise to many unanswered questions such as:


a) If destiny has already decreed the final abode of a person then to what
avail are his deeds or his supplications to Allah?


b) Many narrations refer to certain actions as a cause of increase in ones
wealth, lifespan and also a means of averting calamities. For example Thawban
rah27X23.gif reports that the Messenger of
Allah saw23X22.gif said, “Verily a man is deprived
of a provision (that was written for him) because of a sin that he commits; only
supplication changes destiny; and only righteousness can increase the life
span.” (Nasai, Ibn Majah) How may this be when everything has been preordained
through destiny?


I shall attempt to explain the concept of Taqdeer in a simple and categorical


Firstly, the purpose of mankind’s creation is that we worship Allah the
Almighty and we show obedience to Him. Allah states in the Holy Qur’an,

“I created the Jinn and humankind only that they might worship me.”


Secondly, this world serves as a test of our obedience towards our creator
and so that He may reward us in the next world accordingly. Allah states in the
Holy Qur’an, “Verily we created man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to
try him: so we gave him (the gifts), of hearing and sight. We showed him the
way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).” (76:2-3)


Thirdly, the notion that this world is a test warrants that the subjects
being tested possess free-will or else there would be no meaning to such a


With the above in mind the concept of destiny may further be explained by
understanding destiny to be Allah’s knowledge of how the individual is going to
use his free-will rather than a pre-decided factor being enforced upon him
without giving him a fair chance. Consider the following example: An appointment
is arranged between two individuals. The first arrives before time and waits for
the second; he then comments that the second will arrive late as always. He
bases his prediction on previous experience and the lax nature of the second
individual. This statement does not restrict or bound the latter’s ability to
attend on time in any way, it is merely an assertion. Similarly, when Allah the
Almighty informs us, through his infinite knowledge, of his knowledge of our
precise actions and our consequent abode it should not be perceived to be a
compelling decision against our free will, but rather only his knowledge of our

To summarise, every individual has been given free-will and should use it to
work towards attaining the pleasure of Allah and that Allah has full knowledge
of the individual’s actions; past, present and future.


With regards to the second misconception, the possibility of increase in ones
wealth, lifespan and aversion of calamities despite destiny being pre-ordained,
Allah says, “Allah blots out what he wills and conforms (what he wills): and
with Him is the mother of the book (i.e. book of conclusive records).” (


Commenting on the above verse Mujahid said, “During Laylatul-Qadr (night of
the Decrees), Allah decided what provisions and disasters will occur in the next
year. He then brings forward or back (or blots out) whatever He wills.” (Ibn


Scholars derive from the above that destiny is of two types:


a) Muallaq (revocable):


This destiny is written on ‘The Preserved Tablet’ (al Lawh al Mahfoodh), and
is subject to change and alteration through the omission or commission of
certain deeds. For example: the lifespan of a person is originally 50 years, but
may increase to 60 years if he performs the ritual of Hajj, or a certain
calamity is to befall him unless he averts it by spending in charity. This is
the destiny refereed to in the aforementioned narration.


b) Mubram (irrevocable):

This destiny denotes the eternal knowledge of Allah. It encompasses the final
result of the Muallaq destiny i.e. our choice of actions, their consequences and
every precise detail of our lives. This definite knowledge of Allah is not
subject to change or alter even slightly and is exclusive to Allah only.


In the light of the above the following may be derived:

  • Our supplications do change destiny and are of much avail.
  • Good deeds are a source of increase in ones sustenance, and avert
  • Sins result in a decrease in ones sustenance, and invite calamities


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