I shall try to explain the difference between ‘Destiny’ and ‘Predestination’ by an example though only ‘Allah can give the best example’ (Qur’an;16:60). In this age, when a building is constructed, a sign post is put up indicating the names of the engineers and contractors who designed and undertook the construction. The engineer is in charge of the design (like destiny of all in the universe) of the building: his role is to decide on the details of the building, such as the quality and quantity of materials, the thickness of the walls and the numbers of doors and windows it should have. The contractor, however, is responsible for the construction i.e. execution of this design, in that he executes the work as required (like ‘Divine Will’ for all in Universe). ‘Destiny’ and ‘Divine Will’ in actual fact, belong to God alone. He may alter our destiny, in response to our prayers and charitable acts, in the same way as the engineer may make minor alterations in the design of the building, in response to various needs. God alone determines our ‘destiny’, and ‘only He’ can alter it in response to our prayers. If all human actions had been destined since eternity-with no scope for change, alteration or option, there would have been no need to send prophets to this world, nor to strive against unbelievers, and to invoke the Almighty. The Prophets, the righteous Caliphs and the reformers of the Ummah in every period, have always sought to banish evil and achieve what is good for mankind.
The analogy we have just considered, explains the concept of destiny and applies to the whole of creation, including human beings. But there is another issue with regard to human beings, which is much debated and argued about, and that is ‘Reward and Punishment’. And the question brought up time and again is: How could there be such a thing as reward and punishment, if our lives are predestined anyway? Especially if the Divine will is absolute and unchanging, it doesn’t make sense! Before we begin to look at this question in detail, it is important to differentiate from the start between man’s physical existence and the attributes of God and divine action. The human mind is unable to grasp this concept; except through what has been made known to us through revelations.
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