The belief in Qadr challenges our faith the most. This concept is also the most misunderstood and misinterpreted by Muslim around the world. Due to our nonchalance and ignorance, it may also bring us within close range of Allah’s (swt) wrath. We seek His refuge from it.
Qadr is fate or destiny, and Qadha is the judgement that Allah (swt) passes for it to occur. Only Allah (swt) has the might to alter what has been predestined, when we make Dua and strive in His way. Likewise, only He has the right to pass the judgement for not changing anything at all and to make it happen as written.
As per my humble understanding, Qadr falls into four main categories.
The first category involves involuntary nature, which is pre-destined and cannot be questioned or intervened in by anyone. This pertains to Allah’s (swt) extensive, perfect, and beautiful creation plan, which regards the creation of the human being as complete.
The Quran frequently mentions examples of the creation: the Sun, the Moon, stars, and planets with the orbits that they take; humankind, angels, Satan, trees, animals, elements, water from the sky, the creation of human beings as males or females, functioning of the body, emotions and feelings in the human beings, and natural death.
The second category involves good involuntary occurrences that happen to us because of Allah’s (swt) Iradah. This means that Allah (swt) blesses man with something, for instance wealth, that can become a test. This can lead him to either a good end or a bad end. If somebody born into a wealthy family obeys Allah (swt) and uses wealth for Allah’s (swt) pleasure he will be destined to a good end. He has passed the test. Conversely, if he disobeys Allah (swt), wastes his wealth, and leads a sinful life, he has failed the test.
The third category involves bad involuntary occurrences that happen to us by Allah’s (swt) will. Here again Allah (swt) tests us, but this time regarding the choices we would make in distress. For example, prophets were the closest to Allah (swt); yet they were tested with loss of lives, wealth, honour, and tribal support. Nevertheless, they worshiped Allah (swt), submitted to Him, and loved Him. Anyone who turns evil after experiencing hardships from Allah (swt) has failed the test of patience and is destined for a bad end.
The fourth category tells us of the voluntary good and bad actions that we choose to perform with our God-given free will. In this case, we make a choice first and then Allah (swt) passes His judgement either by allowing it to happen or not allowing it to happen.
We must always remember that Allah’s (swt) decree is based on His wisdom and knowledge about us and the rest of His creation. It is always perfect and in our best interests, even if we at times are incapable of understanding it.
In Allama Iqbal’s view, man should pray to God, so that He may grant him enough strength to attain a higher destiny and lead him to a more genuinely glorious end.
“This universe is perhaps still not complete for every moment things are being ordered to ‘become’ and they are becoming. There are more worlds yet to emerge. If a certain Taqdir (destiny) has tormented you and you are tired of it, then pray to God for some other Taqdir. It is quite permissible to wish for a different Taqdir, because there is no limit to the Taqdirat ordainable by God.”
Change yourself and your destiny stands changed. Become a drop of dew and you will fall. That is your destiny. Become a sea and live forever. That becomes your destiny. Become dust and destiny will hand you over to the winds.
The choice is ours. What do you choose to be?