Every person might have ‘problems, setbacks, things not going well’ in their lives from time to time. Sometimes these problems are so big, they have an impact on one’s entire life, and sometimes they are just the usual day-to-day petty inconveniences. People that do not follow the Quran’s morality can’t help but feel depressed, unhappy, worried or nervous whenever something that they don't like happens, be it small or big. This is, in fact, hurting themselves, which they wouldn't be doing if they were simply aware of a very important truth. God explains in a verse: “It was not God Who did them injustice, but they were unjust to themselves..”
(At-Tawba, 70) Those who do not believe in God, or who choose to ignore these facts God tells us will have to deal with such worries, concerns, fears and weaknesses as a retribution in this world.
However, for those who know the truth, there are no worries, fears or unhappiness in this world because the believers are fully aware that God creates everything according to a destiny and that everything is already determined in a book called Al-Lawh-al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet) in God’s sight, and that they are just watching that destiny unfold.
They never forget that everything God creates for them will culminate in a very good way and that there is great wisdom in the destiny created by Almighty God and the destiny of His righteous servants will always be the best for them.
Misconceptions about destiny will lead to unnecessary grief and worries
Many people know about destiny, but have wrong ideas about it. For instance, some think that only their physical attributes such as the color of their hair, or their height, or their parents are in their destiny and mistakenly think that other details in their lives depend on them. They think that if they work enough they can change their destiny. The truth is different: Every moment in one’s life, everything he will go through, his entire life, every memory, every speech, every gaze, every voice is a part of his destiny. For instance, it is in your destiny that at this very moment you would be reading this article; God has known about this moment millions of years ago before you were created. Maybe many other things have happened before this moment; maybe the doorbell rang and a friend came over, postponing your plans to read this article for three hours. All those moments, you picking up the magazine, the door bell ringing, the smiling face of your friend, the three hours delay, are all in God’s memory and in the destiny of you, your friend and this article. God explains this in a verse as follows:
“You do not engage in any matter or recite any of the Qur’an or do any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it. Not even the smallest speck eludes your Lord, either on earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger, which is not in a Clear Book.”
(Yunus Suresi, 61)
God is independent of time and space
We are dependent on time and space. However, what is past, present and future to us is but one moment in God’s sight. For instance, our next birthday is in the future for us. In truth, that moment has already taken place in God’s sight. In other words, God knows right now what we will be wearing on our next birthday, who we will spend our time with, and what we will do on that day. In the same way, God knows what we will be doing two, three, ten or forty years later down to the slightest detail. God knows all the days, all the minutes, all the seconds in the life of an individual. And not only that, God has knowledge over and sees as one single moment all the moments since the creation of the universe, including every second of the lives of every person that has ever lived and will live in the future. God created an infinitely long amount of time in an infinitely short amount of time; in other words, in a single moment.
It is such a comfort and luxury for one to be aware of this infinite knowledge of God and that people are merely observers of their destiny. A true believer, one that truly surrenders himself to God, watches his destiny with joy, with anticipation, with appreciation and submission to God, learning from every moment of it and also with the comfort of a person sitting down on a couch watching a movie.
Believers are content with everything created by God
A person who has God as his friend and guardian will be content with every thing, every incident, every speech, in other words, everything in his destiny created by God. God, to test people, might create unexpected things in their destiny; these can sometimes be daunting, sometimes difficult and challenging. However, it must never be forgotten that each of those incidents has been planned and determined by God down to slightest details. For instance, Prophet Joseph had to stay in prison for many years although he did nothing wrong. It was in in his destiny; but because he was happy and content with the destiny God created for him, prison was not a source of grief or sorrow for him, instead it was an opportunity that led to many blessings and beauties. A believer, would, for instance, compare such days of difficulty with days of comfort and joy and appreciate the blessings even more. Obviously, a person who has seen nothing but a concrete wall for years will appreciate a garden of roses more than a person who has been in a garden of roses everyday. Therefore, a person who has gone through challenges and difficulties will know how to enjoy comfort and beauties more. Or let us look at a person who has in his destiny to go through unfair treatment like Prophet Joseph (a.s.) had to; he will feel joy thinking that his patience in the face of difficulties will earn him the pleasure of God in the hereafter. After all, he knows that he is going through only what is in his destiny and no one, including himself, can change that destiny or prevent it, not even a single moment of it, and revel in the comfort of surrendering to destiny.
A believer that has surrendered to their destiny, surely will do everything in his power to fix the situation. For instance, if he is sick, certainly, he should seek medical attention and do everything he can to heal. However, as he is doing all that, he would always keep in mind that going to the doctor, taking the prescribed pills and the result of his treatment are all a part of his destiny created by God. Therefore, he would never be thrown into self-pity, grief, pessimism or worries. He would enjoy the peace that comes with knowing that God wishes always the best for him, no matter how it seems. It is a very critical point for a person to firmly believe that everything happens for the best.
Believers know that even those incidents that might look negative are always for the best and put their trust in God. This is unique only to believers. Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) speaks about this in a hadith as follows:
“Believers are very surprising people. Because everything that happens to them are good for them. This is unique to them alone, it doesn't apply to anyone else. If something he likes happens, he will give thanks and if something negative happens, he will be steadfast and it will again turn out to be good for him.” (Muslim, Zuhd 64, 2999)
God has the Sole Power over everything and His power is infinite
For a person who can see the truth and who knows that God possesses sole power, surrendering to God comes naturally because he knows that everything that happens, everything that he hears, every person he meets, are all under the control of God. As Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) explained, everything in this life is a blessing for a believer, as it is created by God. God explains in a verse how the believers live a life with this awareness and put their complete trust in God:
“I have put my trust in God, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path.”
(Hud Suresi, 56)
Those who don't put their trust in God and think that everything is under their control cannot help but overwhelmed by constant fears, worries and negativity. This is just like a person watching a movie with a sense of panic, thinking that he can change the ending. Just like that feeling is completely unnecessary, it is unnecessary and pointless for a person to have such feelings, even though he is just an observer to his destiny. For instance, those who frame innocent people are also under the control of God. God creates these things to test people. If one shows patience in the face of such difficulties, he will find that there is no reason to get upset, as he is hoping for the pleasure, blessings and heaven of God. Furthermore, God always sends His help to believers and makes things easy for them. This is the promise of God. God explains the situation of those people who are wronged, in a verse as follows:
“That is so. And if anyone inflicts an injury the same as the one done to him and then is again oppressed, God will come to his aid. God is All-Pardoning, Ever-Forgiving.”
(Hac Suresi, 60)
Trusting and Surrendering to God is the natural choice for the Righteous
For believers who are aware of the infinite power, help and friendship of God, trusting and surrendering to God is the natural choice and is the easiest and most beautiful path to follow. Otherwise, one would try to carry a burden he wouldn't be able to bear. Bediuzzaman once explained that if a person doesn't trust God, he will put himself in a very difficult position:
“Humans are very fragile, and have lots to carry. They are poor, they need a lot. They are weak, but life is too heavy to carry. If they don't trust and rely on God, Who has infinite power and Who can do anything He wishes, the human conscience will continuously suffer. He will be drowned by the problems, worries, grievances; almost turn into a drunk or a beast by the weight of them.”
(The Words, p. 29)
However it has to be noted that what has been explained so far is not intended to console or reassure people when they face difficulties. This is how God created this world; this is how this life is created. If anyone believes otherwise, and acts otherwise, he will just be fooling and deceiving himself. Therefore, a person who leads a life that is devoid of religion will have to face the unpleasantness and discomfort of not being able to surrender, even in his finest and most comfortable days, while the people who live by religion will enjoy the comfort and peace of mind brought by the morality of religion, no matter what the circumstances are.
God explains how the believers feel in the Qur'an:
“Yes, the friends of God will feel no fear and will know no sorrow: those who have belief and show fear of God, there is good news for them in the life of the world and in the hereafter. There is no changing the words of God. That is the great victory!
A person who doesn't surrender will find that his worries, concerns and fears have no end; it is like he is under constant threat. He believes that any moment, someone, or something could harm him. He will live with a skeptical, restless soul and wallow in the darkness of his concerns because he cannot enjoy the comfort of leaning on God. A believer, on the other hand, no matter how difficult things may seem, relies on and trusts God, has God as his friend and therefore lives a content, happy and healthy life with peace of mind. There is absolutely nothing in this world that could upset or worry such a person. He lives knowing that he is always under the protection of God and has His infinite power supporting him all the time. He knows that, unless God wills it, no one could even do the slightest harm to him and he lives the comfort of surrendering to destiny in every moment of his life.