The nature of destiny has been debated throughout human history. The most straightforward definition of destiny is that God created the universe, life and all events, both past and future, in a single instant.
This means that every event from the moment of the universe’s creation to the Day of Judgment has already taken place and ended in the presence of God.
Therefore, anything that hasn’t happened yet are only events that haven’t happened for us, not for God: After all, God is unbound by time or space as He, Himself, created time and space.
Therefore, for God, the past, present and future are all one and everything has already begun and completed.
For example, God knew how the pharaoh’s life would end even before the Prophet Moses was born, or even before the Egyptian state was founded. That is because they were all created in an instant, in the presence of God.
The truth about destiny can be found in many verses of the Quran. For example, “… everything in the heavens and earth, willingly or unwillingly, submits to Him and to Him you will be returned?”
(Surah Al ‘Imran, 83) tells us that everything in the universe “willingly or unwillingly” submits to the fate laid down by God. In other words, none can go against His will; every event must progress along the destiny that He has laid out. Nothing can contravene God’s will, assent or command.
“The keys of the unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him. He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a clear book.”
(Surat al-An‘am, 59), or “But you will not unless God wills...” (Surat al-Insan, 30) and “We have created all things with predestination.”
(Surat al-Qamar, 49) reveal the workings of His sovereignty over all things and the workings of destiny.
The truth is that human life is like a reel of film. As we live what is on this reel, we in fact watch our lives like we watch a film on a CD player, living each event moment to moment.
God knows the whole reel of film from beginning to end because it is He Who created the film with all of its details.
So all of this points to the fact that all is not what it seems. Beyond the material world we see, there is the evident existence of a power Who controls us, that is God Who has created everything and has absolute power over everything.
The science of neurology offers much evidence confirming this fact. One such scientific proof comes from experiments conducted on the concept of free will.
John-Dylan Haynes, a neuroscientist at the Bernstein Centre for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin has examined whether there is any difference between the instance of the moment of making a decision and the movement involved in the decision.
The procedure involved using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of subjects who were shown random letters on a screen. Participants were told to press a button with their right or left index fingers at a moment of their choosing, and to remember the letter that was showing on the screen when they made their decision. Meanwhile, the brain activity of the participants was monitored.
The results of the experiment were quite surprising. It could be seen that the subjects had decided to push the button 10 seconds before they had actually pushed it. This important scientific finding shows that a person’s choice is already fixed before that person makes that choice.
The results of the experiment were published in the journal Nature as follows: “There has been a long controversy as to whether subjectively ‘free’ decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time.
“We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 seconds before it enters awareness.”
To give an example from daily life; the physical and chemical processes to react to a child who runs out into the road are readied in the brain of a driver 10 seconds before it occurs, when the child is not even there.
In terms of chronological order: first the reaction is prepared, followed by the child jumping out into the road. So how is the brain readied for the situation before the child is even in the road?
Such neurophysiological incidents demonstrate that the reaction is not dependent on seeing the child. Neuroscientists have accepted that the feeling of having made a choice is only a subsequent thought in the biochemical sense that has nothing to do with the physical move. Some scientists say free will is merely an illusion.
Patrick Haggard, a neuroscientist at University College London, says: “We feel we choose, but we don’t.” Haynes makes the following confession on the non-existence of human free will: “How can I call a will ‘mine’ if I don’t even know when it occurred and what it has decided to do?”
Benjamin Libet, a neuropsychologist at the University of California, was the first to propose this fact, a fact which many people are not even aware of, about human processes of decision and choosing. Libet, through experiments performed with the cranial application of the electrodes of an EEG (electroencephalogram) device, demonstrated that brain activity occurs 500 milliseconds before the conscious intention to move.
A scientific article on the subject states that what is supposed to be free will and behaviour actually occurs outside the consciousness: “As humans, we experience the ability to consciously choose our actions as well as the time at which we perform them. It has been postulated, however, that this subjective experience of freedom may be no more than an illusion, and even our goals and motivations can operate outside of our consciousness.”
There are hundreds of other scientific studies that reach the same conclusion. This consensus of opinion is reported as a meta-analysis of 90 experiments from 33 laboratories in 14 countries.
The results of all of these scientific studies show that there exists a directing and will beyond the physical and biochemical world and that we live events that have been determined beforehand.
The choices we make are not our own, but we are merely given the feeling that we make our own decisions. It is therefore obvious that everything has been predestined. God thus demonstrates the unquestionable truth that He is the only Creator.
“Your Lord is God, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then settled Himself firmly on the Throne. He covers the day with the night, each pursuing the other urgently; and the Sun and Moon and stars are subservient to His command. Both creation and command belong to Him. Blessed be God, the Lord of all the worlds.” (Surat al-A‘raf, 54)
(Chun Siong Soon, Marcel Brass, Hans-Jochen Heinze & John-Dylan Haynes, Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. Nature Neuroscience April 13th, 2008)
(Smith, Kerri (2011), "Neuroscience vs philosophy: Taking aim at free will", Nature, 477 (7362): 23–5)
Libet,B., Gleason, C.A., Wright, E.W.&Pearl, D.K. Brain 106, 623–642 (1983)
Bode S, He AH, Soon CS, Trampel R, Turner R, et al. (2011) Tracking the Unconscious Generation of Free Decisions Using UItra-High Field fMRI. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21612. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021612
(Bem D, Tressoldi P, Rabeyron T and Duggan M. Feeling the future: A meta-analysis of 90 experiments on the anomalous anticipation of random future events [version 2; referees: 2 approved]. F1000Research 2016, 4:1188 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.7177.2)
Adnan Oktar's piece in New Straits Times: