Question: What is meant by the following couplet?
Disasters befall you owing to your own actions;
You ascribe to qadar your fault in your efforts.
Disasters that befall you and troubles that you suffer are due to your own deeds that are against Islam. That is, such things happen to you because of your sins. Then you quote qadar as an excuse and put the blame on it.
Question: Do such things as talih and good omens have any basis in reality? According to Islam, is there anything wrong with believing in such things?
Talih means qadar. A person who does not believe in it is not a Muslim.
Good omens have a basis in our religion, but ill omens do not. There is nothing wrong with associating an event with a good omen. However, it is unacceptable to associate it with a bad omen. There is no place for ill omens in our religion. Finding ill omens in an object or place is something practiced in Judaism and Christianity. As a matter of fact, a hadith-i sharif says:
(Islam does not include ill omens.) [Maktubat-i Rabbani, Vol. 3, Letter 41]
In the past, Arabian people used to send a bird into the sky when they set out on a journey. If it flew to their right, they used to see it as a good omen and would continue their way. If it flew to their left, they used to consider it as a bad omen and call it off. Our Master the Prophet forbade this practice and ordered:
(Do not touch birds. Let them stay in their nests.) [Imam-i Mawardi]
Hadrat Ikrimah narrates: When a bird passed by making some sound, someone present there said that it boded well. Thereupon, Hadrat Ibn Abbas said, “It bodes neither ill nor well.”
Question: Is it permissible to say, “I am cross with my qadar“?
It is not permissible. Qadar is the destiny that Allahu ta’ala foreordained.
Question: Is it permissible to say, “If Allah has written it, let Him cancel it”?
It is not permissible. However, it is permissible if it is said with the intention of making a du’a. If the disaster predestined for a person is qada’ al-mu’allaq, that is, if it has been predestined also that the person would pray, he prays and, when the prayer is accepted, it prevents the disaster. Doing favors delays the ajal al-qada’ [conditional time of death]. But the ajal al-musamma [fixed, never-changing time of death] does not change.
Allahu ta’ala knows
Question: It is written in the book Endless Bliss, “None can tell that it is Allah’s knowledge that a certain disbeliever will remain a disbeliever eternally.” Isn’t this statement understood as if Allah did not know it?
If that subject or even that paragraph of the book is read completely, it is not inferred so. If a single sentence from a whole paragraph is quoted, it may cause misunderstanding. The sentence preceding it in the book is as follows, “Allahu ta’ala knows whether a certain disbeliever will remain a disbeliever eternally or not.”
This means to say that none can tell that “Allah knows that a certain disbeliever will remain a disbeliever eternally” because no one can know Allah’s foreordainment. That is, it is meant that none can know Allah’s knowledge about that person concerning whether he will die a disbeliever or a Believer.
Appointed time of death
Question: Is it permissible to say, “Your ajal will be by my hands”?
Ajal means one’s appointed time of death. A person who is killed or who commits suicide dies because his appointed time of death has come. As for the statement, “Your ajal will be by my hands,” it is permissible to use it if you mean, “It is I who will cause your death. I will kill you if nothing that prevents me happens.” But it is not permissible to use it if you mean, “It is I who will determine your time of death.”
Allahu ta’ala’s will
Question: Is man free in doing and not doing a good or an evil deed? That is, does Allahu ta’ala permit us to do it or prevent us from doing it?
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
Allahu ta’ala has bestowed iradah (will) upon humans and made this will a means for creating their actions. When man wants to do something, Allahu ta’ala creates this action if He wills, too. If man does not will and if Allahu ta’ala does not will either, He does not create. So man does his optional actions if he wants and he does not if he does not want to. (Vol. 1, Letter 286)
If a person wants to go to a pub, he goes there if Allahu ta’ala wills him to go. If another person wants to go to a mosque, he goes there if Allahu ta’ala wills. If he does not want to go to the pub, Allahu ta’ala does not want it either, and he does not go there.
Question: Is it contrary to our religion to say, “Such an incident is the destiny of this profession”? Is it an obstacle to taking precautions?
No, it is neither contrary to Islam nor an obstacle to taking precautions. It is only natural that every activity involves certain kinds of risks. For example, at war, people may win a victory or lose it despite having taken precautions. Also, they may become martyrs or veterans. It can be said that it is the destiny of war that one will be either a martyr or a veteran. So this statement is not contrary to Islam. A game animal may be hunted. A bird that is after grain is never safe from stepping into traps, as the saying goes. Such a bird may be trapped. Saying “A ripe fruit falls close to a tree” is a fact learnt from experience. The case is the same with saying, “He who has fallen into the sea will be wet through.” Therefore, it is not wrong to say, “It is the destiny of such a person to get wet.”
Traffic flow may be blocked, so a person who is to hit the road should afford to take that risk. It may be the destiny of traffic to be blocked. Similarly, we say, “Fire burns wherever it falls.” So it can be said that it is the destiny of fire to burn wherever it falls. Heavy rain may lead to flooding in the lowest-lying areas, even if precautions have been taken. A violent earthquake may level many buildings, even if they were well-built. He who is swimming in the sea may be drowned. Miners may be trapped underground after a cave-in. It is natural that every profession involves such risks. All these are perfectly normal. What is not normal is to exploit such incidents.