“With Him are the keys of the invisible. None but He knows them. And He knows what is in the land and the sea. Not a leaf falls, but he knows it, not a grain amid the darkness of the earth, nor anything green or withered but is recorded in a clear Book”. [Quran 6:59]
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I am not going to study for this exam because Allah (SWT) has already decided what I will receive?” However, you still went ahead and studied because you also felt guilty knowing that He gave you the free will to do so.
I was always confused about the concepts of destiny and free will, and I never really understood how both could exist simultaneously. I used to always question this idea whenever something didn’t go my way; every time this happened, my mom would tell me “naseebet naboot,” which is farsi for “it was not your fate.” She would go on to explain that maybe if I did end up getting what I wished for, it would have caused more harm than good. My mom would tell me that Allah (SWT) knows the unseen. This made me question why we continue trying in life when we know that our lives are already planned out.
What really helped me wrap my head around this concept was a Youtube Video by Yusha Evans (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xxbVOgDVbM). Yusha said to think of predestination like this: The Creator knows everything that happened in the past, is happening presently, and what will happen in the future. He (SWT) also knows what will not happen, and the consequences that would follow if said event did happen. (Really think about this concept; I watched the video multiple times in order to understand it.) Allah (SWT) has the ultimate knowledge. He already has written in his book, for example, whether I am going to heaven or hell. However, we have to understand that Allah (SWT) did not make that choice for me, but He knows what decisions I will make (this is where free-will comes into play) that will lead me to that fate. In other words, He knows the choices that I will make before I make them, but this does not take away from my free will.
Subhan Allah. I love this explanation because it helps me understand why we need to try hard and put effort into reaching our goals. This is also just one way to view this concept of destiny and free will; there are multiple ways that we can look at these concepts, and I often find myself contemplating them. May Allah (SWT) help us all continue to learn more about the dean in the best way. Ameen.