Decree and Destiny

[Translator’s Note: All references to the verses of the Holy Qur’an are given in Arabic as they occur in the text. The English translation, presented in italics, is taken from the translation of the Holy Qur’an by Hadhrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib(ra). Where the Promised Messiah( a s ) h a s himself stated a certain inter- pretation of the Arabic verse, this is incorporated in the main body of the text]. Allah has not revealed the secrets of the system of His decree and determination of destiny but there are to be found within it [through its manifestation] numerous points of wisdom. It is my experience that no one can attain to a high spiritual station merely through one’s own striving. It is the tribulation from Allah that one 16 Review of Religions – September 2002 Decree and Destiny Presented below is a compilation, in translation, of excerpts taken from Malfoozat relating to the topic of decree and destiny. Malfoozat is the title of the ten volumes that contain the collection of discourses, speeches and addresses of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). (Translated by Amatul Hadi Ahmad) The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) In 1891, Hadhrat Mirza Ahmad claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. has to bear which brings one closer to God. Who can strike oneself harshly with a rod? Allah is Most Gracious and Ever Merciful [therefore the tribulation that comes from Him is not without due rewards]. I have discovered this myself that after making one undergo a little pain, Allah endows great rewards and blessings. The next world is eternal – those who have parted from us cannot return but we will be with them very shortly. The wall of this world [separating it from the next] is not a solid one and even that is ever crumbling. The point to ponder over is this that there is nothing in this world that can be taken with us to the next and, moreover, one does not know when it is that one may have to go. Whenever a person goes, the timing will be thought not to be right and he will go empty-handed – it is only the good deeds that will go with a person. However, it is not uncommon to find that some people at their death- bed still wish to be reminded of exactly how much they possess – even at such a time their concern is with material things. There are many even in our Community who behave in this manner and their worship of Allah has conditions attached. There are others who write to me for prayers and state that if they acquire so much money or that some other wish of theirs is granted to them, they would become members of the C o m m u n i t y. Such foolish people do not consider what possible need would Allah have for their initiation into the Community! Our Community should have the faith of the Companions of the Holy Prophet of Islam who offered their own heads in the path of God. [Volume 9, pp. 381-383] [During a general conversation when some people raised the point that an impending doom may be averted by giving alms and making charitable d o n a t i o n s], the Pr o m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ) stated: This is correct. However, some people raise objections as to 17 Decree and Destiny Review of Religions – September 2002 why are there two parts of what is termed divine decree. The answer to this is that our experience is witness to the fact that sometimes extremely threatening situations arise and a person loses all hope but when the means of prayer, alms and charity are employed, such a threatening situation is at last averted. Hence, it has to be believed that the divine decree that is known as Mo’allaq, that is, the ‘suspended decree’ does exist. If it were the case that this type of decree does not exist and only the ‘inexorable decree’, the decree Mubram, existed and that prayer and the giving of alms had no effect, why is it that extremely dangerous situa- tions are averted [through prayer and the giving of alms]? It is the case that some divine intentions are only for the purpose of creating fear [of God] and to remind people of the efficacy of prayer. Through prayer and the giving of alms and charitable deeds, many fears and dangers are averted. Efficacy of prayer is like the relationship between male and female where, only if at the appropriate time the relevant conditions are fulfilled and there is no intervening deficiency, [the desired result be would achieved] and [the undesirable outcome] of the matter averted. However, when the divine decree is of the inexorable and inevitable type, that is it is decree Mubram, then it so happens that the relevant and appropriate means of prayer are not achieved. One wishes 18 Decree and Destiny Review of Religions – September 2002 IT IS THE CASE THAT SOME DIVINE INTENTIONS ARE ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF CREATING FEAR [OF GOD] AND TO REMIND PEOPLE OF THE EFFICACY OF PRAYER. THROUGH PRAYER AND THE GIVING OF ALMS AND CHARITABLE DEEDS, MANY FEARS AND DANGERS ARE AVERTED. to pray but full concentration is lacking and the heart does not develop the necessary emotions of pain and sorrow. There is lack of concentration upon the appropriate prayer also in prostration during the performance of Salat. All such things point to the fact that the ultimate result of the situation being faced will not be good and this is the decree that is known as Mubram, that is, the inexorable divine decree. [Here a person added his comment that when Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan Sahib’s son was very seriously ill, Huzur (that is, the Promised Messiah) received a revelation that it was a Decree Mubram and that death has been decreed. However, with H u z u r’s intercession that decree was averted]. The Promised Messiah stated: Sayyed Abdul Qadir Jeelani( r a ) has written that some times it so happens that the decree that is M u b r a m has been averted through his prayers. Regarding this, a renowned religious scholar, Sheikh Abdul Haque Muhaddith Dehli, raised the issue that the decree that is Mubram cannot be averted so what does it mean? He eventually answered the point himself that the decree Mubram is also of two types: one is truly Mubram and the other appears to be like Mubram but in fact is not. The truly M u b r a m d e c r e e cannot be averted under any circumstance as for instance is the fact that a human being will eventually face death. This decree cannot be averted even if a person wishes to stay alive to the end of time. The other type of decree that is not in fact Mubram [ b u t appears as if it may be] is when a dangerous situation becomes very grave and it appears that the danger will not be averted. Such a situation is referred to as being ‘like Mubram’ – [but it is, in fact, Mo’allaq and can be averted through prayer and giving of alms]. The truly Mubram decree is such that 19 Decree and Destiny Review of Religions – September 2002 even if all the Pr o p h e t s together prayed for it to be averted, it cannot be averted. [Volume 7, pp. 87-88] The Holy Qur’an has set out certain matters for the establishment of the grand principle that Allah Almighty is One and is the source and goal of everything from which some foolish critics have deduced the doctrine of compulsion. Allah is the ultimate cause of everything and is the Provider of all means. This is the reason why Allah Almighty has, in some cases, described Himself as the cause of all causes in the Holy Qur’an, without mention of intervening means. However, a study of the Holy Qur’an would reveal that other intervening means have also been clearly specified so that man should pay heed to them. M o r e o v e r, the Holy Qur’ a n specifies punishment of evil and lays down penalties. If there were to be an unal- terable system of Divine decree and determination and man was to be under absolute compulsion, what justification was there for these punish- ments and penalties? It should be remembered that the Holy Qur’an does not confine everything within the system of physical causes but seeks to lead mankind to belief in the pure Unity of God. Most people do not realise the true nature of prayer nor do they com- prehend the relationship between prayer and Divine determination. Allah Almighty opens the way for those who 20 Decree and Destiny Review of Religions – September 2002 MOST PEOPLE DO NOT REALISE THE TRUE NATURE OF PRAYER NOR DO THEY COMPREHEND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRAYER AND DIVINE DETERMINATION. ALLAH ALMIGHTY OPENS THE WAY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO PRAYER AND DOES NOT REJECT THEIR SUPPLICATION. THERE IS PRAYER AND THERE IS DIVINE DECREE AND DETERMINATION – ALLAH HAS APPOINTED APPROPRIATE TIMES FOR BOTH. have recourse to prayer and does not reject their supplication. There is prayer and there is Divine decree and determination – Allah has appointed appropriate times for both. [Through prayer] an aspect of the attribute of Providence has been granted by Allah to those who worship Him, as Allah states in the Holy Qur’an: Pray unto Me; I will answer your prayer… (Ch.40: v.61) That is why I have always stated that the God of the Muslims responds to their supplication but the god who has not created a single particle or who died from ill treatment at the hands of the Jews, how can he respond? It is not wise to attempt reconciliation between choice and compulsion on the basis of logic and reasoning. It is a vain attempt to comprehend the mysteries of Divinity. It is also disrespectful. [As stated in a saying of the Holy Pr o p h e t Muhammad(sa): ‘The way of the seeker is all respect’]. Divine decrees and determination have a very close relationship with prayer. Prayer averts the operation of a suspended decree, that is, decree M o ’ a l l a q. Prayer is most certainly an effective means of averting dangers and difficulties. Those who deny the efficacy of prayer are under a misconception. The Holy Qur’an sets out two aspects of prayer. In one aspect Allah Almighty enforces His Own Will and in the other aspect He responds to the prayer of a servant. In the verse: And We will try you with something of fear and hunger… (Ch.2: v.156) Allah Almighty requires 21 Decree and Destiny Review of Religions – September 2002 obedience to His will. The meaning is that man’s response to an absolute Divine decree must be: Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return… (Ch.2: v.157) The time of the upsurge of the waves of the grace and mercy of Allah Almighty is indicated in the Holy Qur’an: Pray unto Me; I will answer your prayer. (Ch.40: v.61) A believer should have knowledge of both these aspects. The Sufis say that a person’s absolute dependence upon Allah does not become perfect without his being able to distinguish the proper place and occasion for supplication. It has been said that a Sufi does not pray till he recognises the appropriate time for supplication. Sayyed Abdul Qadir Jeelani( r a ) has stated that prayer can turn a callous person into a truly good person. He goes so far as to say that through prayer extreme dangers that appear as if they may be operating under the absolute decree are averted. In short, it should always be remembered in connection with prayer that sometimes Allah Almighty requires obedience to His Will and at other times He grants the supplication of a servant of His. In other words, he deals with His servant like a friend. The prayers of the Holy Prophet( s a ) were accepted on a grand scale and corresponding to this he holds the highest position in bowing to the Will of Allah and in accepting it cheerfully. [Malfoozat, Volume 3, pp.224-226] 22 Decree and Destiny Review of Religions – September 2002

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