Are We Victims of Destiny?

No one is a victim of Destiny. God never destines a man to do something; rather He creates whatever one wills to do. In its decrees or verdicts, Destiny always takes man’s free will into consideration.

Man is directly responsible for the misfortunes striking him. Any misfortune coming upon a man is either because of his misuse of his free will or because, as is the case with the Messengers, God wills to promote him to higher and higher ranks. For example, the sun is absolutely necessary for and indispensable to life. If a man stays in the sun too long and dies of sunstroke, no one has the right to complain about the sun. In the same way, the misfortunes we attribute to Destiny are, in fact, the result of our misuse of our free will. If, without taking our misuse of our will power into consideration, we accuse Destiny for the wrongs and ugliness that befall us, it is obviously insolence to Destiny, which will double the misfortune.

To cite another example, God Almighty has created and endowed us with certain faculties or powers. Lust is one of these powers. If we use it in unlawful ways, thus causing ourselves harm, it is we ourselves who must be blamed for it? God has given us this power so that we may use it in lawful ways to reproduce and thus we can be promoted to higher spiritual ranks since we resist the suggestions of our carnal self to use it illicitly. It is the same with anger. God Almighty has given it to us to defend ourselves and our religious and social values, not to hurt others. Therefore, if we are taken in by it and kill someone, the fault lies wholly with us, not with Destiny.

Destiny relates to cause and effect together at the same time. If we judge only by considering the effect, we are usually mistaken. For example, if we accuse a father who is pulling his son’s ears without considering why he is doing that, we may wrong that father if he is pulling them either because of a fault of the son’s or because he likes him to be brought up better. So, in order to judge any event, particular or universal, we should consider everything related to it; if we are still unable to discern the good in an event, we should convince ourselves of the fact that whatever God does is good either in itself or with respect to its consequences, and never attempt to accuse Destiny impertinently.

It usually occurs that a man judges something to be evil, but it may be good for him or, by contrast, he concludes something, as good, but it may be bad for him. The Holy Book declares:

“It may be that you dislike a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. God knows but you know not (2:216).”

By M. Fethullah Gulen

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