Divine Decree and Destiny in Relation to Creation

There are two aspects of the relation between Divine Decree and Destiny and creation:

As a determining and compelling factor, except for the realm where man’s free will has a part, Destiny is absolutely dominant

1. As a determining and compelling factor, except for the realm where man’s free will has a part, Destiny is absolutely dominant. Everything occurs, all events take place, according to the measure, determination, judgment and direction of Destiny. God is the absolute owner of sovereignty in the whole universe and He acts and disposes however He wills in His Kingdom. He does whatever He wills and no one can call Him to account for His acts. He is absolutely Just and Wise and also absolutely Merciful and Compassionate. Therefore, whatever He does is good and He never wrongs any of His creatures.

We cannot interfere with the operation of the universe: the sun always sends us heat and light completely independent of us, the earth rotates around itself and the sun; days, months, seasons and years come and go one after the other and we cannot do anything with respect to whatever happens in ‘nature’. There are innumerable instances of wisdom in all such acts of God, and they are all to the use and benefit of man, so what falls on man is to study and reflect on His acts and try to find the instances of wisdom in them:

In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for men of understanding. Those that remember and mention God standing, sitting, and lying down, and reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth. ‘Our Lord! You have not created this vain. Glory be to You! Protect us from the punishment of the Fire’ (3:190–91)“.

Man should also reflect on whatever befalls him in his life. God never wills evil for His creatures, so, as The Holy Book explicitly states, “whatever of evil befalls a man is from himself (4:79)“; it is because of his sins. God allows misfortunes to strike man in order to either forgive his sins or promote him to higher ranks. But this does not mean that He always punishes a man with some misfortunes because of every sin of his; He overlooks many of his sins without punishing him.

Religious injunctions and prohibitions relating to human free will

2. The second aspect of the relation between Destiny and creation concerns the religious injunctions and prohibitions, which relate to human free will.

While Divine Destiny is absolutely dominant and compelling in the part of existence where man’s free will has no part, such as the creation and control of all things and beings or animate and inanimate bodies, and the movement of planets and all ‘natural’ events or phenomena, in the human realm, it takes man’s free will into consideration. However, as God creates all things and events in ‘nature’, He also creates whatever man will and does. This is so because God has honored man with free will and prepared for him an eternal abode. Although He desires His servants to always will and do good and insistently invites them to it, He does not refrain from giving eternal, physical existence to their bad choices and evil acts, however displeased with them He is.

By M. Fethullah Gulen

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