Divine Decree and Destiny in Relation to Registry and Duplication
Everything, which exists in Divine Knowledge in, individualized form according to a certain measure or, if we may say so, as a plan or project, is in a Record which The Holy Book calls “the Supreme Preserved Tablet” (85:21) or the Manifest Record. The Holy Book explicitly states that nothing befalls us save that which God has decreed or pre-ordained for us (9:51) and there is not a moving creature on the earth, nor a flying creature flying on two wings, but they are communities like mankind, and that God has neglected nothing in the Record (6:38). This Record or the Supreme Preserved Tablet is a title for Divine Knowledge in relation to creation. We can also call it the original Register.
In the “process” of creation, this Register is duplicated. Its first, most comprehensive copy or duplication, which comprises the whole of creation, is called in The Holy Book the “Tablet of Effacement and Confirmation” or the “Manifest Book”. While the Supreme Preserved Tablet or the Manifest Record relates to the originals of creatures in Divine Knowledge and the principles and laws of creation, the Manifest Book or the Tablet of Effacement and Confirmation is the reality and, metaphorically, a page of the stream of time. Divine Power transfers things from the Supreme Preserved Tablet onto the Tablet of Effacement and Confirmation. In other words, Divine Power arranges things on the page of time or attaches them in turn to the string of time. Nothing changes on the Supreme Preserved Tablet; everything is fixed there, but in the “process” of creation, God effaces what He wills, and confirms and establishes what He will (13:39).
The second kind of duplication is like this:
After birth, everyone is registered in Registry of Births. Then, according to the information in this state register of persons, everyone is given an identity document. Similarly, everyone is registered on the Supreme Preserved Tablet with all his personal characteristics, particularities, and future life history down to the smallest details. This original register of everyone is copied out by angels, and the part of it, which relates to the life of the body is encoded in cells as information or laws. However, for this information to be used or for the body to work and come to life, the spirit has to be breathed into the body. The other part of the copy of the original register, which relates to man”s life as a conscious, intelligent being is fastened around his neck as an invisible book (17:13) . During his whole life, man enacts whatever is in that book. However, that does not at all mean that Destiny or the pre-determination of a man”s life history compels him to behave in a certain way. As we are trying to explain, Destiny is some sort of knowledge. It is like this: for example, you send someone to a place to do some job. You have previously procured whatever he will need during that journey and given him necessary instructions to do the job. Since you knew in advance ho he would behave in every step of his journey, you have recorded all the details of that future journey in a notebook and placed it in a secret pocket in the jacket of that man. He starts out unaware of the notebook in the pocket and behaves however he wills during the whole of his journey. Together with him, you dispatch two of your most reliable men to follow him wherever he goes, observe all his acts and record on a videotape secretly whatever he does and says and however he acts. On his return, you compare the videotape recordings with the content of the notebook in his secret pocket and see that there is not the slightest difference between them. Afterwards, you call him to account for whether he did the job in accordance with your instructions and either reward him or punish him or forgive him.
As in the example above, God, Who knows everything in advance and is beyond all time and space, pre-recorded in registers the life histories of all people to come to the world. Angels copy out the registers and fasten around each person his own record or register, which is what we call destiny or fate. God’s fore-knowledge and recording of whatever a man will do in his whole life never compels the man to do that. He acts of his own free will and does of his free will whatever he does. Two angels, whom we call “noble scribers”, record all his life. On the Judgment Day, the recordings of his life by these angels will be presented to him and he will be told to read his Book:
Every man’s book of life-history (fate) have We fastened around his neck, and We shall bring forth for him on the Day of Resurrection a book which he will find wide open. (It will be said unto him): “Read your book. Your own self suffices as a reckoner against you this day (17:13-4).”
By M. Fethullah Gulen