Is everything predetermined, and then recorded after its coming into existence?
Believing in Divine Destiny is one of the pillars of faith, and, in accordance
with this belief, everything in the universe is determined by God, the All-Mighty.
While there are countless absolute evidences of Destiny, it may be sufficient
to make some introductory remarks to demonstrate how important a place this
pillar of faith has for the whole of creation.
The Qur’an specifically explains that everything is predetermined, and then
recorded after its coming into existence, as indicated in many verses like,
Nor anything green or withered except it is all in a Manifest
This Quranic statement is confirmed by the universe, this macro-Qur’an of
the Divine Power, through its creational and operational signs like order, harmony,
balance, forming and shaping, adornment and distinguishing. All seeds, fruit
stones, measured proportions and forms demonstrate that everything is pre-determined
before its earthly existence. Each seed or fruit stone has a protective case
formed in the factory of Kaf Nun[*], into which the Divine Destiny has in-built
the life-story of a tree or plant. The Divine Power employs the particles according
to the measure established by Divine Destiny so as to cause the particular stone
to grow miraculously into the particular tree. This means that the future life-history
of that tree is as though written in its seed.
While there is variety between individuals and between species, the basic
materials from which these plants and animals are formed are identical. The
plants and animals that grow from the same constituent basic elements display,
amid abundant diversity, such harmony and proportion that man cannot help but
conclude that each of them has been individually given its particular form and
measure. It is the Divine Power which gives to each its particular form according
to the measure established for it by Divine Destiny. For example, consider how
vast and innumerable a mass of inanimate particles shift, cohere, separate so
that this seed grows into this tree or that drop of semen grows into that animal.
Since there are the manifestations of Divine Destiny to this extent in visible
material things, for certain, the forms with which things are clothed with the
passing of time and the states they acquire through their motions are also dependent
on the ordering of Divine Destiny. Indeed, a single seed displays Destiny in
two ways, one by demonstrating the Manifest Book (Kitabun Mubin) which
is but another title for Divine Will and God’s creational and operational laws
of the universe; the other is by displaying the Manifest Record (Imamun Mubin),
another title for Divine Knowledge and Command. If we regard these two as different
manifestations of Divine Destiny, the former can be understood and referred
to as ‘Destiny Actual’ and the latter as ‘Destiny For-mal or Theoretical’. The
future full-grown form of the tree can be understood as its Destiny Actual,
whilst Destiny Formal refers to all the stages together through which the tree
has to pass in its life, and comprehends the entire history of its life. Such
manifestations of the Divine Destiny, so easily observed in a life such as that
of a tree, are illustrative of how everything has been pre-determined in a Record
before its worldly existence. On the other hand, all the fruits and seeds which
are signs of the Manifest Book (Kitabun Mubin) and the Manifest Record
(Imamun Mubin), together with all human memories which indicate the Preserved
Tablet (Lawhun Mahfuz), prove that, as everything has been pre-recorded,
its life-history is also recorded. The life-history of every tree, for example,
is recorded in each of its fruits, which is the outcome of its entire life.
The life-history of man including events occurring in the external world is
likewise recorded in his memory. Thus, the Divine Power registers a man’s deeds
with the Pen of Destiny by lodging it in his memory so that he will be able
to remember them on the Day of Reckoning.
Man should also be assured that in this world of transience and upheavals
there are numerous ‘mirrors’ pertaining to eternity in which the All-Powerful
and Wise One depicts and makes permanent the identities of mortals. There are
also many tablets upon which the All-Knowing Preserver writes down the meanings
of transient beings.
In short: While plants, which are the simplest and lowest level of life,
are completely de-pendent upon Divine Destiny, it is also evident that the life
of man, which is the highest level, has also been minutely determined by that
Destiny. Just as drops of rain are indicative of a cloud, and trickles of water
disclose a spring, and receipts and vouchers suggest the existence of a ledger,
so fruits, sperms, seeds, and forms are indicators of the Manifest Book and
the Manifest Record.
The expression Manifest Book symbolizes the Destiny Actual, which is a title
for Divine Will and God’s creational and operational laws of the universe and
the physical order displayed by living creatures. The Manifest Record means
the Preserved Tablet which is the book of Divine Knowledge and symbolizes the
Destiny Formal or Theoretical determining the immaterial order and the life
of the universe.
To conclude: We witness that particles are in continuous movement during
the formation of a living creature and travel to their destinations by complicated
routes and remain there. Their movement results in many benefits, uses, and
instances of wisdom. Evidently, an apparent measure is appointed for each thing
by Divine Destiny. If this is so, it is also observable that even the immaterial
states of living beings result in certain fruits. Thus, Divine Power is the
agent, and Divine Destiny is the pattern. Divine Power writes the book of the
meanings on that pattern. We see that every movement a creature makes in the
course of its existence, and all the stages through which it passes, are pre-determined
by Divine Destiny and its whole life forms a harmonious unity.
Since we understand that a destination and a certain purposeful result has
been appointed for everything by Divine Destiny, and accordingly all the stages
it will undergo during its life-time have also been pre-determined by the same
Destiny, surely, the life-history of man, the most perfect fruit of the tree
of creation, God’s vicegerent on earth, and the bearer of His greatest trust,
is more than anything subject to the law of Divine Destiny.