A very important secret underlies the testing that takes place in the world. Believers who possess this secret confront everything that befalls them with great patience, joy and enthusiasm. The fact of “destiny” lies at the heart of this secret. Muslims know that Allah has created all things within destiny and that what befalls them does so solely because He so wishes. It is Allah Who creates people’s lives, right down to the finest detail. Sura al-An‘am describes how everything, great or small, that happens on Earth occurs because Allah wishes it to:
The keys of the Unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him. He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a Clear Book. (Surat al-An’am59)
Human beings are entities who live constrained by time and by looking at events solely from the current moment. And since people do not know the future they may not always be able to see the long-term wisdom, beauty and goodness in events. Allah, however, Who is unfettered by time and its Creator, sees and knows the lives of all entities from “outside time.” It is the fact of destiny that confronts us at this point. Destiny is Allah’s knowledge of all events, past and future, as one single moment. In other words, events the outcome of which is unclear are all “mysteries” for us. But Allah knows all these things that we cannot. (For details, see Timelessness and the Reality of Fate by Harun Yahya)
Therefore, the testing of human beings is one whose beginning and end are pre-ordained. The past, future and present are all one in the sight of Allah; all are already over and done with. We can only learn about them by experiencing them when the time comes.
This “knowledge of destiny” is great knowledge not granted to unbelievers. It is by means of this knowledge that Muslims are able to display such splendid fortitude in the face of all difficulties and tests in the life of this world. As revealed in the verse “No kind of calamity occurs except by Allah’s permission. Whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. Allah has knowledge of all things…” (Sura at-Taghabun, 11) believers enjoy the ease and comfort of knowing that everything befalling them is destined to do so.
As a great blessing, Allah has created the testing of believers to be very easy. But this ease only applies to genuine believers who resign themselves to destiny. A Muslim who truly believes and who sincerely submits himself to Allah watches the constant change of images before him with excitement, thanks and gratitude. Someone sitting in a chair and watching a film in comfort also watches the destiny appointed for him with trust and joy. All the images of that destiny, that are sometimes highly active, sometimes frightening, sometimes appeal to the physical senses and are sometimes very calm, contain the joy and excitement of faith. Frightening images have been specially prepared. They have been planned right down to the finest detail. But at the end of the day they are all within the knowledge and under the control of Allah.
A Muslim aware of the fact of destiny and who grasps this secret of the test, regards all difficulty, hunger or poverty, as positive things and takes great pleasure from them. Because he knows that that the moral values he displays in the face of this test are very valuable in the sight of Allah. This is a pleasure unique to believers. Muslims never suffer such feelings as worry, stress, pain, panic or fear in the face of such woes. Because Muslims know that Allah will make all events that appear to be evil or unwelcome turn out well in the end. In one verse, Allah tells believers that “Allah will not give the unbelievers any way against the believers.” (Surat an-Nisa, 141)
However, there is a point here that must not be misunderstood; believers may encounter all kinds of trouble and difficulty in this world, they may lose their worldly goods, grow physically weak, fall ill or be injured, die or be killed. However, none of these are “evils” for Muslims. Allah tests His servants by means of these and recompenses the fortitude they display many time over in this world and the next. And as a result of the testing in this world, Muslims are finally rewarded with the eternal life of the Hereafter.
Aware of this important truth, Muslims therefore feel great joy in the face of difficulty. This joy experienced by believers is also a special condition that neutralises the traps set by the unbelievers and denies them success. When unbelievers see that joy and enthusiasm at times when they imagine they have made things difficult for believers they realise they can never do them any harm. Muslims’ words at times of trouble also reveal to the unbelievers their fortitude and submission. The words of believers faced by difficulties are reported in the following terms in the Qur’an:
And why indeed should we not put our trust in Allah when He has guided us to our ways? We will be steadfast however much you harm us. Those who trust put their trust in Allah.’Those who were kafir said to their Messengers, ‘We will drive you from our land unless you return to our religion.’ Their Lord revealed to them, ‘We will destroy those who do wrong.We will leave you the land to live in after them. That is the reward of those who fear My station and fear My threat.’(Surah Ibrahim,12-14)
Say: ‘Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in Allah that the muminun should put their trust.’(Surat at-Tawba,51)
There is no doubt that all these things are the results of their submission to the destiny created by Allah. Nobody who places his trust and faith in Allah will ever suffer any fear or distress again:
Those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and then go straight will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat al-Ahqaf,13)
Not so! All who submit themselves completely to Allah and are good-doers will find their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat Al-Baqara,112)
Yes, the friends of Allah will feel no fear and will know no sorrow:
those who have iman and show taqwa, there is good news for them in the life of the dunya and in the akhira. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the great victory! (Surah Yunus,62-64)
In other verses Allah reveals that servants who believe in and surrender themselves to Him are bound to a bough that will never break:
Those who submit themselves completely to Allah and do good have grasped the Firmest Handhold. The end result of all affairs is with Allah. (Surah Luqman, 22)
There is no compulsion where the deen is concerned. Right guidance has become clearly distinct from error. Anyone who rejects false gods and has iman in Allah has grasped the Firmest Handhold, which will never give way. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Surat Al-Baqara, 256)