Fasting & Ramadan in the Noble Quran - Part 3¶
Streamed Live 8th May 2021
The Ultimate Destiny¶
In the third session, Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri, Shaykh Saadi Shakur, and Dr. Adnan AlAdnani discuss the final destiny of every human being. That is his or her awakening to their permanent non-time reality, from which they have emerged. We are given the experience of this life, with all its decrees, for us to know them, accept them and become one with them so that we can see our destiny within them, and our destiny beyond them, when time stops at the point of death. The awareness of this metaphysical reality during this blessed month is even more in focus during the Nights of Power.
Enlightenment is to know the perfection and reliability of God’s plan; with reflection and wisdom, we realize that human will is a very small factor in contentment and sustained happiness. Spiritual wisdom leads to witnessing the utter perfection of the instant and abandonment to the moment. Then we come to understand the truth that abundance is available at all times to everyone. This is the final awakening to the state of Oneness. We are brought into time in order that we may face the incredible, unfathomable, never-ending non-time. We are predestined to face eternity. This is the intended perfect destiny and anything else is incomplete.
Indeed, We sent the Qur'an down during the Night of Decree.
And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree?
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.
The angels and the Spirit descend, by the leave of their Lord, upon every command.
Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.
Qadar (decree) and Qada’ (destiny) in Language¶
Taken from the book Decree and Destiny
In language qadar (measure, decree) represents both the delineation and execution of the process by which a final end - signified by qada’ (destiny) - is arrived at. The connotation of processing attached to qadar contains within it the possibility of change; whereas, when a destiny (qada’) has come about a point of irreversibility has been reached.
The divine meaning of qadar signifies ‘creational decree’, while the worldly meaning implies ‘judgment by word or action’. There is a clear differentiation between Divine qudrah (ability, power) and human qudrah, for human ability differs according to the magnitude of the task, the effort and power it needs to be executed, and is subject to time, whereas for the absolute Creator all actions are possible and effortless at all times.
The following are some of the dictionary definitions of qadar and qada’:
Qadar: ‘extent, scope, quantity, scale, rate, measure, number, sum, amount, degree, grade, worth, value, standing, rank, divine decree’. Qadar can also imply ‘clarifying, distinguishing, ordering, ordaining’.
Qada’: ‘severing, ending, closing, determination, conclusion, winding up, completion, accomplishment, carrying out, execution, performance, fulfillment, satisfaction, payment, passing, Divine Decree, destiny, fate, judgment’.
Decrees are the rules which define life’s experiences on earth. Most of these rules are describable or measurable, especially those dealing with the visible realities. The rules that govern all aspects of physical (visible and experiential) existence combine with those that control the unseen forces to form a network that will result in, for example, the laws of physics. We can describe the phenomenon of light, for instance, as both a waveband and a particle called a photon. The rules somehow emerge from an unknown domain into describable, measurable, physical laws. So the decrees can be seen as a series of multitudinous models by means of which the creation, seen and unseen, is held together.
Destiny is the final occurrence that is experienced by the individual through the passage of time when these laws are enacted. It is when a describable event has already passed through time. The concept of destiny is also parallel in Arabic to another term ‘ajal’, which signifies ‘appointed time, date, deadline, instant of death, respite, delay’. If we say a business partnership has an ‘ajal’ of five years, it means that at the end of this period it will have reached its full destiny, which is dissolution.
The final destiny of every man is his awakening to his permanent non-time reality, from which he has emerged. We are given the experience of this life, with all its decrees, for us to know them, accept them and become one with them so that we can see our destiny within them, and our destiny beyond them, when time stops at the point of death.
Through the discipline of meditative practices, time can be experienced as coming to a stop. Whilst we fear death we love and are dependent on deep sleep, which is the nearest experience to death. If we are able to experience the mini-death of inner contemplation, we stand a good chance of realizing that our true reality, the Source of the cause behind existence, is eternal and ever present. It is only the body that dies, while the soul or spirit continues into perpetuity.
The human destiny is potentially the highest of known creations – as was our beginning. We start life with a basic level of existence and are driven to reach the highest levels of consciousness and experiences.
Spiritual wisdom leads to witnessing the utter perfection of the instant and abandonment to the moment. Then we come to understand the truth that abundance is available at all times to everyone. This is the final awakening to the state of Oneness. We are brought into time in order that we may face the incredible, unfathomable, never-ending non-time. So we are already predestined to face eternity. This is the intended perfect destiny and anything else is incomplete.
Whatever is in this cosmos, whether it is energy or matter, small or large, is subject to the laws that govern it. Wisdom is to recognize the bounds of these laws and their interactions, which are operative at all times. This can happen on a collective as well as a personal level.
The Qur’an relates stories of several communities in Arabia, who were destroyed after warnings which they did not heed. Every destiny is known in the non-time dimension but, for us who are in time, the particular and circumstantial outcome is not known. Man’s destiny is known to God, for God is beyond time and space. Man, however, can play a crucial role in that destiny and make changes within the prescribed limitations that have been ordained for him.
Man is not in control of destiny or the decree. Our power is limited to specific situations and times. We do not, ourselves, possess either harm or goodness unless God has willed it. We can see potentially what is harmful to us, and what is beneficial in limited ways. The confusion is due to the mental illusion of being separate from the supreme Reality and Its universal governance. No matter how insignificant something may appear to you, it has its place in the ‘book’ (patterns of the universe), and it cannot escape from the original design.
God’s order will prevail; He will attain His decree. There is a measure and order for everything, so man’s transgressions are according to a measure, and are thus containable. Real freedom belongs to pure consciousness without any iota of movement, change or mental activity. It is the domain of the soul or spirit and not body or mind. The final solution comes when a unified state of experience arises. In this state the individual experiences an instantaneous and harmonized connection between all causes and effects, and lives within a unified field of beingness. He is then simultaneously aware of the ripples of the waves and the calm of the ocean below. When he was seeking the knowledge of decree and destiny he was affected by the waves, although he had some knowledge of the infinite ocean below. However, when he awakes to the unified state, he is both in the infinite non-changing ocean and the ever-changing waves at the same time. He acknowledges both and sees they are one. Until the individual attains this state of union, the correct courtesy is to approach whatever situation in which he finds himself in a state of awareness and to surrender fully to the flow of events.
Similarly, for the person who is exploring the shores of an ocean, the correct courtesy is for him to connect fully with the bounds of the ocean and its surface, until such time as the wave beckons him in. Then he will swim, explore and internalize more knowledge. For everything there is a time; a time to remain on the shore and a time to walk in the ocean. The real courtesy is to know the state one is in at each specific moment and be fully at one with that state. This is where head and heart are in unison.
Modes of Destiny¶
The first mode is knowledge: ...and surely he was possessed of knowledge because We had given him knowledge, but most people do not know (12:68). The destiny of the Prophet Ya`qub (Jacob), to whom the verse refers, was to come to know the earthly reasons as well as Allah’s will.
The second is announcement, to make something commonly known to a people: And We had declared (made known) unto the Children of Israel in the Book... (17:4).
The third is that of judgment and justice at its different levels: And Allah judges with the truth... (40:20).
The fourth mode is saying, as described in: And We revealed to him this decree... (15:66).
The fifth deals with finishing, terminating: But when We decreed death for him... (34:14).
The sixth is that of order or command: And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him... (17:23).
The seventh relates to creation: So He ordained them seven heavens in two periods, and revealed in every heaven its affair; and We adorned the lower heaven with brilliant stars and (made it) to guard; that is the decree of the Mighty, the Knowing (41:12). Initially creation takes place in biological time, then the souls experience infinite time after death. The last of the seven layers of heavens is the physical heaven that we on earth witness above us. Both heavens and earth were created in two periods or two modes. One of these is the visible experiential state, the other the unseen.
The eighth is action: ...therefore decide what you are going to decide (act)... (20:72). This means to exercise judgment and act sincerely.
The ninth mode is that of completion: So when Musa had fulfilled the term, and he journeyed with his family... (28:29). In this context it means to bring a matter to a conclusion and end.
The tenth is the close of an affair. This is in reference to destiny with finality: ...the matter is decreed concerning which you enquired (12:41).
When it is said that affairs are all by the judgment of God, or by God’s knowledge, it means that the matter is decreed concerning us who will experience it. God knows the situation and acts according to His perfect justice.
The Prophet (pbuh) says:
‘Truly Allah has created mankind and He knew in which direction they were heading; He bade them and forbade them. Whatever He ordered them to do, He had made it possible for them to fulfill it. Whatever He had forbidden them to do, He had made it possible for them to abstain from.’
‘He knew and He wished; He willed and He measured; He decreed and He judged and began it. Then He made come forth what He had decreed. He judged right as what He had measured and measured (decreed) what He willed. So by His knowledge was His wish and by His wish was the will, and by His will was the measure and by His measure were the destinies (His judgments), and by His destinies was the finality. So knowledge was first, and His desire was second, and His will was third. The measure is upon destiny in order to finalize or seal it.’
Imam `Ali ibn Abi Talib (pbuh) said:
‘For certainly decree is a secret of the secret of Allah, and a veil of Allah’s veil, a preserved sanctuary of Allah lifted up in the veil of Allah, folded up from the creation of Allah, sealed by the seal of Allah earlier on in the knowledge of Allah.
‘Allah has unburdened His slaves from its knowledge [the entire knowledge of the decree] and lifted it up beyond their witnessing and the extent of their comprehension, because they will not reach it by the knowledge of lordship, nor by the capability of everlastingness, nor by the might of illumination, nor by the power of unification, because it is a pure and abounding sea that is Allah’s. Its depth is what is between the heavens and the earth; its breadth engulfs what is between the east and the west. Black like the darkest night, full of serpents and reptiles, it rises sometimes and subsides at others. At the bottom of it there is a shining sun which no one is allowed to be exposed to except the One Solitary God, the One and Only. For he who dwells upon it and looks at it opposes Allah in His wisdom and competes with Him in His power. Lifting up His veil and revealing Allah’s secrets brings forth the anger of Allah and (whoever does this) his abode will be hell and the worst of outcomes.’
He said, 'Our Lord is He who gave everything its form, then guides'
They measure not Allah with His true measure; surely Allah is All-strong, All-mighty.
and made the earth to gush with fountains, and the waters met for a matter decreed.
...they entertained about Allah thoughts of ignorance quite unjustly, saying: We have no hand in the affair. Say: Surely the affair is wholly (in the hands) of Allah...
And give him sustenance from whence he thinks not. And whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him. Surely Allah attains His purpose. Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything.
And even if there were a Qur’an with which the mountains were made to pass away, or the earth were travelled over with it, or the dead were made to speak thereby; nay! The commandment is wholly Allah’s, Have not yet those who believe known that if Allah please He would certainly guide all the people? And (as for) those who disbelieve, there will not cease to afflict them because of what they do a repelling calamity, or it will alight close by their abodes, until the promise of Allah comes about; surely Allah will not fail in (His) promise.
He it is Who created you from clay, then He decreed a term. And there is a term named with Him; still you doubt.
And for every nation there is a term, so when their term is come they shall not remain behind the least while, nor shall they go before.
Say: I do not control for myself any harm, nor any benefit except what Allah pleases. Every nation has a term. When their term comes, they shall not then remain behind for an hour, nor can they go before (their time).
He will cover for you some of your faults and grant you a delay to an appointed term. Surely the term of Allah when it comes is not postponed, did you but know.
And Allah created you from dust, then from the life-germ, then He made you pairs. And no female bears, nor does she bring forth, except with His knowledge. And no one whose life is lengthened has his life lengthened, nor is aught diminished of one’s life, but it is all in a book. Surely this is easy for Allah.