Another misconception is about Taqdeer. Many Muslims believe it to be pre-destination, that everything is decreed, therefore there is nothing you can do about it. This is not what Taqdeer means. Yes, no doubt everything is decreed, as Allah knows the past, present and future. Therefore Allah knows what’s going to happen, before it happens. But there are two types of decree, one fixed i.e. the sun will rise and set, but the other can be suspended and adverted through prayer and almsgiving.
Man is subject to Divine Decree and whatever Allah decides, must happen and no amount of effort on your part can change it, but Allah has also given man the gift of free will, the gift of choice. With that choice we can make our own future - of course Allah will know it and it will therefore be decreed, but it will be the result of the actions that you choose to take.
Now let’s explain this in more simple terms. Some Muslim leaders teach that since everything is decreed, therefore you can do nothing about it – predestination. So there is no point looking right or left when you cross the road, if it has been decreed, then you will be hit by a car, no matter what precautions you take! That is a very dangerous outlook and not what Taqdeer means. If you cross a road and get hit by a car, then that is your own fault. You should have looked and taken precautions. No doubt Allah may make the car miss, or you may bounce off and pick yourself up with no harm, or you may break your leg or die. But Allah wants you to take precautions otherwise you are open to the law of ‘cause and effect’ and the accident would be the result of your carelessness.
Again not too long ago there was a fire during Hajj time and many people died and the Saudi Arabia leader said that it was Taqdeer, even if they were in their own beds, it was decreed that they were to die! This is not Taqdeer. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and if they were in their cosy bed, then more than likely, they would have woken up and started a new day. So this can be a very dangerous teaching.
Taqdeer should not be confused with predestination (as is understood in the West) with the understanding that whilst everything is in the knowledge of Allah and that Allah alone holds Supreme power over these laws, Allah has also given mankind free will. This means that according to Islam, man is responsible for his own destiny, which although is in the knowledge of Allah, yet Allah will not interfere unless He desires to do so. Usually, it is only in special circumstances, where Allah may cause exceptional changes in these laws to produce miracles for the sake of His prophets and saints. However, these exceptional changes are never contrary to His known ways, His promises or His attributes.
This means that whilst everything has been determined by Divine Decree, yet this does not mean that one should not strive for one’s betterment or adopt means to avoid the calamities.
If everything was decreed then what is the point of prayer? If everything is ordained, then why pray to Allah, is there any point? So this is not what Taqdeer means. The fact is prayer is very important and Allah wants you to ask, as He informs us in the Holy Qur'an that "He answers the prayer of the supplicant, when he asks Him" (2:187) So how does this work?
Let's say that your mother was seriously ill, God forbid, and the doctors told you that she had only days to live. So you pray to Allah for help and Allah grants your mother another five years of life. How did this happen, if it is all ordained? In this scenario, Allah decided that your mother would live for let's say 70 years, but then Allah knew that you were going to pray for your mother and so Allah would accept your prayer and grant your mother another 5 years. But if you did not pray, then your mother would have died at 70 years. You chose (free will) to pray for your mother and so Allah knew this (beforehand) and decided to grant your prayer.
Furthermore, Allah is always guiding us, to help us find Him. This is why the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said "if anything pricks your conscience, then leave it" as this could be a warning from Allah. So if you are going across the road without looking, then Allah will make you aware, but it is up to you to listen to your conscience. If you choose to ignore it, then Allah has put into play 'cause and effect', that with every action, there is a reaction. So if you walk in front of a lorry, then that is your carelessness; Allah may save you, but it is important that you have the choice.
The main time that Allah will interfere with our lives is when it comes to the Prophets. As a Prophet's main responsibility is to deliver the message of Allah, unfortunately, man usually opposes him and tries to prevent the message being broadcast or tries to kill him. If Allah sends a prophet and man kills him, then He has to send another prophet - but man kills him as well and so on and so forth. But, Allah will protect His prophets from the mischief of man. This is why we cannot accept that Jesus Christ, may peace be upon him, was killed by the Jews. That would have then made him a false prophet who went to hell (as the Holy Bible states that if a person is hanged on the tree - crucified - then he will go to hell). So Allah saved him and allowed him to continue his ministry to the 'other sheep' - the lost tribes of Israel - who were scattered around the Middle East and parts of Asia.
These are some of the small differences that we have with other Muslims and this is why we have been guided by Allah through His servant Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him. We should constantly study what we believe and not just accept it because someone has told us. To increase your knowledge and understanding of Islam, please take part in the free Online Islamic Course at www.free-islamic-course.org.
Likewise, always look up our commentary of the Holy Qur’an to see the Ahmadi Muslim view point to any particular verse.
The link for the Holy Qur’an with English Commentary is http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/guide.htm?region=EN