Personal responsibility in Islam
Qismat, often translated as destiny or fate, is a concept deeply rooted in Islamic tradition and belief. It encompasses the idea that everything in the universe, including human lives, is predetermined by Allah (God). However, the notion of Qismat is often misunderstood, leading to misconceptions and misinterpretations. In this article, we will explore the concept of Qismat in light of Islamic teachings, its relationship with free will, and its practical implications in our daily lives.
Before the advent of Islam, the people of Arabia believed in Qismat as a predetermined destiny controlled by various deities. This pre-Islamic understanding of Qismat often led to a fatalistic approach to life, with individuals resigning themselves to their circumstances rather than striving for change.
Qismat in Islamic Teachings
Qismat in the Quran
In Islam, Qismat is understood as part of Allah’s divine plan for the universe. The Quran, the holy book of Islam, frequently refers to the concept of Qismat, emphasizing that everything is created and determined by Allah. For instance, in Surah Al-Hadid (57:22), it is mentioned:
“No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah, is easy.”
This verse suggests that all events, both good and bad, are recorded and determined by Allah’s will.
Qismat in Hadith
Hadith, the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), also emphasize the importance of Qismat in Islamic belief. One famous hadith states:
“No slave of Allah will truly believe until he believes in Al-Qadar (the divine decree), its good and bad from Allah, and until he knows that what has befallen him was not going to miss him, and that what missed him was not going to befall him.” (Tirmidhi)
The Concept of Free Will
While Qismat is a fundamental aspect of Islamic belief, it is important to note that it does not negate the concept of free will. Humans are endowed with the ability to make choices and are accountable for their actions.
Islamic teachings strike a balance between
Qismat and free will, acknowledging that while Allah has knowledge of all things and has predetermined certain aspects of life, humans are still responsible for their actions and decisions. This delicate balance is illustrated in the following hadith:
“Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you except with what Allah has already recorded for you. If they gather to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you except with what Allah has already recorded against you.” (Tirmidhi)
God’s Knowledge and Human Choice
The key to understanding the relationship between Qismat and free will lies in recognizing that Allah’s knowledge is not the same as human compulsion. Allah knows all possible outcomes and the choices humans will make, but this knowledge does not force humans to act in a particular way.
The Role of Prayers and Supplications
Prayers and supplications are essential in Islam, as they demonstrate an individual’s reliance on Allah and the belief that their destiny can be changed through sincere supplication. This practice reflects the understanding that while Qismat is predetermined, it is not static and can be influenced by an individual’s actions and prayers.
Fatalism and Passivity
One common misconception about Qismat is that it leads to fatalism and passivity, where individuals resign themselves to their circumstances and do not take action to improve their lives. This misunderstanding goes against Islamic teachings, which encourage personal responsibility and proactive behavior.
Qismat as an Excuse for Wrongdoings
Another misconception is that individuals may use Qismat as an excuse for their wrongdoings or to justify their actions. However, Islamic teachings emphasize accountability and the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions.
Qismat in Everyday Life
Navigating Challenges and Opportunities
Understanding Qismat in the context of Islamic teachings can help individuals navigate the challenges and opportunities that life presents. By recognizing that certain aspects of life are predetermined, while still maintaining personal responsibility, individuals can find a balance between acceptance and action.
Belief in Qismat should not lead to complacency, but rather inspire individuals to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. By embracing personal responsibility and understanding the role of free will, individuals can strive for self-improvement and spiritual growth.
The Quran consistently emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility. One example is found in Surah Az-Zumar (39:41):
“Indeed, We sent down to you the Book for the people in truth. So whoever is guided – it is for [the benefit of] his soul; and whoever goes astray only goes astray to its detriment. And you are not a manager over them.”
This verse highlights that individuals are responsible for their own guidance and that their choices have consequences for their souls.
Hadith on Taking Action and Trusting Allah
The teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also stress the importance of taking action and trusting in Allah. A well-known hadith illustrates this point:
“Anas ibn Malik reported: A man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘Tie her and trust in Allah.'” (Tirmidhi)
This hadith emphasizes that believers should take appropriate action (tying the camel) while also placing their trust in Allah. It demonstrates the balance between personal responsibility and reliance on Allah’s will.
Changing the Mindset: Embracing Personal Responsibility
To overcome the tendency to blame Qismat and avoid proper action, believers need to change their mindset by embracing personal responsibility. This involves acknowledging the role of free will in their lives and understanding that their choices have consequences.
Seeking Knowledge and Self-Improvement
One way to embrace personal responsibility is by seeking knowledge and striving for self-improvement. Islamic teachings encourage believers to continuously learn and grow, both in their religious understanding and worldly affairs. This pursuit of knowledge empowers individuals to make informed decisions and take appropriate action in their lives.
Praying and Making Dua for Guidance
Another essential aspect of embracing personal responsibility is praying and making dua (supplications) for guidance and assistance from Allah. This practice helps individuals strengthen their connection with Allah and seek His help in navigating the challenges and opportunities in life.
In conclusion, Qismat is a complex concept that is often misunderstood. By examining its roots in Islamic teachings and the relationship with free will, we can gain a clearer understanding of this important aspect of faith. As believers, it is essential to recognize the balance between Qismat and personal responsibility, using this knowledge to navigate the challenges and opportunities of life.
- What is Qismat? Qismat refers to the concept of destiny or fate in Islamic tradition. It encompasses the idea that everything in the universe is predetermined by Allah.
- Does Qismat negate free will? No, Qismat does not negate free will. Islamic teachings emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and accountability for one’s actions, despite the belief in predetermined destiny.
- How do Islamic teachings reconcile Qismat and free will? Islamic teachings strike a balance between Qismat and free will by acknowledging that while Allah has knowledge of all things and has predetermined certain aspects of life, humans are still responsible for their actions and decisions.
- What are some common misconceptions about Qismat? Some common misconceptions about Qismat include the belief that it leads to fatalism and passivity or that it can be used as an excuse for wrong