The Seventeenth Call: Submission to the Divine Will and Decree of Allah (Al-Qada' wa Al-Qadar)
Submission to Al-Qada' wa Al-Qadar
Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): “O you who have believed, do not be like those who disbelieved and said about their brothers when they traveled through the land or went out to fight, ‘If they had been with us, they would not have died or have been killed,’ so Allah makes that [misconception] a regret within their hearts. And it is Allah who gives life and causes death, and Allah is Seeing of what you do. And if you are killed in the cause of Allah or die - then forgiveness from Allah and mercy are better than whatever they accumulate [in this world]. And whether you die or are killed, unto Allah you will be gathered.” (Al-Imran: 156-158)
Almighty Allah prohibits His believing servants from imitating the hypocrites (disbelievers) in their corrupt thinking. They said about their brothers who were killed in wars (went out to fight) or died while they were traveling to trade (traveled through the land): If they were staying here and did not travel or fight, they would not have died or killed. Allah made them think that way, because of their disbelief and hypocrisy, to have more pain and remorse over the death of those people. This thinking only makes hypocrites weaker and more regretful because they think they let them face what they thought as a necessary reason for death.
Almighty Allah answers them saying that life and death lie in His hands, all matters are up to Him, His knowledge and sight encompasses all his creations. The believers must not be like those hypocrites in terms of thinking and belief otherwise they will be afflicted with weakness, feebleness and failure. True belief increases the believer’s certainty and acceptance of everything that Allah ordains because everything is pre-destined.
Those who fight and strive to raise the word of Allah and give victory to His religion or die while they are fighting will find forgiveness at their Lord and this will expiate all their sins. They will find mercy and contentment that are better than all the money and pleasures that the disbelievers enjoy in this mortal world. These pleasures are a temporary shadow while the final reward of Allah is an eternal pleasure.
For whatever reason you perished, you will be resurrected and gathered unto Allah to be rewarded with what you deserve in return for your deeds. So, do what makes you nearer and more pious towards your Lord and what would make you gain the approval of Allah such as obedience and Jihad in His path.
The mention of these verses in the context of the battle clarifies that those were the sayings of the hypocrites who came back from the battle and the polytheists of Madinah who did not embrace Islam but still there were ties and blood relationships between them and the Muslims.
The hypocrites and polytheists exploited the events of the death of martyrs to agitate distress and sadness in the hearts of their families for losing them in the battle. No doubt, such feuds and pains would cause confusion and chaos in the lines of the Muslims. Accordingly, Allah revealed this Qur’anic injunction to correct the values and notions and reverse schemes back at their planners.
The saying of the disbelievers “If they had been with us, they would not have died or have been killed” reveals the main difference between the conception of the person with belief against the conception of the one who lacks belief with regard to the rules and events of life whether the good or bad ones. The believer is aware of the rules of Allah, conscious of the will of Allah and assured of the decree of Allah. He knows that nothing will ever happen to him except what Allah destined for him because he knows that what has befallen him was not going to miss him, and what has missed him was not going to befall him by. This is why he does not react to misfortunes with grief and melancholy, or joys with boasting and pride. He does not expect the worst because of something, he does not feel distressed because he did not do such and such to avoid badness or acquire goodness after the occurrence of the matter and end of it. The chances for assessment, thinking, opinion and consultation are before taking the action. But, if the believer takes an action after the assessment and thinking – according to his knowledge and according to the commands and prohibitions of Allah – he receives any outcome with peace, contentment and acceptance. He is certain that whatever happens, it happens according to the decree, will and wisdom of Allah. So, it could have never happened any other way even if the person actually did that act and exerted efforts to do it. So, there has to be a balance between work and acceptance and between positivity and reliance on Allah, this way, our steps will be straightforward and our consciences will be relieved. As for the one whose heart is void of belief in Allah and not following this sound method, he will always feel worried and restless. He will always utter the words “if”, “if only”, “I wish” and “Unfortunately”.
In the course of educating the early Muslim community, Allah warned them of thinking or acting like the disbelievers. This was in the context of the Battle of Uhud during which Muslims were greatly tested. Allah warned them of acting like the disbelievers for they feel very distressed and heartbroken whenever they lose a relative while traveling through the land to seek sustenance or to fight in a battle:
“O you who have believed, do not be like those who disbelieved and said about their brothers when they traveled through the land or went out to fight, ‘If they had been with us, they would not have died or have been killed’…”
They say such things because their understanding of what is happening in the universe and the actual force affecting everything is corrupt. They only see the superficial reasons because they cut their link with Allah and His Will directing everything in life.
“So Allah makes that [misconception] a regret within their hearts.”
Their feeling is that their brothers went out to travel through the land to seek sustenance and then they die, or they fight in a battle and then they get killed. Their feeling that the reason for death and murder is leaving or going out makes their hearts regret and suffer, it might even make them stop traveling! If they realize the true reason for death which is the completion of life’s duration and the term of death, it is the decree of Allah and His rules of life and death, then they would not regret. They would have received the tribulation with patience and they would have returned to Allah with contentment.
“And it is Allah who gives life and causes death”
It is up to Allah to give life and it is up to Him to take what He previously gave in the defined date and time, whether the people were with their families or in the places of striving to gain sustenance or to fight for the belief. Allah has the reward and repay based on experience, knowledge and vision: “…and Allah is Seeing of what you do.”
The matter does not end with death or killing, it is not the end of it. Life on earth is not the best blessing given by Allah to the people. There are other values and considerations that are more superior in the balance of Allah:
“And if you are killed in the cause of Allah or die - then forgiveness from Allah and mercy are better than whatever they accumulate [in this world]. And whether you die or are killed, unto Allah you will be gathered.”
Death or murder in the path of Allah – based on this notion and understanding – is better than life and better than what people gather in this life such as money, glory, power and pleasure. It is better because it involves forgiveness from Allah which is way better in the balance of the truth than what they collect and strive for in life. Allah promises and gives this forgiveness and mercy to the believers. He does not promise them, in this regard, personal triumphs and human aspirations. He promises them of what He has. He attaches their hearts to His mercy which is absolutely better than what people gather and accumulate. It is better than the worldly hopes that hearts seek.
All people will be returned, resurrected and gathered unto Allah anyway whether they died while they were in their beds, traveling through the land or fighting in the battlefield. There is no final destination except this destination; there is no fate except this fate. The difference is only in deeds, intentions, directions and attentions. As for the end, it is the same: death at a certain date and time after a defined duration, then after death there is the resurrection and gathering of all people on the Day of Judgment and Resurrection. It ends with mercy and forgiveness from Allah or anger and torment, depending on the nature of deeds. The stupid person is the one who chooses for himself the miserable end because he will die anyway no matter how long he lives.
Thus, the fact of death, life and predestination are established in the hearts. So, the hearts feel assured and peaceful even during tribulations and incidents because they are written according to the decree of Almighty Allah. They feel reassured with what is behind the predestination such as wisdom and what is behind tribulations such as reward. So, this round ends right in the middle of the battle’s incidents and the subsequent circumstances.