Friday, October 2, 2009

Ranjha - Destiny & Free Will

Of all earthly pleasures, Ranjha was used to enjoy thinking of Heer (Tasawoor-e-Janaan) all the time. But Ranjha was really confused this time. This new break through made him completely in the state of indecision & irresolution. Though the idea was new for Ranjha but the matter was actually a centuries old, Old enough to match with the existence of first man on earth. The question of destiny & free will.

The question of fate and free will is one of the most intriguing topics in metaphysics and religion. Indeed the question of pre-destination and free will has haunted Man for so long. Man feels absolutely powerless, regarding many of the circumstances in which he/she finds him/herself. One might feel that there are so many givens, which one has to take for granted, and nothing can be done about them. On the other hand, there are many areas where one feels free to act.

Keeping in view this question, Ranjha was upset because he was unclear regarding his fate about Heer. If the destiny meant to rule Ranjha does not need to exert efforts for Heer and she will ultimately be with Ranjha on the other hand if free will exists Ranjha has to look into all the forces against his will for union with Heer since his strengths were mere peanuts in front of Qaidu Chacha & other family members.

Ranjha approached some local cleric for consultation. The cleric smiled and said: Ahan! I see, you know your Masla is of “Jabar o Qadar”. Look at the marvelous progress of humanity through the centuries. If humans were mere puppets, could we have managed all these wonderful achievements, which have made us so proud of human potential?

God is the creator and we are the created. Our knowledge is limited in ways that God's knowledge is not. It is our very lack of knowledge which gives us free will. We cannot know our future and to a large extent we cannot control it. Our decisions are based on our understanding of the way the world works. Are these decisions free from God's command? Not really, but for all practical purposes we inevitably see them as free choices, we cannot do otherwise – that is our nature. We are held accountable only for things we understand. Our deeds are judged by their intentions.

From the Qur’anic point of view, Man is not completely a master of his fate; nor is he a puppet subject to the hazards of destiny. It is true that God’s sovereignty is all pervading and nothing falls outside its purview. This means that God knows everything and it is according to His will, things happen here. The universe is completely subject to the overriding power of God, and nothing happens without God willing it to be so.

However, God not only created everything, but He determined its nature and scope. In His infinite wisdom and mercy, He gave Man limited power and great freedoms, including the freedom of choice. It is because of this autonomy, enjoyed by Man, that he/she is held accountable for the individual deeds.

Destiny as conceived by Islam, therefore, does not take away our freedom of choice and action. It is our willful choice of those actions from our inherent possibilities that are in harmony with God’s will that earns us our reward from God. Thus, qadar can be a source of inspiration and encouragement for us, and it really opens up vast fields of human activity. It need not make us utterly powerless or helpless; on the contrary it can be a source of inspiration and encouragement.

Indeed, when God has set certain rules in his decree as to how things evolve, even these things can be changed through prayers. The prophet stressed that only sincere prayers can change the way events unfold, and that true worship and sincere submission to God can raise the believer above the normal ways of nature: Prayers can and do result in "personal miracles" - events or experiences which we consider almost impossible and certainly highly improbable.
From an Islamic point of view, Man is free for all practical purposes. He/she has no excuse for making the wrong choice and then blaming qadar or fate, any more than a man punching his fist into a wall can blame the laws of nature. He knew the consequences of his actions for all practical purposes and he shouldn't expect a miracle!

The foregoing means that we should not worry about what God has written for us, since we can never know it; but our duty, here and now, is to strive for the best in this world and the next. Then, good results will follow, Insha’Allah. And Allah knows best.

Ranjha seems to be satisfied with what cleric said but still his mind was in state of indecision working & shaking what cleric said and what he is meant to do now. He called his friend and both went to milk shake shop at Kirshan Nagar (now destined to call as Islampura, Lahore) near Chowk Noori Building. A friend in need narrated how he recently managed to play tune of Hallelujah (Praise & thanks given note for God by Jews & Christians) over his mouth organ. A friend being true Lahori give pat over Ranjha’s shoulder and said: O Yaar Ranjhey! What happened to you? Are these things worth thoughtful? Leave the crap. Just drink healthy & rich Mango Milk shake and enjoy. You know what Baber the Emperor said once: Babar ba Aish Kosh ki Alam Doubara Neest (O King! Live lavishly on this earth since you will not be coming to this earth again). With this he started playing newly rehearsed Hallelujah.

Puzzled Ranjha was looking at the waving black flag across the road over the Imam Bargah. The silver hand of Panj Tan Pak and the zero watt bulb over it brightening the silver hand. Physically sipping concentrated Mango shake Ranjha was mentally far away from real. The destiny, the free will, Heer, the cleric, Hallelujah…The symbols were yet in search of their meanings.


  1. What an idea Sir jee!

  2. "One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be."