Belief in Destiny and Divine Decree
The final article of faith is known by many names: destiny, divine decree, predestination, fate, or in Arabic, Al-Qadr. The Arabic word comes from a root word that means “power” and “ability,” implying that God Alone has the power and ability to know the destiny of every creature. Muslims believe that since Allah is the Sustainer of all life, nothing happens except by His Will and with His full knowledge. Everything in the world has a set, predetermined course.
This belief does not contradict the idea that human beings have the free will to choose a course of action. Allah does not force us to do anything; we can choose to obey or disobey Him. However, our choice is known to God before we even do it, because His knowledge is timeless and complete.
When discussing any event that will occur in the future, Muslims always add the phrase Insha'Allah, or “God willing.” This is done in accordance with Qur'anic teachings (18:23–24) that we cannot be sure of what will happen in the future.
Muslims believe, therefore, that everything that happens in life takes place according to Allah's will. This recognition sustains the believer through difficulties and hardships. In the Qur'an, Muslims are warned to expect difficulties and trials, in order to test and distinguish those who are patient from those who fall into despair. “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives, and products — but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘To Allah we belong, and to Allah we will return.’ They are those on whom descend blessings from their Lord, and mercy — those who are guided” (Qur'an 2:156–157).
There may be things in life we do not understand, but Muslims trust that Allah has wisdom in all things and that everything happens for a reason. They believe that God can see the whole picture, while our vision and perception of events is limited.