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Is Everything Predetermined, and Then Recorded after Its Coming into Existence?


Believing in Divine Destiny is one of the pillars of faith, and, in accordance with this belief, everything in the universe is determined by God, the All-Mighty. While there are countless absolute evidences of Destiny, it may be sufficient to make some introductory remarks to demonstrate how important a place this pillar of  faith has  for the whole of creation.

The Qur’an specifically explains that everything is predetermined, and then recorded after its coming into existence, as indicated in many verses like,

Nor anything green or withered except it is all in a Manifest Book.

This Quranic statement is confirmed by the universe, this macro-Qur’an of the Divine Power, through its creational and operational signs like order, harmony, balance, forming and shaping, adornment and distinguishing. All seeds, fruit stones, measured proportions and forms demonstrate  that everything  is pre-determined before its earthly existence. Each seed or fruit stone has a protective case formed in the factory of Kaf Nun4, into which the Divine Destiny has in-built the life-story of a tree or plant. The Divine Power employs the particles according to the measure established by Divine Destiny so as to cause the particular stone to grow miraculously into the particular tree. This means that the future life-history of that tree is as though written in its seed.

While there is variety between individuals and between species, the basic materials from which these plants and animals are formed are identical. The plants and animals that grow from the same constituent basic elements display, amid abundant diversity, such harmony and proportion that man cannot help but conclude that each of them has been individually given its particular form and measure. It is the Divine Power which gives to each its particular form according to the measure established for it by Divine Destiny. For example, consider how vast and innumerable a mass of inanimate particles shift, cohere, separate so that this seed grows into this tree or that drop of semen grows into that animal.

Since there are the manifestations of Divine Destiny to this extent in visible material things, for certain, the forms with which things are clothed with the passing of time and the states they acquire through their motions are also dependent on the ordering of Divine Destiny. Indeed, a single seed displays Destiny in two ways, one by demonstrating the Manifest  Book (Kitabun Mubin) which is but another title for Divine Will and God’s creational and operational laws of the universe; the other is by displaying the Manifest Record (Imamun Mubin), another title for Divine Knowledge and Command. If we regard these two as different manifestations of Divine Destiny, the former can be understood  and referred to as ‘Destiny Actual’ and the latter as ‘Destiny Formal or Theoretical’. The future full-grown form of the tree can be understood as its Destiny Actual, whilst Destiny Formal refers to all the stages together through which the tree has to pass in its life, and comprehends the entire history of its life. Such manifestations of the Divine Destiny, so easily observed in a life such as that of a tree, are  illustrative of how everything has been pre-determined in a Record before its worldly existence. On the other hand, all the fruits and seeds which are signs of the Manifest Book (Kitabun Mubin) and the Manifest Record (Imamun Mubin), together with all human memories which indicate  the Preserved Tablet (Lawhun Mahfuz), prove that, as everything  has been pre-recorded, its life-history is also recorded. The life-history of every tree, for example, is recorded in each of its fruits, which is the outcome of its entire life. The life-history of man including events occurring  in the external world is likewise recorded in his memory. Thus, the Divine Power registers a man’s deeds with the Pen of Destiny by lodging it in his memory so that he will be able to remember them on the Day of Reckoning.

Man should also be assured that in this world of transience and upheavals there are numerous ‘mirrors’ pertaining to eternity in which the All-Powerful and Wise One depicts and makes permanent the identities of mortals. There are also many tablets upon which the All-Knowing Preserver writes down the meanings of transient beings.

In short: While plants, which are the simplest and lowest level of life, are completely dependent upon Divine Destiny, it is also evident that the life of man, which is the highest level, has also been minutely determined by that Destiny. Just as drops of rain are indicative of a cloud, and trickles of water disclose a spring, and receipts and vouchers suggest the existence of a ledger, so fruits, sperms, seeds, and forms are indicators of the Manifest Book and the Manifest Record.

The expression Manifest Book symbolizes the Destiny Actual, which is a title for Divine Will and God’s creational and operational laws of the universe and the physical order displayed by living creatures. The Manifest Record  means the Preserved Tablet which is the book of Divine Knowledge and symbolizes the Destiny Formal or Theoretical determining the immaterial order and the life of the universe.

To conclude: We witness that particles are in continuous movement during the formation of a living creature and travel to their destinations by complicated routes and remain there. Their movement results in many benefits, uses, and instances of wisdom. Evidently, an apparent measure is appointed for each thing by Divine Destiny. If this is so, it is also observable that even the immaterial states of living beings result in certain fruits. Thus, Divine Power is the agent, and Divine Destiny is the pattern. Divine Power writes the book of the meanings on that pattern. We see that every movement a creature makes in the course of its existence, and all the stages through which it passes, are pre-determined by Divine Destiny and its whole life forms a harmonious unity.

Since we understand that a destination and a certain purposeful result has been appointed for everything by Divine Destiny, and accordingly all the stages it will undergo during its life-time have also been pre-determined by the same Destiny, surely, the life-history of man, the most perfect fruit of the tree of creation, God’s vicegerent on earth, and the bearer of His greatest trust, is more than anything subject to the law of Divine Destiny.


This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.