All things experienced by creation are inclusive of their preordained purpose and program. Nothing is without reason. We are all individually equipped with the necessary program to fulfill the purpose the Creator has willed for us. We cannot execute a code that isn’t written in our kernel!

Let me give an example from myself...

When I was around the age of 15-18, I thought of myself as a highly intelligent person. I often wondered why Allah willed for me to be born in Istanbul and not in a more developed country, such as some place in Europe or the USA. I even thought it would have been more fitting if I were born in Mecca or Medina. What was the wisdom behind this will?

After many years, I realized, if I had been born and raised in Mecca or Medina, my religious apprehension would probably not have surpassed the ‘literal’, disabling me from deciphering the symbolic and metaphoric nature of religion. If I was born in the West, on the other hand, I would probably have become a great scientist, deprived however of the knowledge imparted by Muhammad (saw).

Allah willed for me to be born in Istanbul instead, a city on the border of the East and the West, right in the middle of both worlds! Thus, I was able to benefit from the teachings of the East and the resources of the West, forming a synthesis of both. I would probably have been deprived of this had my place of birth on the map been a little more on the left or a little more on the right!

As such, Allah designates the perfect environment and resources required for the fulfillment of every individual’s unique purpose.

All of the above is based on a view going from the Essence to the outer.

If we employ the counter view, and look at the Essence from the outer reality, we may reversely conclude that the people in our lives, our environment and our occupation are all a herald of either good news or a catastrophe.

When viewed this way, interesting things come to mind! One no longer feels the need to say ‘I wish...’ for one realizes with conviction that everything is exactly the way it is meant to be and always will be! It is useless to say ‘I wish I hadn’t done such and such mistake in the past’.Indeed, that mistake had to be done, those lessons had to be taken, those emotions had to be lived and everything had to occur in the exact way it did for us to discover ourselves and accomplish our purposes.

Mistakes and sins teach us valuable lessons. By repenting, we can be cleansed from the sin, but the lessons we learn will forever be ours to keep. Life is a journey we must take to reach the destination of our purpose. Everything that is encountered on this journey, including the mistakes we make, is there to aid and guide us in that direction.

Imagine a staircase of a billion steps. If your purpose in life is to constitute the 22,222nd step, then that is exactly where your life experience is going to lead you. Through the people you meet and the events you live, Allah is going to shape you and sculpt you to befit that particular position, not one more or one less.

Allah, in His Pre-Eternal Knowledge, has designed such a magnificent staircase called ‘humanity’ where each person is preordained to constitute one particular step; no one can escape his role or position in this miraculous staircase.

Sooner or later, each person will play out his role and constitute the step that has been assigned for him. Once the staircase is completed, Doomsday will occur.

Although I mentioned the word ‘preordained’, let us also be aware of the verse:

“At every instance HU (the Absolute Essence of Existence) manifests Himself in yet another way!”[1]

That is to say, Allah is present in every dimension, through the various forms within that dimension.

As such, just as it is true there is no ‘free will’ and only Allah’s will, it is equally true that every individual lives with their own will.

Though they seem to be opposite extremes in contradiction with one another, in fact, they are two sides of the same reality. It’s not that there is the greater will of Allah and the lesser will of the people. In its essence, there is no distinction between the two; the distinction arises only by perception. That is, when viewed through the five senses, there is dispersion, hence many wills. When viewed through consciousness, there is unity, hence only One will. Consequently, one may claim, “There is a greater will pertaining to Allah” and this will be true, but one may not claim, “There is also a lesser will pertaining to man” or vice versa, as they are different impressions of the same thing.

In the realm of consciousness, there are no parts or monads, there is only the whole. What appears to be multiplicity is only the different relations and expressions the Names of the One assume. Hence, when we say ‘also’ we are denoting ‘another’ in addition to the One, which is implicative of duality (shirq; associating another being with Allah).

Like the staircase we mentioned above, if we eliminate a single step from the staircase, would it mean anything on its own? Together the steps form the staircase; they have no substantial existence on their own, as a single step does not lead one anywhere. The will of the One is like the staircase; the individual steps that compose it are not separate or different from it. Thus, what we refer to when we say ‘individual will’ is essentially no different than the ultimate One will. As this staircase continues to evolve and extend, different manifestations appear. The verse, about Allah disclosing Himself in different ways every day, is in reference to these manifestations.

[1] Quran 55:29

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