The destiny of Bilal (RA) was changed when he chose one kind of slavery over another. He chose slavery to Allah over slavery to false deities. From that time forth, he would be opposed and persecuted for choosing Allah as His Lord. Yet, he would remain brave and patient for the sake of His Lord. Allah observed his patience and was pleased with it.
The persecution would continue until the Conquest of Makkah. On that day, finally, victory arrived! Bilal was requested to climb the Ka’ba and issue the Aẓân. Victory at last.
This article shall be divided into two sections. In the first section, I shall explain why Islam can change your destiny. In the second section, I shall explain how Islam can change your destiny.
Here is a question which is, perhaps, unsettling. Why can Islam change our destiny? And if Islam can change our destiny, why are so many people unbelievers?
Let’s start off by agreeing that Allah is All-Powerful. He is capable over all things. For example, the Quran says:
“Say, ‘Whether you conceal what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it. And He knows that which is in the heavens and that which is on the earth. And Allah is over all things competent.'” [Sûrah Âl ‘Imrân,3:29]
Since Allah is All-Powerful, it means that Allah has the power to cause every person to become a Muslim. And not just that – Allah has the power to make every person living on earth a pious Muslim. In fact, if Allah wanted, no human being would ever lie or cheat.
For example, Allah remarks:
“And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?” [Sûrah Yûnus,10:99]
So the issue has become clear. Allah does have the power to turn us into pious people. This means Allah can change our destiny from being a sinner to being a pious person. But I have still not answered the elephant in the room.
Why do so many unbelievers exist if Allah has the power to make us all believers?
The answer to this question is multi-fold.
One reason why so many unbelievers exist is because the Muslim Ummah is not as active enough in da’wah activities as before. A second reason why so many unbelievers exist is because of the continuous propaganda against Islam on the Internet, television media, and print media.
However, there are also unbelievers who know that Islam is true. Yet, they do not wish to be guided. The explanation for these unbelievers is that Allah does not coerce human beings to believe in Him or to disbelieve in Him. When a human being decides to reject Islam despite knowing that it is true, Allah lets that happen. He has given freewill to human beings. But do not forget that Allah will recompense both believers and unbelievers for what they did with this freewill in the Hereafter.
There are many examples, in history, of people who rejected Islam despite knowing that it is true. Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab are amongst them. The munafiqîn [hypocrites] of Madinah are also people who did not believe in Islam despite knowing it to be true.
Now let me put forward another disturbing question. Can Allah change the destiny of an unbeliever who is ‘too sinful’? Can Allah cause him to enter Paradise?
The answer is yes. If an unbeliever accepts Islam sincerely, his sins shall be forgiven. Even the deadest heart of a human being can be brought to life by Allah. It is Allah who brings forth vegetation from the earth after the earth was barren. Do you think Allah cannot do the same for a dead, blackened heart?
“And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made for him light by which to walk among the people like one who is in darkness, never to emerge therefrom? Thus it has been made pleasing to the disbelievers that which they were doing.” [Surah Al-An’âm, 6:122]
There are too many Muslims and non-Muslims living today who assume that changing your destiny only means changing your outward circumstances – getting a promotion, buying your own house, or getting married.
There is nothing wrong with these achievements. Worldly achievements are praiseworthy as well. Promotion, having your own house, marriage are all good things. However, this blinds us to the fact that one’s destiny cannot be changed until we control our inner selves.
This leads us to two main points:
- Islam Changes Destiny by Changing Outward Circumstances:
Of course, Islam can change your outward circumstances. There is a famous Hadith about this.
Narrated from Thawban that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:
“…Nothing can change the Divine Decree except du’â’ [supplication]…” [Musnad Ahmad, 5/677; Sunan Ibn Majah, 90; Jami` Al-Tirmidhi, 139. Classed as ḥasan by Al-Albânî]
Du’â’ [supplication] is such a powerful tool that it can even change the Divine Decree. Why don’t we use it to ask Allah to make us a role model of righteousness for other people? Why don’t we use it to make du’â’ for the guidance of other people?
Every time you raise your hands to make du’â’ is a golden opportunity. You could either change your life, or the lives of people around you with the beauty of Islam.
- Islam Changes Destiny by Changing Inner Circumstances:
This is the real bit I want to talk about. Islam changes your destiny by changing your attitude and your mindset and your values.
Just think about it. The pain of life changes people. It makes people better or worse. The pain of life is a test from Allah. It separates between strong believers and weak believers.
Let’s see an example. There is a man who receives news that he has been laid off from his job. Since he is a strong believer, he makes du’â’ to Allah and turns to Him for help. This calamity draws him closer to Allah.
Another Muslim is also laid off from his job. He seeks help from Allah but stops making du’â’ after a week because he becomes upset with Allah. This person is a weak believer.
The destiny of the first man is inner peace because he has cultivated a habit of patience and steadfastness. The destiny of the second man is inner turmoil – for this man is not as patient as the first man.
But what lesson am I trying to convey?
Please pay attention at this juncture. The reason why the first man is strong and powerful and determined is because of two components: (1) knowledge and (2) applying knowledge.
This marks the difference between strong believers and weak believers. Islam will change your inner situation only if BOTH the components are in place.
If you gain knowledge but do not act upon it, Allah will be displeased with you. If you act without gaining knowledge, you will become misguided. But if you gain knowledge and then act upon it, that would be a great attainment.
Just reflect. What would you yourself be like if you practiced this advice for just three years? You would be grateful. You would be patient. You would be humble. You would be selfless. And you would be strong.
Imagine a Muslim youth who fasts in a proper and beautiful manner. He refrains from sin in the day and he refrains from sin in the night. He prays with khushu’. He makes du’â’ with focus. And he does this all through Ramadan. A person who worships Allah like this would change from the inside. His inner situation will change. He will become patient and steadfast. And what is the reward of those who are patient?
Say, “O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without accounting.” [Sûrah Al-Zumar, 39:10]
But wait a minute, you might say. It is so hard and it takes so much effort to change myself. Fortunately, I have a wonderful solution to your problem. Promise me that you will act upon it!
In order to change your attitude and your values, you must change your actions. And in order to make it easy for you to change your actions, you must seek the help of Al-Nasîr (The Helper).
Just try it once every week. If you have been missing Ṣalâh, make a sincere du’â’ to Allah to make it easy for you to change your bad habit. But you must pray as sincerely as you would pray for other things which are dear to you. You must truly want what you are asking from Allah. And then, once you have made sincere du’â’, Allah will make it easy for you to change your bad habits.
You can do this for every habit you want to adopt, whether it is a religious habit or a worldly habit. Ask Allah to make it easy for you to change.
In conclusion, you and I must seek knowledge and then apply it properly. We must gain knowledge about our obligations from scholars, make du’â’ to Allah to make the path easy for us, and then apply our knowledge.
Last but not least, following the teachings of Islam will protect us and bless us in the Hereafter. Our Islam will protect us from the perils of the Sirât [the bridge crossing over Hell to Paradise]. It will protect us from the heat of Hell. It will safeguard us from humiliation before Allah. And it will cause us to enter Paradise.
“But [awaiting] for him who has feared the standing before His Lord are two gardens.” [Sûrah Al-Raḥmân, 55:46]