Yes, we believe in destiny but does that mean we have to sit back, be patient, and accept everything life has to offer without any question? Definitely not!
Beware of victimhood, readers. It’s when a person feels sorry for his/herself when they are in a certain situation that they CAN change. Maybe they don’t want to change it because they don’t want to deal with the consequences of the change. It’s important to own that. It’s really interesting how the mindset changes when one realises that the situation that they are in is something they have chosen, rather than something they have no control over.
I’ll give you an example. There is a woman (you may have met her in your life) who’s absolutely fed up, to the back teeth, of working. She works hard at her day job and then she works doubley-hard at home, catching up with the housework. Unfortunately, her hours sometimes clash with the time the children come home from school, so although she’s happy that her husband takes over, she feels guilty that she is not at hand to feed the children and help with homework etc when they need her. I’m not saying here that her husband doesn’t help. He does the job well, but he doesn’t maintain her standards- that’s why she works doubly hard to catch up when she’s home. She wants to leave work, but she has to admit she enjoys the freedom the extra cash gives her. She can now treat the kids when they’re out and about and not have to count every penny when they want new clothes and toys etc. (Note: the word is want and not need. Her husband takes care of the needs very well- it’s the ‘extra’ things and clothes that the children want that she is able to cover by working.)
Do you agree that she has a choice? It is clear that she wants a certain standard in life and has made a choice to reflect that.
Now, there is another woman who actually has made the choice to be the breadwinner in her family. The choice is hers. There are two things she can do, own it and feel empowered that she can make a difference to her family’s life in this way. Or, decide it’s too much and try to come up with a solution with her spouse. If her spouse is part of the problem, then she has to make the life-changing decision of whether she is willing to put up with this for her entire life. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying own your choices.
OK, so when this first woman became too ill to work (thankfully, it was only temporary pregnancy-related stuff and yes, you guessed it, it was me! And yes, thankfully I wasn’t actually fed up to my back teeth with working- of course, I just put that in to make it more dramatic heehee). I realised, that even though I now couldn’t afford ‘monetary treats’, I now had more time for priceless self care, which it turns out, I ended up valuing more. You see, I decided to work (tying the camel, see below) but realised I couldn’t keep it up because of my illness (destiny or kismet) and had to stop.
WHEN YOU NEED HELP MAKING A DECISION
Muslims have a prayer, called the Istikhara, which helps us to make decisions. If the decision has already been made, then it is prayed to put blessings into the situation and make us content with the outcome, whatever it may be. Once the prayer has been done we are taught to look for ‘signs’ to help lead us to the correct decision. This could come in the form of a dream, on the lips of another person or in the way the situation develops (if there are no obvious signs initially).
This practice, of looking for signs is centuries old and it isn’t just practiced by people of Islam. Interestingly, divination, or the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means, has been a tradition for many generations of old. It is still practiced in many different cultures and is used, along with one’s ‘instinct’ to help make the correct decision. What means do you take to make the ‘right’ decisions?
TYING THE CAMEL
There is a saying from the Islamic tradition that states:
A man once asked the Prophet ﷺ, ‘O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?’ To which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ replied, ‘Tie her and trust in Allah.’ [al Tirmidhi]
Read Allah as God here. You can also interchange the word with destiny, mother nature, science or whatever you happen to believe in here, because it still fits. If you believe that although we can make firm decisions, certain things are still out of our control, then you should be able to relate to this statement.
OK, so what does this mean? My take on this is that you must do what you can, that is in your control, and leave the rest in good faith, whatever that may be.
Footnote: The Islamic references are from the highly reputable site SeekersHub.Org