It is very difficult for people to understand that life and death are solely in the hands of Allah (SWT). There is an appointed time and no one can change it under any circumstances. Allah (SWT) has guided us about fate and destiny in surah Al-Baqarah by describing a group of Israelites who lived after Prophet Musa (AS). Al-Baqarah # 246, 247
Have you not thought about the group of children of Israel after the time of Musa. When they said to their prophet of that time, “Appoint a leader among us so that we can fight in the way of Allah (SWT)under his leadership.”The Prophet said to them, “I fear that you may not fight if fighting is prescribed for you.” They said, “Why would we not fight in the way of Allah (SWT) when disbelievers have driven us out from our homeland and we are separated from our children?” When fighting was prescribed for them, they turned away, all except a few of them. Allah (SWT) is aware of evil doers.
Their Prophet (AS) said to them, “Allah (SWT) has raised up Saul to be a king for you.” They said, “How can he be a king over us when we are more deserving of the kingdom than he is? He has not been given enough wealth.” Their Prophet (Samuel (AS)) said, “Look Allah (SWT) has chosen him above you and has increased him abundantly in wisdom and stature. Allah (SWT) bestows His sovereignty on whom He wills. Allah (SWT) is all embracing, as well as all knowing.”
Before we proceed with the story, we notice the rich considered it their right to rule over the poor. They forgot that Allah (SWT) is the ultimate sovereign. He can bestow His favors on whom He wills. Allah (SWT) gave Saul, the knowledge and the physical strength to fulfill this responsibility. Hence knowledge is more powerful than the riches. Furthermore it is necessary to be qualified physically as well as mentally to perform the job. Riches do not give a blank permit to rule over others.
The children of Israel asked their prophet in desperation to show them some signs that Saul was the appointed leader. Allah (SWT) describes those signs in the following verse: Al-Baqarah #248
Their prophet said to them, “The token of the kingdom is that there shall come to you a wooden box, wherein is peace of reassurance from your Lord, and a remnant of that which the house of Moses and the house of Aaron left behind. Angels will be bearing it. Indeed there are signs for you if you are believers.”
The few members in this group of the children of Israel set out to fight in the way of Allah (SWT). Some of them were sincere and others joined them out of formality. Allah (SWT) has His own way to sort them out through His tests. These tests are described in the next verse, where Allah (SWT) says: Al-Baqarah # 249-250
And when Saul set out with an army, he said, “Look, Allah (SWT) will test you by the ordeal of a river. Whosoever drinks there of is not of me, and whosoever does not taste it is of me except he who drinks a little bit in the hollow of his hand.” But they drank all except a few of them. After he had crossed the river, he and those who believed with him, they said, “We have no power this day to fight against Goliath and his forces.” But those who knew that they would meet their Lord exclaimed: “How many times has a small group overcome the powerful enemy by Allah’s (SWT) permission! Allah(SWT) is with the steadfast.”
And when they faced Goliath and his forces in the battlefield they said, “Our Lord bestow on us endurance, make our foothold sure and give us help against the disbelieving folk.”
We note that Allah (SWT) sorted out the committed believers from the casual Muslims through the ordeal of the river. The few committed ones not only reminded others about the power of Allah (SWT) but also humbled themselves by making a timely supplication. Hence it is not permissible to boast about one’s piety and commitment. The result of this devotion, commitment and steadfastness is described in the next verse.
Allah (SWT) says: Al-Baqarah # 251
These few committed believers defeated the army of Goliath with the permission of Allah (SWT). David (one of the believers and not a prophet yet) slew Goliath. Allah (SWT) gave David the kingdom and the wisdom and taught him whatever He willed. If Allah (SWT) had not repelled some men by other men the earth would have been corrupted, but Allah (SWT) is the Lord of Kindness to His creatures.
It is interesting to note the phrase “a few” has been used thrice in this description. First, very few volunteered for fighting when it was prescribed for them. Then very few of them did not drink from the river. Of the few remaining, some refused to fight with the super power of Goliath. Finally, an extremely small number, having full faith in fate and destiny, faced the situation. Allah (SWT) rewarded them with not only success but also with sovereignty, and taught them various forms of wisdom. Allah (SWT) says in Qur’an : Al-Baqarah # 269
He grants wisdom to whom He pleases and he, to whom wisdom is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember except men of understanding.
Khaled bin Waleed was a famous companion of Prophet Mohammad (SAS) . Khaled fought many wars. Hardly any part of his body was without marks of injury. He wished to be a martyr. Finally he died, but in his own bed in his house. You see, life and death is in the hands of Allah (SWT) alone.
Hence, it is necessary to have full faith in fate and destiny, and then with the permission of Allah (SWT) success is yours. May Allah (SWT) strengthen our faith (Eeman) in fate and destiny. Ameen.