Consider the last time you were on a plane. Maybe you were just about to doze off while in a state of self reflection when all of a sudden the plane hits a slight bit of turbulence jolting you awake and causing your heart to skip a beat. Up until that moment you probably forgot that you were even flying 30,000 feet above the ground in a metal container with wings; a thing that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors of the past. But what changed from that moment of peace to the moment of fear? It is because at that moment the control that we all thought we had when things appeared safe and comfortable became completely shattered right before our eyes. Two seconds prior to the turbulence our mind was under the impression that everything was under control so our mind simply let go of such concerns and allowed our body to relax and not worry. Then when it became apparent the shear lack of control we really had over a situation our mind went into panic mode.
This isn’t meant as a trope to say people believe in God only when they are fearful, despite that being generally true, but that we have this false sense of control in our lives that is unwarranted. We didn’t have any control before the turbulence as we did after, yet when it was brought to our attention we panicked. Panicking only makes sense under such situations, but if you never thought you had control and that all control has always been under God’s hand then there would never be a reason for concern.
Consider at this very moment the earth is spinning at roughly 1,000 miles per hour on its axis, as it rotates around a violent fireball that one million times larger at 67,000 miles per hour, that is hurtling through space at 483,000 miles per hour. But how often do we stop to consider the terrifying nature of this ride we are on? It is an absolute blessing because the reality is if we truly grasped the extraordinary nature of this spaceship we are on we would be perpetually paralyzed with fear which needless to say would be a terrible existence to have. The only way someone can be at peace with this is that they are either willfully ignorant or they submit to God.
There are times in our life when it becomes blatantly obvious that we are not in control. One of the life events that puts this concept on center stage is when a couple is expecting a baby. During these times they are more likely to be reverent and imploring for God’s favor and blessings.
[7:189] He created you from one person (Adam). Subsequently, He gives every man a mate to find tranquility with her. She then carries a light load that she can hardly notice. As the load gets heavier, they implore GOD their Lord: “If You give us a good baby, we will be appreciative.” [7:190] But when He gives them a good baby, they turn His gift into an idol that rivals Him. GOD be exalted, far above any partnership.
For the last nine months God designed a system that was perfect, with the intentionality that the parents had very little control over the matter. When the sperm, the smallest human cell, fertilized the egg, the largest human cell, it kicked off a process that is perfectly designed. Yet what happens the day the baby is born? The parents typically think, thank You God, but we can take it from here.
Because the process no longer seems hidden from them because they can see the baby they assume they can take control. What people fail to consider is all the complexity that is outside of their purview that is hidden to them. The trillions of cells each working and operating per God’s design. The quintillion reactions that are taking place in the trillions of cells at any given moment. If one was to stop in think about all the multitude of ways that something could go wrong they would be paralyzed with worry. Yet again we have a choice, we can choose to be willfully ignorant or choose to submit to God.
Occasionally God provides us with glimpses into the unseen, the inner workings of what is going on behind the scenes. And when we are informed of these inner workings often times we immediately get disgruntled and think we know best how to remedy the situation and if only everyone would listen to our input on this subject then the problem would be resolved. We see this each time we turn on the news, read an article, hear a podcast. We get inundated with fear and reasons to be concerned and worried. Our natural response when we hear this is that “someone should do something about this.” They need to x or y to resolve this issue. What we forget at this moment is that God never stopped being in control. Does this mean that we are complacent? Absolutely not, but this is when our submission is put to the test.
[16:1] GOD’s command has already been issued (and everything has already been written), so do not rush it. Be He glorified; the Most High, far above any idols they set up.
(١) أَتىٰ أَمرُ اللَّهِ فَلا تَستَعجِلوهُ سُبحانَهُ وَتَعالىٰ عَمّا يُشرِكونَ
The human being is overconfident in their belief that they have the right answers to solve the worlds woes, but consider the story of Joseph. What would have been the response from a bystander had they seen Joseph’s brothers throwing him into a well? Would they not have attempted to move heaven and earth to save Joseph from the abyss and return him to his father? What would have been the outcome had someone done that? Joseph wouldn’t have been the treasure of Egypt and he wouldn’t have been able to save the Children of Israel from the coming famine.
Here is a strange thought to consider. When the US detonated the nuclear bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki it caused the death of some 100,000 people. But it is speculated that if the US did not take such actions that Japan was about to face a mass famine that would have been way more destructive to its population of 73 million at the time had the US not provided food and aid after Japan’s surrender. This was documented in an article from the New York Times.
Japan was probably ”saved” and spared widespread starvation by the atomic bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, according to a leading Japanese physician.
”The military had driven Japan to a stage that if it could not win, it would not surrender,” said Dr. Taro Takemi, immediate past president of the Japan Medical Association. ”It surely would have lost the war and many people would have starved if the atom bomb had not been dropped.
”When one considers the possibility that the Japanese military would have sacrificed the entire nation if it were not for the atomic bomb attack, then this bomb might be described as having saved Japan,” Dr. Takemi said in a reference to the Hiroshima bombing in an article in today’s issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
[17:11] The human being often prays for something that may hurt him, thinking that he is praying for something good. The human being is impatient. [17:12] We rendered the night and the day two signs. We made the night dark, and the day lighted, that you may seek provisions from your Lord therein. This also establishes for you a timing system, and the means of calculation. We thus explain everything in detail.
It is peculiar that when it comes to the physical creation of the universe and the laws of physics and the absolute precision utilized to keep everything in absolute balance we would never be so arrogant to ask God to change these parameters, yet when it comes to the outcomes in our own lives or the lives of others we witness we are quick to object and speculate that this isn’t right.
If God allowed something to happen then it was for the best. Obviously we will do our utmost to try to do the things that please God, but the end outcome is 100% up to God and we should wholeheartedly submit to God’s will. If we are unhappy with the outcome, then it shows that we are lacking trust in God.
Before God’s decree is made, we can implore do whatever for an outcome we would like to see, but after God’s decision is decreed we must submit a total submission. There is an example of David in the Bible in 2 Samuel 12, where his son was sick and ultimately died and how David reacted to the situation, and ultimately how God replaced his dead son with Solomon.
15 Then Nathan went home. And the Lord caused the son of David and Bathsheba, Uriah’s widow, to be very sick. 16 David prayed to God for the baby. David fasted and went into his house and stayed there, lying on the ground all night. 17 The elders of David’s family came to him and tried to pull him up from the ground, but he refused to get up or to eat food with them.
18 On the seventh day the baby died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the baby was dead. They said, “Look, we tried to talk to David while the baby was alive, but he refused to listen to us. If we tell him the baby is dead, he may do something awful.”
19 When David saw his servants whispering, he knew that the baby was dead. So he asked them, “Is the baby dead?”
They answered, “Yes, he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the floor, washed himself, put lotions on, and changed his clothes. Then he went into the Lord’s house to worship. After that, he went home and asked for something to eat. His servants gave him some food, and he ate.
21 David’s servants said to him, “Why are you doing this? When the baby was still alive, you fasted and you cried. Now that the baby is dead, you get up and eat food.”
22 David said, “While the baby was still alive, I fasted, and I cried. I thought, ‘Who knows? Maybe the Lord will feel sorry for me and let the baby live.’ 23 But now that the baby is dead, why should I fast? I can’t bring him back to life. Someday I will go to him, but he cannot come back to me.”
24 Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife. He slept with her and had sexual relations with her. She became pregnant again and had another son, whom David named Solomon. The Lord loved Solomon. 25 The Lord sent word through Nathan the prophet to name the baby Jedidiah, because the Lord loved the child.
God out of his mercy provides us a little information and inspiration to the events that are unfolding in this world. We should not over extrapolate what we think we know and think that God made a mistake or forgot to account for something, because everything God does is perfect.
[17:85] They ask you about the revelation. Say, “The revelation comes from my Lord. The knowledge given to you is minute.”
(٨٥) وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
[17:86] If we will, we can take back what we revealed to you, then you will find no protector against us.
(٨٦) وَلَئِنْ شِئْنَا لَنَذْهَبَنَّ بِالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُ لَكَ بِهِ عَلَيْنَا وَكِيلًا
Take the example of Noah and his son. When God informed Noah that no more of his people were going to believe beyond the ones who already had and Noah saw that his son did not join him on the ark and ultimately died because of it, he implored God on behalf of his son. God corrected Noah by reminding him not to implore God for something he does not know.
[11:36] Noah was inspired: “No more of your people are going to believe, beyond those who already believe. Do not be saddened by their actions. [11:37] “Build the ark under our watchful eyes, and with our inspiration, and do not implore Me on behalf of those who have transgressed; they are destined to drown.”
[11:42] As it sailed with them in waves like hills, Noah called his son, who was isolated: “O my son, come ride with us; do not be with the disbelievers.” [11:43] He said, “I will take refuge on top of a hill, to protect me from the water.” He said, “Nothing can protect anyone today from GOD’s judgment; only those worthy of His mercy (will be saved).” The waves separated them, and he was among those who drowned. [11:44] It was proclaimed: “O earth, swallow your water,” and “O sky, cease.” The water then subsided; the judgment was fulfilled. The ark finally rested on the hills of Judea. It was then proclaimed: “The transgressors have perished.” [11:45] Noah implored his Lord: “My Lord, my son is a member of my family, and Your promise is the truth. You are the wisest of the wise.” [11:46] He said, “O Noah, he is not of your family. It is unrighteous to ask Me for something you do not know. I enlighten you, lest you be like the ignorant.” [11:47] He said, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You, lest I implore You again for something I do not know. Unless You forgive me, and have mercy on me, I will be with the losers.”
The world is more complicated than we can comprehend. Because of this there are going to be events in our life or that we witness that will not make sense. It is under these trying times that it will prove the strength of our faith. Consider the story of Job, where God allowed Satan to inflict Job with hardship. In the story according to the Bible, after Job curses his existence in the third chapter of Job he is approached by three friends who spend seven days and seven nights debating with Job about why God allowed this to happen to him. While the three friends accused Job of sinning, Job claimed his innocence yet questioned if God abandoned him. Then in the 38th chapter God responds to Job and his friends.
God Speaks Now to Job
38 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind and said,
2 “Who is this who darkens the divine plan
By words without knowledge?
3 Now [a]tighten the belt on your waist like a man,
And I shall ask you, and you inform Me!
4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you [b]have understanding,
5 Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the measuring line over it?
6 On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
God created the heavens, earth, universe, physical laws, the design of the animals, and all His creations that Job and his friends could not even fathom, yet when it came to Job’s own ordeal they think they could grasp the reasons and motives to the reasoning. Do you think that Job would of thought that his hardship not only proved the strength of his faith and God rewarded him for it, but that his lesson served as an example for multitudes for generations to come.
We forget that God knows our thoughts and we do not know His. The second we forget that then we fail to submit. Consider the response from Jesus on the Day of Resurrection when questioned by God.
[5:116] GOD will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary,* did you say to the people, ‘Make me and my mother idols beside GOD’?” He will say, “Be You glorified. I could not utter what was not right. Had I said it, You already would have known it. You know my thoughts, and I do not know Your thoughts. You know all the secrets.
If we trust in God during the good times then we must trust in God during the hardships as well, and if we follow this instruction then we will never fear or grieve because we will know without any doubt that God is in full control and everything He does is perfect, just, and ultimately for the best even when we do not understand it.
[10:61] You do not get into any situation, nor do you recite any Quran, nor do you do anything, without us being witnesses thereof as you do it. Not even an atom’s weight is out of your Lord’s control, be it in the heavens or the earth. Nor is there anything smaller than an atom, or larger, that is not recorded in a profound record.
وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِنْ قُرْآنٍ وَلَا تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْ رَبِّكَ مِنْ مِثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَا أَصْغَرَ مِنْ ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرَ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ
[10:62] Absolutely, GOD’s allies have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
[10:63] They are those who believe and lead a righteous life.
(٦٣) الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ
[10:64] For them, joy and happiness in this world, as well as in the Hereafter. This is GOD’s unchangeable law. Such is the greatest triumph.
لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
2 thoughts on “Illusion of Control”
Thank you for all the knowledge that god gave you mashaallah , for the couple who had the baby they were trapped in idolatry because they give all the love and time they have to the baby and forgot about god . Peace
What a beautiful article. Inspiring and motivating as only the quran can. May Allah reward you for this effort.