The World is a Stage

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Once, when I was at Maqam Habib Nuh, an ‘alim was there to pay a visit.  As he was holding the tomb stone and in communion with the great wali, he opened his eyes, looked at me, sitting in front of the maqam in doing my dzikr.  It was at that moment that I opened my eyes.  He asked me, “Do I know you?  Who are you?”

I was not in a position to speak so I nodded my head and went back to my conversation with my Lord.  Weeks later, we met at a majlis.  And I asked him, “We’ve known each other for almost ten years.  How come you did not recognise me?”

He replied, “I saw you and yet I did not see you.  I saw someone else.  You were broken-hearted.  Rabi’ah was broken-hearted.  I went to her maqam when I was in Jerusalem.  I had a dream before that.  She came and hugged me and brought me to her maqam.  I didn’t see her face.  Only the hair.  I woke up afraid.  The next day, someone brought me to her maqam and I recognised it from my dream and I knew it was her.  She was so broken-hearted after the loss of her loved one, she cursed the people who did dzikr next to her home.  She called them liars and hypocrites.  But later on, she joined them.”

The only people that can explain taqdir are the Ahl al-Kashf.  What is taught is only to the level that people can accept.  To teach them more than that would only create fitnah.  And even then, the understanding is incomplete.  Amongst the few other than Rasulullah (s.a.w.) who had a complete understanding of this while alive was Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.).  When he wrote about destiny and fate, Allah (s.w.t.) Brought him to pre-eternity to witness it.

From the Ahl al-Kashf, we know that the Book of Creation is already written.  The Author of the Book has Dictated every part Sublimely, and not a dot is out of place.  When we die, we will realise that all this is past, that no soul was wronged in the least.  And such as we are, even if we did this a thousand times over, it would not change, for the Author is Perfect.  Even Shaythan’s rebellion is His Will; even the questioning of the angels.  Such an understanding, however, requires the annihilation of the self for one must leave the Realm of ‘Ubudiyyah to see as He Sees.  But until then, one can only understand that we are Judged according to our intentions and not our actions.  Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) said, “You may intend, but it is Allah’s Will if it is.”

Shakespeare cannot even fathom how close he came to the Truth, when he wrote in “As You Like It”:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.”


  1. Assalam'u Alaikum brother,
    Can you share what Ibn'Arabi wrote about destiny and fate?

    1. Wa 'Alaykum as-Salaam,

      Shaykh ibn 'Arabi (q.s.) wrote extensively about it. The simplest summary of what he wrote is thus: That everything is Decreed. And Creation is but a Divine play. If the story of Creation were a book, then Allah (s.w.t.) is the Author and every line and dot is as He Wills. Free Will is thus an illusion. But such an understanding would be unpalatable to the ego in rebellion.

      Wa as-Salaam

  2. I was in communion with maulana At Tamimi (q.s) when something happened as well


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