When I was around the ages of 15-18, I thought of myself as a highly intelligent person. I often wondered why Allah willed for me to be born in Istanbul and not in a more developed country, such as some place in Europe or the USA. I even thought it would have been more befitting if I were born in Mecca or Medina. What was the wisdom behind this will?

After many years, I realized that if I had been born and raised in Mecca or Medina, my religious apprehension would probably not have surpassed the ‘literal’, disabling me from deciphering the symbolic and metaphoric nature of religion. If I were born in the West, on the other hand, I would probably have become a great scientist, deprived however of the knowledge imparted by Muhammad (saw).

Allah willed for me to be born in Istanbul instead, a city on the border of the East and the West, right in the middle of both worlds! Thus, I was able to benefit both from the teachings of the East and the resources of the West, forming a synthesis of both. I would probably have been deprived of this, had my place of birth on the map been a little more on the left or a little more on the right!

As such, Allah designates the perfect environment and resources required for the fulfillment of every individual’s unique purpose.

All of the above is based on a view going from the Essence to the outer.

If we employ the counter view, and look at the Essence from the outer reality, we may reversely conclude that the people in our lives, our environment, and our occupation are all a herald of either good news or a catastrophe.

When viewed this way interesting things come to mind! One no longer feels the need to say ‘I wish…’ for one realizes with conviction that everything is exactly the way it is meant to be and always will be! It is useless to say ‘I wish I hadn’t done such and such mistake in the past’. Indeed, that mistake had to be done, those lessons had to be taken, those emotions had to be lived, and everything had to occur in the exact way it did, for us to discover ourselves and accomplish our purposes.

Mistakes and sins teach us valuable lessons. By repenting, we can be cleansed from the sin but the lessons we learn will forever be ours to keep. Life is a journey we must take to reach the destination of our purpose. Everything that is encountered on this journey including the mistakes we make, is there to aid and guide us in that direction.

Imagine a staircase of a billion steps. If your purpose in life is to constitute the 22222nd step, then that is exactly where your life experience is going to lead you. Through the people you meet and the events you live, Allah is going to shape you and sculpt you to befit that particular position, not one more or one less.

Allah, in His Pre-Eternal Knowledge, has designed such a magnificent staircase called ‘humanity’ where each person is preordained to constitute one particular step; no one can escape his role or position in this miraculous staircase.

Sooner or later, each person will play out his role and constitute the step that has been assigned for him. Once the staircase is completed, doomsday will occur.

Although I mentioned the word ‘preordained’, let us also be aware of the verse:

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