How does Islam view adversities in life? If our fate is already written by Allah, what is the need for praying: “O Allah, save us from all fitnah (sedition) and masa’eb (hardships and sufferings) of life”?

There is a number of answers to this question of destiny, prayer, and free will, which you could refer to (please refer to the links at the end of this answer for examples of these answers). The way this complex question is best answered, in my humble opinion, depends on differentiating between two directions of viewpoints or perspectives. The first direction is from God to us; humans. And, the second is from us to Allah Almighty.

From His perspective, He created everything, knows everything, and destined everything. God told us about Himself and the way He created things in His book.

Following are some examples, which are mentioned in the Noble Qur’an. The selected verses say what means:

*{And with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures. None knows them but He; and He knows what is in the land and the sea, and there falls not a leaf but He knows it, nor a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green nor dry but (it is all) in a clear book.}* (Al-An`am 6:59)

*{Every human being is bound to taste death; and We test you [all] through the bad and the good [things of life] by way of trial: and unto Us you all must return.}* (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:35)

*{And your Lord hath said: “Pray unto Me and I will hear your prayer …”}* (Ghafir 40:60)

So, everything happens by the will of Allah. And, yes, our fates are already written. But this is in the sight of Allah, or, if you wish, from Allah’s “point of view”.

On the other hand, from our point of view, as creations, none of us know what God had already written. I have no idea whether the next day will bring me a calamity or a good thing. I know that Allah knows, but I do not know. However, I also know that if I pray to God, my prayer could change things; again, from my point of view. From His point of view, Almighty, nothing is new because my prayer itself is, in fact, part of that destiny; part of what Allah knew that I would do. Therefore, as a human, I should never stop making du`aa’ (supplication & prayers).

Prayers ARE useful and they DO change things. Prayers are part of the fate that God created in the first place.

This is why the final Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him) explained that if there is anything that could change fate (al-qadar ), this thing would be prayers (Al-Tirmidhi.)

“Changing one’s fate” here means changing what “would have happened” without our prayers. But with our prayer, which is part of fate anyway, things change from what “would have happened” into “what really happened”. Allah Almighty knows both, and He created both; what would have happened and what will happen.

I hope that this answer makes sense to you. If you have any other queries, please don’t hesitate to send us again.

Thank you and please do keep in touch.