Side Mosque At Sunrise by Nick Irvine-Fortescue

“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.”

At the risk of oversimplification, your outlook on life can be understood from one of two perspectives.

You may feel like you are the master of your own fate and the future is yet to be written. Anything is possible, because anything can happen. It is within your control to make the right decisions and do the right things. On the other hand, you may feel like you are at the mercy of your destiny. Things turn out the way they do because they could not have turned out any other way. Your life is guided by fate.

On the surface, the first perspective sounds more appealing. We’d like to think that we are in control of our lives, even if we are not necessarily in control of the circumstances. We just have to make do with what we have. While we may not be able to choose what we are given, we can choose what to do with what we are given. We want to think that the sky is the limit. This sense of self-determination can feel awfully empowering. If I work hard, if I choose correctly, I can have almost anything I want.

And aye, there’s the rub.

By believing that you are wholly responsible for your lot in life, you also take on the incredible burden of responsibility. Yes, you may be able to claim your successes as the result of your efforts. At the same time, if you don’t end up with exactly what you want, you have no one to blame but yourself. And the truth of the matter is that many of life’s circumstances are indeed outside of your control. Even if you do everything right, you might not get what you want.

As Imam al-Shafi’i explains in the quote above, an incredible sense of inner peace can be achieved when you come to accept your lot in life, whatever it may be. If something (or someone) was meant to be a part of your life, it will be. If something (or someone) doesn’t enter your life, then it was never meant to be there in the first place. It is what it is.

This may sound like quiet resignation. It’s not. It’s more about coming to terms with who you are, what you have, and how you can deal with it all. Once the pressure is off, the sky just might be the limit.