Recognition of destiny is a moving reply to the great human theme of inevitable suffering. It is the recognition of life as it is and a conscious decision to bear and to endure. In this point, Islam differs radically from the superficial idealism and optimism of European philosophy and its naïve story about “the best of all possible worlds.” Submission to God is a mellow light coming from beyond pessimism.
As a result of one’s recognition of his impotence and insecurity, submission to God itself becomes a new potency and a new security. Belief in God and His providence offers a feeling of security which cannot be made up for with anything else. Submission to God does not imply passivity as many people wrongly believe. In fact, “all heroic races have believed in destiny.” [4: Emerson: n.p.d.] Obedience to God excludes obedience to man. It is a new relation between man and God and, therefore, between man and man.
It is also freedom which is attained by following through with one’s own destiny. Our involvement and our struggle are human and reasonable and have the token of moderation and serenity only through the belief that the ultimate result is not in our hands. It is up to us to work, the rest is in the hands of God.
Therefore, to properly understand our position in the world means to submit to God, to find peace, not to start making a more positive effort to encompass and to overcome everything, but rather a negative effort to accept the place and the time of our birth, the place and the time that are our destiny and God’s will. Submission to God is the only human and dignified way out of the unsolvable senselessness of life, a way out without revolt, despair, nihilism, or suicide. It is a heroic feeling not of a hero, but of an ordinary man who has done his duty and accepted his destiny.
Islam does not get its name from its laws, orders, or prohibitions, nor from the efforts of the body and soul it claims, but from something that encompasses and surmounts all that: from a moment of cognition, from the strength of the soul to face the times, from the readiness to endure everything that an existence can offer, from the truth of submission to God. Submission to God, thy name is Islam!
-Islam Between East and West by 'Alija 'Ali Izetbegovic, pg. 291-292
(Just finished it alhamdullilah. What a book, what a book! A real treasure, I really haven't read something by a Muslim author writing in the contemporary period as in touch with what's going on, creative and brilliant. I think the dichotomy created throughout the book sometimes was a bit too simplistic (in order to argue for Islam's "bipolar unity"), but otherwise I really enjoyed this. The author is amazing in his comprehensiveness and the various sources he draws from. Thanks to Dr. Jackson for recommending this to me, inspiring me to pick it up again after I had put it down a while ago.)