Here there occurs a very popular question and it is:
If the thing that is being supplicated for is already decreed for the servant, then there is no doubt that it is going to come to pass for him, regardless of whether he supplicates for it or not. And if it has not been decreed for him, then it will not come to pass, regardless of whether he asks Allaah for it or not.
There is one group that perceives this question to be valid and so they have abandoned the supplication and are of the view that there is no benefit in doing it. These people, along with their excessive ignorance and misguidance are in clear contradiction, for if we were to follow their opinion, it would require us to reject all the different means for attaining something (desired).
So it can be said to one of them:
If satisfying your appetite and quenching your thirst were already decreed for you, then there is no doubt that they are going to come to pass, whether you eat and drink or you don't. And if they were not decreed for you, they will not come to pass, whether you eat and drink or you don’t.
And likewise, if a child were decreed for you, then you will definitely receive it, whether you have sexual intercourse with your wife or you don't. And if that was not decreed for you, then it will not come to pass. Thus there is no need for marrying, having sexual relations and so on and so forth.
Who says such a statement? Is it one possessing common sense or a beast? Rather, even the animal has a natural inclination (fitrah) towards seeking the means of attaining something (desired), which (for example) will give it sustenance and livelihood. So the animals have more common sense and possess more understanding than these types of people who are like cattle – nay, far worse!
Some of them try to be clever and say:
Preoccupying oneself with supplication falls into the realm of worship solely – Allaah will reward the one supplicating, without that having an effect on what he is asking for in any way. According to this type of person, there is no difference between supplicating and refraining from supplicating by heart and tongue, with regard to that having an effect on attaining what is being asked for. And according to them, the relation of the supplication to it (what is being asked for) is like its relation with silence. There is no difference between them.
Another group, more slick than this one says:
Rather, the supplication is a sign, which Allaah displays as a symbol that a matter has been carried out. So when Allaah grants his servant the ability to supplicate, it is a sign and a symbol that the matter he was requesting has been carried out. This is just as if one were to see a frigid black cloud during the winter season. It is a sign and an implication that it will rain.
They say: Similarly is enacting good deeds with respect to reward, and committing disbelief and sins with respect to punishment – they are pure signs for the occurrence of (either) reward or punishment – not means (by which the result will be attained).
Likewise, according to them, with the matters of breaking, kindling and destroying – none of these things serves as a means for the occurrence (result) of a wreck, fire and death, respectively. Nor is there any connection between those things and what results from them, other than the fact that they are normally paired together – not that one is caused due to the means of the other!
They have contradicted perceptual observation and common sense with this opinion, as well as revelation and fitrah (natural inclination), not to mention all of the other intellectual groups. Rather, those with intellects laugh at them!
The correct view: There is a third category, apart from those mentioned by the questioner. And it is that the decreed result is preordained along with its proper means, which lead to its occurrence. One of these means is the supplication. It is not preordained just like that, without any means (leading to its occurrence), rather it is preordained along with its proper means (which will ensure its occurrence). So when a person comes across the means, the decreed matter will come to pass. And if he does not come across those means, the decreed matter is denied.
So satisfying one’s appetite and quenching one’s thirst are preordained with (the means of) eating and drinking. Children are preordained with (the means of) sexual intercourse. Harvesting crops is preordained with (the means of) planting and, the withdrawal of the soul from an animal is decreed with slaughter. Likewise, entrance into Paradise is preordained with (good) deeds, while entrance into the Hellfire is preordained with (bad) deeds.
This category is the true one. And it is the one that the questioner has been deprived of and not granted.