Kindly explain the difference between the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Mahfooz) and the Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) and also between destiny (Taqdeer) and free will (Tadbeer). Are supplications and devotions effective in destined matters?

Q: Kindly explain the difference between the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Mahfooz) and the Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) and also between destiny (Taqdeer) and free will (Tadbeer). Are supplications and devotions effective in destined matters?


A: Scholars have made deep studies in the matter of the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Ma/ooz) and the Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat). One of them, Allamah Tabarsi (a.r.) says in Sharhe Usul Kafi: Verses of Quran and traditions prove that the Almighty Allah has created two tablets and recorded in them whatever takes place.


The first is the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Mafooz) wherein there is no change under any circumstances and it is according to the knowledge of the Almighty Allah. Another tablet is the Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) wherein He records one thing and then erases it through many exigencies and strategies which are not concealed from the wise.


For example, He records in it the age of Zaid as 50 years, that is, it is according to strategy that he should live for fifty years, provided he does not do anything which increases or decreases one's lifespan. Then if he behaves nicely with his relatives, Allah erases '50' and writes '60' and if he disregards the rights of his blood relatives '50' is turned to '40'. But in the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Mahfooz) it is mentioned what has to happen. For instance, if Zaid or Hasan behaves nicely with his relatives, which cause increase in lifespan, from the very beginning, what is recorded in lauhe Mahfooz is 60. And he willfully behaves badly with relatives, the figure of 40 is there already fixed in lauhe Mahfooz.


Summarily speaking, there never occurs any change in Lauhe Mahfooz; on the contrary what is going to happen, is from the very beginning recorded in it. Of course, changes are possible in lauhe Mahwo Athhaat question, which is called as modified destiny (Bada) (This was discussed in the related question).


If it is asked what is the use of Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) if whatever is to happen, is already recorded in Protected Tablet (lauhe Mahfooz)?


We reply: There are many things of wisdom. Allamah Majlisi has written some of them incling the one that there are angels who write the tablets. Those who come to know about that tablet by the Grace of Almighty Allah Lord concerning His servant after the Messengers and Imams know about them, they inform God 's servants about the same saying that your good deeds have such effects and also that their misdeeds also can cause harm to you. Certainly such information make the believers attend good deeds and refrain from bad ones.


Among the deeds which can change the things destined in Tablet of erasing and writing (lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) are charities and supplications. That is why much emphasis is put on these two things in related traditions and verses. Here we suffice with only one tradition of Al- Kaji under the Chapter of supplication wards off calamities and death".


It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that he said:


"Verily supplication erases destiny and breaks it into pieces just as a rope is broken into pieces after it was wound tightly."17


It means that a thing which had been firmly fixed in destiny is erased through supplication, just as in the case of the people of Prophet Yunus (a.s.) a calamity which had came very near to them was deferred due to the earnest prayers and collective supplications offered sincerely by that community.


Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib


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