Q: Please explain 'change of destiny' (Bada) in a convincing manner.
A: Change of destiny (Bada) in the created world is like the cancellation of decrees in the legal sense. Thus canceJlation of a legal command means withdrawal of the earlier order and establishment of another due to a change in divine strategy.
Likewise, Bada means change made by God in the affairs of His servants through change in strategy like removal of a calamity as a result of supplication or charity extension in lifespan because of good behavior with relatives etc. For example, the calamity which had befallen the community of Prophet Yunus (a.s.) was removed due to its earnest supplications.
According to a narration in Biharul Anwar, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Verily a person behaves nicely with his relatives as a result of which the Almighty Allah makes the remainder of three years in his lifespan into thirty years. It also so happens that a person behaves badly with his relations and as a result, the Almighty Allah turns the remainder of thirty years of his life into only three years. Then he (s.a.w.s.) said:
يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ
"Allah makes to pass away and establishes what He pleases ...” (Ar-Ra’ad, 13:39)
It is also mentioned in Biharul Anwar, Vol. 17, that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: The number of death due to abundance of sins are more than deaths due to the arrival of the appointed day and the number of persons living as a result of good deeds is more than the lives reaching their destined lifespans.11 Making changes in the destiny of man due to his deeds is one of the honors of the Almighty Allah, concerning His Lordship and sovereignty. It also leads people to turn earnestly to Him and to perform good deeds. Therefore, the Holy Imams (a.s.) have accorded much importance to it.
Imam Baqir (a.s.) is reported to have said that God has not been worshipped through anything like belief in Bada ; that is, they have considered trust in Bada a great belief. It is also said in another narration that God has not considered anything greater than belief in Bada.
It is mentioned in Al-Kafi that Imam Baqir (a.s.) said that God did not appoint any messenger unless and until He took covenant from him on three matters:
1. His worship
2. Belief in His oneness and uniqueness
3. Belief that He advances whatever He wishes and delays whatever He likes.12
It is also mentioned in Al-Kafi that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:
"If people knew how much reward is there in the belief in Bada, they would not tire talking about it."13
As regards the reason of naming it as Bada, it denotes manifestation of a thing after its remaining hidden. It does not mean that the Almighty Allah changed the destiny because He was wrong the first time (God forbid!) So whenever He makes a change in affairs of any of His servants, it is said: Bada has occurred; that is, what was hidden has now become manifest.
In other words, God made manifest what was hidden to people because of absence of information about the causes. This is also the aim of Imam Sadiq 's (a.s.) saying:
“Allah has not manifested anything as He manifested in the case of Ismail, (who was son of the Imam)."
This is a hint to another tradition which says: It was decreed for Ismail to be killed twice. Then I requested the Lord to remove the calamity and He removed his assassination."
Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib