This is just like a movie we watch in a cinema. The beginning and the end, as well as the entirety of circumstances we will encounter in the movie are predetermined before we even start viewing it. This means while we are on the first frame of this film, the final scene is already set. The fact that we are not aware of it does not indicate that these matters have not taken place or have not even been specified yet.
The reason why our heart beats faster while watching the most exciting scene of the movie is not because the next frame is not determined yet, or that the events will be a surprise for us since the following acts are fixed right from the moment of the scenario’s completion. But, we are not informed of the following segment, and we are convinced that the course of affairs will occur spontaneously. Actually, our lives are just like this movie we see in a cinema.
The only difference is that there is a distinct movie for each one of us, and everyone is only capable of experiencing the predetermined story in his particular movie. Our past, future and present are all a part of this motion picture. Just as how we cannot change the characters, storyline, or the end of a movie, in the same way, we have neither the capacity nor the power to make even the smallest revision related to our lives. And there is no exception to this.
And every one of us is seeing over our own movie right inside a dark room just as we are in a movie theatre. We can never go outside that room throughout our lives.
When compared to a movie theatre, the difference is that we are viewing our own motion picture not inside a huge cinema, but on the contrary inside a few cubic millimeters of flesh at the rear of our brains. This fact is not an opinion, a belief or a philosophical doctrine: It is the scientific truth. Every person who has lived has watched the external world solely from within that minute center of vision at the back of the brain. All the things we describe as seeing, hearing, touching or feeling take place in the interior of our brains. But what is most surprising is that there is no color, sound or picture inside of it because the miniscule movie theatre in our brains is sound and light proof. In other words, there is only pitch darkness and absolute silence in the brain. The only thing we can find there are electrical impulses.
In her book Mapping the Mind, the science writer Rita Carter describes how we perceive the world:
Each one [of the sense organs] is intricately adapted to deal with its own type of stimulus: molecules, waves or vibrations. But the answer does not lie here, because despite their wonderful variety, each organ does essentially the same job: it translates its particular type of stimulus into electrical pulses. A pulse is a pulse is a pulse. It is not the color red, or the first notes of Beethoven’s Fifth—it is a bit of electrical energy. Indeed, rather than discriminating one type of sensory input from another, the sense organs actually make them more alike.
Just like the movie that we see in a cinema is reflected on the screen from a projector, all the images we come across are reflected on our eyes in the form of photons, and our eyes, ears and skin turn that light into electrical impulses then transmit it to the appropriate center inside our brains. In that regard, we can only experience the happenings we are shown or made to hear and sense inside our brains. In other words, we are dependent on that miniature movie theatre inside our brains and we can never move it into the outside world. It is as if we are locked up there. And there is no other alternative than to live by what is in that movie script. The day of our birth, the date, hour and second of our death, the schools where we will receive our education and the college we will enter, how many children we will have and which diseases we will have throughout our lives are all fixed on that reel of film. Our Lord, Who decrees what is in our destiny, informs us of this truth in the Qur’an:
“We have created all things in due measure.” (Surat al-Qamar, 49)
Now that we can understand that all the incidents we experience in our lives are a part of our destiny, and our Lord has predestined the entirety of details even before our birth and creates them all for a good reason, then our responsibility is to be in full awareness that we are experiencing our destiny and we should be completely pleased with our Lord.
Despite all the precautions we may take, we cannot prevent any accidents that are in our destiny…
No matter how much we study, we cannot be admitted to a better school than what is predestined in our destiny…
Even if we may work our hardest, with maximum effort, we can never achieve any success other than the one designated in our destiny…
Our efforts, our endeavors and our precautions, are all but service to God and obligatory in religion. But, all of these have no power to change what is prescribed for us in our destiny.
Consequently the only thing that we should be doing while we are watching our own movie inside that pitch black, desolate, silent cinema hall the size of a lentil inside our brains is to think that the end of the movie we are watching is already determined and to put our trust in God, not to be sad in the face of troubles we come across and not to be spoiled in the face of blessings we’re given, to love our Lord dearly and to be pleased with everything He created. Because the opposite is haram (forbidden) according to the Qur'an and the result won’t change.
This fact is revealed in the Qur'an as thus:
“Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for God. That is so that you will not be grieved about the things that pass you by or exult about the things that come to you. God does not love any vain or boastful man.” (Surat Al-Hadid; 22-23)