I think to understand the concept of Maktub, one of the greatest paradox we need to look at - is the nature of time. A lot of mysteries are hidden inside the very concept of time.
Let me try to give brief explanation about how both ‘God knows all’ and ‘we perfectly have our own choice and responsibility’ can be true at the same time (just as a half empty glass is ‘half full’ and ‘half empty’ at the same time, both are statement of truth).
God is the Creator of everything, including Time. God is beyond Time. Now imagine - Past, Present and Future as residing on the same plane or same straight line. This whole plane is viewed by God at the same time since He is beyond Time. Now we (creation) are always bound inside time dimension (imagine a particular, limited area on the plane). To be precise we are always bound in ‘present and now’. And this "now" is constantly in transformation. We can only think about future (kind of illusion) and before we grasp what is ‘now’ it becomes past.
Since God is beyond time, He knows all, and His knowing itself signifies everything is written. Because God can see past, present, future on the same plane (don’t take it too literally, its concept only). So the claim that God is all knowing is true because Knowing Everything is part of His Essence.
At the same time, as human being we live in present all the time, we are given choices. We can not skip choices and simply jump to future. We have to chose, we have to be responsible how we transform our ‘now’ into future. So there is this validity of judgment by God. Because by the very nature of time, we are responsible for carving our future.
Quantum physics often say that it is possible that past, present and future can run parallel at the same time (hints theoretical time travel). The possibility is there. And it also gives a hint what I meant by saying God is beyond Time and how He knows all the component of Time (past, present and future).
And please don’t be confused about paradoxes. This creation is full of (apparent) paradoxes and mysteries. God Himself holds the paradoxes in His Essence. He is the Creator, again He is the Destroyer. He is the Hidden (Batin) again He is the Manifest (Zahir). He has a Feminine Face (Compassion, Mercy, Love) and also has a Masculine Face (Wrathful, Destroyer, Punisher). The ancient symbol of Yin and Yang also holds that truth. Also, our birth and coming into existence is mystery, so is the death. And what is in between? Isn't life itself the greatest mystery of all.
The follow-up posts in Inspirationa and Creative Thoughts on the theme of Maktub:
[::] Maktub it is written 2
[::] Maktub it is written 3
[::] Maktub - What does it mean that everything is written
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