Friday, April 10, 2009

Who's in Control?

Well, i had my Behavioural Science lecture this morning, regarding Personality..

There is an aspect of personality called "Locus of Control".
It basically means who or where someone put the control, responsibility and choice for the events in their lives.
And there are 2 locus of control; externally and internally.

External Locus of Control

This is when the person always "leave everything to destiny".
For example:
  • "If i am destined to get cancer, whatever i do, i'll still get cancer. But if i'm not destined to get cancer, no matter what i did, i wont get cancer. So, what's the purpose of taking care of myself?

  • "If i am destined to marry him@her, no matter how i ran from him@her, i'll still end up marrying him @ her"
Internal Locus of Control

This is exhibited by those who believes they have full control over themselves.
For example:

  • "If i say i want to get all As for my A Level exams, and get into the Dean's list during my degree program, i'm going to get it provided i'm doing all the revisions i can"
The lecturer mentioned something about religion or personal belief which, in many ways affect someone's locus of control. Someone who is religious might fall into the first category, the external locus of control because the person believes that God is the controller of everything. As a human being, he had no control over his own life. It's all destined.

But that was only what the lecturer said.

I don't have to really agree, must i?

As a muslim, i put myself under Allah's control.
He set everything for me.
It's all written in my destiny on whatever is going to happen in my life.
Whether this post is going to get published, or being kept only as draft, he knew, and he decides.
But that doesnt mean i don't have to do anything for myself.
Because i will never know what is destined for me before i go through it.
I will never know if i am destined to meet someone this evening until i met that person.

Verily! Never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). But when (once) Allah willeth a people's punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him, any to protect. [The Holy Quran. 13;11]

It's even written in the Quran that Allah will not change the condition of somebody unless they change it themselves first.

Allah will not prevent cancer from striking somebody until they try to prevent it themselves first.

Allah will not prevent a driver from hitting the back of another car before the driver pressed the brake himself first.

Allah will not give us good lives, good families unless we try to set up our own ways to live first.

Allah will not allow me to get good grades in exams unless i studied hard first.

So, who's the controller now?
This examples show that we are the controller...
How come i can say that Muslims believe Allah is the controller?

Well, for an example,

I studied very very hard, and smart for my upcoming exam.
With this effort of mine, i am sure i can get good grades.
That's an example of me controlling my own effort.
But suddenly, i fell sick on the examination day.
Terribly ill that i cant even focus on the questions.
So, who is in control now?

Or perhaps, a worse case.
Something happened to any of my family members that i couldnt come for the exam.
Is that still under my control?


Destiny is placed at the end of one's effort.


  1. Akum.
    It is a never ending source of puzzlement (heading towards frustration) that subjects taught in Muslim countries seem devoid of theological input.

    Someone tell me if the 'soul' gets a mention when learning about embryology/death. Even more unlikely would be for a disease/condition to be diagnosed as punishments for evil deeds {not so unlikely perhaps, as sometimes origin of diseases and conditions, defy conventional medical explanation and the same is true of recoveries}

    An ex-England football manager, Glen Hoddle, suggested Bhuddist/Hindu/Ba'hai philosophy when said handicapped people in this life might be paying for sins in the past life. The storm that followed was immense.

    As Muslims we should ask WHY there no reference to God in all this? In the States, brave Christians have managed to get science taught in schools based on religious scripture - the call it creationism. Good for them, even if I may not agree with some points of what are taught over there.

    If psychology (for example) used the Qur'an as its foundation - including the whispers of Shaytan and so on, then I can imagine I am sure non-believers - errrm, I mean a potential Muslims ;) would make better progress in terms of dealing with their mental condition. After all, countries with large swathes of godless citizens seem to have the greatest number of psychologists, possibly because they are godless.

    In fact, anti-theological lines of thought are more common: Evolution, cosmology in Astrophysics etc., and are taught as fact despite HUGE numbers of very serious questions and challenges opposing such theories.

    Destiny and choice are strange things to contemplate. I'll post some personal thoughts on this later.

  2. Akmum again.
    Throughout my journey of life, I have noticed what I call: "The bipolarisation of the mind". Many people see like and reduce it to one or two options: Something is either one thing or the other. A middle ground seldom gets a look in.

    I see the bipolarisation issue occurring here with what you say about the Locus of control. Isn't it possible that sometimes the individual believes and actually is in command of the things he does in his life, yet at other times, his life or aspects of his life lies in the hands of others? I don't see why the Locus focuses on the extreme edges of internal OR internal, other than that is how we humans lay things out.

    Destiny has been philosophised by man for thousands of years. I'm of the opinion destiny is fixed, but how we get there is open to us. I don't know if you've ever seen those game books where the book is divided into numbered paragraphs. You start the book at paragraph#1. At the end of the paragraph you usually get a choice, e.g. “If you want to go left, turn to paragraph#322. If you want to go right turn to #54”. All paths of the book are already laid out, In the case of a human life there would be millions upon millions of paths, but they are ALL known by God. As God is all knowing and time (which we are stuck inside) has no relevance to Him. God isn’t time dependent. He knows your choice even before you make it. He wrote those ‘paragraphs’.

    As you make your way through the book, you can get to the last “yes, you made it” paragraph, but the route you took could have been difference. When you look back, you may think something like "Right now there is no other me. I am basically the product of all my past decisions and choices. If in the past I made a different choice, the person at the end of it could not be me. Therefore I wonder: did I really have a choice after all? The choice I made at that particular moment in time cannot be changed. That choice had to have been made.

    To me, contemplating destiny reveals all too easily, the limitations of man. I don't think man can fully comprehend destiny because it would perception that isn’t bound by time as we are. The so called ‘free thinkers’ tie themselves in knots about this as they are tying to perceive something that isn’t humanly possible.

    I’ve not read all of this yet, but it may be interesting to you.

  3. Wkslm...

    Yes, it wonders me too.
    why ppl like to classify things to the extreme..?

    And sometimes, the description of the extremes are not always true.
    eg the external locus of control is depicted by lack of sense of control. for some reasons, it has been potrayed as if ppl with external locus of control do not lead good lives, cant even control their own life.

    from my own personal view, i'd say external locus of control is not an ultimate bad thing.
    an example of a situation is during fishing.
    we can be sure the bait we used are the best, and the site of the river@lake is the best, but one couldnt determine or control when would they catch a fish.
    the fish eating the bait, is not under our control. we can control the bait and location, but certainly not the fish.

    and yes, i played the book game was on space wars and unfortunately every decision i made eventho after changing it, i'd still lose in the war.. perhaps i'm just not meant to go on war. haha...