Have you ever come across someone who says something like I am the way I am or I did the thing I did or if I end up in hell its not really my fault cause God was the one that predestined my life that way? I have, and when the person said it I didn’t know what to say cause I was completely lost for words.
Predestination for those who don’t know is basically the doctrine that God has ordained all that will happen, especially with regard to the salvation of some and not others. It has caused some to succumb to a feeling of helplessness and for some the concept has led them astray and caused them to have doubt in the All-knowing, All-Wise Allah.
I wish to shed more light on the issue of predestination and free will, for they are both often confused.
It was narrated by Abdullah: Allah’s messenger, the truthful and truly-inspired, said, “Each one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for forty days, and then turns into a clot for and equal period (of forty days) and turns into a piece of flesh for a similar period (of forty days) and then Allah sends an angel and orders him to reveal four things; his provisions, his lifespan, and whether he will be wretched or blessed (in the hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into him. And by Allah, a person among you may do deeds of the people of the Fire till there is only an arm-breadth distance between him and the fire, but then that writing (which Allah has ordered the the angel to write) precedes, and he does the deeds of the people of paradise and enters it; and a man may do the deeds of the people of paradise till there is only a cubit or two between him and paradise, and then that writing precedes and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it.” [Saheeh Bukhari 8:77-593]
In suratul Hadid (57:22-23) Allah mentions in the Quran “no calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but it is inscribed in the book of decrees before we bring it into existence, verily that is easy for Allah. So you need not be sad over matters that you fail to get, nor rejoice because of that which has been given to you and Allah likes not prideful boasters.”
The above narration and verse of the Quran sheds great light on what predestination is all about. Now onto free will.
To demonstrate the very first example of free will, we will revisit the story of creation of Angels, Jinn, and Adam. Allah has revealed in the Quran that He created angels from light, the Jinn from fire and the first human, namely Adam from dust. He bestowed free will to the Jinn and humans but not to the angels. After the creation of Adam, Allah ordered the Angels to prostrate to him, they all did; as they were created to obey. Iblis (Satan) refused as he considered himself loftier than Adam. Could Allah destroy him? Yes. Did he? No. Why? He had given him free will (satan is a jinn not an angel) and shaytan made his choice on this matter.
In contrast to the Christian belief that satan/lucifer was one of the angels, Islam clearly refutes this idea by clarifying that had he been an angel, he would never have disobeyed. This is confirmed by further mention in the Quran that he was made from smokeless fire and he was indeed from the jinn species. In the story we learnt that as satan was cast out of paradise due to his disobedience, he later also caused Adam and Eve to disobey Allah and thus be cast out as well (second example of free will). Could God stop them from obeying Satan? Yes. Did he? No. Why? He would not compel anyone, while they have free will.
Some may say, “is it fair to leave Satan to run loose and cause havoc among humans to commit disobedience against God and then send humans to hell for this?” Allah, the merciful answers this when he mentions human’s choice after creation: “Verily, we showed him (human) the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful.” (76:3) Allah had guided humans through sending successions of prophets in order to guide mankind and sent clear warning to humankind regarding satan’s fall and his plot to misguide them.
So how can predestination and free will be confused? I’ll give one last example.
If I were to knock at the door of some random house (just cause), you answered it and the first thing I did was slap you hard across the face that your head could almost make a 360 turn, it’s okay for me to say don’t be mad okay? It’s not my fault, listen, God predestined for all this to happen. In that situation do you think I’ll get away with it? If I were to make it back home alive that day it would be be a miracle and I would have deserved everything that happened; I had acted out of free will. Someone who does or says something like that is misusing the concept of predestination and could lead others astray. These kinds of people don’t like to own up to their own mistakes they would rather put the blame on someone else.
If one is destined to hell, or heaven, then where is the free will in that? The answer is simple. The fact that it is written, does not mean we are aware of it. It only means that Allah is aware of what we will do, but is not compelling us to do it.
God takes our free will into account when dealing with us and our acts, for he uses it to create our deeds. Thus we are never victims of destiny or wronged by fate. A person should not leave performing good actions, depending on what has already been written for him in his qadar, but rather he should act according to what has been prescribed in the Quran and shariah. For Allah mentioned in suratul lail “And we shall make easy for him (the righteous one) the path of good…and we shall make easy for him (the wicked one) the path of evil.
Another verse to quote is where Allah said in surah ra’d (13:11) “Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves”. Whatever it is you’ve done or what your future may seem like in your mind know it can still be changed if you truly work towards being a better person and all of that will still be part of God’s plan and qadar for you.
So stop worrying about what might or might not have been ordained for you, it will only open a gateway of problems for yourself just do the right thing, pray to God always for guidance and learn to own up to your own mistakes.
See you in my next post ^.^