Free Will and Predestination in Islam
There is a common misunderstanding about the concept of predestination in the Qur’an. The belief is not that everything is predetermined and fixed, but rather that Allah has complete knowledge and awareness of all things, including our choices and actions. For example, if someone plans to harm another person on a specific date, Allah already knows about this plan from the beginning. However, the individual still possesses free will and can choose to change their mind at any time. Allah’s foreknowledge of our actions does not mean that we are forced to act in a certain way, as we have the ability to make our own choices. But “If Allah has decreed that a certain event will occur at a specific time, then it will happen regardless of our choices, in different ways, but Allah will accept our choices because of free will. Although everything happens according to the will of Allah, we also know that He has given us free will. Therefore, It is ultimately our choices and actions that determine what happens; however, Allah has the power to intervene and change the course of events.
- Therefore, the concept of predestination in the Qur’an is not meant to limit human free will, but rather to emphasize the vast knowledge and wisdom of Allah.
Here are some more examples:
1. A student studies hard for an exam, but still fails. In this case, the student exercised their free will to study and prepare for the exam, but ultimately the outcome was predestined. The student may feel disappointed, but their efforts will still be rewarded by Allah.
2. A person is offered a job opportunity that requires them to work in a field that is not in line with their values or beliefs. The person has the free will to choose whether or not to accept the job, but if they choose to accept it, they will still be held accountable for their actions in that job.
3. A person struggles with addiction and has the free will to seek help and overcome their addiction. However, the outcome of their efforts is ultimately predestined by Allah. If they are successful in overcoming their addiction, they will be rewarded for their efforts, but if they continue to struggle, they will still be held accountable for their actions.
4. A person is born into a family with a certain faith or belief system. While they may have been raised with these beliefs, they still have the free will to choose whether or not to practice them. However, the outcome of their choice is ultimately predestined by Allah.
- In each of these examples, free will and predestination coexist. While a person has the ability to make choices, the ultimate outcome is predestined by Allah. It is up to each individual to use their free will to make choices that are in line with Allah’s teachings and will ultimately lead to their success and reward in the hereafter.
Here are a few more Quranic verses that emphasize the concept of free will in Islam:
- “If Allah had willed, He would have made you one nation, but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.” (Quran 5:48)
This verse acknowledges that Allah could have made all humans follow the same path, but instead chose to test them through the different circumstances and choices they encounter in life.
- “And whoever desires the reward of this world – We will give him thereof; and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter – We will give him thereof. And we will reward the grateful.” (Quran 3:145)
This verse highlights that individuals have the free will to choose what they desire, whether it is the reward of this world or the Hereafter. It also emphasizes the importance of gratitude in Islam, which is another moral responsibility that humans have.
- “And whoever believes in Allah and does righteousness – He will admit him into gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein forever. Allah will have perfected for him a provision.” (Quran 65:11)
This verse indicates that belief and righteousness are key factors in determining an individual’s reward in the afterlife, which requires individuals to have the free will to choose to believe and do righteous deeds.
Here are a few more Quranic verses related to the concept of free will in Islam:
1. “O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.” (Quran 2:172) This verse emphasizes the importance of making choices and being grateful for the blessings that Allah provides.
2. “And whoever wills let him believe and whoever wills let him disbelieve.” (Quran 18:29) This verse reiterates that human beings have the freedom to choose whether or not to believe in Allah.
3. “Whoever does righteousness, it is for his [own] soul; and whoever does evil [does so] against it. And your Lord is not ever unjust to [His] servants.” (Quran 41:46) This verse emphasizes the individual responsibility for one’s actions and the consequences that come with them.
4. “Say, ‘I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.’” (Quran 18:110) This verse highlights the importance of performing righteous deeds and worshiping Allah without associating partners with Him.
- These verses, along with the previously mentioned ones, highlight the concept of free will in Islam and the responsibility that comes with making choices and taking actions.
The Meaning of Quran 9:51
The verse in Quran 9:51, states: “Say, ‘Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.’ And upon Allah let the believers rely.”
- The phrase “what Allah has decreed for us” refers to Allah’s ultimate control over all things, including the events that happen to us in our lives. This phrase does not necessarily mean that every action a person takes is predetermined or predestined, but rather that Allah has knowledge and control over all things, including the outcomes of our actions. In other words, this verse affirms the belief in predestination, but it does not negate the concept of free will. Humans are still responsible for their choices and actions, but Allah ultimately has control over the outcomes. Therefore, the verse emphasizes the importance of relying on Allah’s protection and guidance, and trusting in His plan, even in difficult or challenging situations.
The Meaning of Quran 54:49
- The verse in Quran 54:49, emphasizes the idea that Allah has created all things with divine preordainment. This means that Allah has complete knowledge and control over everything that exists, including the events that happen in our lives. However, this does not mean that every action a person takes is predetermined or predestined. Rather, humans are given free will and are responsible for their choices and actions. In Islam, free will and predestination coexist. Humans have the ability to make choices and take actions, but Allah already knows what those choices and actions will be. This means that humans are held accountable for their choices and actions, even though Allah already knows what those choices and actions will be.
Therefore, the belief in predestination does not negate the concept of free will. Rather, it emphasizes the idea that Allah has complete knowledge and control over all things, while humans are still given free will and are responsible for their choices and actions.
The Meaning of Quran 57:22
- According to Islamic belief, Allah is all-knowing and everything that will happen is already recorded in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz), which is a preserved record of everything that has happened and will happen. However, it is also believed that Allah has the power to change the decrees if He wills. There are several verses in the Quran that indicate Allah’s ability to change the decrees. For example, in Quran 13:39, it is mentioned that Allah “erases what He wills and confirms (what He wills)” and in Quran 16:101, it is mentioned that Allah has the power to “substitute one revelation for another”. This means that while Allah’s knowledge of the future is perfect, He may choose to change the course of events if He wills. However, it is important to note that the precise workings of Allah’s will are ultimately beyond human understanding, and humans should submit to Allah’s will and trust in His wisdom and guidance.
In Islam, free will and predestination coexist. Humans have the ability to make choices and take actions, but Allah already knows what those choices and actions will be. Therefore, the belief in predestination does not negate the concept of free will. Rather, it emphasizes the idea that Allah has complete knowledge and control over all things, while humans are still given free will and are responsible for their choices and actions. Allah’s statement that everything happens by His will is based on His infinite knowledge and power, and it is meant to remind us that He is the ultimate authority and creator of all things. In Islam, the concept of predestination or “qadar” is a belief that Allah has decreed all events and outcomes in the universe, whether good or bad. However, this belief does not negate the concept of free will, as humans are still responsible for their actions and are held accountable for their choices and decisions. When Allah says that everything happens by His will, it means that everything is under His control and happens according to His divine plan. This does not mean that humans are forced to do certain actions or that they have no control over their lives. Rather, it means that Allah has knowledge of all things and has the power to guide and influence events and outcomes. In the Quran, Allah says, “Surely, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (Quran 13:11). This verse emphasizes the importance of human agency and free will. We have the power to make choices and take actions that can lead to positive outcomes in our lives. However, the ultimate outcome is determined by Allah’s will and is beyond our control.
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