Predestination is the most misconstrue doctrine of theology, the misunderstanding has been catastrophic for the people and even nations. Christianity and Islam have their own doctrines. Some people exploit the supreme power of God and His Will, to take refuge for their wrong actions behind Will of God, as if they are innocent, saying; “it was will of God, that I killed a person” or “It was will of God that I am disbeliever” and so on. If human being are not free to perform good or evil deeds, then it is unfair to punish them, it is against justice of God. But God is not unjust. lets try to understand through Bible and Quran:
In the New Testament, word Predestination is properly used only with reference to God’s plan or purpose of salvation. The Greek word rendered “predestinate” is found only in six passages, in New Testament (Acts;4:28; Romans;8:29-30;1Corinthians;2:7; Ephasians;1:5,11) and in all of them it has the same meaning: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory”(1Corinthians;2:7). They teach that the eternal, sovereign, immutable, and unconditional decree or “determinate purpose” of God governs all events. In Christianity, Predestination is the doctrine that; God has long ago determined who will be saved and who will be damned. This doctrine of predestination or election is beset with many difficulties, considered to belong to the “secret things” of God. But the Christians, are urged to accept this doctrine with all its mysteriousness, and settle all the questionings in the humble, devout acknowledgment, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight”.(Mathew:11:26). The ‘Decrees of God’ are his eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain futurition: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”(Jeremiah:1:5). The decree being the act of an infinite, absolute, eternal, unchangeable, and sovereign Being, comprehending a plan including all his works of all kinds, great and small, from the beginning of creation to an unending eternity; ends as well as means, causes as well as effects, conditions and instrumentalities as well as the events which depend upon them, must be incomprehensible by the finite intellect of man. It is mentioned in New Testament:” All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”(John;6:37);“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” (Acts;17:26);“Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardened.”(Romans;9:18). The decrees are eternal: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world”(Acts;15:18); unchangeable (Psalms;33:11; Isiaah;46:9), and comprehend all things that come to pass (Ephasians;1:11, 2:10; Matthew;10:29-30; Acts;2:23; 4:27-28; Psalms;17:13-14).
Three types of predestination doctrine have developed in Christianity. One doctrine holds that God singled out the saved because he foresaw their future merits. A second doctrine [often identified with John Calvin (1509-64), French Protestant theologian and reformer] states that from eternity God has determined the saved and the damned, regardless of their merit or lack thereof. A third doctrine, set forth by Thomas Aquinas (1225-74 C.E, known as ‘the Angelic Doctor’ Italian philosopher, theologian, and Dominican friar) and Martin Luther (1483-1546, the German priest who sparked the Reformation) ascribes salvation to the unmerited grace of God but links the lack of grace to sin. In Christian theology, Grace is the unmerited gift of divine favor, which brings about the salvation of a sinner. The concept of grace has given rise to theological debate over the nature of human depravity and the extent to which individuals may contribute to their own salvation through ‘Free Will’. Though in principle the ideas of merit and grace are mutually exclusive, the question of whether grace may be given as a reward for good works or for faith alone was important in the Protestant Reformation. There has also been controversy over the means of ‘Grace’: Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and some Protestants believe that ‘Grace’ is conferred through the sacraments (religious actions, ceremony, rites or symbol in which spiritual power is believed to be transmitted through material elements or the performance of rituals), while some other Protestants (e.g., Baptists) hold that participation in grace results from personal faith alone: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”(Acts;10:43); “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor un-circumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”(Galatians;5:6); “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”(Acts;15:9). The Christians also claim to be chosen people of God entitle for His Grace through belief in Jesus: “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”(2Thessalonians;2:13); “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”(Ephesians;1:11).
The Old Testament speaks of the election of individuals to office or to honor and privilege, e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Saul, David, Solomon (peace be upon them all), were all chosen by God for the positions they held; so also were the apostles. There is also an election of nations to special privileges, e.g., the Hebrews: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”(Deuteronomy;7:6). According to popular Jewish belief, even the sinners from among the children of Israel will suffer only very limited punishment in the life to come, and will be’ quickly reprieved by virtue of their belonging to “the chosen people”: a belief which the Qur’an rejects(Qur’an;2:79-80). Allah declares the Jews and the Christians are human beings like others which He has created, and punishes them for their sins, the Sovereignty belongs to Him, He forgives whom He pleases and He punishes whom He pleases (Qur’an;5:18). [Bible on Predestination: http://wp.me/PCgrB-8u ]
The most secure and the best way to establish the authenticity of any Islamic doctrine, is to consult the true source, the Qur’an, the pious elders, that is the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and their followers. Same course is adopted with regards to the doctrine of Predestination and Destiny. The Holy Qur’an refers to destiny and divine will in several verses in different chapters, some of which are quoted below:
a) “For, no single thing exists that does not have its source with Us; and naught do We bestow from on high unless it be in accordance with a measure well-defined.”(Qur’an;15:21).
b) “Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measures. (Qur’an;54:49)
c) “…and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measured therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion. (Qur’an;41:10).
d) “ And the moon We have measured for her mansions to traverse…”(Qur’an;36:39)
e) “It is He who created all things, and ordered them in due proportions”(Qur’an;25:2).
f) “Every single thing is before His sight, in (due) proportions”(Qur’an;13:8).
It is clear from the meanings of verses that ‘Predestination’ means those decrees and rules which Allah determined for this universe and it is that discipline under which the whole system runs. It is those natural and physical laws which govern everything. In other words, whatever has been created has some define and specific magnitude and in well defined proportions. For this reason everything that is found here was pre-determined before its existence. The number of atoms in them and the quantity and nature of elements that compose it was determined beforehand. It was also “decided” what new thing will be crated if one element combines with the other, and what will happen if they separate or disintegrate. The statics and dynamics of all things were also determined before their creation. [Faith in Predestination: http://wp.me/PCgrB-bc ]
God has empowered the people to make efforts: “Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves..”(Qur’an:13:11 also 8:53). Predestination has been defined in different ways, according to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘Predestination’, is a doctrine teaching, the action by which God is held to have immutably determined all (or some particular) events by an eternal decree or purpose, specially the preordained salvation of God’s elect. The Destiny is the predetermined course of events; that which is destined to happen; the fate of a particular person, country, etc.; the ultimate condition; a person’s lot in life. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as: The doctrine that God has foreordained all things, especially that God has elected certain souls to eternal salvation; the divine decree foreordaining all souls to either salvation or damnation; the act of God foreordaining all things gone before and to come. The Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines ‘Predestination’ as: The doctrine that, God in consequence of his foreknowledge of all events infallibly guides those who are destined for salvation. In general theology: Predestination is the doctrine that God has foreordained all things, especially that He has elected certain souls to eternal salvation. It is also related with the divine decree foreordaining all souls to either salvation or damnation and the act of God foreordaining all things gone before and to come i.e. Destiny; fate. Determinism, is an other philosophical doctrine, that all events, including human decisions, are completely determined by previously existing causes. It is commonly perceived by most people that since every act performed by them, good or bad has already been preordained by God, hell or paradise has been destined for some people, then there is nothing much which could be done about it, so why strive? The destiny or predestination once linked with reward & punishment is a complex issue which is related with the ultimate power of God. The issues of ‘Predestination’ and ‘Free Will’ were argued extensively among Muslim theologians during 8-10th centuries. Mutazila (also called Qadariya), the rationalist theological school held that; God would be unjust if he predestined all human actions, they believed in complete Free Will; the human freedom to choose between good or evil and to perform other actions without any coercion. The Compulsionists (Jabriyyah) advocated a strict predestination. However the Ashariya, supported the use of reason and speculative theology (kalām) to defend the faith but was not as extreme in its rationalism as the Mutazila. In Islam, predestination has much wider connotation, the balanced concept of Predestination can be batter understood by keeping in view Allah’s Knowledge and Power, His Will, Justice, Fate, Choice, Free Will, Cause and Effect and concept of Salvation in Islam. [ Predestination: http://wp.me/PCgrB-8g ]
Timeless Absolute Knowledge
According to one philosophical thought, the present state of the universe is the effect of its previous state and the cause of the state that follows it. If a mind, at any given moment, could know all the laws and all the forces operating in nature and the respective positions and momenta of all its components, it could thereby know with certainty the future and the past of every entity. Obviously it is beyond the human capacity to possess such knowledge, Allah alone has Absolute Timeless Knowledge. Apart from the theology, the concept of ‘Absolute Timeless Knowledge can also be explained by science, enhancing rational understanding writes Harun Yahya: ‘Time’ is defined as: ‘A nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future’. What perceived as ‘Time’ is, in fact, a method by which one moment is compared to another. A person formulates the concept of “time” by comparing the moment in which he lives with what he has in his memory (illusions). If this comparison is not made, there can be no concept of time. If the memory did not exist, then he would not think of the existence of such a preceding period, and he would only experience the single “moment” in which he lives—which is a very essential point. Since human brain is accustomed to a certain sequence of events, time has always flowed forward; time is not an absolute fact, but just a sort of perception. The ‘relativity of time’ is a fact, also verified by one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein, who pointed out, as quoted in Barnett’s book: ‘Space and time are forms of intuition, which can no more be divorced from consciousness than can our concepts of color, shape, or size.’ According to the Theory of General Relativity: “Time has no independent existence apart from the order of events by which we measure it.” Since time is based on perception, it depends entirely on the perceiver and is therefore relative. The speed at which time flows differs according to the references used to measure it, because there is no natural clock in the human body to indicate precisely how fast time passes. One may get up without alarm for the morning prayer in routine, not knowing precisely how long he slept unless he get the help of clock or other aids. As Lincoln Barnett wrote: “Just as there is no such thing as colour without an eye to discern it, so an instant or an hour or a day is nothing without an event to mark it.” The relativity of time is plainly experienced in dreams. Although what is seen in the dreams seems to last for hours, in fact, it only lasts for a few minutes, and even a few seconds. The information about the rate of the passage of time is based on relative references. The relativity of time is a scientific fact also proven by scientific methodology. Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity maintains that the speed of time changes depending on the speed of the object and its position in the gravitational field. As speed increases, time is shortened and compressed: it slows down as if coming to the point of “stopping.” Hence some one traveling near the speed of light will be in highly compressed (many times shortened) time as compared to some one on ground. Some writers have used this as basis for fiction literature. The relativity of time is not caused by the deceleration or acceleration of clocks, or the deceleration of a mechanical spring. It is rather the result of the differentiated operation periods of the entire system of material existence, which goes as deep as sub-atomic particles. In other words, for the person experiencing it, the shortening of time is not experienced as if acting in a slow-motion picture. In such a setting where time shortens, one’s heartbeats, cell replications, and brain functions, etc, all operate more slowly. Nevertheless, the person goes on with his daily life and does not notice the shortening of time at all. These facts revealed by the Theory of Relativity have been verified quite a few times by various scientists.
The findings of modern science lead to the conclusion that: Time is not an absolute fact as supposed by materialists, but only a relative perception. What is most interesting is that this fact, undiscovered until the twentieth century by science, was revealed to mankind in the Qur’an fourteen centuries ago. There are various references in the Qur’an to the relativity of time. It is possible to see in many verses of the Qur’an the scientifically proven fact that time is a psychological perception dependent on events, setting, and conditions. For instance, a person’s entire life is a very short time, as man is informed in the Qur’an: “It will be on the Day when He will call you and you will rise up in response to it, with His praise, and you will think that you remained in the state of death but a little while.”(Qur’an;17:52); “On that Day when He will gather them all together, it will appear to them as if they had not stayed in this world but an hour of a day to get to know each other. At that time they will realize that: in fact the losers are those who denied the meeting with Allah and were not rightly guided.”(Qur’an;10:45). Some verses indicate that people perceive time differently and that sometimes people can perceive a very short period as a very lengthy one: “He will say: “What number of years did you stay on earth?” They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day, but ask those who keep account.” He will say: “Brief indeed was your sojourn, if you had only known!”(Qur’an;23:112-114). In some other verses God states that time may flow at different paces in different settings: “…Truly, a day in the sight of your Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning. (Qur’an;22:47); “The angels and the spirit ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is like fifty thousand years”.(Qur’an;70:4); “He rules all affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end all will ascend to Him in a single day, the measure of which is a thousand years by your reckoning”(Qur’an;32:5). These verses are clear expressions of the relativity of time. This finding, which was only recently understood by scientists in the twentieth century, was communicated to man fourteen centuries years ago in the Qur’an is an indication that Qur’an is the word of God. Who encompasses the whole of time and space: “Sons of Adam inveigh against (the vicissitudes of) Time, and I am Time, in My hand is the night and the day”(Hadith Qudsi No.4). Many other verses of the Qur’an reveal that time is a perception. The situation described in the verse here is also evidence that time is in truth a psychological perception, Allah says: “..but God caused him to die for a hundred years, then brought him back to life. He said: “How long did you tarry thus?” He said: Perhaps a day or part of a day.” He said: “No, you have tarried thus a hundred years…”(Qur’an;2:259). Hence it is clearly emphasized that God, Who created time, is unbound by it. Man, on the other hand, is bound by time, which is ordained by God. As in the verse;2:259, man is even incapable of knowing how long he has slept. This being so, to assert that time is absolute (just as materialists do in their distorted thinking) is very unreasonable.
The relativity of time clears up the important concept of Predestination (Destiny). Relativity is so variable that a period appearing to man to be billions of years’ in duration may last only a second in another perspective. Moreover, an enormous period of time, extending from the world’s beginning to its end, may not even last a second but just an instant in another dimension. This is the very essence of the concept of ‘Predestination’, a concept that is not well understood by most people, especially rationalists who deny it completely. Predestination is God’s perfect knowledge of all events past or future. A majority of people question how God can already know events that have not yet been experienced and this leads them to fail to understand the authenticity of destiny. However, “events not yet experienced” are only so for the people. God is not bound by time or space, for He Himself has created them. For this reason, past, future, and present are all the same to God. In ‘The Universe and Dr. Einstein’, Lincoln Barnett explains how the Theory of General Relativity leads to this conclusion. According to Barnett, the universe can be “encompassed in its entire majesty only by a cosmic intellect.” The will that Barnett calls “the cosmic intellect” is the wisdom and knowledge of God, Who prevails over the entire universe. Just as a man can easily see a yardstick’s beginning, middle, and end, and all the units in between as a whole, God knows the time, men are subject to as if it were a single moment right from its beginning to its end. People, however, experience incidents only when the occur. Destiny is the eternal knowledge of God and for God, Who knows time like a single moment and Who prevails over the whole of time and space. This knowledge, either recorder in the ‘book’ or ‘preserved tablet’ or in the DNA cell in the womb does not effect the human freedom to choose and act, however the external factors remain beyond human control.
Limited Free Will
The balanced doctrine of Predestination is based upon professing His Will, Power to plan and execute, His ‘Timeless Knowledge’ and limited freedom of choice granted to man for trial. Nothing exists in this world or hereafter except by His will, His timeless knowledge, His determining and predestining, and except it be written on the Preserved Tablet (al-Lauh al-Mahfuz). Allah says: “No misfortune can happen on earth or in yourselves but is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence, that is really easy for Allah; that you may not grieve for what escapes you, nor rejoice in what has come to you. Allah does not love any vainglorious boaster” (Qur’an;57:22-23). He inscribed everything there in the sense of description, not that of foreordaining. Determining, Predestining and Will are pre-eternal attributes of unknowable modality. The Fate exists, whether good or bad, which Allah has measured and ordained for all creatures according to His previous knowledge and as deemed suitable by His wisdom. Thus each saying, deed, or omission of the people is known to Allah, Who has recorded, willed, and created them. Allah says: “And had Allah willed they would not have fought one against the other; but Allah does whatever He desires”(Qur’an;2:253); “Thus have their (so-called) partners (of Allah) made the killing of their children to seem fair unto many of the idolaters, that they may ruin them and make their faith obscure for them. Had Allah willed (it otherwise), they had not done so. So leave them alone with their devices.” (Qur’an;6:137); “but you cannot will, except by the will of Allah. Surely Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Wise. He admits to His mercy whom He wills, and for the wrongdoers He has prepared a painful punishment.” (Qur’an;76:30-31); “Yet your wishes are of no avail unless Allah, the Lord of the worlds, pleases so” (Qur’an;81:29).
Allah has granted power and limited free will to human and jinns by which they can perform certain actions by use of their wisdom i.e. to choose between right and wrong. It was due to the ‘free will’, which enabled the Satan (Iblis, a jinn) to disobey the divine commandment; to bow down to Adam, the first human as token of respect to God’s vicegerent. However later Satan requested for respite, and permission to lure in the man from the true path, towards the evil path of disobedience and transgression. God as per His Wisdom and plan, granted him the permission. On the other hand despite having been warned by Allah against the evil designs of Satan, Adam fell in to the trap by allowing himself to be seduced and thus disobeyed His Lord (Qur’an; 7:14-18, 20:117-121) by his free will. Adam prayed for mercy and God forgave him: this way of forgiveness for repentant sinners, continues for the humanity: So say: “O my Lord! grant thou forgiveness and mercy! for Thou art the Best of those who show mercy!”(Qur’an;23:118). It is mentioned in Qur’an: “Say “The Truth is from your Lord”: let him who will believe and let him who will reject (it): for the wrongdoers We have prepared a Fire…”(Qur’an;18:29); “Then Allah will say to him: “My revelations did come to you; but you denied them, were arrogant and you were among the disbelievers.”(Qur’an;39:59). As for those who believe and do good deeds, rest assured that We do not waste the reward of him who does a good work”(Qur’an;18:30);“He Who created Death and Life that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might Oft-Forgiving.”(Qur’an;67:2); Say: “It is He Who has created you (and made you grow) and made for you the faculties of hearing seeing feeling and understanding: little thanks it is ye give.”(Qur’an;67:23); “Certainly, We have destined many Jinns and human beings for hell; those are the ones who have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, they have ears with which they do not hear. They are like animals – or even worse than them, because they are those who are heedless.”(Qur’an;7:179). However it is not with in power of human to do what ever they desire, their choice of Free Will is limited, for example man can stand on one leg, but to lift both legs he has to get some support. The choice involves a corresponding personal responsibility. Although every action is already in the knowledge of Allah and nothing can happen unless He approves or desires, but it does not necessarily imply that He is happy with what ever man does due to freedom provided. Every doer of actions feels that he does or does not do a thing without any coercion. He stands up and sits, comes in and goes out, travels and stays by his own free will without feeling anybody forcing him to do any of these actions. In fact, he clearly distinguishes between doing something of his own free will and someone else forcing him to do that action.
The Islamic law also wisely distinguishes between ‘freedom’ and ‘coercion’. A wrongdoer is not punished for an action done under compulsion, like eating forbidden food (Qur’an;5:3,6:119, 16:115): “Allah does not charge a soul beyond its capacity’ (Qur’an;2:286);“There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from the (way of) error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.”(Qur’an;2:256); “(O Prophet) keep on giving admonition, for you are an admonisher not a taskmaster over them. As for those who turn their backs and disbelieve, Allah will punish them with the mighty punishment.”(Qur’an;88:21-24). If the action is not done by the individual’s free will, then praising the virtuous is a joke and punishing the evildoer is an injustice, and Allah is, of course, far from joking and being unjust. Allah has sent messengers who are: “bearing good tidings, and warning, so that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers.”(Qur’an;4:165); “Verily this (Qur’an) is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds: (With profit) to whoever among you wills to go straight” (Qur’an;81:27-28). If the individual’s action is not performed by his free will, his argument is not invalidated by the sending of messengers and scriptures. Qur’an says; “This is Paradise; you have inherited it by virtue of your past deeds.”(Qur’an;43:72). Hence it is evident that once every thing is ‘Preordained’, then there appears to be no justification for reward and punishment, but after providing guidance; God has granted ‘freedom of choice of faith and deeds’ to human which makes them accountable for the choice of good or evil. Allah will not reward or punish any one on the basis of His timeless knowledge, but as per the faith of individual and deeds performed, which will be produced as a record (Qur’an;83:7-9,18-21) and witnessed on the day of judgment: “That will be the Day of your accountability, O mankind! Surely you must strive towards your Lord, a hard striving, then you shall meet Him.”(Qur’an;84:6);“On that Day man shall be told about all his deeds, from the first to the last. Indeed, man shall bear witness against himself,”(Qur’an;75:13-14);“Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy they will attain salvation”(Qur’an;23:102).
Hence man should think, plan and make sound choice, but if things do not happen as desired. manner, he should not lose faith and give in to stress and strain. A Muslim should have strong faith in Allah and accept whatever happens, because human knowledge is limited and his thinking is based on personal contemplation, whereas God has infinite knowledge and He plans on a universal basis. The most common example of a teacher, who after observing an intelligent and hardworking student predicts that he will get first position in the final examination, while an other student who is dull and does not work hard is likely to fail. The teacher writes it down and keeps it in a safe place. At the end of academic year, the results are similar as predicted by the teacher. The teacher can not be blamed for the failure of the dull student or success of other one. It was the intelligent guess work based on the knowledge and experience of the teacher. Allah is supreme in His knowledge. It is obvious that the good Muslims don’t have to sit down, do nothing in the hope that what ever is written in the destiny will be given. Allah says: “The idolaters say: “If God wanted, neither we nor our forefathers would have worshipped any one else but Him, nor made anything unlawful without His will.” Such excuses were put forward also by those who went before them….”(Qur’an;16:35); “..Then when they went wrong Allah let their hearts go wrong: for Allah guides not those who are rebellious transgressors.”(Qur’an;61:5). No one knows what is written in the destiny, may be bad luck to sit idle and get doomed. So one ought to strive for the best (good) and work accordingly, with the hope that Allah may create favorable circumstances to achieve the good for this world and hereafter. [Limited Free Will: http://wp.me/PCgrB-8n ]
Cause and Effect:
Averroes (Ibn Rushd:1126-1198 C.E) the great Spanish Muslim philosopher and physician opined: “The human actions depend partly on his own free will and partly on causes outside his control. Man is free to wish and to act in a particular manner, but his will is always restrained and determined by exterior causes. These causes spring from the general laws of nature; God alone knows their sequence”. The changes are constantly taking place in the universe; each change is always the effect of some cause or causes. Each cause is itself the effect of a further cause or set of causes; this chain moves in a series that either never ends or is completed by a first cause, which must be of a radically different nature in that it is not itself caused. In philosophy, the First Cause, is the uncreated or self-created cause to which every series of causes must ultimately be traced, which is God. The law of “Cause and Effect” applies to human life as well. Indeed, it has a direct bearing on the task assigned to man by God, when He first created him, that is, building human life on earth. That is the law of cause and effect, which operates, by Allah’s will. For example, fire burns, therefore, when something is put close to a fire, it will burn. If finger is placed on top of the flame, burning sensation will immediately be felt. If it is not done, such feeling will not be experienced. This is a simple example of the working of the law of cause and effect. Hence if someone places his finger close to the flame of fire and say that God’s Will may prevent the fire from burning. It is certainly true that God may stop the action of the fire (as was done miraculously to save Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him) but normally it is His Will that fire should burn. Therefore, when things are placed in a fire they are burnt. No individual or community can ignore this law or its implications without suffering disastrous consequences: “Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves; and when God wills people to suffer evil (in consequence of their own evil deeds), there is none who could avert it: for they have none who could protect them from Him.”(Qur’an:13:11). A good example of how the law of cause and effect works is in the narrative of Prophet Joseph, peace be upon him (Qur’an;12, Geneis;37-50) wherein due to his good planning, he stored the grains during good harvesting period, which were used to save the people of Egypt and surroundings from starvation during the forthcoming drought. According to an other incidence, narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas that ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (2nd Caliph) departed for Sham (Syria) on an expedition. En route he came to know that an epidemic had broken out at Syria. After consultations, Umar decided to return back to Medina. Abu ‘Ubaida bin Al-Jarrah, the commander of the Muslim army, said to ‘Umar, “Are you running away from what Allah had ordained?” ‘Umar said; yes, we are running from what Allah had ordained to what Allah has ordained. Don’t you agree that if you had camels that went down a valley having two places, one green and the other dry, you would graze them on the green one only if Allah had ordained that, and you would graze them on the dry one only if Allah had ordained that?” At that time ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf, who had been absent because of some job, came and said, “I have heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘If you hear about it (an outbreak of plague) in a land, do not go to it; but if plague breaks out in a country where you are staying, do not run away from it (quarantine).’ ” ‘Umar thanked Allah and returned to Medina. (Summarized from Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith: 7.625). It may be understood that the actions of Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) and ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, did not contradict Allah’s Will because what ever they did, it was part of His Will. It is Allah who set that law in operation and allowed its consequences to be fulfilled. It only needs a little stretch of the mind to understand that this law is also part of predestination, in its broad, Islamic sense. The way God has created the human and the world around them makes it clear that it is His Will that people will be affected by a wide variety of causes. Therefore, if people lead a healthy lifestyle they are likely to live longer than if they are heedless of all the lessons that life brings to them.
The misfortune and evil should not be ascribed to Allah, due to His perfect mercy and wisdom. The faith is tested by God: “We shall surely test your steadfastness with fear and famine, with loss of property, life and produce. Give good news to those who endure with patience; who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.” Such are the people on whom there are blessings and Mercy from Allah; and they are the ones that are rightly guided.”(Qur’an;2:155-157); “Now, when trouble touches man, He cries to us: but when we bestow a favour upon Him As from ourselves, He says, “This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge (I have)!” Nay, but This is but a trial, but Most of them understand not!. Thus did the (generations) before them say! but all that They did was of no profit to them. Nay, the evil results of their deeds overtook them. and the wrong-doers of This (generation)- the evil results of their deeds will soon overtake them (too), and They will never be able to frustrate (Our Plan)!”(Qur’an;39:49-51). Allah’s decree by itself has no evil whatsoever, because it is coming from mercy and wisdom. Allah, the Exalted said: “Corruption has appeared on the land and sea for what men’s hands have earned. Allah has ordained this for men, so that they may taste some of what they have done, in order that they may turn back (from evil)”(Qur’an;30:41).
A Hadith is mostly misunderstood, in the perspective of destiny. Narrated Abdullah bin Musud; Allah’s Apostle, the true and truly inspired said:
‘Indeed, the creation of each one of you is brought together in the mother’s belly for 40 days in the form of a drop of sperm, then he is a germ-cell for a like period, then an embryonic lump for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows the breath of life into him & who is commanded about four matters: to write down his means of livelihood, his life span, his actions and whether happy or unhappy. By Allah, other than whom there is no God, one of you may behave like the people of paradise until there is but an arm’s length between him and it, and that, which has been written overtakes him and so he behaves like the people of hell fire and thus he enters it; and one of you behaves like the people of hell fire until there is but an arm’s length between him and it, and that, which has been written overtakes him and so he behaves like the people of paradise and thus he enters it.’ (Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith. 4.430 & 8.593, also Sahih Muslim.1216). This Hadith is to be understood in the context of ‘Timeless Absolute Knowledge of God’, law of ‘cause and effect’ free will, trial, reward and His Justice. God has willed that each person shall have the freedom of choice and that freedom takes place according to man’s decision. It is true that God knows what every person chooses even before he makes the choice, but there is no coercion in that matter. It is the knowledge that the angel records when he, by God’s command, breathes the spirit into the fetus. He writes what God knows. There are areas, in which man has no choice; such as his being affected by natural forces, being subject to burn in fire, drown in water, be killed with a bullet that hits his heart or brain, etc which are also known to God. It is the man who makes the choice of his means of livelihood and his effort. If one sits at home doing nothing for a livelihood, he will get nothing. If he goes out to work and exerts his best efforts in improving his situation, he will get the reward, the quantity of this reward is as per His blessings. The same applies to his life duration. If he exposes himself to great risks, he is likely to die quickly. If he does the type of good acts, which the Prophet (peace be upon him) describes as prolonging life, such as kindness to relatives and dutifulness to parents, then God will give him extra years. The end of this Hadith is often misunderstood, because some people may take it as a reference to what God had already written down to be the fate of a person in the Hereafter. It is everyone’s total sum of the working of his or her free choice and free will that determines their fate, which is blessed by God. Thus, it is the person himself who may change his or her course of action shortly before their death. He would have done good deeds throughout his life, but then one day he sinks into disbelief and takes actions that place him among those who will go to Hell. This is again his free choice. It is true that the angel recorded this before his birth, but that recording is based on his (exercise of) free choice, which is already known to Allah. This ending of the Hadith stresses the importance of being always on the watch for what may enhance the position of a person in the Hereafter. People must never feel too secure as a result of having done well in the past life. They must continue to do so until death. At the same time, one must never despair if done badly. Repentance and mending the ways, with sincerity and trust in God, will ensure the safety: No one has the authority to alter the decisions of Allah but Allah himself can change his decision and this can happen when a believer prays to Him: “They pray to Allah, ‘Our Lord, let not our hearts become perverse after You have once guided us aright; bestow upon us mercy from Yourself for You are the real Benefactor’!”(Qur’an;3:8). Allah is not bound, He is All Powerful, Mighty, free to do what ever, erase or change at His will. Companion Salman Farsi narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said; “Qadar cannot be altered but by Prayer” (Tirmidhi). When some one prays, even it is also in the knowledge of God. [ Cause and Effect: http://wp.me/PCgrB-8r]
Predestination & Free Will: http://wp.me/PCgrB-8g
Book on Philosophy for further study of Free Will