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Destiny and free will.

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear brother Burhan,

 

In your reply to a question  I would like to understand the purpose of we (muslims) being sent to this world???

Is there any specific thing Allah Subhana expect us to do??? If `Yes`, then what is that?? and how to achieve it???

you have qouted Holy Quran;

Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright.

then you state that man has;

Intelligence or the Power of Reasoning

A 'free will' for a limited period of one life-time to choose whatever path one wishes to live his life.

I am confused. If Allah has already decided my destiny including my belief then how do I have free will? In Auzu Billah if Allah has chosen me not to be among guided then

I do not have any choise?

 

This issue bothers me sometimes and then I put these thoughts awy as i truly believe in Allah and his messenger. But if you can help me to remove this cofusion then I will have more peace.

 

Jazak Allah khair,

 

(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)

 

Answer:

 

Destiny and free will

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Your Statement: In your reply to a question  I would like to understand the purpose of we (muslims) being sent to this world??? Is there any specific thing Allah Subhana expect us to do??? If `Yes`, then what is that?? and how to achieve it???

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 21 51 Surah Dhariyaat verse 56:

56 I have not created jinns and men except that they may worship (serve and obey) Me.

 

(We have attached the archive answer for this specific question posed by one of our brethren earlier.)

 

Your Question: .you have qouted Holy Quran;

Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright.

then you state that man has;

Intelligence or the Power of Reasoning

A 'free will' for a limited period of one life-time to choose whatever path one wishes to live his life.

I am confused. If Allah has already decided my destiny including my belief then how do I have free will? In Auzu Billah if Allah has chosen me not to be among guided then

I do not have any choise?

Dear and Beloved Brother in Islam, the all-important question that you have asked have perplexed many amongst mankind and it is of paramount importance to understand and comprehend the reality of the matter of fate or destiny, and the test of the application of the faculty of intelligence and the free will which Allah Subhanah has bestowed on mankind as a test, the outcome or result of which will determine the state of the person in the eternal life of the Hereafter.

 

Sahih Muslim Hadith 6392 Narrated by Hudhayfah ibn Usayd

The Prophet (saws) said: When the drop of (semen) remains in the womb for forty (days) or forty nights, the angel comes and says: My Lord, will he be good or evil? And both these things would be written. Then the angel says: My Lord, would he be male or female? And both these things are written. And his deeds and actions, his death, his livelihood; these are also recorded. Then his document of destiny is rolled and there is no addition to and subtraction from it.

 

In light of the above authentic narration of the Messenger of Allah (saws) quoted, absolutely everything is predetermined; four of which are listed:

  1. Whether the new born will be male or female.
  2. What will be his rizk or provision.
  3. What day, date, and place he will die.
  4. Whether the person will be an evil or good person.

 

We would just like to clarify here what is the actual reality of Fate or Destiny. To get a fuller understanding of Fate, it can be divided into two parts:

 

Part-1: One part of Fate is things over which the person has absolutely no control. For example, the three points in the above hadith: Whether one will be born male or female, what will his provision be, and what day, date and place he will die. These are the Decisions and Decrees of Allah Subhanah Alone, and no matter what a person does, he cannot change his Decreed sex from male to female, or change his appointment with death, etc. On all such Decrees of the Creator where man has absolutely no control, he will neither be questioned regarding these Decrees of Allah, nor will he be held accountable in the least for the fulfillment of any of these Decisions of Allah Subhanah.

 

Part-2: The second part of fate is not a Decision or Decree from Allah Subhanah, but is the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of the All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord. For example, it is written down before one is born whether he will be a good or evil person: but it is not as if Allah Subhanah (I seek refuge in Allah from saying this) is unjust, and has already condemned someone to be evil, so he has to become evil!!! Because Allah Subhanah is the All Knowing, He already knows from His Absolute Knowledge and Wisdom, what the person with the given free will and intelligence will do in the future; and thus what is written is not a Decision from Allah Subhanah, but rather a documentation of the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of Allah Subhanah.

 

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 6.473 Narrated by Ali ibn Abi Taalib

While we were in a funeral procession in Baqi Al-Gharqad, the Messenger of Allah (saws) came and sat down, and we sat around him. He had a small stick in his hand and he bent his head and started scraping the ground with it. He (saws) then said, "There is none among you, and no created soul, but has his place written for him either in Paradise or in the Hell-Fire, and also has his happy or miserable fate (in the Hereafter) written for him." A man said, "O Messenger of Allah (saws)! Shall we depend upon what is written for us and give up doing (good) deeds? For whoever among us is destined to be fortunate (in the Hereafter), will join the fortunate peoples; and whoever among us is destined to be miserable will do such deeds as are characteristic of the people who are destined to misery." The Prophet (saws) said, "Those who are destined to be happy (in the Hereafter) will find it easy and pleasant to do the deeds characteristic of those destined to happiness; while those who are to be among the miserable (in the Hereafter), will find it easy to do the deeds characteristic of those destined to misery." Then he (saws) recited: "As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and believes in the Best reward from Allah, We will make smooth for him the path of ease. But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient, and gives the lie to the best reward from Allah, we will make smooth for him the path for evil." (Quran 92:5-10)

 

In whatever thing man has absolutely no control or choice to choose, he will not be held accountable for them in the Just and Supreme Court of Allah Subhanah; but in whatever things man has a choice or a free will to choose amongst several options, he will be held accountable for choosing that option.

 

To understand and comprehend the true concept of Fate and Destiny, one must learn to appreciate the difference between the Lord All-Mighty being the All-Knowing and His being the All-Just!

 

Fate or Destiny is nothing more than the documentation of the Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of our Lord All-Mighty of the conditions and the choice each in creation will make, which He Commanded to be written and preserved even before the creation of anything in the Heavens and the earth! Allah Subhanah is not bound by the dimension of time, as His Perfect and Absolute Knowledge comprehends and envelopes everything of the past, the present, and the future!

 

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 94 Narrated by Ubadah ibn as-Samit




Allah's Messenger (saws) said: The (absolute) first thing which Allah created was the Pen. He commanded it to write. It (the pen) asked: What should I write? He said: Write the Al-Qadr (Decree, Fate, Destiny). So it wrote what had happened and what was going to happen up to eternity!

 

Allow us to relate a very simple example to clarify our point:

 

Just suppose a parent has a small son, and one evening the parent decides to put his son to a test and write down on a piece of paper the options he will give his son the next morning, and from his experience with his son, he determines what options the child will take when they are presented to him.

 

Example-1: Parent will give the option to his son to choose to go to school the next morning or skip school; and the parent, with his knowledge and experience, writes down the son would most probably choose the option to skip school!

 

Example-2: Parent will give the option to his son to choose to memorize the Quran or watch cartoons on TV; and the parent, with his knowledge, determines and writes that the son would most probably choose to watch TV!

 

Example-3: Parent would give the option to his son to choose to eat a wholesome and healthy diet of whole wheat-grain and vegetables or eat hamburgers and fries; and the parent, with his knowledge, determines and writes that the son, of his own free will, would most probably choose to eat hamburgers and fries!

 

Example-4: Parent would give the option to his son to choose to go to the local mosque to offer the dhuhr prayers or spend that time in the video-game arcade; and the parent, with his knowledge, determines and writes that his son, of his own free will, would most probably choose to spend the time in the arcade!

 

In all the above four examples, the probability is that any normal child, given a free will to choose between the two given options by his parent, would most probably choose the option which the parent had written down before the event took place! Because the child has been given a free will to choose, he is not bound to follow the option his parent had determined his son will take; but in all probability the child will take the option which his parent has pre-determined because the parent knows the temperament and condition of his child and knows exactly what his child will do in the given circumstances. The child has absolutely no control over the conditions and options set for him by his parent, nor is he bound to follow what his parent has documented the child would do, if given a free will to choose in the given circumstances.

 

But if the same parent gives the same options to his child, but promises a huge reward to his child (say, to buy him a brand new bike or the latest computer of his choice!) if he chooses the better of the two options; the smart and intelligent child would sacrifice the short-term gain in choosing what he desires and would opt for the option which would earn him the pleasure of his parents and the fulfillment of their promised rewards!

 

Similarly, Allah Subhanah has put mankind to a test by putting him in a set of conditions, and bestowed upon man the faculty of intelligence and a free-will for a limited period of one life on this earth, to choose whatever one wishes to do. If man chooses to sacrifice his desire and of his own free choice, sacrifices his will to the Will of His Lord, he will earn His Pleasure and His Promised Rewards!

 

Since the Knowledge of the All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord of the Worlds is absolutely Perfect and totally Complete in all respects, He Knows and has documented beforehand what each amongst His creation, if given a free will to choose, would do in a given situation. Allah Subhanah, is Perfect and Absolutely Knows beforehand who amongst His slaves will sacrifice their will to earn His Pleasure and His Rewards, and who amongst His slaves will choose to fulfill whatever their hearts desire regardless of the Will and Pleasure of their Creator; and the precise documentation of that Absolute and Perfect Knowledge of the Lord All-Knowing is what is known as Fate or Destiny or The Decree.

 

Just as in the above related example of the child who is not bound to do what his parent had pre-determined he would choose, but rather the child chose of his own free will to do what he desired to do; man too, has been given a free will to choose whatever he wishes to do as a test from His Creator for a test period of one life on this earth!

 

The major difference between the knowledge of the parent and the Knowledge of Allah Subhanah is that the Knowledge of our All-Knowing Lord is Absolutely and Totally Perfect. It is possible that the child would choose something which his parent thought he would not, simply because the knowledge of man is limited; but since the Knowledge of our Lord All-Mighty is Absolutely and Totally Perfect, His Knowledge of what one will do of his own free will, can never ever be wrong or in error.

 

Neither the child in the above related examples, nor man in his test of life are bound to do what was pre-determined by the document; but rather, they were allowed to choose whatever they desired to do of their own free will; and therein was their test!

 

Just as a teacher does not declare a student failed before giving him an opportunity to give his examination; the Lord Most Merciful does not fail anyone before He gives them an opportunity to give their test of life!

 

He is indeed the All-Knowing, and because His Knowledge is Absolutely Perfect and Absolute, He knows everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the future; but He is also the All-Just, and He has given each human being an opportunity of one life time as a test to either choose of their own free will to accept His Guidance and submit to Him, or deny His Guidance and reject Him!

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 18 Surah Kahf verses 29-31:

29 Say "The Truth is from your Lord": let him who wills, believe; and let him who wills, reject (it)! For the wrongdoers (who chose to disbelieve) We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames) like the wall and roof of a tent will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass that will scald their faces. How dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!

30 As to those who (chose to) believe and work righteousness, verily We shall not suffer to perish the reward of any who do a (single) righteous deed!

31 For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneath them rivers will flow; they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade; they will recline therein on raised thrones. How good the recompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on!

 

Whatever one chooses to do of his own free will in his test of this short and transient period of one life time, will determine his outcome in the Eternal and Everlasting life of the Hereafter.

 

Dear and Beloved brother in Islam, it is of absolutely paramount importance that we understand the true concept of Fate and the bestowed free-will to enable each of us to fulfill this test of life. If our humble and weak efforts have not satisfied your query, we request you in all humility to give us another chance to explain this concept or alternatively you may consult in person a good righteous God-fearing scholar who will be able to address this all-important topic to your satisfaction.

 

There are many amongst mankind who have absolutely misunderstood (or have chosen to misunderstand) this concept of fate and free will; and live their lives in ignorance and disobedience of the Divine law in their false hope that they will become righteous if their Lord has Decreed in their Fate to become righteous! Allah is our witness, their this false hope and belief will bring nothing but misery and perdition upon themselves on that Eventful and Tumultuous Day of Judgment in the Majestic and Supreme Presence of the All-Just Lord of the Worlds!

 

Your Question: .you have qouted Holy Quran;

Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 16 Surah Nahl verse 37:

37 If thou art anxious for their guidance yet Allah guides not such as He leaves to stray and there is none to help them.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 42 Surah Shuraa verse 44:

44 For any whom Allah leaves astray there is no protector thereafter and thou wilt see the wrongdoers when in sight of the Penalty Say: "Is there any way (to effect) a return?

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 45 Surah Jathiya verse 23:

23 Then seest thou such a one as takes as his god his own vain desire? Allah has knowing (him as such), left him astray and sealed his hearing, and his heart (and understanding), and put a cover on his sight! Who then will guide him after Allah (has withdrawn Guidance)? Will ye not then receive admonition?

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 13 Surah Raad verse 27:

27 The Unbelievers say: "Why is not a Sign sent down to him from his Lord?" Say: "Truly Allah leaveth to stray whom He Wills; but He guideth to Himself those who turn to Him in penitence

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 74 Surah Mudhatthir verse 31:

31 And We have set none but Angels as guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers in order that the people of the Book may arrive at certainty and the Believers may increase in Faith and that no doubts may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers and that those in whose hearts is a disease, and the unbelievers may say "What symbol doth Allah intend by this?" Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth and guide whom He pleaseth; and none can know the forces of the Lord except He and this is no other than a warning to mankind.

 

Beloved Brother in Islam, it is indeed inherently true that Allah Subhanah never ever astrays or misguides anyone; for the Lord Guides only towards the Truth!

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 90 Surah Balad verses 4-9:

4 Verily We have created man into toil and struggle.

5 Thinketh he that none hath power over him?

6 He may say (boastfully): "Wealth have I squandered in abundance!"

7 Thinketh he that none beholdeth him?

8 Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?

9 And a tongue and a pair of lips?

10 And shown him the two ways?

 

And the Truth is that Allah has shown mankind the two ways: one is of guidance to Allahs Way, and every other way is the way of Shaitaan! He has clearly shown us the two ways, and guided mankind by appointing Messengers and sending the Book of Guidance. And Allah has given human beings the intelligence and the free will to choose between the Right and the Wrong, without any force or pressure! That is precisely the test Allah has involved mankind in for a period of one short transitory life on this earth.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 67 Surah Al Mulk verse 2:

He (Allah) created death and life that He may test you, to see which of you is the best in deeds.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 18 Surah Kahf verse 29:

Proclaim, This (Quran) is the Truth from your Lord: now whosoever wills may accept it, and whosoever wills may reject it.

 

Thus, it is not as if Allah Subhanah pulls out 5,000 names a day and declares that these 5,000 must be guided, whether they like it or not!; or pulls out 5,000 names and declares that they must not be guided!

 

Allah has given this power of reasoning, intelligence and free will only to human beings and involved them in a test in this transitory life, to see who amongst them control their nafs (soul) and submits his will, out of his own choice and free will, to the Will of Allah Subhanah. Whoever chooses, with his own free will, reasoning and intelligence the Right Path of Allah, he is guided aright. Whoever chooses, with his own free will, any other way, then he has chosen the path of Shaitaan, and has thus gone astray!

 

Thus whoever accepts the guidance sent by Allah, and chooses with his own free will to follow the path shown by the appointed Messenger of Allah(saws), Allah is pleased with this person and allows him to follow that Path.

 

And whoever rejects the guidance sent by Allah, and independently makes or follows any other path than that shown by the Messenger of Allah (saws), Allah is dis-pleased with this person, but still allows him to follow his chosen path! And that is because Allah has put mankind through a test in this worldly life!

 

Whatever path man chooses of his own free will, Allah will allow him to take that path and complete his test; and only in the Hereafter the results of success or failure will be declared.

 

Thus it is not that Allah Subhanah misguides or strays anyone, but it is the condition and principle of the test Decreed by the Lord All-Just that He allows those who wish to be guided to be guided aright, and He allows or leaves those who wish to stray to be left astray for the period of the test.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 14 Surah Ibraheem verse 27:

27 Allah will establish in strength those who believe with the Word that stands firm in this world and in the Hereafter; but Allah will leave to stray those who do wrong: Allah doeth what He willeth.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 26:

26 Allah disdains not to use the similitude of things lowest as well as highest. Those who believe know that it is Truth from their Lord; but those who reject Faith say: "What means Allah by this similitude?" By it He causes many to stray and many He leads into the right path but He causes not to stray except those who forsake (the Path).

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 40 Surah Mumin verses 32-35:

32 "And O my People! I fear for you a Day when there will be mutual calling (and wailing)

33 A day when ye shall turn your backs and flee: no defender shall ye have from Allah: any whom Allah leaves to stray there is none to guide...

34 And to you there came Joseph in times gone by with Clear Signs but ye ceased not to doubt of the (mission) for which he had come: at length when he died ye said: `No Messenger will Allah send after him.' Thus doth Allah leave to stray such as transgress, and live in doubt.

35 "(Such) as dispute about the Signs of Allah without any authority that hath reached them. Grievous and odious (is such conduct) in the sight of Allah and of the Believers. Thus doth Allah seal up every heart of arrogant and obstinate transgressors."

 

Thus what is truly meant by the above verses is that because man is involved in a test for the period of one short and transitory life, Allah Subhanah allows man to choose the path he wishes to live his life. If one wishes of his own free will to chose Islam as his way of life, Allah Subhanah allows the person and is pleased with him. And if one wishes to choose a path other than Islam as his way of life, Allah Subhanah allows him to live his life in misguidance, but He is displeased with him!

 

Please allow us to relate a simple example which would clarify your very important question, Insha Allah. Just as when one gives an examination in a school or university, during the time the exam is actually in progress, the teacher may come behind and see the answers being written by his student; but it is the very nature and sanctity of tests and exams, that the teacher neither encourages (although he could!) the student who is writing the correct answers, nor stops (although he could!) the student who is writing the wrong ones; but rather the teacher allows each student to fulfill the test according to the stipulated time. It is only after the exam papers are submitted at the end of the stipulated time, will the teacher mark the papers and let the students know who has passed and who has failed the exam.

 

Similarly, whoever accepts the guidance sent by Allah, and chooses with his own free will to follow the path shown by the appointed Messenger of Allah(saws), Allah is pleased with this person and allows him to follow that Path.

 

And whoever rejects the guidance sent by Allah, and independently makes or follows any other path than that shown by the Messenger of Allah (saws), Allah is dis-pleased with this person, but still allows him to follow his chosen path! And that is because Allah has put mankind through a test in this worldly life! He has guided mankind aright by sending His Messengers and revealing His Books, and given man the free will to choose whether he wants to take: the Path of Guidance, or the path that leads him astray. Whatever path man chooses of his own free will, Allah will allow him to take that path and complete his test; and only in the Hereafter the results of success or failure will be declared.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

 

 

Burhan

 


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