In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms.
In Islam man’s action(s) is not pre-determined. Muhammad Ali notes:
“A great deal of misunderstanding prevails about the doctrine of predestination and the absolute decree of good and evil by God. It is necessary first to understand the correct meaning of the Arabic words qadar and taqdir –the ideas commonly associated with their meaning being unknown both to the Qur’an and to Arabic lexicology. Qadar and taqdir, according to Raghib, mean the making manifest of the measure (kamiyya) of a thing, or simply measure. In the words of the same authority, God’s taqdir of things is in two ways, by granting qudra, i.e., power, or by making them in a particular measure and in a particular manner, as wisdom requires. An example of this is given in the taqdir of the date-stone, out of which it is the palm only that grows, not an apple or olive tree, or in the taqdir of the sperm of man, out of which grows man only, not any other animal. Taqdir is therefore the law or the ordinance or the measure which is working throughout the creation; and this is exactly the sense in which the word is used in the Qur’an.” (The Religion of Islam, pp. 309, 310. Underlined emphasis, added)
It is the laws accorded to nature/creation
that are predestined.
The Polytheists claim that Allah God is responsible for the actions of man is rejected by Allah God Himself: “Those who are polytheists say: If Allah pleased, we would not have set up (aught with Him), nor our fathers, nor would we have made anything unlawful. Thus did those before them reject (the truth) until they tasted Our punishment. Say, Have you any knowledge so you would bring it forth to Us? You only follow a conjecture and you only tell lies. Say, Then Allah’s is the conclusive argument; so if He had pleased, He would have guided you all”–(Qur’an 6:149, 150).
“The polytheists’ contention here is that what they do is in accordance with the will of God, and this is condemned as a mere conjecture and a lie. And against it, two arguments are adduced. The first is that previous people were punish-ed when they persisted in their evil courses; if what they did was because God had so willed it, He would not have punished them for it. The second is that God had never said so through any of His prophets: “Have you any knowledge with you so you should bring it forth to Us?” And in the verse that follows, the argument is carried further: “If he had willed, He would have guided you all.” The conclusion is clear. If it were the Divine will that people should be compelled to one course that would have been the course of guidance. But men are not compelled to accept even the right way; much less could they be compelled to follow the wrong course. This is clearly laid down: “We have truly shown the way, he may be thankful or unthankful” (76:3). And again: “The truth is from your Lord, so let him who please believe, and let him who please disbelieve” (18:29). The Divine will is therefore exercised in the raising up of prophets, and in the pointing out of the courses of good and evil, and human will is exercised in the choice of one course or the other.” (M. Ali, The Religion of Islam, pp. 316, 317).
Muhammad Ali has also pointed out the error in the belief that Allāh, God “leads astray.”
“A great misconception regarding the teachings of the Qur’an is that it ascribes to God the attribute of leading astray. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While al-Hadi or the One Who guides, is one of the ninety-nine names of Allah, as accepted by all Muslims, al-Mudzill, or the One Who leads astray, has never been recognized as such. If leading astray were an attribute of God, as guiding certainly is, the name al-Mudzill should have been included in the list of His names, as al-Hadi is. But the Qur’an, which repeatedly says that God’s are all the excellent names, could not ascribe to Him what it has plainly ascribed to the Devil, viz., the leading astray of men.
…..It is impossible that God, Who is so solicitous for the guidance of man, should Himself lead him astray. Guiding and leading astray are two contradictions which could not be gathered together in one being.”
“The mistaken idea that God leads people astray arises out of a misconception of the meaning of the word idzlal when it is ascribed to God.” (The Religion of Islam, pp. 323, 324, 325).
What is to be considered is that:
–if Allah has pre-determined man’s life then His sending of prophets and revelations to guide us and to turn us from evil would be meaningless.
–if Allah has predetermined our fate then His instructions to us to pray, give charity, feed the poor and the orphans and the needy, and to free the slaves would all be pointless.
Allah did not predetermine man’s actions any more than He leads us into temptation. That man has complete freedom of choice in his actions is made clear in the following verses of the Qur’an:
Have We not given him (man) two eyes, and a tongue
and two lips, and pointed out to him the two
conspicuous ways (of good and evil)?
So He reveals to it (the soul) its way of evil and its way
of good, he is indeed successful who purifies it,
and he is ruined who corrupts it
Whoever does good it is for himself,
and whoever does evil, it is against himself…
But whoever repents after his wrong-doing and reforms,
Allah will turn to him (mercifully).
Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
And wrong not men of their dues, and act not
corruptly in the earth, making mischief
And whatever misfortune befalls you, it is on
account of what your hands have wrought
Surely Allah enjoins justice and the doing of
good…and He forbids indecency, and evil and rebellion
O men…follow not the footsteps of the devil.
Surely he is an open enemy to you
(Qur’an 26:183; 42:30; 16:90; 2:168)
Allah instructs us to pray: “Guide us on the right path” and “My Lord, increase me in knowledge”–(Qur’an 1:5; 20:114).
Clearly, the God who gives guidance, and Who increases His servants in knowledge could not predestine the actions of those servants –a robot or a puppet has no need of, or use for guidance and knowledge.
Neither could Islam, which advocates pursuit of knowledge, be said to be backward or non-progressive.
Neither does Allah God Who Guides and increases in know-edge can be said to lead astray. Muhammad Ali rightly says: “It is impossible that God, Who is so solicitous for the guidance of man, should Himself lead him astray. Guiding and leading astray are two contradictions which could not be gathered together in one being.” (See Qur’an 9:115; 17: 97; 39:23, 37).
Again, as noted, Allah God instructs us to pray, “Guide us on the right path”–(Qur’an 1:5). Since Islam advocates excellence in all matters of life, this seeking of Divine light is for guidance in matters spiritual, moral, intellectual, and social, the God Who gives guidance cannot be said to have predetermined man’s actions or to lead him astray.
Again, Allah God instructs us to “save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones”–(Qur’an 66:6). The God who tells us to “save” ourselves and families cannot be said to predestine us and our families; for then no one would be able to save himself and his family.
Further, that Allah God did not predestine the actions of man is clearly stated in His injunction that “There is no compulsion in religion”–(Qur’an 2:256). If we are not to compel/force another to do a thing, it is not reasonable to cerebrate that God would compel us to follow a pre-determined route.
In Islam man’s fate is not written in the stars. In fact, 1400 years ago the Prophet Mohammad took the stars from the clutches of the astrologers and sat them firmly in the laps of the astronomers: declared the noble Messenger of God through Divine Revelation–“Allah has made subservient to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth”–(Qur’an 31:20; 45:13).
The belief that Allah said that half of mankind is destined to hell and the other half to heaven is not a declaration of pre-destination; but, if such a saying was made by Allah, it could only mean that Allah knowing that not all of mankind will fol-low His guidance, thus, (by their own choice) part will go to hell and part to heaven.
In Islam man’s destiny is carved by his own heart and head and hands: not by Allah.
There is fatalism/predestination in Christianity. That man is born with sin condemns the unbaptized and the still-born to eternal perdition, and must be buried in unconsecrated grounds. That inherited sin is washed away by sprinkling water on the new-born is charm. Even superstition.
The Bible teaches God is responsible for evil as well as good: “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven”–(John 3:27).
Islam teaches that only good comes from Allāh–(Qur’an 4:79; 16:53).