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Offline Reader Questions

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Are our human destinies predetermined by Allah?
« on: November 12, 2018, 05:07:21 AM »
Assalamualaikum Joseph,

Our human's destinies predetermined by Allah? These verses state that this statement is true.

Nothing will ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Protector.” And in Allah let the believers put their trust. (9:51)
We have predetermined death for you. Nothing can stop Us. (56:60)

However, in other verses of the Quran it suggests that  human beings have the power to change their circumstances

That man deserves nothing, except for what he strives. (53:39)
God is not to change what is in a people until they change what is within themselves. (13:11)
If you are thankful, I will give you more (14:7)

I understand the Quran has no contradictions and this confusion is because of my lack of understanding of the Quran. I was hoping to get your take on this argument.

Best wishes,

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Are our human destinies predetermined by Allah?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2018, 03:56:07 AM »
Wa alaikum assalam

The first point I would like to advance is that God's knowledge or decree of our death is not incongruent with the notion that we also have free will to act out our choices (within the constraints that God allows). Thus the verses you have quoted in which we have input into the outcomes as a consequence of our  choices / endeavours (53:39, 13:11, 14:7) does not necessarily conflict with the knowledge that God possesses (or it’s decree) of the time and place of our demise (56:60).

One way to think of life is in the form of a ‘matrix’. We have an entrance point (birth) and an exit point (death) from this matrix which is decreed. The constraints of the matrix are governed by the Almighty, All Wise Creator who allows us to make ‘certain’ choices (exercising our free will) 'within' the matrix.

With a view to broaden the response further and as I have argued elsewhere, 'free-will' in this context is also better understood as 'managed’ free will. [1] 

All life on earth is temporal. It is a trial bed for humankind which is not without purpose (75:36) but 'designed' to test our mettle (29:2). Therefore, it is not left completely uncontrolled, but is actively managed by God ('yudabbiru l-amra' 13:2) to necessitate a fair platform from which human accountability (of choices) can be justifiably deduced.

This is also supported by numerous verses in the Quran where it is explicit that God 'intervenes' to allow for certain outcomes to take place. For example, please see places of worship being protected (22:40) or the dispatching of angelic forces for the assistance of the believers (3:124).

Another example can be inferred from verse 25:20 where there is the inherent implication that situations / circumstances are ordained. "...And We have made some of you as a trial for others, will you have patience?" (25:20). Another well-known example is within the narrative concerning Prophet Moses and the servant of God, where the latter marred a boat, killed a young boy and where the refusal of hospitality was met with an act of grace with the construction of a wall. (18:65-82). These are all arguably examples of 'divine intervention' that are enacted to manifest a certain outcome.

One mechanism to allow for a certain outcome to take place is through ‘inspiration’ as can be seen when the mother of Prophet Moses placed him in the river (20:38-39) or when a certain outcome was required and the incident of the ‘cup’ was deliberately contrived by God to yield the particular result (12:76).

It also remains noteworthy that God's infinite knowledge transcends time and space.

As I have also mentioned (which supports the above):

“…having infinite knowledge (as God has) DOES NOT mean that human choices were 'ENFORCED'. These are two separate matters which are oft confused under the guise of predestination. God certainly knows our start and our end as part of being the One who encompasses His creation holistically from outside the realms of time (eternity) and space with infinite knowledge. [2] But His purpose was to try us within a ‘created closed realm of time and space’ in a constant battle for us to seek out truth from falsehood whilst exercising our volition in all its widest remit. He then holds us accountable for our choices granting us perfect requital based on our endeavours with not an iota of injustice. [2]

So it all depends on how we define 'destiny' and what we actually mean by 'predetermined' in this context. If 'destiny' is seen as our involvement in the 'matrix' as illustrated above and 'predestination' in terms of 'extent' and 'constraints', I truly believe the topic becomes easier to comprehend. 

I hope this helps, God willing


[1] Who made God?
[2] Predestined Destinies;topicseen#msg1559
[3] Predestination, Afflictions and Trials

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell