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Offline Reader Questions

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Predestined Destinies
« on: August 05, 2012, 07:17:50 PM »
Received on Joseph Islam's Facebook Page

Dear brothers and sisters,

If God knows our destiny even before we are born, then He would also know who is going to Hell and who is going to the eternal Gardens.

We claim on the authority of The Qur'an that God is not unjust, and that we may not be born equal, we have still been given equal rights.

Then, my question to you is: Why are some of us born as Muslims while others are born into Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist families?

The logical answer to this question that comes to my mind after due contemplation is that we are all born disbelievers. We have been blessed with faculties of reasoning - some with more, some with less; so it has to be that we must use our reasoning faculties to the extent of their limitations and find God. Once we have created a conviction within ourselves in the existence of God and found out the truth (The Qur'an,) then only can we claim to submit to God alone. I must add that we shall be judged according to the faculties given to us. Thus a Hindu imbecile can end up in Paradise and an intellectual Muslim in Hell.

This brings us back to the original hypothesis: Are we born with predestined destinies? Does God know what we are going to do?

If your answer is 'Yes' then please explain why God created Paradise and Hell?

Salamun Alaykum!

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Predestined Destinies
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2012, 07:30:03 PM »
Salamun Alaikum brother,

I normally don’t do Q&A’s on Facebook, but as this is an important topic that is often misunderstood, I have decided to share my humble sentiments as a general exception. Please do consider joining the QM Forum for Q&A’s (You are most welcome there).

In response to your post, I would prefer to interpret it as if we are all born with certain 'inherited beliefs' and 'societal scripting' which initiates and 'inflates' from the time of infancy and not ‘disbelief’. The fact that we are placed in the wombs of certain females, assigned certain faculties, genetics, relationships and are given to certain households are all Divinely ordained. But they are merely a ‘construct’ to provide our earliest platform for our trials.

'Kufr' (disbelief) from a Quranic perspective is a 'state' reached by ‘volition’ and is not a condition one is born into. [1]

However, in my opinion you are absolutely correct that everyone is born with a requirement to search for the truth with the faculties that they have been granted. This constant struggle to search for a better way is more than implied in the Arabic "...asa an yahdiya rabbi li-aqraba min hadha rashadan" (18:24), "Perhaps that my Lord will guide me to a nearer way than this to the right way". Searching for a nearer way to absolute truth is a constant endeavour given our best efforts based on our individual faculties.

So I wholly agree with you that given the premise of absolute Divine justice, the natural conclusions of culpability are only relative and all circumstances of the individual - faculties, clarity of the message they have received, circumstances etc will be taken into account. Hence, your example of a Hindu and a Muslim is very plausible.

However, 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.

"And We did not create the Heaven and the Earth and what is between them for mere play / sport. If We intended that We take a pastime, We could surely have taken it from the things nearest to Us, if We would do (such a thing)! Nay! We cast the truth (Arabic: bil-haqi) against the falsehood (Arabic: l-batili), so that it breaks its head, and lo! falsehood does perish! and woe to you for which you ascribe!"

'Freedom' and free-will are immense gifts but they are inherently paralleled with an immense responsibility. For free-will to have any meaning or purpose, then culpability, apt requital, justice, heaven and hell would arguably need to find existence. Without which, God's creation would remain marred with injustices from the various applications of free-will. A day (period) of reckoning is a necessary component to complete perfection.

'Free-choice' without any culpability would be the most unjust condition and God is never unjust in His creation. So many parables are advanced by the Quran to make us ponder the condition of contrast. Is darkness comparable with light or the blind from one that can see (13:16)? or the sedentary from one who strives (4:95)? Therefore, should Pharaoh's free-will be left unaccountable when others have strived endlessly for a Godly way?

Situations will indeed be presented in which we are tried [3] and our choices will be held accountable.

"Does man think that he will be left aimless / in vain / uncontrolled (without a purpose) (Arabic: Suda(n))?"

But they are OUR CHOICES. God’s knowledge of those choices does not mean that we were 'coerced' in making those choices.

Therefore, the general concept of predestined destinies which eliminates human free-will is unsupportable. God's infinite knowledge should NEVER be confused with human volition and our ability to exercise choice that He has granted us.





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