[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].

Monday, August 11, 2014

Divine Will and Human Free Will

In Surah Fussilat / chapter titled: Explained in Detail, it states: 
[Al-Qur’an 41:53, translator: Sahih International] We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?

Scientific Research & Findings
Previously the realm of theology and philosophy, neuroscience is now researching on Free Will, providing some elementary yet interesting insight on whether there is such a thing or not, and if and what we are free to choose or refuse. 

Some interesting tests have been performed and brain responses measured, according to which it appears that the brain’s processing of an action begins prior to the conscious choice of a person to do something. Hence, it seems, that a person can ‘freely choose to not to’ do something, and thereby stop the execution of the process already initiated by the brain, that is, there seems to exists a ‘free won’t’  rather than a free will! [Tracking the Unconscious Generation of Free Decisions Using UItra-High Field fMRI: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0021612 ] However, it is also possible that there is a lower consciousness at all levels, where decisions are taken, and no such thing as the unconscious.  
Some other links for an overview of free will:   

Research in the light of Scripture 
The scripture offers some insights into free-will and predetermination/predestination, and examining the scientific research in the light of the verses of the Quran, these apparently contradictory concepts seem to co-exist and fit together like pieces of a puzzle! Though the puzzle is far from complete, we can begin to understand some of it. 

Human free will is about freedom of faith. We are free to accept or reject faith, but we are not free from the consequence of our choice. 

According to the Quran, faith is a matter of free will: God grants faith to the willing heart and withholds from the unwilling heart [2:186]. There is no compulsion in religion [2:256]. God does not Will and therefore does not compel mankind into submission [10:99]. Non-believers try to fix the blame on God for their own unwillingness, while rejecting the messengers and the Message [16:35]. However, all this is being recorded, and humans will be called to account for their actions [16:93]. On that day, the truthful will benefit from their truth [5:119]. 

The above seems to tally with the research findings of Free Won’t: it appears that though faith and guidance are available, it is not imposed, even at an internal level, on any who is not willing to receive it [4:137]. 

Free Will / Free Won’t is therefore about the individual’s choice regarding belief and faith. This probably is at some very deep level of the lower consciousness, or sub-consciousness, as the Quran also states that we cannot convince the disbelievers as God has prevented them from it due to their unwillingness to believe [2:6, 16:22,33]. However, there is still a chance that they might choose to believe, so the directive to warn with the Quran [50:45]. 

Why have we been granted free-will or free-won’t to begin with, or did humans choose it? 

[Al-Qur’an 33:72,73, translator: Pickthall] Lo! We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it. Lo! he hath proved a tyrant and a fool. So Allah punisheth hypocritical men and hypocritical women, and idolatrous men and idolatrous women. But Allah pardoneth believing men and believing women, and Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. 

Free Will: 
[Al-Qur’an 2:186, translator: Yusuf Ali] When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way

[Al-Qur’an 5:119, translator: Sahih International] Allah will say, "This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness." For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment. 

[Al-Qur’an 2:256, translator: Yusuf Ali] Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

[Al-Qur’an 10:99, translator: Yusuf Ali] If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe

[Al-Qur’an 16:35, translator: Yusuf Ali] The worshippers of false gods say: "If Allah had so willed, we should not have worshipped aught but Him - neither we nor our fathers,- nor should we have prescribed prohibitions other than His." So did those who went before them. But what is the mission of messengers but to preach the Clear Message? 

[Al-Qur’an 50:45, translator: Sahih International] We are most knowing of what they say, and you are not over them a tyrant. But remind by the Qur'an whoever fears My threat.

Free Won’t: 
[Al-Qur’an 2:6, translator: Sahih International] Indeed, those who disbelieve - it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them - they will not believe.

[Al-Qur’an 4:137, translator: Sahih International] Indeed, those who have believed then disbelieved, then believed, then disbelieved, and then increased in disbelief - never will Allah forgive them, nor will He guide them to a way

[Al-Qur’an 7:146, translator: Yusuf Ali] Those who behave arrogantly on the earth in defiance of right - them will I turn away from My signs: Even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them; and if they see the way of right conduct, they will not adopt it as the way; but if they see the way of error, that is the way they will adopt. For they have rejected our signs, and failed to take warning from them

[Al-Qur’an 16:22, translator: Sahih International] Your god is one God. But those who do not believe in the Hereafter - their hearts are disapproving, and they are arrogant

[Al-Qur’an 16:33, translator: Sahih International] Do the disbelievers await [anything] except that the angels should come to them or there comes the command of your Lord? Thus did those do before them. And Allah wronged them not, but they had been wronging themselves

The Importance of Action: 
[Al-Qur’an 16:93, translator: Yusuf Ali] If Allah so willed, He could make you all one people: But He leaves straying whom He pleases, and He guides whom He pleases: but ye shall certainly be called to account for all your actions. 

[Al-Qur’an 52:21, translator: Yusuf Ali] And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith,- to them shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their works: (Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds.

[Al-Qur’an 53:39:41, translator: Shakir] And that man shall have nothing but what he strives for- And that his striving shall soon be seen- Then shall he be rewarded for it with the fullest reward- 

[Al-Qur’an 57:18, translator: Sahih International] Indeed, the men who practice charity and the women who practice charity and [they who] have loaned Allah a goodly loan - it will be multiplied for them, and they will have a noble reward. 

[Al-Qur’an 91:7-10, translator: Sahih International] And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness, He has succeeded who purifies it, And he has failed who instills it [with corruption] 


  1. Thank you so much! Wonderful exposition of "predestination" as evidenced in the Quran.

    1. Alhamdolillah! Thank you for your comment.