Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Freewill and Predestination

There are claims that man can recognize the true God in all the many images of God by the words that have been used: Peace and Love. If, as the Bible says, "God is Love," then anything associated with an image of God that conflicts with Love must also conflict with God, then it must be false. Many scriptures have these contradictions and even the Bible has such fallacy. In passages, God is said to urge the killing of entire cities; men, women, and children demonstrate that this is not Love. If the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is connected to just and loving God then there is a contradiction. However for God to do that He must surely have good and valid reason that the destruction of some people benefited some others with the mercy of God against the tyranny of the wicked people that is being destroyed.
One of the major controversies among Christians or Muslims is the extent of predestination that God has ordained. At the extremes are those who claim that God uses only one to the exclusion of the other. Either extreme is wrong if the Bible or the Quran is the book from God that both predestination and freewill should be in operation. Then the question is how do these extremes is to be comprised with good and sound reasons based on the evidences from each of the Bible and the Quran.
Some Christians claim that God predestines people for hell. This concept is never stated directly, although the Bible indicates that God does use evil people to accomplish His purposes. “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Proverb 16:4) Paul indicates in the book of Romans that evil Pharaoh was "raised up" to demonstrate God's power. “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Roman 9:17) Paul goes on to say that God chose Jacob over his brother Esau, For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth: It was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (Roman 9:11-13) and John says that God will give the kingdom of Israel to the beast to fulfill His word: “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” (Rev 17:17). And in curiosity God created the crooked serpent as stated in the Bible: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1) The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. (Job 26:11-13)
In Christian theology, God is described as omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent; a notion which some people, Christians and non-Christians alike, believe implies that not only has God always known what choices individuals will make tomorrow, but has actually determined those choices. That is, they believe, by virtue of his foreknowledge he knows what will influence individual choices, and by virtue of his omnipotence he controls those factors. This becomes especially important for the doctrines relating to salvation and predestination.
Roman Catholic teaching
Illustrating as it does that the human part in salvation (represented by holding on to the rope) must be preceded and accompanied by grace (represented by the casting and drawing of the rope), the image of the drowning man holding on to the rope cast and drawn by his rescuer corresponds closely to Catholic teaching, which holds that God, who "destined us in love to be his sons" and "to be conformed to the image of his Son", includes in his eternal plan of "predestination" each person's free response to his grace.
The Catholic Church holds to the teaching that "by free will, (the human person) is capable of directing himself toward his true good … man is endowed with freedom, an outstanding manifestation of the divine image'." Man has free will either to accept or reject the grace of God, so that for salvation "there is a kind of interplay, or synergy, between human freedom and divine grace". "Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent: 'When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight' (Council of Trent)."
God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace, the fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration. For Catholics, therefore, human cooperation with grace is essential. When God establishes his eternal plan of 'predestination', he includes in it each person's free response to his grace, whether it is positive or negative: "In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place" (Acts 4:27-28).[52]
The initiative comes from God, but it demands a free response from man: "God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration". "Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, they can then merit for themselves and for others the graces needed for their sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life."
Orthodox criticism of Catholic doctrine
Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky has stated that the teaching of John Cassian, who in the East is considered a witness to tradition, but who "was unable to make himself correctly understood", "was interpreted, on the rational plane, as a semi-pelagianism, and was condemned in the West". Where the Catholic Church defends the concept of faith and free will these are questioned in the East by the conclusions of the Second Council of Orange. This council is not accepted by the Eastern churches and the Catholic Church's use of describing their position and St Cassian as Semi-Pelagian is also rejected. (Pelagian is the theological doctrine propounded by Pelagius, a British monk, and condemned as heresy by the Roman Catholic Church in A.D. 416. It denied original sin and affirmed the ability of humans to be righteous by the exercise of free will)
Although the Roman Catholic Church explicitly teaches that "original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants", some Eastern Orthodox nevertheless claim that Roman Catholicism professes the teaching, which they attribute to Saint Augustine, that everyone bears not only the consequence, but also the guilt of Adam's sin.
Freedom and predestination is one of the most frequently asked questions among students of faith —partly because of modern man's great concern for freedom, but also, for the largely unconscious reason that we intuitively know both these things must be true because they are the aberration of every good story.
Predestination in the Quran
The belief of the pre-Islamic Arabs in the control of events by time is described in the Quran (Surah 45:24): "There is only our present life; we die and we live, and time [dahr] alone destroys us." The conception of the ajal, or term of life, also occurs several times, but it is God who both fixes the ajal beforehand and then brings about the person's death: "He is the one who created you from clay, and then fixed an ajal" (Surah 6:2); "God will not defer [the death of] any person when his ajal comes" (Surah 63:11). There is thus a sense in which God takes over the functions of time; indeed, " There are also several passages in the Qurʾān in which it is stated or implied that humankind's fate is not merely determined by God beforehand but also written down: "No misfortune has happened either in respect of the land or of yourselves but it was in a book before we [God] brought it about" (Surah 57:22). There is claim a clear statement of the uselessness of trying to avoid what has been predetermined is given in a passage about those who criticized Muḥammad's decision, when attacked in Medina by the Meccans, to go out to Mount Uhud to fight: "If you had been in your houses, those for whom killing was written down would have sallied out to the places of their falling" (Surah 3:154). The Qurʾān also speaks of God as the source of man's rizq, or provision: "He lavishes rizq on whom He wills, or stints it" (Surah 30:37); this may be regarded as a reflection of the common experience in desert life that one tribe might have plenty while a neighboring tribe was starving.
Just as the pre-Islamic Arab did not believe that his acts were predetermined, but only their outcome, so this seems to be all that is implied by the Quranic statements about ajal and similar matters. All Muslims hold that human freedom in some sense and human responsibility in acting are implied in the Quranic teaching that God judges mortals on the Last Day and that their good and bad deeds are weighed in balances. Human freedom is not necessarily contradicted by such verses as: "Do not say of anything, I am doing that tomorrow, without adding, "So please Allah!" (Surah 18:23-24)
Common Question
Everybody knows in islam we are taught that we have free will and we have the right to make choices and we choose what we want to do...  but it is also a known fact that Allah SWT knows the unseen, the past the present the future so he knows what you are going to do. That is not to say that you don't have free will it just means that God already knows what you are going to do....
The question is: why then run this "test" (essentially life is a test) - when the outcome is predetermined since Allah already knows what we will do... usually when you conduct a test or experiment you are in search for the outcome but since Allah is all knowing all seeing he already knows the outcome...
It seems that there are many who just wanted some insight on this, most will say they are in no way questioning why God is doing what He is doing as they are sure He has His own reason but many people will just thought about it from a humanly perspective and thought if there are any verses or information on regards to this topic to be concerned.
The Islamic concept of freewill
Disputes about freewill in Islam began with the Mu'tazili vs Hanbali disputes, with the Mu'tazili arguing that humans had "qadar," the capacity to do right or wrong, and thus deserved the reward or punishment they received, whereas Hanbali insisted on God's "jabr," or total power and initiative in managing all events. Schools that developed around earlier thinkers such as Abu Hanifa and al-Ash'ari searched for ways to explain how both human qadar, and divine jabr could be asserted at the same time. Ash'ari develops a "dual agency" or "acquisition" account of free will in which every human action has two distinct agents. God creates the possibility of a human action with his divine jabr, but then the human follows through and "acquires" the act, making it theirs and taking responsibility for it using their human qadar.
Qadar is an Arabic word for destiny and divine foreordainment. Qada' is an Arabic word with multiple meanings including. divine decree/fate. Both Arabic words may or may not be used interchangeably depending on the context. Essentially, destiny is what Allah has decreed. (And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion. (Surah 65:3)     
According to the Quran Allah has knowledge of everything in His creation. Nothing occurs except by His will. In Surah 16:40 it is stated: For to anything which We have willed, We but say the word, "Be", and it is. Human beings are given free will, and it must be made clear that destiny does not have a cause-and-effect influence on the choices humans make. It is stated in the Quran in Surah 4:115 If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of Faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell, what an evil refuge! That man has control over their destiny. The choice that human make are all within Allah’s knowledge as stated: And if any one earns sin, he earns it against His own soul: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom Surah 4:111.
Concept of predetermination or what is Islam
Qadar is one of the aspects of aqidah. Some Muslims believe that the divine destiny is when God wrote down in the Preserved Tablet ("al-Lauḥ al-Maḥfūẓ") all that has happened and will happen, which will come to pass as written. According to this belief, a person's action is not caused by what is written in the Preserved Tablet but, rather, the action is written in the Preserved Tablet because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time. On the other hand, the causal relationships are also part of Qadar, since human acts affect what's stated in the Erasing And Stating Tablet ("Lauḥ al-Mahu w al-Ithbat"). The phrase reflects a Muslim doctrine that Allah has measured out the span of every person's life, their lot of good or ill fortune, and the fruits of their efforts. Again Allah does not need to force anyone to do good or evil by interfering in his will, and nobody will bear witness that Allah did so. When referring to the future, Muslims frequently qualify any predictions of what will come to pass with the phrase Insha'Allah, Arabic for "if God willed it." The phrase recognizes that human knowledge of the future is limited, and that all that may or may not come to pass is under the control and knowledge of God.
However it should be noted that people are not predestined by Allah to enter Hell. Rather people will only bear their own sins that they themselves committed with free will and no one will be responsible for another person’s deeds. The Quran holds that no man will be treated unjustly and everything will be judged by Allah. The Qur'an says this in the following verse:
Say: “You will not be questioned as to what we are guilty of, nor shall we be questioned as to what you do. Say: Our Lord will gather us together, then will He judge between us with the truth; and He is the greatest Judge, the All-knowing."  (Surah 34:25-26)
"They will cry out to them: Were we not with you? They shall say: Yea! But you caused yourselves to fall into temptation, and you waited and doubted, and vain desires deceived you till the threatened punishment of Allah came, while the arch deceiver deceived you about Allah." (Surah 57:14)
The Qur'an makes it clear that the man goes to Hell because he chose to do bad deeds, he goes to Heaven by doing good deeds and even if Allah had chosen to guide them to the truth they themselves would choose to reject the faith:
"And if Allah had known any good in them He would have made them hear, and if He makes them hear they would turn back while they withdraw." (Surah 8:23)
"Nor would thy Lord be the One to destroy communities for a single wrong-doing, if its members were likely to mend. If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute. Except those on whom thy Lord hath bestowed His Mercy: and for this did He create them: and the Word of thy Lord shall be fulfilled: "I will fill Hell with jinns and men all together." (Surah 11:119)
The Quran says:
"For those who do good is good (reward) and more (than this); and blackness or ignominy shall not cover their faces; these are the dwellers of the garden; in it they shall abide." (Surah 10:26)
If thou couldst see, when the angels take the souls of the Unbelievers (at death), (How) they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): "Taste the penalty of the blazing Fire- "Because of (the deeds) which your (own) hands sent forth; for Allah is never unjust to His servants: "(Deeds) after the manner of the people of Pharaoh and of those before them: They rejected the Signs of Allah, and Allah punished them for their crimes: for Allah is Strong, and Strict in punishment: "Because Allah will never change the grace which He hath bestowed on a people until they change what is in their (own) souls: and verily Allah is He Who heareth and knoweth (all things)." (Deeds) after the manner of the people of Pharaoh and those before them": They treated as false the Signs of their Lord: so We destroyed them for their crimes, and We drowned the people of Pharaoh: for they were all oppressors and wrong-doers. (Surah 8:50-54)
History of Islamic variation in the belief of predestination
There are only two groups who represent the extremes regarding Qadar and are considered outside the fold of Islam. Al-Jabiriyah are of the opinion that humans have no control over their actions and everything is dictated by Allah. The other group is Al-Qadiriyyah and they are of the opinion of humans having complete control over their destiny, to the extent that Allah does not even know what we will choose to do. The correct view according to the Quran should be in the middle between these two views, where it is believed that Allah has knowledge of everything that being devised for bad or good intention in the hearts, but that humans have freedom of choice to do the actual actions. It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. (Surah 50:16)
Among the historical proponents of the view of the doctrine that Allah has knowledge of everything and human have freedom of choice were: Ibn Umar was a strong proponent of this concept and among those who criticized this view of the doctrine were Ma'bad al-Juhani, the first man who discussed Qadar in Basra.
The same concept falls into the Sunni who enumerate Qadar as one aspect of their creed (Arabic: aqidah‎) They believe that the divine destiny is when God wrote down in the Preserved Tablet ("al-Lawhu 'l-Mahfuz") all that has happened and will happen, which will come to pass as written. According to this belief, a person's action is not caused by what is written in the Preserved Tablet but, rather, the action is written in the Preserved Tablet because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time. An individual has power to choose, but since God created time and space he knows what will happen. God is without any bond of time and space. Therefore, what will happen has meaning only to humans, who are limited in time and space. An analogy is with someone who watches a repeat of a football game on TV for the second time, who knows what will happen next, while for the first time watcher the next move is unknown.
Evidences in the Quran
However the Quran is clear what is being freewill and what has been predetermined in the Prescribed Book or Lawhu Mahfuz. The glaring evidence is the subject matter of only  the live span of each individual and misfortune is fixed as stated in the following verses in the Quran:
Nor can a soul die except by Allah's leave, the term being fixed as by writing. If any do desire a reward in this life, We shall give it to him; and if any do desire a reward in the Hereafter, We shall give it to him. And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve us with) gratitude. (Surah 3:145)
The other listing as predetermined is misfortune or musebah which can occur to an individual as being sick or hit by an accident or natural disaster happening anywhere in the world is written in Lawhu Mahfuz or the Prescribed Book as shown by the following verses of the Quran:
No misfortune (musebah) can happen on earth or in your souls but is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence: That is truly easy for Allah: (Surah 57:22)
If good befalls thee, it grieves them; but if a misfortune (musebah) befalls thee, they say, "We took indeed our precautions beforehand," and they turn away rejoicing. Say: "Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector": and on Allah let the Believers put their trust. (Surah 9:50-51)
Other than the above it will be determined by one’s own effort living in this world whether he get rich because of his effort, do good or bad, he controls his own destiny. But for those who believe in Allah, anything good he gets even out of his effort he will attribute it to God and any bad he did is out of his own doing as stated in the following verses of the Quran:
Whatever good, (O man!) happens to thee, is from Allah; but whatever evil happens to thee, is from thy (own) soul. and We have sent thee as a messenger to (instruct) mankind. And enough is Allah for a witness. (Surah 4:79)
To the righteous (when) it is said, "What is it that your Lord has revealed?" they say, "All that is good." To those who do good, there is good in this world, and the Home of the Hereafter is even better and excellent indeed is the Home of the righteous. (Surah 16:30)
And ye have no good thing but is from Allah: and moreover, when ye are touched by distress, unto Him ye cry with groans; Yet, when He removes the distress from you, behold! Some of you turn to other gods to join with their Lord. (Surah 16:53-54)
Our supplications as shown in the Quran of former men of faith therefore do change circumstances in our life and of much avail. Some examples in the Quran:
And in no wise covet those things in which Allah Hath bestowed His gifts More freely on some of you than on others: To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask Allah of His bounty. For Allah hath full knowledge of all things. (Surah 4:32)
Abraham made his supplication even for paradise in his prayer.
"O my Lord! bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the righteous; "Grant me honorable mention on the tongue of truth among the latest (generations);  "Make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss; "Forgive my father, for that he is among those astray; "And let me not be in disgrace on the Day when (men) will be raised up; "The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, "But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart. (Surah 26:83-89)
It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. If misfortune or musebah falls on you do not forget to say this invocation.
Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, Who say, when afflicted with calamity (musebah): "To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return": They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. (Surah 2:155-158)
Therefore seek Allah’s grace and help for the good of this world and the good of the hereafter
Nay, seek (Allah's) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit, who bear in mind the certainty that they are to meet their Lord, and that they are to return to Him. (Surah 2:45-46)
Say: "O Allah! Lord of Power (And Rule), Thou givest power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honor whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy hand is all good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power. "Thou causest the night to gain on the day, and thou causest the day to gain on the night; Thou bringest the Living out of the dead, and Thou bringest the dead out of the Living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest, without measure." (Surah 3:27-28)
On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. "Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith." (Surah 2:286)