Does God choose to guide people or do we have
One of the most disconcerting concepts in
Quran is the concept of predetermination (jabr). According to
Islam, believing in Allah is the sole purpose of a human’s
life in this world.
did not create Jinn and Men except that they may worship
Also in a Hadith, generally cited by the
Sufis, Allah says, “I was a hidden treasure and wished to be
known, so I created the people to know me and to worship me”.
Upon this recognition depends our chance
to enter the paradise. Failing to recognize Allah would bring
eternal damnation and the hellfire. This is very important to
Allah. He does not like to be ignored and has no mercy on those
who do so. This belief is not exclusive to Islam. The Bible also
presents a vengeful and a jealous God.
The problem is that being able to pass
this test of faith and to gain admittance to paradise is not in
our hand. It is again Allah who chooses those whom he pleases to
guide and lead astray those whom he wants.
In one verse, the Qur'an affirms that if Allah
so willed, he could certainly have brought every soul its true
guidance. But that won’t happen as he makes it clear that he
does not want to guide everyone and vows to “fill the Hell with
Jinns and men all together."
” If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every
soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true,
"I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together."(Q.32.13)
The first question that comes to mind is
“why”? Why should a loving God not guide his own children
(or as Muslims put it "slaves")? Why should he leave
them to themselves and then come upon them with such a wrath
filling the Hell with those whom he purposefully did not guide?
This defies logic.
In response Muslims say that we have free
will to accept God or reject him. But this is not what the above
verse is saying. As this verse clearly explains, if Allah wanted
to guide people, he certainly could have done it. Yet, he decided
not to guide some and then fill the Hell with all those who he
did not guide. This verse tells that human beings have no
control over being guided at all. It all depends on God’s
pleasure or whim.
Some verses in the Qur'an indicate that even if
one wants to be guided, he cannot, because Allah has sealed his
”….Such are men whose hearts Allah has
This is reminiscent of the bargaining of
Moses with Pharaoh for the release of the Israelites. Each time
Pharaoh conceded and let Moses take away the Jews, God
intervened and “made his heart stubborn” then he kept
sending a new calamity to the poor people of Egypt who had
nothing to do with Pharaohs decisions, until Pharaoh
accepted the departure of the Jews, but again God made his heart
stubborn and sent upon the wretched innocent people, another calamity.
In another verse Allah curses his
creatures and instead of giving them insight makes them blind
”Such are the men
whom Allah has cursed for He has made them deaf and blinded
This behavior is not befitting of the
creator of this universe. Even if these people whom Allah chose to
mislead, did something wrong why he, instead of opening their
hearts should seal them? Why
he made them deaf and blind, instead of giving them sight and
hearing and then punish them? Is this justice? What would you say of a
king that cuts the feet of his subjects and orders them to run and then
burns them for not running. Wouldn't you say such a king is a psychopath?
Would the almighty God act like a psychopath?
The riddle becomes more
confusing when in the next verse the responsibility is shifted
on the people themselves who “lock” their own hearts!
“Do they not then earnestly seek to
understand the Qur'an, or are their hearts locked up by
Is it God that seals the hearts of the people or they do it
themselves? Obviously these two statements don’t add up.
Sometimes the Qur'an contradicts itself in
the same verse.
"This is an admonition:
whosoever will, let him take a path to his Lord. But ye will
not, except as Allah wills ... He will admit to his mercy whom
He wills. But the wrongdoers - for them has he prepared a
grievous penalty." (Q.76:29-31)
The first part of this verse gives the idea that people have
free will to choose between taking the path or not. Then immediately that is contradicted
and it says that Allah “will
admit to his mercy whom HE wills." Either we choose to
be guided or Allah chooses. Only one of these statements can
The next question is how can
Allah punish people with a “grievous penalty” if He has
chosen not to guide them?
If the choice of being guided is made by us, then the verse
32:13, 47:16 and 47:23 are wrong. But if they are right and
indeed it is Allah who chooses to guide anyone that he pleases, then
there is a tremendous injustice in the way Allah deals with his
servants. If being guided or not entirely depends on Allah's
will, then what is our fault? He assigned to us our destiny and
he cannot punish us for what he has willed for us. This is
clearly unjust, which belies another claim of the Qur'an that
says Allah is a just god.
”… And Allah means no injustice to any of His
Why a god who is able to guide people
chooses to lead them astray, and then fill the Hell with those
whom he himself has misled?
Muslims criticize the Christians for the irrationality of
their belief in trinity. However with some degree of
imagination, one can make sense of this Christian dogma. Yet
with no stretch of imagination one can make any sense of this
Allah's Split Personality
The confusion does not end there. The
following verses assert that Allah misleads people by making their
deeds pleasing to them.
to those who believe not in the Hereafter, We have made their
deeds pleasing in their eyes; and so they wander about in
“Nay! to those who believe not,
their pretence seems pleasing, but they are kept back
(thereby) from the path. And those whom Allah leaves to stray,
no one can guide.” [13:33]"
Yet, in other places it is Satan that makes their sinful act seem alluring to them.
“..On the contrary their
hearts became hardened, and SATAN made their (sinful) acts
seem alluring to them. [6:43]
Remember SATAN made their
(sinful) acts seem alluring to them, and said [8:48]
By Allah, We (also) sent (Our
messengers) to Peoples before thee; but Satan made, (to the
wicked), their own acts seem alluring: He is also their patron
So isn’t it logical to deduce that Satan is
a partner of Allah, helping him in his daily work of misguiding
people? Or perhaps Allah has a split personality that sometimes
reveal itself as Satan! .
Explaining the Unexplainable
This confusion whether it is Allah that seals the hearts of the people or they themselves do it
has fueled heated debates between Muslims throughout the
centuries. It caused schisms and a lot of bloodshed.
On one hand the bulk of the Muslims
adhered to the concept of predetermination (jabr=compulsion).
The more radical of these “jabrians” were the Asharian who
denied all free agency in man. Arguing:
can happen in the world, whether it respects the conditions and
operation of things, or good or evil, or obedience and
disobedience, or faith and infidelity ... that is not contained
in the written tablet of the decree of Allah."
("Dictionary of Islam" by T.P. Hughes, pages 472-473).
On the other hand the Qadrias and the
Mutazilites advocated the free will of man and therefore
were rejected as heretics. They argued that man has absolute freedom of will and is responsible for his own actions.
If not so rewards and punishments for virtuous acts and sins
no meaning. They quoted the verse (42:30) that says;
whatever affliction befalls on you, it is on account of what
your hands have wrought.”
In fact there are many verses that give an
impression that men are responsible for their actions.
Allah will never change the grace which He hath bestowed on a
people until they change what is in their (own) souls" (8.53)
Allah does not change a people's lot unless they change
what is in their hearts. But when (once) Allah willeth a
people's punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor
will they find, besides Him, any to protect.” (13.11)
who strive in His path, are guided in the right path, while
those who persist in denial and sinful living have their hearts
sealed against faith (ii. 7, 26; iv. 155; v;.i. 102).
does not compel belief and leaves the people free to believe or
disbelieve (6: 35, 150; xvi-. 9).
has done an atom's weight of good shall meet with its reward and
whoever has done an atom's weight of evil shall meet with its
consequences (99: 7-8).
person could find something in Qur'an that corroborated his
preference in this baffling dilemma of Islamic concept of
predetermination (jabr) and free will (Ikhtyar)
Most modern Muslims tend to side with the
free will of man but their opinion is drastically in contrast
with many verses of Qur'an that alarmingly maintain that
Allah’s decisions are completely arbitrary.
blots out and establishes what He pleases." (3:39).
"Allah has power over all things." (3:159).
Many are the verses that confirm the idea
of a despotic Allah who would not adhere to any norm of conduct
and therefore his actions are whimsical and unpredictable.
"If Allah had willed he
would have made you one nation. But he leads astray whom he
will and guides whom he will. But you shall certainly be
called to account for all your actions." (16:93).
Here again, Allah is in charge. He is the
one who guides whom he wills. What is unclear is how people
could be accountable for their actions if it is Allah who has
chosen not to guide them.
This is like a play director
assign good and bad roles to some actors and then punish and reward
them for their roles.
The same concept is conveyed in the
"It is equal to them,
whether you warn them or not, they will not believe. Allah has
put the seal upon their hearts." (2:6-7)
The above verse renders futile the whole
idea of prophethood. If Allah has put the seal upon the
people’s hearts and warning or not warning them makes no
difference, then what is the point of sending messengers? It
simply does not make sense that a wise God seal the hearts of
the people and send messengers to guide them knowing that they
will not be guided thanks to his little operation on their
"Whomsoever Allah guides,
he is rightly guided, and whom he leads astray, they are the
losers! We have created for Gehenna many jinns and men
Here again it is Allah who guides or leads
astray people. But this verse goes even further. It gives the
impression that Allah has deliberately created some jinns and
some men and purposefully leads them astray in order to use them
as fuel in his Gehenna (Hell). Just to make sure that we have
not misunderstood the concept, let us study other verses.
desire to guide him whom Allah led astray? Whom Allah leads
away, you will find no way for him." (4:88).
Allah willed he would have made mankind one nation, but they
continue in their differences, excepting those on whom your Lord
has mercy. To that end, he created them and perfectly is
fulfilled the word of your Lord: 'I shall assuredly fill Gehenna
with jinns and men altogether.'" (11:118-119).
leads astray whomsoever he will and guides whomsoever he
leaves to stray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. So let
not thy soul go out in (vainly) sighing after them: for Allah
knows well all that they do!” (35:8)
Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom
He pleaseth:. (74:31)
"With Allah is the argument that reaches home: if it had
been His will, He could indeed have guided you all." (Sura
Predestination in Hadith
There are many hadiths that ratify the
concept of predestination.
Muslim Book 32, Number 6392:
Hudhayfah ibn Usayd:
Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: When the drop of (semen)
remains in the womb for forty or fifty (days) or forty nights,
the angel comes and says: My Lord, will he be good or evil? And
both these things would be written. Then the angel says: My
Lord, would he be male or female? And both these things are
written. And his deeds and actions, his death, his livelihood;
these are also recorded. Then his document of destiny is rolled
and there is no addition to and subtraction from it.”
aspect of the life of an individual in predestined to such
detail as it is given in the above hadith, it is unclear where
is the free will of man and why he should be punished for doing
something wrong that was predestined for him even before he was
above hadith contains some more errors that are scientifically
wrong. The gender of the fetus in not determined forty or fifty
days after conception. It is determined at conception itself. Some
sperms carry an X chromosome and some a Y. The sex of the child
depends on which one hits the egg. Now, parents can choose the
gender of their child with the help of a doctor quite easily by
selecting the sperms that carry the right chromosome. So people
can change what Muhammad thought is predestined and
unchangeable. This is another strong argument that many Islamic dogmas, are baseless.
In another hadith we learn that Allah has
created the Hell and the paradise and their denizens already.
Sahih Muslim Book 32, Number 6435:
Narrated Aisha: A child died and I said: There is happiness
for this child who is a bird from amongst the birds of
Paradise. Thereupon Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said:
Don't you know that Allah created the Paradise and He created
the Hell and He created the dwellers for this (Paradise) and
the denizens for this (Hell)?
This hadith conveys the idea that the child
won’t go to paradise automatically because he was a child and
had not committed sins. Whether he goes to paradise or not
depends whether he was created to be a dweller of paradise or
the denizen of hell. The concept of predestination as explained
by Islam embodies an injustice that did not escape even the
Sahih Muslim Book 32, Number 6406:
Narrated Imran ibn Husayn: AbulAswad reported that Imran asked
me: What is your view what the people do today in the world,
and strive for, is it something decreed for them or
preordained for them or will their fate in the Hereafter be
determined by the fact that their Prophets brought them
teaching which they did not act upon? I said: Of course, it is
something, which is predetermined for them and preordained for
said: Then, would it not be an injustice (to punish them)? I
felt greatly disturbed about that, and said: Everything is
created by Allah and lies in His Power. He will not be
questioned as to what He does, but they will be questioned.
Thereupon he said to me: May Allah have mercy upon you, I only
meant to ask you in order to test your intelligence.”
This kind of
reaction is typical of the Muslims when they are asked questions
that they cannot answer. If someone asked a question concerning
an absurd tenet of Islam that Muslims cannot respond to, the
only answer he would get is frown, in the best case and
punishment by death in the worse case.
The idea of
God controlling the mind of his subjects, inspiring in them sin
or piety and then punishing or rewarding them for what they had
no control is clearly unjust. But when the questioner speaks out
his mind he is scolded and has to change his attitude least he
be branded as heretic an suffer the consequences.
men of the tribe of Muzaynah came to Allah's Apostle (PBUH) and
said: Allah's Apostle, what is your opinion? That which the
people do in the world and strive for, is something decreed for
them, something preordained for them? And will their fate in the
Hereafter be determined by the fact that their Prophets brought
them teachings which they did not act upon and thus they deserve
he said: Of course, it happens as it is decreed by Destiny and
preordained for them, and this view is confirmed by this verse
of the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious: "Consider
the soul and Him Who made it perfect, then breathed into it
its sin and its piety." (91:8). (ibid)
The verse 91:8
that is referred to in this hadith states that it is Allah who
inspires in people sin (fojur) and piety (taqva), which is in
conformity with another verse in the Qur'an that clearly states all
good things and bad things are from Allah.
Wherever ye are, death will find you out, even if ye are in
towers built up strong and high!" If some good befalls
them, they say, "This is from Allah"; but if evil,
they say, "This is from thee" (O Prophet). Say:
"All things are from Allah." But what hath come to
these people, that they fail to understand a single fact? (4.78)
Muslim Book 32, Number 6407:
Narrated AbuHurayrah: Allah's Apostle (PBUH) said: Verily, a
person performs deeds for a long time like the deeds of the
people of Paradise. Then his deeds are terminated like the
deeds of the people of Hell and, verily, a person performs
deeds like the denizens of Fire for a long time, then this
deed of his is ultimately followed by the deeds of the people
Muslims argue that since Allah is the owner
of this universe, he can do whatever he wills with it without
having to respond to anyone, just as a farmer is entitled
to do whatever he wishes with his gardens. A gardener is free
to prune any tree, to transplant it and even to cut it and burn
it. Since he is the owner of his property his decisions are law. Despite this, unless he
is completely crazy, the gardener’s actions are predictable.
No gardener would chop and burn the trees that produce good
fruits, nurture trees that bring forth bitter fruits, or destroy
his garden without any reason. He is free to do whatever he
wishes but if he is not out of his mine he would follow the norms of logic and
therefore his actions are predictable.
Of course, God can do whatever he pleases.
However he will not act crazy. He cannot be unjust or stupid. He
can but he won't. You and I can do a lot of things that no one
would ever find out, like steal or lie or even kill someone we
don't know for no reason and get away with it. However if we are
not psychopaths we will not do such things. By the same token,
even if God can be unjust he will not be because he is not a
psychopath God. The fact that he can do anything he pleases and
there is not law above him to keep him accountable is no excuse
for him to act his this insane way. Shouldn’t God be reasonable in his deeds?
Shouldn’t his actions make sense?
Why should a just God throw into hell a person who has
committed no crime and reward one who has done no good? This
goes against any sense of justice, as we know it.
Why did Muhammad depict his Allah in this way? It is because Allah was
Muhammad's own alter ego. Allah was everything the narcissist Muhammad
wanted to be. Narcissists want to be loved, feared, respected, and be free
to do as they please and respond to no authority. Muhammad lived his wet
dream though his sockpuppet Allah.
Book 32, Number 6416:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As: I heard Allah's Apostle
(PBUH) as saying: Allah ordained the measures (of quality) of
the creation fifty thousand years before He created the
heavens and the earth, as His Throne was upon water.
apologists reason that the idea that Allah has a foreknowledge of
everything that He created and the fact that the events unfold
exactly according to what he predicted, does not imply that human beings have
been completely deprived of the freedom of action. The
foreknowledge of God is an acknowledged fact, but it should not
be interpreted in the sense of predestination, for if we do so
we shall have to conceive of eternity as a storehouse of
ready-made events, from which they drop one by one like
particles of sand in a glass hour. If we take the foreknowledge
to be a reflecting mirror we shall have to deprive the Creator
and the Controller of the Universe of His Creative activity.”
This view contradicts the Qur'an and many hadiths that unequivocally
affirm that destiny is predetermined and it cannot be changed.
The Quran also
teaches that potentialities are pre-fixed too. For example
if a person is born with a physical defect, that is what God has
preordained for him and nothing can change it. Nevertheless,
with the advancement of the medicine, many physical defects can
be overcome. Some physical deficiencies can be rectified even
when a child is still unborn. Should we conclude that man is
changing what God had determined as the destiny and recorded in
his book as unchangeable?
Book 32, Number 6420:
Narrated AbuHurayrah: The polytheists of the Quraysh came to
have an argument with Allah's Apostle (PBUH) in regard to
Destiny and then this verse was revealed: "On the day
when they are dragged into the Fire upon their faces; taste
the touch of Fire. Surely, We have created everything
according to a measure"
Muhammad even accidents are the works of God. If a person makes
a mistake, say for example passes through the traffic light,
which causes an accident; we think that he is responsible. But
the prophet of God used to think it is the work of God.
Book 32, Number 6441:
Narrated AbuHurayrah: … and if anything (in the form of
trouble) comes to you, don't say: If I had not done that, it
would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that
what He had ordained to do and your "if" opens the
(gate for the Satan.
therefore, completely subordinate to the overruling power of
God, they cannot do anything unless God wills so.
The idea of
predetermination is clearly expressed in a story told in the
Qur'an. (18: 60-82) It is a story of Moses meeting Khidhr, a man wiser
than himself. Moses accompanies Khidhr for enlightenment and is
puzzled when Khidhr, among few other bizarre things, slays an
innocent boy. When he enquires, Khidhr explains that the lad
would have grown up to become an obstinate and a rebellious
person, hence becoming a disappointment to his pious parents. So he killed the boy
to spare his parents from future anguish of having a
So the boy was
punished for a crime that he had not yet committed. This story
eliminates any chance that the boy could have chosen to become a
pious person. Which raises the question, if his destiny was
predetermined and the only way to save his parents from the
torments of his future misdemeanor was to kill him before he
grow up, why Allah made him in the first place? And
why he does not kill all the people whom he knows would commit
sin sometime in the future? Wouldn't it be nicer if God killed
all the baby's that he knows would be disbelievers (the biggest crime) when they grow up as soon as
they are born? Then the question remains, why he makes them in
the first place? Why he destines for them this sin when they are
still a 40 day fetus? The following hadith is in
confirmation of the above verse
Book 32, Number 6434:
Narrated Ubayy ibn Ka'b: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him)
said: The young man whom Khadir killed was a non-believer by
his very nature and had he survived he would have involved his
parents in defiance and unbelief.
Ask Muslims by Gerhard Nehls
From all this, we can either conclude that God is a psychopath lunatic or
that Muhammad was a liar and had no understanding of God. Which one makes
more sense to you?