Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Divine and Human Will

Divine and Human Will

Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine


1-Muslims believe that the life of this world is a trial and a human being is responsible for his actions good or bad. However, Al- Qur’an also says that whatever happens because of the will of Allah. In such a case, how can a person be responsible and rewarded, or punished, for any action that would be the will of the Almighty.
2-The Holy Qur’an says that Allah gives to whom He wills, but it also says that a person earns what he or she strives for. How are both things possible at the same time?
3-How it can be that sometimes we get things for which we do not put any effort and sometimes we do not achieve the things for which we put our heart and soul.
4-How much is it feasible in the present world scenario, to spread the word of Islam, when people of other religions have a very negative attitude and sometimes violent approach to the education of the religion.
5-Sadly in many democratic countries of the world people - ironically only Muslims - are being discouraged to wear any sign of religious significance. Muslims living for centuries in those countries are being acted toward as strangers.
6-Are there any international laws to protect the basic rights of these people? If so, why are they not enforced?
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger

As for your questions are regarding The Will of Allah, each human being has been given the ability to choose his or her own path in this life by Allah and to follow either what is right or to follow what is wrong. If a person chooses to do something good and is able to follow through and perform that deed, then it is only because Allah has allowed it. The same is true if a person has chosen to perform a bad deed. He or she is only able to perform that deed if Allah allows it to happen.

If Allah allows an event to occur, whether it is an evil action or a good one, it does not mean that He has forced us to do it. We have chosen it and Allah has allowed it to come to pass for reasons, which He Alone fully understands. As Muslims, we expect only goodness and justice from Allah and it would be wrong for us to judge, with our limited understanding.

The One who possesses unlimited knowledge and understanding of all things is only Allah Almighty. In Surah Al-Kahf; the Cave of the Holy Qur’an, it relates the story of Prophet Moses (pbuh). It is narrating his story when he accompanied one of God’s wise servants, Khaidir in the hopes of learning from him. Khaidir performed many deeds that seemed wrong and unjust to Moses but, as Moses learned later, there was great wisdom behind each action.

As Muslims, we do not challenge God’s infinite wisdom with our own limited perceptions of events. By God’s mercy and justice, we are only punished for deeds that we knew were wrong beforehand, but insisted on committing them anyway. Allah will not hold someone to account for something they did out of ignorance or unintentionally. If, however, we know an act to be forbidden, yet insist on performing it, then we will be held accountable for it. Allah will either punish us for that or forgive us.

As for your question regarding striving and achieving, because Allah gives whom He wills, we only achieve what is allowed by Allah. He has the power to enforce His will whenever or however He wants. We, on the other hand, have very little power to enforce our will or to ensure our plans come to fruition. We cannot control everything that happens around us.

So, sometimes what we struggle to achieve does not come to pass. At other times, good things come to us with little or no effort on our part. This should teach us that, ultimately, we are in control of very little and depend heavily on God’s mercy for everything we have. We need to give constant thanks to Allah for the many bounties He provides us.

The world around us is not the result of our handiwork, nor did we create our own selves. It is only through His infinite mercy that we exist and are able to do so many things.

It is important to remember that just because we wish something to be and struggle long and hard to make it happen, doesn’t mean that it is a good thing. Also, there are many things which we dislike, yet they are very beneficial to us.

As Muslims, we need to expect only good from Allah, so if something we strive hard for does not come to pass, we should be patient and try again until it does. If, in the end, it still does not happen, it might be that it is not good for us and Allah, out of His mercy, has prevented us from achieving it.

As for your question regarding spreading the word of Islam, we can look at it simply as a doctor, trying to treat an uncooperative child. The child does not understand that the doctor has good intentions and is trying his best to ease the child’s suffering. The child puts up a fight and sometimes hits the doctor, who is only trying to help. The doctor, however, has sworn to ease the suffering of people, no matter what difficulties he or she may face in dealing with hostile patients. The doctor knows the problem and is working hard to solve it and because of his dedication to his work, must continue to do his best to help.

A Muslim is very often in the same position; trying to help, but finding it very difficult to do so. Hardships will always be a part of spreading the word of God, but if we persevere and are patient, it will benefit humanity and there will be a great reward for us in this life and the hereafter, insh’Allah.

There are many international laws aimed at protecting human rights, but Muslims need to be their own defenders with the help of Allah. We should not expect non-Muslims to rush to our aid or to be more concerned about our rights than we are. The unity of Muslims is the best way to defend our rights and freedoms. So, we should work hard to promote unity among Muslims, in order to protect them.

May Allah to guide us all to what pleases Him.

[Excerpted with minor modification from Q&A published in Islam Online -- Ask About Islam, 13 Dec 2004]

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