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Books- The Constituents of the Divine Assignment- 6th Constituent - Paragraph (1-2): Freedom of Choice
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  

 The most crucial thing in religion is man's Aqeedah (ideology), and if it is sound, his deeds will be right, which will make man achieve his hopes. The gravest corrupted ideology, that might paralyze man entirely and make him helpless towards his inevitable destiny, is fatalism. Fatalism by definition is to believe that Allah compels man to do all his deeds, and then He will call him to account for them though he is compelled. This point is expressed clearly in the following line of poem:

He threw him in the sea with hands tied up
and said to him, "Beware of getting wet"

 If the principal of a school gathers the students on the first day at school and reads to them the names of the students who will pass the exams and the names of those who will fail, and then he says to them, "You can go to your classrooms and study", he is practicing fatalism on them (since the results of their study are already registered). This is irrational.

 Let us mention the proofs that man has free will:

1- The first proof is in the Divine Revelation:

 Allah says:

﴾Those who took partners (in worship) with Allah will say: "If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His Will)." Likewise belied those who were before them, (they argued falsely with Allah's Messengers), till they tasted of Our Wrath. Say: "Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us? Verily, you follow nothing but guess and you do nothing but lie."﴿

[Al-An'am, 148]

 Scholars of interpretation and Aqeedah said, "This Ayah is the proof that man has free will, so whoever claims that he is Divinely compelled, forced or obliged, his ideology is like the one of Mushrikeen (polytheists).

 "Al-Khurs" is an Arabic word, which means the worst kind of lying, and it means to lie against Allah. Imam Al-Ghazali said, "If the mob commit major sins, this will be less graver than saying things about Allah of which they have no knowledge." Moreover, when Allah the Almighty puts the sins in the ascending order in Surat Al-A'raf, He considers the following as the mother of sins:

﴾And saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.﴿

[Al-A'raf, 33]

 In another Surah, Allah says:

﴾And that He may punish the Munafiqun (hypocrites), men and women, and also the Mushrikun men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah, for them is a disgraceful torment, and the Anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them and prepared Hell for them, and worst indeed is that destination.﴿

[Al-Fath, 6]

 Allah also says:

﴾Then after the distress, He sent down security for you. Slumber overtook a party of you, while another party was thinking about themselves (as how to save their ownselves, ignoring the sh3er and the Prophet PBUH) and thought wrongly of Allah - the thought of ignorance. They said, "Have we any part in the affair?" Say you (O Muhammad PBUH): "Indeed the affair belongs wholly to Allah." They hide within themselves what they dare not reveal to you, saying: "If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would have been killed here." Say: "Even if you had remained in your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death," but that Allah might test what is in your breasts; and to Mahis that which was in your hearts (sins), and Allah is All-Knower of what is in (your) breasts.﴿

[Aal-'Imran, 154]

 In another Surah Allah says:

﴾Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful.﴿

[Al-Insan, 3]

 Allah also says:

﴾Truly! Ours it is (to give) guidance,﴿

[Al-Lail, 12]

 Allah says in another Surah:

﴾And say: "The truth is from your Lord." Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve. Verily, We have prepared for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them (disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah). And if they ask for help (relief, water, etc.) they will be granted water like boiling oil, that will scald their faces. Terrible the drink, and an evil Murtafaqa (dwelling, resting place, etc.)!﴿

[Al-Kahf, 29]

 Also, Allah says:

﴾And as for Thamud, We showed and made clear to them the Path of Truth (Islamic Monotheism) through Our Messenger, (i.e. showed them the way of success), but they preferred blindness to guidance, so the Sa'iqah (a destructive awful cry, torment, hit, a thunderbolt) of disgracing torment seized them, because of what they used to earn.﴿

[Fussilat, 17]

 In another Surah Allah says:

﴾For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is Able to do all things.﴿

[Al-Baqarah, 148]

 Some people assume that the verb (face), refers to Allah, and if we understand the Ayah in such a way, we will be mistaken. It is like saying to the person who is in the back seat of the car, "Turn right" although you are the one who is driving, so he will tell you, "I cannot because the steering wheel is not in my hand." If we assume that Allah is the One Who directs us in our deeds and actions, why does He say in the same Ayah, "So hasten towards all that is good."?

 Hence, Al-Haa' refers to man not to Allah (so man is the one who directs his own deeds and actions), but man sometimes senses compulsion in some Ayat, so what should we say to him in such a case? There is a fundamental self-evident rule in Islam that goes as follows: No matter how many the Ayat Mutashabihaat (not entirely clear for many, or some people) are, they must be interpreted by referring to Muhkamaat (clear) Ayat.

 To clarify this point, allow me to give you an example. If you say, "Wheat is a critical material", what does the word "dangerous" indicate here? Does it mean that wheat might explode? Or does it mean that wheat is essential in man's life? This word bears more than one meaning, so it belongs to Mutashabihaat matters. The real meaning of "critical" here is that it is a basic material in man's life. Similarly, no matter how many the Ayat Mutashabihaat are, they must be interpreted by referring to Muhkamaat Ayat. Accordingly, even if there are 1000 Ayat in the Quran that might give the impression that man is Divinely compelled, they are all interpreted by referring to the following Ayah:

﴾Those who took partners (in worship) with Allah will say: "If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His Will)." Likewise belied those who were before them, (they argued falsely with Allah's Messengers), till they tasted of Our Wrath. Say: "Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us? Verily, you follow nothing but guess and you do nothing but lie."﴿

[Al-An'am, 148]

 Let me mention some of these Ayat, Allah says:

﴾And you will not, unless (it be) that Allah wills, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). ﴿

[At-Takwir, 29]

 This means that due to Allah's Will man owns the free will, given mankind can never own the free will if Allah does not decree that, so if you gain happiness because of the free will you own, and it is your means to exalt and succeed, then you should know that this free will is one of Allah's Blessings upon you.

 This Ayah can never mean that man's will is compelled by Allah's Will, but rather it denotes Allah's Favor upon man after He grants him the free will, and the difference between the two meanings is huge. In another Ayah, Allah says:

﴾And if We had willed, surely! We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect (about evil-doers), that I will fill Hell with jinn and mankind together.﴿

[As-Sajdah, 13]

 Allah made man the utmost creature, and He honored him by giving him the free will, the mind and Shari'ah. Hence, the meaning of the previous Ayah is that if Allah wills to compel you on something and to invalidate having the freedom of choice, being honored, being favored over other creatures and your identity, Allah will compel you on guidance, but this guidance will be the outcome of compulsion, and so it will not bring happiness at all, nor will it exalt man to the highest rank in Paradise. Pay attention to the following Ayah:

﴾Thus Allah leads astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills.﴿

[Al-Muddathir, 31]

 This Ayah has three meanings:

 The 1st meaning:

 Allah will lead astray the one who chooses to become astray out of his own will. Allah says:

﴾So when they turned away (from the Path of Allah), Allah turned their hearts away (from the Right Path). ﴿

[As-Saff, 5]

 The 2nd meaning:

 Allah will turn man away from the one he joined as a partner with Allah. In other words, when man depends on an earthy party (instead of Allah), the latter will let him down due to Allah's Will, and this is how Allah turns man away from this earthy party. Actually, if this earthy party helps man whenever he resorts to it, the latter will elevate it to a Divine Status. Hence, the moment you put your trust in anyone other than Allah, Allah will disappoint you through that person and make you deeply hurt only to turn you away from that partner you joined with Allah.

 The 3rd meaning:

 The misguidance indicated in these Ayat is like someone who is traveling to a city, and on his way he reaches an intersect, so he does not know which way to take, and he asks a person for help, and that person says to him, "Go this way", but if the traveler says to the man, "You are a liar", this person will not give him any further information about the road. Hence, he will not tell him that there is a bypass routes, a bridge or a barricade, because the traveler refuses to take that road to begin with. The same goes for man when he refuses religion; Allah will lead him astray, so he will not make use of the religious details. This is like a student who refuses to enroll himself in the university, and so he will not make use of its library, of the collage ID card, of any discount and all other privileges that are entailed to him as a university student.

2- The logical proof:

 It is illogical and unacceptable, and it is even unsuitable to the Creator of this universe and Allah's Perfection to say meaningless words (Sublime be He above such a claim). Unlike Allah, man might say meaningless words sometimes out of courtesy, hypocrisy, compulsion or flattery.

 I repeat, compelling people Divinely to do their deeds is a corrupted ideology, and it is like saying to someone who is passing through a path that is as narrow as the width of his shoulders to turn right, so in this case the order is meaningless, isn't it? Scholars said, "Sending Divine Orders and Prohibitions is enough proof that man has free will". If you are forced by Allah to do your deeds, it is meaningless to order you to be honest, to avoid dishonesty, to perform Salah or to abstain from wine and adultery. Hence, having Divine Orders and Prohibitions proves that man has free will.

 A man who drank wine was brought to our Master Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, so Umar ordered him to be whipped (as a punishment for drinking wine), but the man said, "Allah decreed that I do that". Umar ordered that he had to be whipped twice: once for drinking wine and the other for falsely accusing Allah for his sin, and he said, "Woe unto you man, Allah's Decree will never take away your free will."

 Our master Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "If we go to Ash-Sham, that will be according to Qada' and Qadar (Divine Preordainment and Predestination), and had you believed that it is a compelling Qada' and Qadar, then this will invalidate the Divine Promises and Menaces or the Divine Rewards and Punishment. Allah, the Glorified, has ordered His worshippers to act by free will and has cautioned them and refrained them (from evil). He has placed easy obligations on them and has not put heavy obligations. He gives them much (reward) in return for little (action). He is disobeyed, not because He is overpowered. He is obeyed but not under force."

 Al-Hasan said, "If Allah forced his creations to obey Him, rewarding would be meaningless, if He forced them to sin, punishment would be invalid and if He neglected them, this would indicate a shortcoming in Omnipotence. Allah commanded mankind after giving them free will in order to evaluate the deeds, otherwise good deeds would be of no importance, the bad deed would have no value and man would not be called to account for his deeds."

 If you imprison a student during his exams, and so he flunks the year, you cannot rebuke him for his failure. On the other hand, if you give the answers of the exam questions to a student, and so he aces the exam, you cannot hold a big party to honor him.

 Keep in mind that the Divinely reported proof does not contradict the logical one, because the Revelation is Allah's Words, the mind is the device He installed in man to judge matters, the reality is His creation, the pure Fitrah is His molding and Al-Haqq (the truth) is what is mentioned in the Divine Reporting, what accords with the sound mind and what goes along with the pure Fitrah and the objective reality.

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