Archive for the ‘Free will’ Category

The role of intention

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I read this somewhere that we will be judged by God because of our INTENT (نیتنا). Do you believe that INTENT نية is more important than performance? (as reported by Ali and Ja`far As-Saadiq, may God have been pleased with them).

If you’d agree with me then should I keep going? I still haven’t made a decision. If I choose not to, it won’t be because of my situation (calamity). I swear to my dear Lord that it’s not about misfortunes of my life. Maybe everyone hates me, even my family, all people except kids.

I just wanna see the truth, wanna see God, wanna see my Dear Lord because I believe that it would be enough for me, I’ll endure those flames just for that sight of Him. Then I’ll rest even in hell.

That will be the INTENT behind my action, so tell me as a man of God, not personal answer, as someone who knows the truth (Allah) and have a task to share that, is this forbidden too to make such a decision?

I’ve nothing to contribute, because of your perfect site, but pray. May our Dear Lord bless your soul.

Thank you for you kind words about the blog and for your prayer for me. May God accept it and give you same.

How do you know that you will see God? There is no evidence that this will happen except for the people of Paradise. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, God will say to them, ‘Do you want more I can add for you?’. They will say, ‘Did You not admit us to Paradise and save us from the Fire?’. Then the veil will be uncovered. They would never be given anything more beloved to them than looking at their Lord.” Narrated by Suhayb ibn Sanaan and reported by Muslim who rated it authentic. In another narration of the same hadeeth, he subsequently recited, “For those who did good is the best reward and more.” (10:26)

Thus, you assumption that you may see God either way has no basis. If what you are talking about is committing suicide, God forbid, then you should know that it is the only terminal sin in Islam. All other can be remedied in time.

It is also unforgivable, regardless of the intention behind it. One day, in a battle, a man was quite the warrior. His fellows were praising his valor, but the Prophet (PBUH) surprised them by saying, “He is in the Hellfire!” Shortly thereafter, the man was so badly wounded and in so much pain that he killed himself. Now the Sahaba understood the Prophet’s prophesy about him. The Prophet (PBUH) also said that a man from the prior nations had a painful open wound, so he committed suicide. Then God said, “My servant preempted Me with himself; I have forbidden him Paradise.” (Narrated by Jandab ibn Abdillah and reported by Al-Bukhaari). If, God forbid, you should commit suicide, you would lose both this world and the Hereafter. I pray that you come to your senses and expel Satan who is whispering such delusions into your ears.

The reality of this world can certainly be hard. God made that clear to Adam, “So, We said, ‘O Adam, verily this (Satan) is an enemy to you and to your spouse, so do not let him evict you from the Garden lest you should suffer.'” (20:117)

But does that mean we should abandon living and renounce the world? If that were true, how come the Prophet (PBUH) and all his noble companions were fully engaged in the world, in spite of all its trials, tribulations and unpleasantness? The Prophet (PBUH) had uncles who cursed him and even plotted to kill him. And what did he do? He kept friendly relations with them to the end. As a matter of fact, he practiced forgiveness, largess and graciousness.

If renouncing the world was a teaching of Islam, don’t you think that God, or His messenger, would have told us so?

This world was meant to mix the good and the bad, the wholesome and the filthy, the right and the wrong, guidance and loss. How else would the free will that man took on be exercised or tested? Why do you think God keeps telling us in the holy Quran to endure, keep the faith and do good? It is precisely because human nature would lead man to despair, lose faith and detach from the world otherwise. Maybe even drink to forget. Satan is counting on it!

Life is a finite opportunity to gain God’s approval and earn His reward. This can only be done if we maintain the right faith, remain steadfast on the Straight Path, fulfill our obligations, accumulate good deeds, expiate sins and call upon God to accept what we do right and pardon what we do wrong.

Finally, the role of intention is to validate good deeds. A charity could be intended for show-off. It may still be beneficial but it ceases to be a good deed – the kind that gets recorded in one’s book of deeds. A sin remains a sin regardless of the intention that preceded it. Intention is what differentiates the sincere from the hypocrites. That is why God judges by it, and only He fully knows it.

Are we at fault for all bad things?

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

I would like to know why do we tell “Everything good is from Allah SWT and everything bad is from us.”

If you have already answered this question in your older posts, please provide me the link.

You are referring to verse 4:79, but you should also take verse 4:78, which establishes the context, in order to understand it:

“{4:78} Wherever you may be, death will catch up with you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction. And if good comes to them, they say, “This is [coming] from God”; and if a bad [thing] hits them, they say, “This is [coming] from you.” Say, “All [things come] from God.” So what is [the matter] with those people that they can hardly understand a statement?

{4:79} What comes to you of good is [caused] by God, but what comes to you of bad is [caused] by yourself. And We have sent you, [O Muhammad,] to the people as a messenger, and sufficient is God as Witness.”

Most translations I read of these two verses fail to distinguish between the two different prepositions that God used here, namely من and من عند, which would lead the English reader to view these two verses as contradictory to each other! 4:78 says that God is the source of all things, good and bad, while 4:79 says that only good things are caused by God while bad ones are caused by us. The distinction specified in the Arabic is lost in the translation and leads to a wrong conclusion! Rather, من عند means “comes from the reservoir of” while من means “is caused by.” Thus, to be faithful to the Arabic, and in doing so dispel confusion, I suggest the above translation.

It is particularly interesting to me that in 4:78, God chastises people for not understanding plain talk. That means that this distinction I explained above was clear enough, yet people did not get it. Indeed, the source of all things is God. Who else is or can be a source? But the cause of something is creature action. If we don’t do the wrong things, nothing wrong will happen! The Sunna (way) of God is that everything is in order, working as planned, in harmony, in precise measure and timing, well designed for maximum benefit. That is why God says that the cause of good is He. God does not do anything to ruin His plan or design. But we often do.

Why are there wars, famine, scarcity, disease, poverty, ignorance, etc., in the world? It is all caused by human action. We are all capable of choosing right, but some of us willingly and knowingly choose the wrong. The result is suffering. That is the cosmic law of cause and effect that God created and set forth.

Related post: Why is there suffering, death, evil and injustice in the world?

Is apostasy preordained?

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

What is apostasy? On a forum we are discussing Qadar and apostasy. Here is the question that is being discussed.
if a person apostated from Islaam, do you believe that Allaah ordained for that person to apostate from Islaam?

Isn’t it interesting how people would blame God for all their bad decisions, but when good things happen to them they take credit?

God tells us in the Quran how disbelievers on the Day of Judgment will try to weasel out of the responsibility for their bad choice:

“And they said, ‘If the Beneficent had willed, we would not have worshiped them (the idols).’ They have no knowledge of that. They are but conjecturing.” (43:20)

Let’s examine their statement. Is what they said true? It sure is! If God wills for something to not happen, it cannot happen. So, does their statement logically lead to the conclusion they hope to make? Namely, does the will of God lead to some people’s wrong decisions? If so, then how can He punish them for such choice? That’s what they are hoping to conclude; that they should not be punished for a bad choice which they could not but make.

This method of arguing is a well known pseudo-reasoning method called red herring (or smoke screen). You change the premise without appearing to do so. Thus, the logical conclusion will be different than if you stay with the original premise.

The diverted premise is that we do not have a free will. The will of God surpasses any will we may or may not have. The original premise repeatedly stated by the Quran is that we should be accountable for the decisions we freely make.

So, I can see two steps to refuting the argument posed by your question. First, we need to establish that we do have a free will. This blows up the red herring and brings us back to the original premise. Then we need to establish that the will of God does not contradict our free will.

Does anybody seriously doubt that we have a free will? We instinctively know it. We feel it. When we make a decision, we know that we have alternatives and we know that we freely choose one of them.

The free will is the pre-requisite for life on earth. Check out the Story of Adam and Eve post. If you have doubts that we do have a free will, check out the previous posts in the Fate and Free Will categories.

The will of God has been that we have a free will. That is why God says,

“And you do not will but that God wills” (76:30)

We could not will anything if God did not will for us that we can.

Whether one apostates or stays faithful is foreknown to God, but it is not preordained. God could have stopped that person from apostating, but He had decreed that our choices will be free. That necessarily means that He would not interfere with them. It also means that the responsibility for our choices lie with us alone. Any attempt to escape that responsibility is therefore indefensible.

A dilemma of faith?

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Have you ever read Narcissus and Gouldmond by Hesse?
I think we are focusing too much on the interpretation of the scholar. I do not see a balance in the wise man. A forum I follow is stuck on scholars and fatawas. I see a lack of independent thought. That scares me. In simple words: we choose to be Believers. We have to be true to ourselves as to why we choose to be Believers. I understand that scholars help us to arrive at an understanding.

In essence faith is the most intellectual pursuit we have and at the same time faith is the most anti-intellectual endeavor we face. You need to write on this one.

An interesting characterization of faith as a dilemma. The way most people view faith, it is a dilemma. The way Islam defines it, it is far from it.

Most people, when they think of faith, they think of blind trust. They trust a book, a preacher, a parent, a peer. Most of them do not pause to ask themselves the simple question, “Do I know that this is true?” Many of them are too scared to ask that question, or too timid.

They take one side of the dilemma as you described it: the anti-intellectual side. Atheists, on the other hand, take the other side. They will tell you that there is no rational reason to believe in God and that’s why they don’t.

Islam, as usual, solves the dilemma and comes in the middle of these two extremes. In Islam, faith is not blind; it’s educated! By that I mean that you first are asked to read the Quran and think deeply about what you read. Does it ring true to both your heart and your mind? The Quran keeps asking its reader, “Little that you remember!” (27:62), “If only you would remember!” (56:62), “Should you not then remember?” (32:4), “So that perhaps they would remember” (39:27)

Remember what? Remember the truth about God which you were born with. Remember the covenant with God that you agreed to before you were born. When you do, your faith is then a confirmation of what you already know to be the truth. Nothing blind about that.

It’s not the people who make you faithful, it’s your innate knowledge.

Questions about two hadeeths

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

In Bukhari’s Hadeeth compilation, there is this hadeeth:

Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’ And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah.”

How should the beginning of this hadith be interpreted? As fighting in a war?

And the second hadith is this:

“The best Jihad is the word of Justice in front of the oppressive Sultan.” (Abu-Dawud, Tirmidhi, ibn Majah)

In what volume/section of Dawud can I find this hadith? I’ve search everywhere but can’t find. Tell me the exact number of it please.

Unlike the Quran, the Hadeeth is mostly reported without context. That is, the narrator would say, “We were sitting with the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he said …” Sometimes, but rarely, some context is given. This often leads to misinterpretation, as taking any quote out of context usually does.

The hadeeth is talking about when to end a war with non-Muslims. Muslims must end fighting when the person they are fighting accepts Islam.

Islamophobes and extremists alike quote this hadeeth as evidence that Islam mandates forced conversions. It does not, as I just explained. How do we know that? Because Islam is not one hadeeth. It is the entirety of the Quran and the authentic Hadeeth taken together, not in isolated pieces. The Quran makes it abundantly clear that choice of religion is free and must never be coerced. For instance,

“Had God so willed, all in the earth would have believed altogether. Would you [, O Muhammad] then coerce them to be believers?” (10:99)

No authentic hadeeth can possibly contradict the Quran.

As for the second hadeeth you mentioned, it’s been narrated by Abu-Sa`eed Al-Khudri (RA) and reported by Abu-Daawood (4344) and rated authentic by Al-Albaani. Also reported by At-Tirmizhi (2174) who rated it “strange but sound”. It was also narrated by Taariq ibn Shihaab Al-Ahmusi and reported by An-Nawawi who rated it authentic. Also reported by Ibn Katheer who rated it “Thaabit” (established).

How can we prove that God exists?

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

We can’t! If there were proof, there would be no need for faith. That said, the existence of God is something ingrained in all of us since before we were born, see verse 7:172. That is why when God expounds His favors on us and draws our attention to His signs all around us, He sometimes asks us the rhetorical question, “Don’t you remember?” (32:4).

How do you explain the suffering that takes place in the world?

It is a consequence of the free will that chooses evil. If there were no evil chosen, there would be no suffering. And if no one could choose evil, then there is no point to the free will!

For this and other fundamental questions, this site may help you answer them.

Christian, Muslim then Christian again

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

On a forum that I follow, there was a post about a woman who was raised Christian, then she accepted Islam, but lately decided to go back to Christianity. I was dismayed by that, but more dismayed by the attitude of Muslims on the forum of condemning her and some suggested that she should be killed because they claim, apostasy is punishable by death! Is there a basis for that?

She can become Muslim again! God says in the holy Quran, “Those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve then increase in disbelief, God would not forgive them nor show them a way.” (4:137)

From that we learn two things:
That one can still go back to belief after they went back to disbelief, and
That there is no punishment for apostasy, or else God would have mentioned it here!

The fact that God says that an apostate may go back to believing is solid proof that they may not be killed! Because, obviously, if they are killed, they cannot have the chance to believe again!

The apostasy ruling of the capital punishment is based on a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaari and nararted by Ibn Abbaas. It is in direct conflict, however, with the teaching of the Quran,

“And say: the Truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills, let him believe, and whoever wills, let him disbelieve” (18:29).

The Quran trumps any other source of ruling, especially if the matter is ending someone’s life!

Help me keep my faith

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I am a Muslim who has lost my faith. Not because I converted to another religion. And not because I decided to adopt a secular life-style to fit in. I’ve lost my faith, after much thinking and questioning, and finding in the end that I could not see the logic of religion at all.

I am sad to have lost my faith, and have turned to this site to get help, because I am trying to be optimistic that there is something I have missed, and that if I realize what I have missed, I will find my faith once again.

I have to admit that life can be more difficult without faith.

Some of my issues are:

1. If God is so merciful, how could possibly burn someone in Hell eternally simply because he did not believe in God.

That’s not true. God only punishes people who received His message yet chose to reject it. He says in the holy Quran,

“And We would not be tormenting until We send off a Messenger” (17:15)

What if someone wasn’t convinced of the truth of God,

Why aren’t you? Did you read the Quran? It’s not rocket science. The knowledge of God is the innate nature of all creatures.

2. … They say God created it. But who created God? Again, a classical, yet I think fair question. People of religion will argue that God wasn’t created. But that doesn’t simplify things; it means we now have to explain where God got the building materials for the universe, and how he came about.

This is an ill-posed question, because it makes the assumption that for an entity to exist, it needs building materials and a maker. This is true for creatures but not for God. God, by definition, is the One who can create without building material and exists without a maker.

To ask, “Who created God” is like asking “What revolves around the moon?” A moon, by definition, is a celestial being that revolves around a planet. Nothing revolves around it. If something revolved around it, it would be a planet (or a star) but not a moon.

3. Why doesn’t God just prove his existence? People of faith will say because then the element of faith would be non-existent. True enough. But that’s also admitting that there’s no way to prove his existence and so to punish someone who did not believe in something that could not be proved would be grotesquely unfair–especially when the punishment is eternal damnation.

Not true, because God instilled in all His creatures the certain knowledge that He is God. See 7:172. Those who reject God go against the conviction of their own souls.

You may also find this web site helpful.

4. Why did the Prophet marry a nine year old.

This a common misconception. See this post for more details.

That said, why would that be cause for you to abandon Islam? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Prophet (PBUH) did something wrong, why would that convince you that Islam is not true? He was human. He made mistakes and some of them were mentioned, and corrected in the Quran.

But marrying `Aa’isha bint Abi-Bakr, may God have been pleased with both, was quite proper, since she was nineteen at the time.

5. Relating to point one, how could God eternally burn Abu-Talib simply because he didn’t believe, in spite of the fact that he was a good man, who had helped and protected Muhammad, and helped the cause of Islam?

As he was dying, Abu-Taalib, the Prophet’s uncle, had his nephew, peace be upon him, on his right side, and his brother Abu-Jahl on his left side. The Prophet (PBUH) kept begging him to say the Shahaada and he could see in his eyes that he wanted to do it, but Abu-Jahl kept shaming him by saying, “Are you going to abandon the religion of Abdul-Muttalib (their father)?” Abu-Taalib chose Taqleed instead of doing the right thing. That’s why he will be punished. Our choices in life carry consequences. The foremost choice, acceptance of God, must therefore carry the biggest consequences.

6. Why would God let his most pious followers suffer so much? I don’t really buy the argument that it’s a trial, or we don’t know. How can God justify letting a young child be raped, for example? Or justify a young child being eaten alive by a wild animal, as has happened? Can children who are unaware of the concept of God be trialed–clearly not.

Evil is a necessary result of the free will. These articles may help you understand this better.

As for horrible accidents to innocent people, they are a test of faith of those who survive them. The child is not trialed. His parents are. The child, in fact, is in heaven having skipped all trials of this world!

However, this is only true if you believe, not if you simply practice religion. I am unable to believe–I want to–but I can’t. And I want help, because I hope that there is something I’m missing that will make me believe.

What you’re missing is the Quran. It is God talking to you. Say to yourself that you are going to study the Quran like your life depends on it! Give yourself time to reflect on what you study. Ask questions about what you don’t understand. We are all here to help you.

And above all, ask God to help you. If you are sincere in seeking the truth about Him, then He will certainly guide you if you ask Him.

Thank you for your help of a complete stranger. I will go through the references you provided. I have gone from no faith to faith before, and I hope I can make the same journey once again successfully–albeit it will be a bigger challenge this time around.

You have the right attitude; it will help you a lot, in-sha-Allah. I pray to God to guide you back to Him. He is Al-Haleem (the Forbearing), the Gracious (Ar-Rahmaan), the Guide (Al-Haadi) and the One who delights when His servant repents to Him and will accept his repentance over and over again (At-Tawwaab).

A question on the free will

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I was wondering if all the wars, genocides and all other chaos that have happened in the past, were all of these planned by God or was it just man abusing his free will?

All those are the consequences of the free will. If evil could not happen, then there was no point to the free will. Such a creation already existed. It’s called the angels.

For more details about the free will, check out these articles.

Nagging questions about death

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Why would God allow innocent people to die? Why would God allow infants to die? Why would God allow unborn babies to die through late-term abortions just because the mother didn’t want a kid? Now I’ll be the first to argue that, in certain circumstances, death isn’t a bad thing for the person dying. But it’s the effects of that death on loved ones that truly brings grief and suffering. I can’t see God giving those kinds of effects to his believers.

The loved ones acceptance of the death of their relatives is proof of their submission to God, which is what the word Islam means. Their prayers for them adds to their reward with God.

When a Muslim loses a loved one to death, he or she utters the words “We belong to God and back to Him we shall all return” (2:156). That is the acknowledgment that our life is a temporary test of faith, but our place was always meant to be in heaven. The death of someone is not a punishment; it’s their gateway to the Hereafter which the Quran calls “The Lasting Home.”

The non-believer’s reaction to death, on the other hand, is despair, panic, resentment, etc. He or she does not understand the meaning of life, what we’re here for or where we’re going. Or is not willing to accept it.

This is also somewhat contradictory of free will. If I decide I want to die today, it doesn’t matter, because God’s in control of death. I could stab myself in the heart as many times as I want, Im not gonna die until God allows me to. That doesn’t sound right to me.

The domain of the free will, and the consequences of choices made, is in the mandates of God only. It’s not a Carte Blanche. You are free to believe in Him or to reject Him and you are free then to obey Him or rebel against Him. As for His decrees, He compels you to them because He has not asked you to choose in them. We could not have a free will if God did not will for us to have it.