15 Nov Destiny and Human Free Will.Part2
God takes our free will into account when dealing with us and our acts, and then uses it to create our deeds. Thus we are never victims of Destiny or wronged by Fate. However insignificant our free will is when compared with God’s creative acts, it is still the cause of our deeds. God makes large things out of minute particles, and creates many important results from simple means. For example, He makes a huge pine tree from a tiny seed, and uses our inclinations or free choice to prepare our eternal happiness or punishment.
To better understand our part, and that of our willpower, in our acts and accomplishments, consider the food we consume. Without soil and water, air and the sun’s heat, none of which we can produce or create despite our advanced technology, we would have no food. We cannot produce even a seed of corn. We did not create our body, of which cannot control one single part, or establish its relationship with food. For example, if we had to wind our heart like a clock at a fixed time every morning, how long would we survive?
Obviously, almost all parts of the whole complex and harmonious universe, which is a most developed organism, work together according to the most delicate measures to produce a morsel of food. Thus, the price of that morsel is almost as much as the price of the whole universe. How can we possibly pay such a price, when our part in producing that morsel is utterly negligible, consisting of no more than our own effort?
Can we ever thank God enough for even a morsel of food? If only a picture of grapes were shown to us, could all of us work together and produce it? No. God nourishes us with His bounty, asking in return very little. If He told us to perform 1,000 rak’as (units) of prayer for a bushel of wheat, we would have to do so. If He sent a raindrop in return for one rak’a, we would have to spend our whole lives praying. If you were left in the scorching heat of a desert, would you not give anything for a single glass of water?
How can we thank Him enough for each bodily limb? When we see sick and crippled people in hospitals, or when we ourselves are ill, we understand how valuable good health is. But can we ever thank Him enough for this blessing? The worship God Almighty orders us to perform is, in fact, for our personal benefit and spiritual refinement, and well as for a good personal and collective life. Furthermore, if we believe in and worship God, He rewards us with infinite happiness and bounties in Paradise.
In sum: Almost everything we have is given to us for practically nothing, and our part in the bounty we enjoy here is therefore quite negligible. Similarly, our free will is equally negligible when compared with what God Almighty creates from our use of it. Despite our free will’s weakness and our own inability to really understand its true nature, God creates our actions according to the choices and decisions we make through it.
Divine Destiny Is Compatible with Human Free Will. Throughout history, people have tried to distinguish or reconcile Divine Will and human free will. Some have denied free will, while others have claimed that we create our own deeds and thereby ignore Destiny. However, as Islam is the middle way in everything, it proclaims that Divine Destiny dominates existence, including the human realm, but that we can use our free will to direct our lives.
The Qur’an expresses the true nature of this relation as follows: This [Qur’an] is a reminder unto the worlds, unto whoever among you wills to walk straight. You do not will, unless God wills, the Lord of the Worlds (81:27–29). These verses attribute absolute will to God Almighty, but do not deny human free will. In another verse, we read that God creates you and whatever you do (37:96).
Other verses speak of a covenant between us and God, and openly declare that we direct history: Fulfil [your part of] the covenant so that I fulfil [My part of] the covenant (2:40); If you help God[’s religion], He will help you and will make your foothold firm (47:7); and God changes not the condition of a people unless they change what is in their hearts (13:11).
Except for humanity and jinn, both of whom have free will and must account for their acts, Divine Destiny is the only absolutely dominant factor in existence. To reconcile Destiny and human free will, consider the following:
• Destiny is a for Divine Knowledge. God’s Knowledge comprehends everything within and beyond time and space. If your knowledge allows you to know beforehand that a certain thing will happen at a certain future time, your “prediction” will come true. But this does not mean that your foreknowledge caused it to happen. Since every thing and event are comprehended in God’s Knowledge, He writes what will happen at a given time and place, and it does so. What God writes and what we do are exactly the same; not because God writes it and then forces us to do it, but because we will it and then do it.