Destiny and man’s free will, which marks the farthest point of perfection of one’s belief and submission, is something related to the inner experience and spiritual state of a believer, so it is not something indicated by science or theory. Man has free will, and is enjoined to follow the religious obligations. He cannot by any means ascribe his sins to God. Divine Destiny exists so that the believer does not grow proud of his good acts by ascribing them to himself. Man has free will so that the rebellious carnal self does not rid itself of the consequences of its sins by ascribing them to Destiny, and the pious person conceitedly ascribe his good acts to himself alone.
In calamities such as earthquakes or floods, God does not usually choose between the good and the evil or between the innocent and the sinful- when such calamities come, they do not fall exclusively on the wicked and wrongdoers; the meaning of the testing and trial to which men are put in this world requires it to be so. However, in return for such calamities, the good and innocent ones will be rewarded greatly in the Hereafter. It sometimes occurs that God Almighty includes the good and innocent in such calamities because they do not try to prevent the sinful from doing wrong and committing sins.
Because of self-conceit and the weakness of devotion, man tends to attribute to himself his accomplishments and good deeds and feels proud of himself. Whereas, as The Holy Book explicitly states, “God creates you and what you do (37:96),” it is the Divine Compassion, which demands good deeds and the Power of the Lord, which creates them. Whoever ponders over his life, he will realize and confess to himself that God has directed him to good acts, usually prevented him from doing wrong deeds and by endowing him with the sufficient capacity, power and means required for any accomplishment, favored him with many accomplishments and good deeds.
Man’s free will is not something visible like the parts of the body. Nor does it have a material existence. However, that something has no visible, material existence does not mean it does not exist. Everyone has two eyes but we can also see with a third eye we have. We see with our two eyes the things in the external, material world. As for the third eye we have, we see the things beyond events and the physical world with it. The free will is like the third eye of ours, which you may call insight. It is an inclination or an inner force by which man prefers and decides.
Man will and God creates. The project or a plan of a building has no value or use unless you start to construct the building according to it. Actually, it is the building, which is visible and serves many purposes for man. However, that building has been built according to its plan. Man’s free will is, in a sense, like that plan, according to which man decides and acts and God creates man’s actions. Creation and acting or doing something are different things. God’s creation means that God gives actual existence to man’s choices and actions in the physical world. Without God’s creation, man cannot do anything.
In human history, people have suffered difficulties to distinguish or reconcile Divine Will and human free will. Some have gone so far as to deny man a free will to act and determine his life, while others have attributed to man himself even the creation of his deeds, completely ignoring the role of Destiny in his life. However, Islam is a middle way; as it is in every other issue, what is right in the matter of the relation between Destiny and man’s free will is also following the middle way. That is, Divine Destiny dominates over the whole of existence, including the human realm while man obviously has a free will by using which he directs his life.
1. Divine Destiny, which you may call it Divine determination and arrangement, is dominant in the universe, while not excluding man from having a free will.
2. Since God is beyond all time and space and everything is included in His Knowledge, He encompasses time with its past, present and future divisions in a single, undivided point. This subtle point can be made easier to understand also through the following comparison, in addition to the one mentioned above in the argument d:
Also, the more bounties and blessing God accords one, the greater responsibility one has. Alms giving is compulsory for the wealthy, and those who are disabled are blind or ill do not have to go on fighting in the way of God. To express the utmost degree of piety, the Messenger Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’
Besides being the arena of test and trial for man, the world is also the realm of troubles. When God warned Adam not to eat of the forbidden tree, He reminded him:
The world is an arena of trial for man. He has been sent here to acquire the state appropriate for the other life. This is not easy. Like a tailor who, in order to make a suit fit for his customer, cuts a piece of cloth and gives it a certain shape, and makes the customer sit and stand and turn to try it out on him, God Almighty causes man to ‘turn about’ in diverse conditions to ‘shape’ him according to the afterlife. Also, a man is like a raw mineral to be worked on when he comes to the world. Just as minerals are of many kinds from coal do diamond or brilliant, the social life of mankind also requires that men should be of different degrees of intellectual abilities, physical strength and sensitivity. Again, just as the same method or process of working is not applied to every mineral exclusively, and the process is, of course, more exacting and demanding to obtain gold or diamond than coal or copper, each man may need a different test and trial, a different training to be refined and reach the final level of attainment destined for him. This means that God makes every person subject to different suffering and afflictions to elevate him to a state appropriate for the other world.
In order to illuminate a huge, magnificent palace, we must install in it a lighting system. However, after we have installed the lighting system, the illumination of the palace will still require that we should touch the switch and turn on the lights. Unless we touch the switch, the lights will not be turned on and the palace will still remain in darkness despite the lighting system. In a like way, man is a magnificent palace of God, which is illuminated by belief in God. God has supplied him with the necessary lighting system: He has given him intellect, the powers of reasoning and sensing, and the faculties of learning, making comparisons and preferences between opposite things. Nature and events and also the Divinely revealed religion are like the source of the electricity with which this Divine palace ‘man’ will be illuminated. Nevertheless, man’s illumination with belief requires that he should use his free will and touch the switch. Man’s touches the switch means petitioning God to illuminate him with belief. In a manner befitting a slave at the door of his lord, man must petition the Lord of the Universe to illuminate him and make him thereby a ‘King’ in the universe. When he does so, the Lord of the Universe will behave towards him in a way befitting Himself and promote him to the rank of kingship over the other realms of creation.