Saturday, January 23, 2010

conditional free-will

Surah 10 Yunus verses 104-109

104 Say: O you people! If you are in doubt as to my religion, (see) I worship not what you worship other than Allah. But I worship Allah---who will take your souls (at death). I am commanded to be of the believers.

105 And further, turn your face towards religion with true piety and never in any way be of the unbelievers.

106 Nor call on any other than Allah; such can neither profit you or hurt you--if you do only see, you will be of those who do wrong.

107 If Allah does touch you with hurt, there is none can remove it but he: If he do design some benefit for you, there is none can keep back his favor. He causes it to reach whomever of his servants he pleases. And He is the often forgiving, Most merciful.

108 Say: O you people. Truth has reached you from your Lord. Those who recieve guidance, do so for the good of their own souls ; those who stray, do so to their own loss: and I am not going to arrange your affairs.

109 Follow the inspiration sent to you and be patient and constant, till Allah decides, for he is the best to decide.

God is Omnicient and Omnipotent and he decides everything. Yet, there is also the reality that we make our own choices and we are responsible for those choices. How do we reconcile these realities? Our free-will is from God and the level of free-will we have in any given circumstances is determined by God. Therefore, sometimes we have many choices, other times only a few and there may be occasions when we have no choice. Our level of responsibility depends on our level of free-will which is determined by God. We cannot escape our responsibilty by refusing to excercise our free will in the hopes that God will decide for us, for the choice to use or not use our God-given gift of free-will is a decision in itself. We must be actively involved in life and living and "arrange our affairs". However, God is compassionate and merciful and has given us a criteria (Quran) so that we have access to His wisdom when we make choices. If we choose to follow His wisdom, it will help us and ease our souls. Yet, as we excercise our free-will, we must also trust in God, ---his power and his love.

One must strive to make dynamic, creative, God-centered decisions. By putting our trust in God and his wisdom, we can make fearless choices. Vincent Van Gogh asks "What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"

"I love the man that can smile in trouble,
that can gather strength from distress,
and grow brave by reflection.
Tis the bussiness of little minds to shrink;
but he whose heart is firm,
and whose conscience approves his conduct,
will pursue his principles....." Thomas Paine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Surah 45, Al-Jathiya verses 20-27

20.These are the clear evidences to men, and a guidance and mercy to those of assured faith.

21. What! do those who do evil deeds think that we shall make them as equal with those who believe and do righteous deeds,-that equal will be their life and their death? ill is the judgement that they make.

22. God created the Heavens and the Earth for just ends, and in order that each soul may find recompense of what it has earned, and none of them shall be wronged.

23. Then do you see such a one as takes as his God his own vain desire? God has left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put an cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after God has withdrawn his guidance? Will you not then recieve admonition?

24. and they say : "What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but time can destroy us". But of that they have no knowledge: they merely conjecture

25. And when our clear signs are rehearsed to them, their argument is nothing but this: they say "Bring (back) our forefathers, if what you say is true"

26.Say: "it is God who gives you life, then gives you death; then he will gather you together for a day of judgement about which there is no doubt". but most men do not know.

27. To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and the day that the hour of Judgement is established,- that day will the followers of falsehood perish.

Human beings have an inherent potential for goodness. But sometimes we fail ourselves and we fail God when we choose badness. Evilness degrades our soul. Our life on earth may have blessings but it also has trials and sufferring. Without heaven, our life on earth would have no meaning--all that we do, our goodness, trials and blessings will be for nothing. Without heaven, there would be chaos because there would be no point in being good and doing good.

God created the Universe in balance and harmony. God created the earth and heaven in justice. Our actions and intentions during our time on earth have a meaning and purpose. We are accountable for our choices and we will be judged for all we do. Those who have striven for good and asked forgiveness for their lapse will be rewarded---for this is justice tempered with compassion and mercy. Yet, justice also demands that those who have caused sufferring and pain to others be held accountable for their deeds, and be punished. Aristotle said "In justice is all virtues found in sum."

"Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience, recognize also the voice of justice."
---Aleksander Solzhenisyn

"The way of heaven:
benifit all, harm none"
Lao Tzu.