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.

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