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Divine Will and Human Freedom -- Part I. Divine Predestination: How Far Real?

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Rashad Khalifa (1935-1990). He was a staunch advocate of Quran-only Islam, and recognized that man is "absolutely free to believe or disbelieve in God. It is God's will that we will (18:29, 25:57, 73:19, 74:37, 76:29, 78:39, 80:12)", which means that man is free to choose between good and evil. Ironically, however, he at the same time also subscribed to the view that God predestines our fate even before we are born. "We learn from 57:22 that our lives, along with everything else around us, are pre-recorded on something like a videotape. God fully knows what kind of decision each of us is destined to make; He knows which of us are going to Heaven and which are going to Hell. Even before we were born into this world, God knew which souls are good and which souls are evil. As far as God's omniscience is concerned, we can imagine a stamp on everyone's forehead that says "Heaven" or "Hell." Yet, as far as we are concerned, we are totally free to side with God's absolute authority, or Satan's polytheistic views. Predestination, therefore, is a fact as far as God is concerned, not as far as we are concerned. " Joseph fell for the Egyptian nobleman's wife, and almost committed adultery "if it were not that he saw a sign from his Lord. God teaches us in 12:24 that He "diverted evil and sin from Joseph, for he was one of My devoted worshipers.' Was it Joseph who controlled his lust? Or, was it God's protection from sin that rendered him chaste? Such is predestination." (Quran: The Final Testament, Appendix 14: Predestination; Web link: [This author's note: The article shows the absurdity of this mutually contradictory, dualistic thinking.]

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The Mutazilites. They were the earliest of Muslim rationalistic thinkers who called themselves "champions of God's unity and justice", and maintained that the notion of predestination of any sort would render God unjust. Thus, according to them, it is incumbent that man be responsible for his actions and that God reward and punish him accordingly (Web link:

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Abdur Rab is the author of "Exploring Islam in a New Light: An Understanding from the Quranic Perspective" (To know about the book, visit the website: Abdur Rab, Ph.D. from Harvard, has had a long career in economic research (more...)
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