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

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Al-Ghazali (1058 CE-505 AH/1111 CE). Al-Ghazali basically rejected causality, and maintained that the relationship between cause and effect is not that of one to one as the philosophers assumed, but a composite relationship which involves an indefinite number of contributory factors. His views on divine will and predestination can be summed up in the following two statements. Causes are inert entities, and cannot produce any effect of their own. The Will of God is the only real cause that brings about all observable effects in the entire universe. (Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Tahafut al-Falasifa, ed. Jirar Jihami, Beirut: Dar Fikr al-Lubnani, 1993, p. 169. See also M. Saeed Sheikh, Studies in Muslim Philosophy, 3rd edn., Lahore: Shah Muhammad Ashraf, 1974, pp. 147-48; cited in "Causality and Divine Action: The Islamic Perspective" by Muhammad Hashim Kamali; Web link:

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From the theological perspective of al-Ghazali, reality is not confined within the four walls of causation, the sensory and material causes alone. Non-material factors too play a role in the emergence of phenomena. (Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari, God and His Attributes: Lessons in Islamic Doctrine, Potomac: Maryland: Islamic Education Center, 1989, p. 186; cited in Muhammad Hashim Kamali as above; 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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Divine Will and Human Freedom -- Part I. Divine Predestination: How Far Real?