We believe that Allāh has created the universe and He is its Absolute Controller and Regulator. Everything in the universe has a predetermined set course which we will call Al-Qadr. Nothing can happen without the will and the knowledge of Allāh, who knows the present, the past and the future. The destiny of every creature is already known to Allāh.
But this does not mean that man has no freedom of will. We know that man is the Khalīfah of Allāh on this earth. We also know that Allāh does not force us to do anything. Whether we will obey or disobey is known to Him. But, the fact that Allāh knows what we are going to do, does not affect our freedom of will. Man does not know what his destiny is. But he has the free will to choose the course he will take. We will be judged on the basis of our intentions on the Day of Judgment. If we follow Allāh’s guidance, we will be rewarded and if not, we will be punished. By believing in Al-Qadr, we testify that Allāh is the Absolute Controller of all the affairs of His universe. It is He who decides what is good and what is bad. Allāh knows already the fate of all. This does not mean that we can do whatever we like. We must pay attention to the Divine Guidance provided by Allāh the Almighty. He gave human beings free will. We can choose between right and wrong and will be judged for our actions on earth on the day of Ākhirah. Allāh is the only one who can judge His subjects. He asks mankind to follow the Divine Guidances He has provided for man’s fulfillness in the life after death. But it depends entirely on the mercy of Allāh who will be rewarded and who will not. Allāh knows what will happen to everyone, but we do not know. This fore-knowledge is His Divine quality – Ṣifāt.
Sometimes things happen that do not seem to make sense to us. Why do earthquakes happen? Why do people suffer? We do not know all the answers. We have only a little knowledge, but Allāh knows everything. We should have firm faith in the wisdom of our All-knowing Creator and help people in distress as much as we can. We are unable to understand and interpret many of Allāh’s actions. It is meaningless to argue that human beings act without freedom and that we are forced to act the way we do. We decide for ourselves what we will do and we are responsible for our own actions. Risālah is a channel of communication between Allāh and mankind. Allāh, in his infinite mercy, has provided man with guidance to follow the right course and to make this world a happy and peaceful place to live in. Since the beginning of the Creation, Allāh has sent His guidances for mankind through His selected people. These chosen human beings are called prophets or messengers. We should never refer to them as the sons of Allāh. Allāh is One and He has no partner or son.
You may ask why we need guidance from Allāh. The answer is simple; we are weak and frail; we have no substantial knowledge of the future. This is the reason why Allāh has blessed us with guidance through prophets and messengers. Not only this, but Allāh has also sent books of guidance through the prophets and messengers. The Qur’ān is the last book of Allāh’s guidance.
Adapted from Islam Teaching and Beliefs by Ghulam Sarwar, 1998
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