I have a few questions I’d like to put out to the Muslims & Christians on here.
Some questions might appeal to one religion more so than the other and the questions are sort of related to eachother, but whatever.
1. If God is all seeing, all knowing, and the great planner of everything, does this mean he plans evil?
2. Can you have mercy without sin? If not, does this mean we have to become a sinner before we can “find God”?
3. If our lives are planned, does this contradict our free will?
By the way I’m asking out of intrigue, not trying to sound like a condescending twat. I genuinely want answers.
Hi, these questions are asked often by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Here’s my perspective on what I think it means:
- Evil is not a ‘commodity’ like good in the same way that dark is not a ‘commodity’ like light. The one exists in the absence of the other. This ties in with the concept of fate and free will, which also relates to your third question, so I hope to deal with it more comprehensively in that answer. Essentially what I’m saying is that God doesn’t plan good or evil. He simply makes available the choices to us with predetermined outcomes, and what we choose is what determines whether good or evil results from our actions.
- Assuming that mercy is only required when we sin overlooks the fact that mercy is also needed to continue giving without reason or recompense. What I mean is that we often only think of asking for mercy if we realise that we’ve done something wrong. However, as Muslims, we consider every good that we receive, and every comfort that we enjoy as a mercy from Allah. So we believe that we’re indebted to Allah for all the mercy that He shows us even though we are often not complying with what we believe to be His will or instructions for the way we should be living our lives.
- Free will and destiny are often very misunderstood. As Muslims, we believe we have a limited free will, and not an absolute free will. What I mean is that I can choose how I respond to a situation, or how I want to act, but I cannot control what situations or experiences are presented to me. This world is a perfect system in that every action has a predetermined reaction. These are the natural laws and order of things that we believe was created by Allah. Therefore, whatever we do, the outcome is known to Allah because He created the ‘rules’ that govern existence and how everything interacts. But in this system, there are variables, and these variables allow us to exercise our limited free will. So by exercising our gift of reason and logic, and our ability to act on it, we choose either to encourage good, or evil. How we choose, and how we comply with the laws and guidelines set out for us is what determines our standing in Allah’s court, and subsequently will determine our final fate when we’re called to account on the day of judgement.
I’ve contemplated the issue of fate and free will previously, so if you’d like to read more about my thoughts on the subject, you can see some of my previous posts under the tag of fate.
I look forward to hearing your views on this.
I find it strange, if not unfortunate, that people that choose atheism, a great many of which despise religion, do so on the basis of acquiring (sometimes) in-depth knowledge of Christianity mainly, finding the flaws in their logic, tenets and scriptures, and then proclaiming that as the illogical base that substantiates their views on religion in totality.
Muslims, unfortunately in their present form, do very little to dissuade such an approach because we’re just so ritualistic and often illogical in our application of the beauty of Islam based on how our forefathers did it, rather than a conscious effort through understanding the principles of what Islam offers, with the only saving grace being that we have a more logically sound base off which to work.
But when we contaminate Islam with cultural rubbish and use that as a yardstick to measure the worth of other Muslims, boldly proclaiming who is kaafir and who is not, we erode that very same pristine base and expose ourselves to the same debasement and ridicule that the majority of Christians have so rightly earned, thereby playing into the hands of the atheists that can rightfully find so much in our actions to ridicule any true belief in the Oneness of Allah.
We imitate them (Christians) more than we realise. Look at our clerical hierarchies that we’ve created? Our symbolism that we attach to our places of worship? Our rhetoric from the pulpits launching our lectures on the basis of us all being sinners? The list goes on. We quote dogmatically from the books of scholars because we’ve been led to believe that we’re too simple-minded to apply the source in our own lives because the true teachings of Islam contained in the Qur’an and Hadeeth have been reduced to a science to be studied before it can be applied. We define the scholars as superior to the masses and openly refer to the masses as the ‘Awwaam’, which despite the best intentions of the one using that term, is a condescending term steeped in pride and arrogance.
I am not of the scholars, nor am I of the Awwaam. I am a Mu’min before I am a Muslim. This, to me, is the meaning of taqwa (piety/god-consciousness); realising who I am, and what I believe in before I contemplate how I wish to present my beliefs to the world in my appearance or rituals that are to be observed by others, hopefully in conformance with their expectations so that I may be accepted in those circles. Purity of intention is lost when we try to conform to a broader societal expectation. We’re breeding well-intentioned hypocrites by insisting that our children are schooled in the rituals of Islam without ensuring that they understand the principles and substance of the beauty that Islam offers.