Monday, 13 July 2009

Problems and Contradictions of Divine Sovereignty, Predestination, Salvation and Human Free Will in Islam, Part II

”Allah decides who will go to hell, and condemns you for being bad

From Part I

The following "authentic" narrations reiterate the point made by the foregoing Qur’anic verses which we examined that
Allah ordains what a person will do, whether good or bad. Allah will then save or destroy an individual as a consequence of the very actions which were foreordained for him/her to do!

Ibn Abbas reported that Allah's Messenger was asked about the children of the polytheists, whereupon he said: It is Allah alone Who knows what they would be doing according to their creation. (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6433)

Chapter 3. What Has Been Related About Misery And Happiness

2135. ‘Asim bin ‘Ubaidullah said: "I heard Salim bin ‘Abdullah narrating a Hadith from his father who said: ‘‘Umar said: "O Messenger of Allah! Do you see that what we do is a new matter – or a matter initiated – or it is a matter already concluded?" He said: "O Ibn al-Khattab! It is a matter already concluded. For everyone is suited (for that which he is created). As for one who is among the people of happiness, then he works for happiness, and as for one who is among the people of misery, then he works for his misery."’" (Hasan)
[Abu ‘Eisa said:] There are narrations on this topic from ‘Ali, Hudhaifah bin Asid, Anas, and ‘Imran bin Husain. This
Hadith is Hasan Sahih.

2136. ‘Ali narrated: "We were with the Messenger of Allah and he was scraping the ground, when he raised his head to the heavens, then said: ‘There is not one of you but (his place) is known’ – Waki‘ said: ‘His place has been decreed (be it) in the Fire, and (or) his place in Paradise.’ They said: ‘Shall we not rely upon this O Messenger of Allah?’ He said: ‘No. Work, for everyone is facilitated for what he created.’" (Sahih)
[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This
Hadith is Hasan Sahih.

Comments: Everyone of us is being enabled to do what is written for him. There is no getting away from those deeds. But since no one knows what is allotted for him, or whether he is destined to do acts of blessedness or of wretchedness, each one of us is obligated to abide by the dictates of the Shari‘ah and do virtuous deeds, as exhorted to by the Prophets and written in the Holy Books. (At-Tirmidhi, Volume 4, pp. 198-200)

Chapter 7. What Has Been Related About ‘The Hearts Are Between The Fingers Of Ar-Rahman

2140. Anas narrated: "The Messenger of Allah would often say: Ya Muqallibal-qulub, thabbit qalbi ‘ala dinik (‘O Changer of the Hearts! Strengthen my heart upon Your religion).’ So I would say: ‘O Prophet of Allah! We believe in you and what you have come with, but do you fear for us?’ He said: ‘Yes. Indeed the hearts are between two Fingers of Allah’s Fingers, He changes them as He wills.’" (Sahih)
[Abu ‘Eisa said:] There are narrations on this topic from An-Nawwas bin Sam‘an, Umm Salamah, ‘Abdullah, ‘Aishah, and Abu Dharr.

Hadith is Hasan Sahih. This is how it was reported by more than one narrator from Al-A‘mash from Abu Sufyan, from Anas. And some of them reported it from Al-A‘mash, from Abu Sufyan, from Jabir from the Prophet. The narration of Abu Sufyan from Anas is more authentic.

Comments: Allah does have Hands and Fingers but not like those of His creatures. They are as befit His grandeur and glory. He is, thus, above all resemblance and similitude. We believe in them as they are mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith without coining any similitude, or conjuring up any image, nor denying and explaining them away. (At-Tirmidhi, Volume 4, pp. 203-204)

Chapter 4. What Has Been Related About ‘One’s Deeds Depend Upon One’s End’

2137.  'Abdullah bin Mas‘ud said: "The Messenger of Allah narrated to us ' and he is the truthful and entrusted one: ‘Indeed the creation of one of you is gathered inside his mother in forty days. Then, for a similar period, he is a clot. Then, for a similar period, he is a piece of flesh. Then Allah sends the angel to him to blow the soul into him, and he is ordered to write four (things): To write his provision, his life-span, his works, and whether he will be wretched or happy. By the One besides Whom there is none other worthy of worship! One of you will do deeds of the people of the Paradise, until there is between him and it but a forearm span, then he is overcome by what is written for him, and he is sealed off with the deeds of the people of the Fire, so that he enters it. And indeed one of you will do deeds of the people of the Fire, until there is between him and it but a forearm span, then he is overcome by what is written for him, and he is sealed off with the deeds of the people of Paradise, so that he enters it.' " (Sahih)
[Abu 'Eisa said:] This
Hadith is Hasan Sahih.
(Another chain, but including Yahya bin Sa'eed) with similar meaning.
[Abu 'Eisa said:] There are narrations on this topic from Abu Hurairah and Anas and I heard Ahmad bin Al-Hasan say: "I heard Ahmad bin Hanbal saying: 'I have not seen the likes of Yahya bin Sa'eed with my eyes.'" And this
Hadith is Hasan Sahih'

Commentary: It is necessary that all of us be constantly supplicating Allah for a good end to our lives, and salvation from an evil end. It is also necessary that we, on the basis of our seeing a person doing what he does, do not jump to judgement on whether he is destined for Hell or Paradise, since we have no means to know how he will behave towards the end of his life. (At-Tirmidhi, Volume 4, pp. 200-201)

These specific narrations,

2142. Anas narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "When Allah wants good for a slave, He puts him in action." It was said: "How does he put him in action O Messenger of God?" He said: "By making him meet up with righteous deeds before death."
[Abu 'Eisa said:] This
Hadith is [Hasan] Sahih.

Comments: Man derives his ability to perform virtuous deeds from Allah. Then again, it is Allah who is the final arbiter and judge of those deeds. We must, therefore, keep on praying to Allah for grant of ability to do such deeds and that He favor them with His approval and acceptance. (Ibid., Chapter 8. What Has Been Related About 'Allah Wrote A List Of Paradise And The People Of The Fire', p. 206)

Introduce another problem since they conflict with the following reports which speak of Allah taking out Muslims from hell that had done absolutely no good deed:

2594. Anas narrated that the Prophet said: "Allah will say: 'Remove from the Fire whoever remembered Me one day, or feared Me while in a state of sinning.' " (Hasan)
[Abu 'Eisa said:] This
Hadith is Hasan Gharib Sahih.

Comments: Remembering Allah and fearing Him is the sign of one's faith. The Hadith confirms that even those persons who have no good in their Register of Deeds expect the weakest form of faith (iman) will ultimately get deliverance from Fire through Allah's benevolence and mercy. (Ibid., Chapter 9. What Has Been Related About 'The Fire Has Two Breaths, ' And What Has Been Mentioned About Those Who Will Exit The Fire From The People of Tawhid, p. 572)


2596. Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "I know that the last of the people of the Fire depart from the Fire and the last of the people of Paradise to enter Paradise. A man will be brought forth and He will say: 'Ask about his small sins and hide his large sins. 'So it will be said to him: 'Did you do this and that on such and such a day, did you do this and that on such-and-such a day?' " He said: "Then it will be said to him: 'For each of your sins you shall have a reward. '" He said: "So he will say: 'O Lord! I have done things that I do not see here. '" He (Abu Dharr) said: "I saw the Messenger of Allah laugh until his molars were visible." (Sahih)

Abu 'Eisa said: This
Hadith is Hasan Sahih.

Comments: Allah's benevolence and mercy are boundless. No rules or laws can bind Him, since He is for Whom it is said in the Qur'an: He cannot be questioned as to what He does. (21:23) He will, therefore, change the sins into virtuous deeds for whomever He wills. (Ibid., Chapter 10. Something Else Regarding The Story Of The Last Of The People Of The Fire To Leave it, pp. 573-574)

How could so-called believers end up in hell in the first place if it is Allah who decrees and enables a person to do righteous deeds so as to merit eternal life? And why are they called the people of the Fire when this expression denotes one whom Allah has decreed destruction and wrath? Doesn't this prove that Allah has ordained that specific Muslims would do no good work at all so he could send them to hell only to later take them out? So it is not the case that all whom Allah has chosen to save are empowered to live righteously and do their best to avoid sinning since many of those who are preordained to enter paradise will have done nothing worthy except for confessing that Allah is the sole deity. Actually, it seems that not all whom Allah has destined to hell will actually remain there since the individuals which are taken out according to the hadith are called the people of the Fire, not the people of Paradise!

Moreover, this further shows how unholy and unjust Allah truly is since he can simply arbitrarily forgive sinners and turn their wicked deeds into righteous ones without demanding that his justice and righteous requirements be satisfied.

For more on the subject of Allah taking Muslims out of hell please consult the following articles (
1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

To make matters worse there are specific narrations which claim that
Allah deliberately created black skinned people for hell!

Abu Darda' reported God's messenger as saying, "God created Adam when He created him and struck his right shoulder and brought forth his offspring white like small ants. And he struck his left shoulder and brought forth his offspring BLACK as though they were charcoal. Then He said to the party on his right said, 'To paradise, and I do not care', and He said to the party in his left shoulder ‘To hell, and I do not care’." Ahmad transmitted it. (Mishkat Al Masabih, English translation with explanatory notes by Dr. James Robson [Sh. Muhammad Ahsraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore-Pakistan, Reprint 1990], Volume I, Chapter IV, Book I.- Faith, pp. 31-32)


Narrated AbudDarda' Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: Allah created Adam when He had to create him and He struck his right shoulder and there emitted from it white offspring as if they were white ants. He struck his left shoulder and there emitted from it THE BLACK OFFSPRINGS as if they were charcoal. He then said (to those who had been emitted) from the right (shoulder): For Paradise and I do not mind. Then He said to those (who had been emitted) from his left shoulder: They are for Hell and I do not mind. Transmitted by Ahmad. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 38; ALIM CD ROM Version)

black people are condemned to hell for having the very skin color that Allah predetermined for them even before their creation! Is this just to condemn people on the basis of their skin color when they didn't have a choice in the matter? These people weren't asked beforehand whether they wanted to be black, white, Arabian, American etc., but this was something already decided beforehand by Allah.

Finally, it is obvious from the next reports that
Muhammad believed in the doctrine of Original Sin to some extent since he blames Adam for expelling mankind from Paradise:

Chapter 2. What Has Been Related About The Argument Between Adam and Musa, Peace Be Upon Them

2134. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said: "Adam and Musa argued, Musa said: 'O Adam! You are the one that Allah created with His Hand, and blew into you of His Spirit, and you misled the people and caused them to be expelled from Paradise. ' So Adam said: 'You are Musa, the one Allah selected with His Speech! Are you blaming me for something I did which Allah had decreed for me, before creating the heavens and the earth?'" He said: "So Adam confuted Musa." (Sahih)

Hadith is Hasan [Sahih] Gharib from this route, as a narration of Sulaiman At-Taimi from Al-A‘mash. Some of the companions of Al-A‘mash reported from Al-A‘mash from Abu Salih, Abu Hurairah from the Prophet. Some of them said: "From Al- A‘mash, from Abu Salih, from Abu Sa‘eed from the Prophet." This Hadith has been reported through more than one route from Abu Hurairah from the Prophet.

Commentary: Whatever good or bad a man does was written fifty thousand years (a long time) before the creation of the heavens and earth. So if a man does a bad deed, let him offer his repentance and seek forgiveness from Allah. Once he has offered his repentance, there is no justification to blame him for the deed in question done by him (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Compiled by Imam Hafiz 'Eisa Mohammad Ibn 'Eisa At-Tirmidhi, From Hadith no. 1897 to 2605, translated by Abu Khalil (USA), Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, final review by Islamic Research Section Darussalam [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 4, pp. 197-198)

Adam doesn’t deny that his sin caused his descendants to be cast out of heaven, but puts the blame squarely on Allah since he had already foreordained Adam’s fall before creating the heavens and earths!

The Dilemma

Now that we have examined what the Islamic corpus teaches concerning Allah's preordainment of all things and man’s responsibility to follow the guidance it is apparent that the Muslims are faced with a
major problem. They have a huge dilemma on their hands since the Islamic teaching concerning predestination and human "choice" is a contradiction which cannot be reconciled.

In light of what Islam teaches the obvious questions to ask are, how
can a person believe in the message at all if Allah doesn’t will it for him/her? What choice does man really have when Allah creates even his very desires, words and actions beforehand? And how can people be condemned for their unbelief when Allah has created them for disbelief and has chosen to send them to hell before creation itself?

Moreover, why command Muslims to fight and kill idolators and/or subjugate the People of the Book for not believing in Allah's message when these individuals were created to be what they are, whether Jews, Christians, Hindus etc., and cannot turn to Islam even if they wanted to? And if any members of these religious communities do convert it is because s/he was predestined to do so which means that coercion, violence and the threat of death are unnecessary and should not be used as means to bring people to Islam.

why kill apostates when those who turn away from Muhammad's religion were predestined to do so and cannot choose to do otherwise? Are we to assume that it is just for Allah to not only decree that many individuals would turn renegades but also command that Islamic societies where Sharia is implemented to kill these persons for doing exactly what Allah decided they would inevitably do even before they were created? As Muhammad is reported to have said concerning Adam's supposed response to Moses when the latter confronted the father of the human race for causing all of mankind to be expelled from paradise: Do you blame these apostates for doing something which Allah decreed even before creating the heavens and the earths?

It is clear from the foregoing that
there are no good, rational answers to these objections and major contradictions.

Advice on how not to address and reconcile the problem

Since Muslims are notorious for committing the
tu quoque fallacy (
*), we therefore expect them to attack the Holy Bible as opposed to solving the problems raised by their own religious scriptures and traditions. And just in case they do we need to kindly remind our Muslim friends that trying to go this route doesn’t help their situation but only complicates matters for the following reasons.

First, pointing to what the Holy Bible teaches concerning Divine sovereignty, predestination, human responsibility etc.
will not answer or solve the objections raised by the orthodox Muslim doctrine of predestination. This approach will demonstrate at most that both the Christian and Islamic traditions have major theological, philosophical and logical problems with their teachings concerning predestination and human choice.

Second, even though there may be some similarities between the Christian and Islamic views concerning these issues
there are also profound differences which cannot simply be ignored and brushed aside. For instance, according to the Holy Bible God loves all sinners and desires all human beings to repent and be saved. Allah, on the other had, only loves those who loves him and arbitrarily chooses whom he wills. The true God of the Holy Bible has even taken the initiative in reconciling man to Himself, and has conclusively proven his love for the world, by sending forth his Son the Lord Jesus Christ to die for the very sinners who hate and despise him. Allah, however, has done no such thing even for those who love him.

Lord Jesus willing, an article will be appearing soon where we will try to provide (by God's grace) a detailed exposition of John 3:16 and a discussion on the nature and extent of God's love. Hopefully, that will further highlight the major differences between what the Holy Bible says regarding God's love, salvation, predestination, human responsibility etc., with what Islam teaches concerning these very same issues.

Related Articles’an/Contra/compulsion.html’an/Contra/astray.html’an/Contra/suffer_for_sin.html


(1) This serves to refute Zawadi who writes,

As for Allah making it appear as if the deeds of the evil doers are good, this is how He continues to misguide them. However, does that make it Allah's fault? No, the reason why Allah is misguiding them is because they themselves are corrupted and don't want to be in a relationship with Allah in the first place:


As for Allah saying that He could have willed that everyone be guided, this is only Allah telling us about His Power. It is within Allah's Power to create all of us guided. However, Allah decided to create us with free will and allow us to make the decision ourselves. If He were to force us to be guided then that wouldn't be free will. The same argument could be applied against Shamoun's God. Why the double standards? (Source)

Since the verses and narratives that we presented do not merely highlight the fact that Allah has power to guide us all. The texts expressly claim that Allah could, if he wanted to do, guide everyone to salvation but that this is not his will since he has chosen to save some and condemn others to hell. The sources further prove that Allah doesn’t simply make evil look good to those who are corrupted by their own free will and as a consequence of their rebellion and disbelief; rather, the Muslim scripture and Islamic traditions emphatically attest that the reason why evil seems lively to the disbelievers is because Allah has chosen them for hell and has therefore made them corrupt by nature so that they desire nothing but evil.

What makes this all the more amazing is that Zawadi contradicts himself by quoting the following Islamic source concerning predestination which actually confirms our position!

3. The third level is to have belief in Allaah's executive will and His omnipotence. They necessitate each other with respect to what was and what will be. But they do not necessitate each other with respect to what will not be and what was not. So what Allaah, the Most High, wishes exists by His omnipotence, AND IT COULD NOT BE ANY OTHER WAY, and what Allaah does not wish does not exist, due to the absence of Allaah's wish for it and not due to Allaah's inability to make it exist, may He, Most Great and Glorious, be far removed from that.

4. The fourth level is to have belief that Allaah Most High is the Creator of everything and that there is not a single atom in the heavens nor in the earth, nor that which is between them, that Allaah did not create. He is the creator of their movements and their lack of movements, may He be glorified. There is no creator besides Him and no Lord except Him. (Haafiz Ibn Ahmad Al-Hakamee, Predestination, With Commentary by Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips)

So here we see that when Allah predestines something it means that He must have had knowledge of it, recorded it, willed it (meaning He allowed it to occur) AND CREATED IT. So just because Allah might have predestined something evil to occur that doesn't mean that this evil is ascribed to Him [why not?]. This only means that He knew that this evil would occur, recorded that it would occur, allowed it to occur AND CREATED IT. That is all.

If Allah created the movements, or lack thereof, of every single thing then doesn’t this clearly establish the fact that a creature's every single action, desire, or word, whether good or bad, was created or foreordained by Allah, otherwise s/he wouldn’t or couldn’t speak, desire, or act in a certain way? Since Zawadi himself admits that Allah actually does create the evil that he wants to occur then how does this not prove that Allah has already decided to create people for both heaven and hell, and even created the very actions that they will do which will lead them to either one of these eternal abodes?

It is rather unfortunate and sad that Zawadi doesn't bother to take the time necessary to really understand the implications of his own sources.

Finally, please do notice Zawadi's tu quoque fallacy which we warned of in this article.



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