One of the most difficult aspects of Islamic teachings to grasp not only for non-Muslims or reverts, but also for born Muslims is the concept of Final Decree or how it is known in Arabic as Qadr. First thing to realize is that this can be explained in several ways and also we must understand that this can never be a short conversation whenever it takes place. The very concept of Predestination and the common question of ‘If Allah(SWT) already knows what I will do, how is it my fault?’ takes some understanding and time to grasp.
Slapping Some Sense into that Question
According to a very learned Islamic Scholar, he says that if someone was having that conversation with him or asking that question of him, the first thing he would do is slap the one asking the question. Which is a bit startling right? The person who got slapped will ask, ‘Why did you slap me?’ And the Imam responds, ‘You can’t blame me for that, it was Allah’s (SWT) Decree, it was predestined.’ We ask you, would the person that was slapped agree to that answer? Of course they will not, because the imam slapped him but now he is saying it is not his fault. They know the imam hit him and will never believe or take certain answer that it was Allah’s (SWT) Decree because in their hearts they know that the Imam slapped him of his own volition, which basically means that in their core, the people asking the question ‘If Allah(SWT) already knows what I will do, how is it my fault?’already know that this does not make any practical sense. The fact is, the people who want to believe this or want to argue this question are simply people who want to do some bad things and they don’t want to be blamed for it. This is the psychological root of this problem.
The Lessons of Decree from the Story of the First Human Being [Prophet Adam (AS)]
The Quran does not have a chapter on Qadr (Decree), which is why it teaches us that concept through the story of Prophet Adam (AS), the first human being to have been created. According to the same scholar, the Quran teaches us that if there was one human being that had the right to ask Allah (SWT), ‘You already knew I was going to be sent down to earth’ it was Adam (AS). It is through the story of the first human being that we get the solution to what is called the oldest problem in philosophy, Qadr. Let it be known that the careful study of the story of Prophet (Adam), little by little is very important.
Here you have to understand and be aware of one thing. Which is what shaytan (devil) said to Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) says in the Quran,[Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have misled me, I will surely make (disobedience) attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all O Except, among them, Your chosen servants.”
(Quran Surah Al-Hijr Ayah 15:39-40)
Then we have to look at what Prophet Adam (AS) said to Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) says in the Quran,
They said, “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon is, we will surely be among the losers.”
(Quran Surah Al-A’raf Ayah 7:23)
1. From this it is obvious to see that the one who refuses to admit his own fault and says ‘Allah (SWT) made me slip’ is who? The devil.
2. The one who admits his own fault and pleads to Allah (SWT) admitting his own fault is who? Prophet Adam (AS).
That is the lesson we learn in the story of the first human being. It is quite evident that the devil wants to continue his own failures and wants to inject that disease into us. This is why Predestination is called the oldest problem in philosophy because it was shaytan’s problem.
A book that we recommend on this topic is God, Islam and the Skeptic Mind by SaiyadSalahuddin Ahmad &Saiyad Fareed Ahmad.