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FREE WIL
- Raising my Hand up.

Let me be the first to raise my hand up to say that I really don’t know what the academic
definition of Free Will is. I thought I knew, but in reality there are so many different facets
of it that no body can say with any degree of certainty that they know of one definitive
definition. And, anyone who claims to know one has perhaps not reflected on the subject
for long enough. It is said that one of the signs of knowledge is in Knowing what you don’t
know.

There is an interesting story about the time when Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) first went
to Madina His Grace Ayoub Ansari was his host, in the evening as they retired with the
guest in the ground floor room the host went to the first floor room, and as he put his foot
into that room a thought occurred to him that his foot may be above the spot where the
Messenger of Allah was, so as a mark of respect he stepped away from that spot, but then
as he moved to a new spot, another thought came to him that perhaps it was that new
spot which was above the spot where the Messenger of Allah was, so he moved yet again
to another spot, and the same thought came to him about that new spot as well, in this
way he kept on moving from one spot to another all through the night not wishing to
stand above the area where the Messenger of Allah was.

Working out the definition of Free Will is some what like that, that you keep on moving
from one definition to another not knowing when to stop with each definition looking as
valid as all others.

- Not as Simple as it appears to an un-reflecting mind.

Although it sounds as if it is something fairly mundane and simple to understand, some


people may think that it is simple to the point that they don’t even recognize it when they
are implementing free Will in their thought or decision making process.

In reality, the concept of Free Will is fairly complex. Often people will reach a conclusion in
trying to understand it, but then something else goes through their mind, and the thought
process is thrown back to where one started from, and you try again to understand it in
the context of the new dimension that surfaced recently.

It is a commonly held Islamic Creed which says that Human Beings are Superior to Angels,
an indication of which is given by God’s commandment to Angels to bow down to Adam
following his creation.

Amore potent manifestation of this superiority is explained in the belief that Human Beings
use their God given gift of Free Will to choose to worship Him – Indeed; God praises and
makes mention of worshipping believing human beings to the assembly of Angels for this
very reason, and on special occasions God is said to descend to the lowest paradise to
receive reverence from such human beings which he then extols in front of the Angels.
Angels on the other hand are a creation which does not possess Free Will, so choice is not
a factor in their worship of God.

Genies

Another creation of God that has been granted this gift of Free Will are the Genies which
include, as the human race does, the believing ones as well as the non-believing ones the

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compliant ones and the disobeying ones, and it was one such infamous non-compliant
Genie known by the name Iblees who used his Free Will to arrogate himself and disobeyed
God by refusing to bow down to Adam when insytructed to do so by God.
The difference between Satan’s status in Islam and that of other faiths where he is
thought of as a fallen Angel arises due to the fact that whilst he resided in paradise and
lived amongst the Angels, he was nevertheless of a different creation being a Genie.1

Divine and Human Will.

It will be useful, if at the outset, we clearly see in our in our minds the difference between
the two Wills, one being the Divine Will and the other being the Human Will.

In terms of Divine Will, it will help further if we pare deeper and look at the difference
between Divine “Ordainment” and Divine “Permission.”

To ordain some thing as we all know, means to issue an order. And, if Allah Ordains it for
someone to believe in Him, has that person’s Human Will got any choice? In this sense,
Free Will has no part to play in who worships God. The Quran states in one of several
verses dealing with the subject that it is up to Allah whom He Guides to His path.2

Here we see very clearly that it is up to the Will of God whosoever He wishes to guide to
himself, hence God is very much a determining factor in deciding who gets his guidance,
Free Will on it’s own on the part of human beings isn’t the sole criteria in this, as some
would like to believe.

So, who are those whom Allah guides? These include those who turn to Him believing
in Him and therefore this is where Free Will is applied where one makes a conscious
decision to turn to God and to turn to Him in the hope of receiving his guidance, and it is
still a hope, because eventually it is up to God whom he accepts as his worshipper- much
like when you decide as your own prerogative ,who will be your friends.

Miracles do happen, and many an Aethists have been brought to the path after a Vision.

Contrastingly, We see from some other verses in the Quran that, those who are
unfortunate to the extent that they do not get God’s guidance? include those who are
unjust, those who are given to wrong doing and those who are rebellious transgressors.

Thus, Whilst Free Will plays only a partial role in worshipping God, Human Will on the
other hand is a Prime Factor in the turning away from God.

Divine “Will” and Divine “Wish”

A statement that is often found in religious texts across different religions is that
“Whatsoever God Wills happens and whatsoever He does not Wills does not happen”.

I therfore wonder if Will is the right word to use when referring to the commission of sins
by people, because if God Wills people to sin then how can he punish them? Confusion
often occurs when translating text from one language into another resulting in the loss of
contextual meaning.

For instance, one verse of the Quran, if taken literally, would mean that Allah Wills for
people to go astray3 the use of the Word Will in the translation of this verse seems in
contradiction with the Divine attribute of being The Frequent Forgiver, The Most

1
Quran 18:50
2
Quran 24: 46
3
Quran 6:17
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Beneficent and the Most Merciful and the Prophetic descri that Allah loves people
more than a mother loves her new born nursing child.

Contrastingly, the use of the same word Will when used in a different context and carrying
a different meaning than the above understood meaning of Command and Ordainment
appears to convey the message correctly when in another verse the Quran uses the same
word Will but this time it has been used to mean Choice or Free Will rather than a
Command or a Compulsion, leaving people to decide who will believe and who will
disbelieve.4

In terms of retribution, the Quran clearly states that Indeed Allah does not wrong
people at all; it is people who wrong themselves5, in terms of misfortune the Quran
states that whatever misfortunes befalls us it is the consequence of what our own hands
have sent ahead of us and Allah forgives many of our sins6

Divine “Wish” rather than Will

I therefore wonder, if we could not do better, that in cases where disbelief and commission
of sins take place, instead of using the word Will we use instead the word “Wish” to
indicate Divine displeasure. Because, when we use the word Wish we are merely indicating
a desire rather than stating an objective, and so, when we wish, we are expressing a
desire of what we would like to see happen not that we have any intention of ensuring
that it happens. However, when we “Will” for something to happen, then in the normative
sense of the word we are doing more than just wish, but are backing that wish with an
implied intention to either facilitate or cause that will to happen.

How often do we hear people say “Oh! I wish that so and so goes away”, and in some
cases people will go to great lengths to hide from those that they do not wish to see.
Contrastingly, when we wish for someone to come and visit us, then we don’t just wish for
that to happen but we “will” it in the sense that we take steps to invite that person and do
our best to ensure that they are coming.Divine Will and Divine Wish work in a similar
fashion.

For those who have earned God’s displeasure He merely “Wishes” for them to go-away
without actually causing their straying. However, to those who deserve the Grace He
“Wills” it for them to be drawn towards himself and actually implements that. He favours
them by making their path towards Him easy inviting them through revelation of
Scriptures or by inspiration or as in the case of Moses by direct conversation.7

In many cases though, Divine “Will” is the determining factor by way of a command,
decree or ordainment as in the creation of the cosmos, the alteration of the night and day,
the orbital movements of the sun, moon and planets, the changing of the weather, life and
Death etc etc.

Divine Permission.

I suggest that people turning to God can do so in one of two ways, one by Divine
Ordainment, and the conversion of Omar Bin Khattab to Islam and that of Paul to
Christianity are cases in point. Both were sworn enemies of their respective faiths before
their conversion, so their decision to convert could not have come about as an exercise of
Free Will, both were drawn in by Divine Ordainment (as they perceived it).

However many conversions take place because people are already on a journey seeking
the truth, though not knowing what that is. God is then so pleased with their desire to
4
Quran 18:29
5
Quran 10:44
6
Quran 26:30
7
Quran : 4:164
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seek the truth that He in His Grace Permits and allows them to come to Him making their
Path towards Himself easy for them. These people can be described as those who used
their Free Will to access God.

If God Permits for something to happen, be it a good action of a gentle soul or a bad
action of a misguided soul, then both happen because of a joint and coincidental
occurrence of the Divine and Human Wills, Divine will in Permitting it to happen and
human will in endeavouring for it.

Divine permission is essential in order for anything to occur, whilst on the other hand
human will and effort may not always reach a desired result.

Soul – Nafs

There are many, many scenarios in which Free Will can be used, but the directions in
which it is used and the outcomes resulting from it’s employment depend almost entirely
on the Quality of one’s Soul (Nafs in Quranic language). Therefore before we delve further
into Free Will it will be useful to understand what Soul is and what different kinds of Souls
are we likely to encounter.

God created human beings with many faculties, NAFS being one of them. Generally this
term NAFS is understood as meaning the Soul or the Self-Will which give us our various
propensities. Allah is the one who has created our NAFS and He has also sworn by it which
is an indication of it’s serious nature, further, that, it is He who has proportioned it,
inspiring it with it’s wickedness and it’s righteousness. Therefore, anyone who has
purified it has succeeded, and anyone who instils it with corruption has failed.8

There are Three Kinds of NAFS.9

(a) NAFS-e-AMMARAH. Blameworthy NAFS(Soul) which has the propensity to nudge us


towards wrong deeds and evil thoughts and actions, and it is this kind of NAFS that
needs to be kept under very strict control. Prophet Yousuf (Joseph) referred to this
lower soul when he admitted that he could not totally absolve himself for it (NAFS)
he said incites to evil.10

(b) NAFS-e-LAWWAMAH. This is the kind of NAFS(Soul) which is aware of the evil nature
of the whisperings of the blameworthy soul, is conscious of the nature of evil and
recognizes it as something bad that has to be avoided, and if it find’s it possessor
indulging in such thoughts or deeds gives rise to self reproaching within that individual
with sincere repentance, and tries to make mends in his thought processes and
actions, and due to this ever present desire to repent the person tries to reach
salvation. Allah even swears by this self-reproaching NAFS in order to assign
weightiness to it.11

(c)NAFS-e-MUTMA’INAH. This is the best and highest kind of NAFS (Soul) which is
satisfied in whatever it’s Lord has ordained for it. The satisfaction is usually self-
assured, but it can also come as a Gift of Mercy from Allah who is so pleased with it’s
nature that He invites it and it’s possessor to Paradise12.

Different Kinds of Free Will

8
Quran: Chapter Ash-Shams : 7 - 9
9
www.islamonline.net :Wail Shihab
10
Quran: Yousuf : 53
11
Quran : Qiyahmah : 1-2
12
Quran : Al-Fajr : 27-30
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A Computer Game Analogy.

When you look at a Computer or an Arcade game you see that the Analyst and
Programmers have thought of all the various possibilities and have built them into the
game. The graphics, the sound, the colours the displays, the icons and the logic have all
been comprehensively pre-programmed. However, despite this comprehensiveness, there
is still a large amount of freedom for the players. The players have to use their own skills
and abilities which are unknown factors that could not have been predicted by the game’s
designers. What the Programmers have done is to work out all the possible combination
and permutations of skills and abilities that players might bring to the game and then
assign ranks according to a pre-set criteria, but what the Programmers cannot predict is
who will play at what skill level. Thus, all the parameters and the criteria for judging the
performances of various players are pre-determined. However, no player is forced to play
in a certain way as each player will bring a different skill level to the game.

Challenges are also built into the various games, but how to respond to those challenges is
entirely a matter for the player, and here again, there is no physical coercion on any
player. Most games will also have built into them a range of skill levels to play at which
increasingly challenge the players, again, it is up to the Free Will of every player to choose
the level at which each one plays. Many games will also offer the choice whether a player
wishes to play severally or as part of a team or even choose to compete with other players
which also is left to the choice of each player.

At the end of a game, a “roll of honour” is displayed which shows how well each player has
played the game, even this is not dictated by the Original Programmers and Analysts and
is solely based on the performance of each player.

A Motor Car Analogy.

Look at the Motor Car, The Manufacturer has built the Chassis, Beautified it with gleaming
Body works, decorated it with comfortable upholstery, Put in an Engine, Provided the dash
Board with an ignition system that turns the engine which runs on fuel that comes in from a
fuel tank, added the electronics which get energy from a battery, supplemented with a hybrid
system of dual fuel. Then provided it with a Steering Wheel which turn the 4 wheels of the car.

The car has also been provided with both, an Accelerator and a Break Pedal, highlighting the
choices available to choose between driving very, very fast or to restrain the speed by applying
the breaks. There being No compulsion on the driver to choose one at the exclusion of the other
between these two pedals, he has to choose according to his needs and decide on the right
balance between them in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience. The Car
Manufacturer has no say in how each person will drive the car that he has manufactured. It is
the driver who is behind the steering wheel, not the Manufacturer.

With all these things having been pre-manufactured or Pre-Ordained for him, the Driver still
has Free Will how to drive it. Even when a car is used, or whether it is used at all is also not
dictated by the manufacturer but is a matter entirely for the owner of the car.

When a person gets behind the steering wheel, no manufacturer is forcing him to do so,
therefore it is entirely up to that person when he turns the ignition on to decide which direction
will he turn the steering wheel in and then further decide whether he wishes to drive on the
road or to drive the car off a cliff, no compulsion here, just loads of Free Will.

Divine Will and Human Will work in much the same manner as the Games and Car
Analogy. God the Creator has created the “Game of Life” having thought of, and therefore
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possessing the fore knowledge, all the various possibilities and has then written down the
Programme of Life and Stored it on a Protected Tablet called the “Law-him-Mahfooz”.

Having pre-programmed most comprehensively the entire parameters of the Game of Life,
God has still left room for Free Will for human beings to play the game according to their
own skills and abilities and will not question us about matters and events that were
beyond the players’ capabilities.

Criteria for Judgement has also been set by God and announced through various scriptures
just like a computer games’ manual which may be updated or upgraded from time to time.
Having set the Criteria for Judgement, God has left us, the players, Free to decide for
ourselves how we measure up to that criteria, and just as in the Computer Games, there is
no physical coercion by God.

God also sets us many challenges, tests, trials and tribulations never physically conducting
anyone on how to cope with them. How eventually some one will deal with disasters and
calamities is entirely up to them. People use their Free Will and then shape their thinking
and propensities by the nature of their inner self (Nafs) which then directs their responses
to distressing situations.

Free Will that is Magnetically Attracted.

Let me illustrate this kind of Free Will by using a temporal example, and this is a case in
point which very clearly manifests the Complex nature of Free Will.

Imagine that you fall in love with the “heart” of a very gentle soul, and when I say love, I
don’t mean the Romeo and Juliet type of “visible” love, but rather a highly dignified “inner”
love. This may, in the first instance appear as an exercise of Free Will, because you may
think that it is you who have chosen to fall in love with the other heart. But when you
analyse the situation deeply, you are most likely to conclude, that you would not have
done so had it not been because of the sheer exquisite “beauty” of that other heart. In this
sense, it was the gorgeousity of that other heart that “drew” you towards itself and what
you think was your Free Will was merely a flowing in that other hearts stream. Thus, was
your Free Will really Free? or were you in a situation where it was beyond your volitional
control and that you were merely allowing yourself to flow with the tide and be pulled by
the magnetism of that other heart? Conversely, you may wonder why the beauty of that
other heart chose you to draw towards it rather than just anybody. Was it not because you
yourself possess some qualities that the beauty of that other heart found resonance with.
A It takes one to know one sort of situation perhaps.

A beautiful poetic couplet from the east says:

The Eye of Divine Grace does not look at worldly robes


It scans the heart instead, looking for sincerity of the seeker.

I therefore suggest that this may be one way of viewing our relationship with God that,
whilst we claim to use our God given gift of Free Will to choose to worship God is it not
God’s Glorious Divinity and His Unbounded Grace that drew our attention in the first place,
and if so, then are we really using our Free Will in moving towards Him or are we being
pulled in God’s direction as a matter of reward and gift for thinking of Him.

With a scenario such as above, we can begin to derive a definition of Free Will as some
kind of a 7th sense present in some people and not present in others which enables us to
be alive to recognize sheer beauty of God and then slip into the stream allowing ourselves
to flow with the tide towards it.

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- We were Created Once before.

There is an interesting Islamic Creed which holds that all creation with souls were created
once before in another time and plane and assembled together before God who took a
pledge asking “Am I not your Lord?” and everybody on that day acknowledged the
Lordship of Allah by replying “Yes, indeed You are our Lord! Who cherishes and sustains
us.13

Thereafter, when each one is Recreated for a life in this world for an appointed time, what
makes some of us to go against this earlier pledge and recognition of Divinity of Allah and
start to worship almost anything that glitters? But, since not everything that glitters is
Gold, then those of us who have been blessed with “Gold Dust” like friendships will
envelope themselves and their friends with Exclusivity. Binding with God in an exclusive
way is some thing similar.

For Some Free Will is as natural as Breathing.

Let us now examine this phenomenon whereby we know that some people start
associating partners with Allah by worshipping other people or things despite them
having given the pledge in that earlier creation of recognizing His sole Lordship, it most
probably was Free Will that caused them to arrogate themselves to disbelief. These non
sensing non-perceptive people may use their self assumed thought process to move
away from God. For these people, Free Will is a Poisoned Chalice from which their
intellect drinks.

But what about those who in this life on earth worship God as their Lord, are they also
acting on Free Will? Or are they merely implementing and confirming their
acknowledgement given earlier in that previous creation of assemblage. Based on the
previous line of thought that they are drawn by the Grace of God, one could argue that to
this second group belief in God is so natural that they don’t even notice it – rather like
their breathing.

Divine Will as Hidden ForeKnowledge.

Whilst analysing the concept of Divine Will, there is a very interesting dimension of
soome of the Divine Knowledge being hidden, which due to it’s very nature some times
goes un-noticed. This is the concept of Hidden Divine Knowledge which is beyond human
perception.

It is said that the first thing that God Created was the Pen which was then instructed to
write down all His knowledge of everything about everything. Not a leaf falls that is not in
his knowledge nor is there a bearing by a womb that is not in his knowledge. It is then
Allah’s prerogative to decide which part of His hidden knowledge He reveals to whom,
when and how, which then gives rise to the term “Revealed Scriptures”.

The parts of this knowledge that are not revealed or for whom the time for their
revelation has not come as yet, is what we call Hidden Knowledge. As far as people are
concerned, hidden knowledge about them comprise the choices that people will make,
the decisions that they will arrive at, the courses of actions that they will embark on, the
thoughts they will entertain be they expressed or concealed etc. all un-known to
creatures but known to the Creator from before and recorded in the sacred tablet Lawhay
Mahfooz, and it is this recorded form of knowledge about them that people mistakenly
term as their Destiny as if it is God who has written it down for them as an ordainment,
whereas God has merely recorded what He knows about them.

13
Quran 7:172
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Supplication (Dua’a in Arabic terminology) may, if approved by Allah (s.w.t.), become a


cause for a change to occur in the information recorded about us. Prophet Mohammad
(s.a.w.) said that when a servant supplicates to Allah, one of three things can happen. At
the very lowest level, the suppliant is granted by Allah what ever he / she asked for, or
at the next higher level, a misfortune that was heading his way is kept away from the
suppliant, or at the very highest level a reward is reserved for him in the hereafter, and if
people could perceive the supreme magnificence of “that” reward, they would not ask for
anything in this life”

Divine Will defined as Forgiving:

Whilst God is aware even of our innermost thoughts whether we choose to reveal them
or not. However, some times he checks us out through a question and answer episode
which he then causes to be recorded and revealed through inspiration to Prophets who
then pass it on to others as anecdotal guidance for the rest of humanity.

This story is about a man who had lead a secret life of transgressions and indiscretions
concealed even from his own family. When he was on his death bed he summoned his
sons and asked them how had he been to them as a father? The sons were full of praise
for him as their father. However, as he had lead this secret life in which he had
committed major errors of judgement in his personal life, he instructed his sons that
upon his death he should be incinerated and when the fire of his pier cools down, they
should ground his ashes into a very fine powder, and on a windy day they should throw
that into the air so that every tiny particle of his dust is spread as widely as possible. The
sons did as they had been asked to do.

However, God used the command of Be as a result of which his dust was put back
together and he was re-created. God then asked him “Why did he have himself grounded
to a fine powder in that manner?” to which the man answered: “Oh! Allah, I had it done,
because I was afraid to come before you what with all the sins on my back” It is said that
Allah (s.w.t.) was so pleased with this man’s feeling of remorse, that he forgave him and
ordered a place reserved for him in paradise.

But then, what role did Free Will played in this instance? The answer could be that, whilst
this man had Free Will, he used that to commit Errors, indiscretions and sins, however,
Free Will does not means a guarantee of full and complete knowledge of everything, and
the knowledge that was hidden from this man was of God’s ALL Pervasive DESIRE to
FORGIVE when some one strongly feels remorse about their errors and have a very
strong sense of sincerity in repentance and a massive degree of being afraid of God and
these are the people that God Forgives again and again as long as they keeping coming
back to Him. Indeed, Allah (s.w.t.) has said that His Mercy preceeds His wrath.

Above we saw a case where Divine Will Forgave on seeing remorse on the part of an
offender. However, Divine Will can also forgive in cases where the person has not felt
remorse over their sins but showed kindness towards a fellow creature simply out of the
goodness of their heart, for instance, as a reward for kindness shown to an animal.

This other story is about a woman of the night profession who, as you can imagine, lived
a life time in sin. However, one day she saw a thirsty dog but she could not find any
water to give it except a well nearby, where also there was no bucket. So, this woman
went down the well and brought water in her shoe and gave it to the thirsty dog. The dog
was still thirsty, so, she went down the well again and brought water up in her shoe
giving it to the thirsty dog – she did this three or four times. And, just because of the act
of kindness to a dog, God forgave all her sins and granted her forgiveness with a place in
paradise for her.

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In another Prophetic Tradition, Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) said that “Allah is more
pleased with a repentant servant, than would one of you be if you suddenly find your
camel after having lost it in the desert.

Thus, whilst such people use their Free Will to commit many errors, indiscretions and
sins, their Free Will could not perceive the knowledge of God’s all pervasive powers to
forgive depending on the inner feelings of sincerity of repentance, of remorse or even on
a simple act of kindness to another creature.

Thus amongst the many manifestations of Divine Will is included the definition of Divine
Will as Forgiving. One of the 99 attributes of Allah recognized in Islam is that of
“Ghafoor” i.e. one who Forgives, a deeper meaning of which is that one who Forgives not
just once but Forgives again and again.

Free Will does Not Always Lead to Inner Knowledge.

There are many, and there will be many with PhD(s) but there have been very few
Einsteines, Newtons, Abdus Sallams, and Neil Armstrongs, and this is because Free Will
does not always leads to Inner Knowledge.

We saw earlier the case of a man who had himself incinerated because he was afraid to
face God however, his Free Will did not imbue him with the inner knowledge of God’s
ability to Forgive.

Let us now examine in some detail, some stories that illustrate this point.

Moses and his Guide Khidr:

Khidr(Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) is described as one of the favoured
servants of Allah who was blessed with knowledge. 14. Although not mentioned by name
in the Quran, Prophetic statements and statements of latter day scholars have given
indication of him by name and some even suggest that he had the rank of a Prophet

The fact that knowledge had been taught to Khidr suggests that knowledge is not always
concealed. There are methods other than by revelation through Angel Gibra’eel (Gabriel)
that God can reveal knowledge to Prophets as well as to other chosen servants perhaps
through intuition, premonition, de-jas-vous etc. the Arabic word for this way of Divine
Communication is “Ahlaam” whereby God implants knowledge into the deep recesses of
the minds of chosen ones.

There has been a tradition of old that to acquire knowledge you seek the company of the
knowledgeable observing every action of theirs minutely, this could be in the form of
visiting them and staying with them or accompanying them on a journey. Khidr had
become legendary for his knowledge and wisdom. So, Moses sought permission to
accompany him on his travels with the objective of learning right conduct and wisdom.15
Khizr was a bit reluctant in the beginning as he was not sure if Moses had either the
construct or the background knowledge to bear without questioning every experience
that they might have on their travels. Thus whilst Moses had the Free Will in wanting to
acquire knowledge from Khizr, possessing that did not avail him much in terms of deeper
understanding of matters without the necessary background knowledge.

Moses then sought permission from Khidr to accompany him with the view of learning
right conduct and wisdom. Khidr was a bit reluctant at first because he felt that Moses

14
Quran 18:65
15
Quran 18:66
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may not be able to bear each experience with fortitude due to lack of Diviney Assigned
back ground knowledge necessary to fully appreciate or understand each event.

In this case we see that whilst Moses used the option of Free Will in seeking to
accompany Khidr on his travels, application of this Free Will did not avail him much when
it came to the acquisition of deeper knowledge often so necessary in understanding the
context of events. Thus, human beings are gifted in one sense by the grant of the gift of
Free Will, but the fruits accruing from the exercise of this gift may be limited till such
time that God through Divine Will combines the gift of Free Will with a much superior gift
of Knowledge of the unseen and the combination of these two gifts leads to a better
understanding of events.

Notwithstanding, Moses persisted in his request to Khidr to allow him to accompany him,
promising not to query Khidr if he did not understand an event, saying, If Allah Wills he
shall find him patient.16 Here, referring back to the Divine Will by the use of the words.
“If Allah Wills….” Is quite significant as it illustrates 2 very important Principles, namely,

(a) Human knowledge is limited to the extent that God allows it to occur, whilst God’s
knowledge is aware also of the interplay of all other factors not usually privy to us.
Therefore, we should not be making promises without making their outcome
Conditional that Divine Will allowing that outcome to emerge.

(b) Also, human beings should realise that if Divine Will withholds a success then we
should not become despondent, and realise that we are just one spoke amongst the
myriad of spokes that connect to the wheel of life, a life that concerns not just us
but has to take into consideration all other creatures around us in order to strike a
balance between occurances.

Thus, occasionally, when Divine Will withholds something it could be for our own benefit
which we may not be privileged to perceive. Therefore, we should view our successes
and our failures too in the context of God’s overall Definitive Master Plan.

Let us pick up the story of Moses and his Guide Khidr from the point where we left it last
time when they were debating whether Moses was equipped to go on the journey. Moses
tried to convince Khidr by assuring him that he would not question anymore about what
Khidr did. Khidr laid steadfastly maintaining that he would explain his actions only at the
end of their journey, and so, off they went together.

They were sailing in a boat when the first of the incidents took place which horrified
Moses. Khidr had drilled a hole in the bottom of the boat with the purpose of sinking it.
As they scrambled to the shore, Moses demanded an explanation for what appeared to
be a senseless act of wilful damage. Khidr reminded Moses about the condition for the
journey which Moses had wilfully agreed. So, Moses had to swallow his utter perplexity.
Next, they came upon a young lad whom Khidr immediately slew. The earlier feeling of
horror revisited Moses, but he had to contain his anger because of the condition that they
had agreed to for the journey. Thereafter, they reached a village where Khidr voluntarily
built a wall without taking any payment for his labour. Moses was perplexed once again
and wondered why Khidr did not charge anything for his services. This time Khidr decided
that it was time for the parting of ways between them.

Before they said goodbye to each other, Khidr explained the interpretation of the three
incidents as follows:

1. For the incident of drilling of a hole into the boat, Khidr explained that there was
a usurper King on the land who would have taken the boat by force, and Khidr
figured that by damaging the boat in that way he would render it useless to the

16
Quran 18:69
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King, but the poor people who owned the boat could repair it and continue to use
it afterwards.

2. And as for the young lad he slew, Khidr was inspired by Allah to know that the
parents of that lad were believers, and so Khidr feared that because of the
parents belief in God their rebellious son would persecute them and by slaying
the rebellious son, Khidr had removed the danger for the believing parents in the
hope that God will grant them another son who would be pious and caring
towards the parents.

3. Regarding the building of a wall for which Khidr did not charge anything for his
labour explaining that beneath that spot where the wall was built, there was a
buried treasure which belonged to two orphans youths, and by building a wall
over that spot, Khizr had meant to conceal the spot of the buried treasure in the
hope that when the youths came to age, that God out of His Mercy will guide
them to their buried treasure.

The moral of this anecdotal story is that we may often desire or wish for things or strive
for some goal but we may not be aware of what factors lie beyond our imagination some
of which may even harm us or nullify our aims and objectives. Thus, although we utilise
our Free Will to aspire for some thing we may not realise that what lies beyond the pale
of our limited human perceptions may not necessarily be a good thing for us.

Divine Plans are some times implemented “Generations in Advance”.

1. Story of the birth of Her Holiness Mary.

Let us recall the story when a woman from the Tribe headed by a person called
Imran desired to have a child. She cried to her Lord, promising, as the tradition was
in those days, to dedicate the first born “male child” to the service of God in the
temple.

However, contrary to her expectations, when she delivered, it turned out that the
child was a “female”. She rhetorically expressed surprise to God stating that the child
was a female? God knew best what she had delivered. The woman decided to name
the child Mary craved Allah’s protection for that child and her progeny. Little did that
woman from the tribe of Imran knew that the Divine plan worked out from 2
generations before was that, that female child would in turn give birth to a Holy Son
by way of a Miracle with Allah’s Command to “Be” working in her resulting in the
birth of the famous son Jesus.

What we see here is that the unexpected female, whose gender was a surprise to the
human will of her mother, was in perfect harmony with the overall Divine Plan, for
when that female child grew up to be a lady, God sent down an Angel to give her the
glad tidings of the birth of a pious son and thus came about his holiness Prophet
Jesus son-of-Mary (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him).Divine will therefore
on occasions operates over generations.17

Divine Will often works even in some of the “Most Inhospitable of Circumstances.”

A very oppressive tyrant Pharaoh King was oppressing the people of the tribe of Israel and
making their life miserable. When there seemed to be no hope at all for the people, right at the
very heart of repression, Divine Will sprang and took hold.

A belief that had taken hold amongst the oppressed people of the Tribe of Israel was, that within
them, a son will be born who will grow up to be the cause of the destruction of the Tyrant King.
17
Quran 3: 35-36
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The Omnipotence of Divine Will was so stunning that the child heralding the destruction of the
King was actually brought up and raised right inside the palace under the supervision of the
King’s own wife. This belief that was so prevalent amongst the people some how reached the ears
of the King, fearing for his throne, the King ordered that all male children to be born amongst
that tribe should be destroyed.

This began to harm the Kingdom itself as masculine labour started to decline. To rectify this, the
King ordered a reprieve, and ordered that the slaughter of male children should be implemented
only every alternate year.

There was one family, whose older son was spared because he was born during a year when the
slaughter policy was under suspension, but then they had another son in the following year in
which the policy of destruction of male children was back in operation. This second child was
called Musa (Moses) whilst his elder brother born the year before was called Haroon (Aaron).

Divine Will had planned It such that, the pregnancy of Moses’ mother went unnoticed as was the
birth of the child. Another Historical pregnancy that went completely un-noticed was that of Her
Holiness Mary. If the pregnancy of Moses’ mother was amazing because it went un-noticed for
the full term, then the pregnancy of Her Holiness was a Miracle because that had lasted for only
an hour, and an even bigger miracle was that it came about without the intervention of a man.

Prophet Musa’s mother was inspired by ALLAH (swt) was to prepare a basket leaving it in the
river that flowed near their home and to tether that to the house. This way, whenever the male
child was at risk of being discovered, the mother would hide him by placing the child in the
basket till such time that any danger had passed.

One day, the basket got loose and flowed away with the river which distressed Moses’ mother
tremendously. But, miracle of miracles...! Guess where the basket laded up? Right at the foothills
of Kings’ palace. There it was picked up by the staff at the palace and then the basket with it’s
most unusual cargo was presented to the Queen who was pleasantly surprised to find the cute
little baby boy in the basket. Her motherly instincts quickly drew het to take a liking for the child.

Thus it was Divine Will in the form of a plan that first inspired Moses’ mother to devise the
method of the basket in the river and tether that to the house, and it was also Divine Will as part
of that overall plan that caused that basket to come loose and land at the foothills of the very
palace which was issuing orders for the slaughters.

MISUNDERSTOOD WORDS and TERMINOLOGY.

Fatalist View IS that DESTINY is Written Down For Us. ?

Fatalists state that they could not help it if they did some thing wrong, believing that whatever
they did was “written down FOR them” and that they were forced by the Command of that
Writing into doing that bad deed.

Their misunderstanding arises probably due to the misinterpretation of the words “written down
FOR them”. The fact of this matter is that Allah(s.w.t.) with His foreknowledge has written down
information “of and about us” rather than information “For” us. Thus we are charged with the
responsibility of making our own rational choices and taking our decisions using Free Will, and,
depending on how we discharge this responsibility determines our ultimate fate. Even when God
commands us to do good and avoid evil, He is not physically forcing us to obey his
commandments, He leaves the doing to us.

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What is however “written down” for us are God’s commandments through His various
scriptures revealed to us from time to time through a succession of Prophets. Here also, Prophets
are guides and warners not physical enforcers. They may lay down the law and enforce
punishments under those laws but these will apply only to the people who “chose” to follow them.