Where in the US or Western Europe would the mainstream media publish the letter below? Envy my freedom in South Africa (it’s a country, not a region)?
My letter (culled from my longer Our fatalism pacifies us as Muslims: God’s decree and free will).
“Our fatalism pacifies us as Muslims” (Weekend Post, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, December 5, 2015), Imraahn Ismail Mukkaddam writes: “Whenever I speak to people of faith – Muslim and others – about the condition of humanity and the planet, I am confronted by the Qur’anic and Biblical revelations that all of this mess we find ourselves in is God’s will. As believers in a Supreme Being we affirm and attest to God’s will, predestination and divine decree, but to what extent are we allowing ourselves to be pacified into sheepish acceptance of what we perceive as inevitable without questioning if this is really predestined… Is the Allah who we worship really such a cruel creator that He contradicts His foremost attributes – that of being Most Merciful and Most Beneficent?”
Isaiah 46:10 says: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” Compare Isaiah with two Islamic definitions. The first, taqdeer (fate/destinity): “Every individual has been given free-will and should use it to work towards attaining the pleasure of Allah and that Allah has full knowledge of the individual’s actions; past, present and future.” The second, qadr (God’s decree/predestination/predetermination).
God’s purpose is to know everything in eternity and in time-space. And knowing all this pleases him. But, as it says in Isaiah above, the reason why God knows the end from the beginning is because he decreed it, he purposed it, he ordained it. How to reconcile this with human free will? The Muslim is caught between the rock of taqdeer (God’s foreknowledge of human free acts) and the hard place of qadr (God’s decree/predestination/predetermination.
In the following remarkable verse in scripture on the crucifixion of Christ, the Bible juxtaposes human and divine causality. “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:23). Ironically, Muslims reject one of the most reliable of all historical facts, that Christ died on the cross. The Qur’an says “They killed him not” (Surah 4:57)..
Acts 2:23 shows that God’s deliberate plan, his decree (which is the reason why he foreknows it) to have Jesus, the Son of God crucified (planned from eternity in colloboration with the Son) is compatible with the free agency of man to do this evil deed. Do we reject the scripture because we can’t understand how God decree and free human agency fit together? Our confusion is caused by our limited understanding of the relationship between the finite and the infinite, time and eternity. We have a limited insight into the divine mind: “The concatenation of all his counsels is not intelligible to us; for he is as essentially and necessarily wise, as he is essentially and necessarily good and righteous.” (Stephen Charnock, 1632 -1680. “A discourse on the wisdom of God”).
In passing, I’m sure Mukkaddam is grateful to be living in a country – are you living in South Africa, Mukkaddam? – with a free press where he is safe to express his frustration with Islam, which can’t be done in Muslim countries, in the US and in Europe.