Introduction to Islam

wayfarer

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5.6. Facilitation of Good and Evil

Main > Belief/Faith > Facilitation of Good and Evil
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God facilitates all actions and all events (whether these events be perceived as good or evil by humans), completely according to His Will. Even when human beings exercise free choice, Power is required to enact the chosen course. This Power comes from God, who facilitates (or withholds facilitation) of all actions according to His perfect Knowledge, Power and Will. Every existent thing is sustained in existence at every moment in its designated space, or in its motion, by God's Will.

Divine Decree and free will

Human beings have free will. Having free will does not mean that everything that humans attempt to will into happening will necessarily be enacted. For this reason, some Muslim scholars avoid the term "free will", and instead use "free choice".

God knows all that was, is and will be, and God exists independently of time (and of space), but created time (and space), and in the material world, He Wills things to take place chronologically. He knows what choices people will make, and He decides whether or not to facilitate these choices. People have their own wills (free will/choice), but God decides (determines) whether or not what people intend will actually come to pass, and thus His Will is done.

If I attempt a good act, God still needs to facilitate it, but I receive credit for it because of the intention/will. While I can state, for all intents and purposes, that I did it, I should know that God is the ultimate Doer. For practical purposes, since for us the material world is the point of reference, we may ascribe "power" and "ownership" of actions to agents within creation (including ourselves). This is how we speak, per everyday language. However, we should know that no created thing possesses intrinsic power, and that God has absolute Power, and He Decrees all matters. We are accountable for what we will, regardless of the fact that God does the actions. For this reason, we are responsible for our own sins. Humans are responsible for the will/intention part that accompanies the action.

Does God do evil, and why?

From our vantage point, human actions can be good or evil, and God decides whether to enact the good or evil that we will. Again, we will be judged according to the intention/will that accompanies the action. However, God is not subject to what is relevant and applicable within His creation. While we are accountable for the good and evil that we will/"do" upon the earth, God Himself is beyond such judgements, and what He decrees and enacts is not subject to the specific notions of morality that He has ordained for humanity.

As to why God permits suffering and evil to exist, Islamic scholar, Timothy Winter, explains:

"In Islam, God has names of Beauty: the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Gentle, and many others. But He also has Names of Rigour: the Overwhelming, the Just, the Avenger. The world in which we live exists as the interaction and the manifestation of all of the divine attributes. Hence it is a place of ease and of hardship, of joy and of sorrow. It has to be this way: a world in which there was only ease could not be a place in which we can discover ourselves to be true human beings. It is only by experiencing hardship, and loss, and bereavement, and disease, that we rise above our egos, and show that we can live for others, and for principles, rather than only for ourselves."
 
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SaiyanZ

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So how do we know what God has ordained for us? He allows everything to happen. Does he know the difference between good and evil and the effect it has on peoples lives? Also, if he does know the difference, then how do we know that our "good" is not his "evil" since he is not subject to the same morality as us?
 

wayfarer

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So how do we know what God has ordained for us? He allows everything to happen. Does he know the difference between good and evil and the effect it has on peoples lives? Also, if he does know the difference, then how do we know that our "good" is not his "evil" since he is not subject to the same morality as us?
Thank you for your question.

We do not know what God decrees, until we perceive it to happen. Everything that happens is according to the Divine Decree. The morals and rules we are to abide by are determined by God, and communicated to humanity (since the time of Adam) through the agency of prophets and Divine Books. Muslims derive their legal code from the Quran and other canonical texts, and this is the code according to which human beings are expected to live.

God is the author of the good and evil by which he tests us, and knows well that which He Creates. Good and evil are constructs that inform human behaviour, derived from the human being's free will (as facilitated by God), and in the big scheme of things, God is not subject to or judged according to this.

“And there will spring from you a nation that invites to goodness, and enjoins right conduct and forbids indecency. Such are they who are successful." (Quran 3:104)

God knows every detail about every matter. We are commanded to enjoin good, and oppose evil, and yet both of these are authored by God. However, we will be judged according to our intentions, not by our actions. Note that the evil that God authors is not absolute evil; everything he does is good in the big scheme of things, as through Him, ultimate Justice will be done. But from an earthly perspective, we perceive good and evil according to the will/intention of humans. We should therefore oppose every evil that we perceive as such (as per His Guidance) and enjoin all that is good.
 

S.Harris

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We do not know what God decrees, until we perceive it to happen. Everything that happens is according to the Divine Decree.
So that means that we have no choice in what we do, because it has already been decided what we will do, by the known Divine Decree. At the least this sounds a bit unfair of your god, making me good and you bad. But there is another bit that seems to circle back on it's self, you say Divine Decree, yet you do not know that it is until it happens. This seems like determinism with a god as originator, and you know what you must to do allow an originator, show evidence for it.
 

wayfarer

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So that means that we have no choice in what we do, because it has already been decided what we will do, by the known Divine Decree.
Your comments are appreciated.

We, ourselves, choose what we intend/will. And that is what we are accountable for. Our wills are determined by ourselves. God has Fore-Knowledge thereof, and decrees facilitation of actions according to His absolute Knowledge, Will and Power. God is the Creator of time, space and morality, and necessarily transcends beyond it.

At the least this sounds a bit unfair of your god, making me good and you bad.
Our wills are what make us good and bad. This is not forced upon us. I explained that in 5.6. If our wills were forced upon us, we would not have free choice. All actions, however, require facilitation by God.

But there is another bit that seems to circle back on it's self, you say Divine Decree, yet you do not know that it is until it happens. This seems like determinism with a god as originator, and you know what you must to do allow an originator, show evidence for it.
Arguments for or against the existence of the Originator is outside the scope of this thread. Muslims hold that all of humanity has a natural disposition towards belief in The One. Individuals may "forget" the primordial covenant, and for this reason God sends "reminders". But, through this covenant, human beings are inclined towards The Truth.
 
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SaiyanZ

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I think you should always try and quote the piece from the Quran that you base your assertions on. That way we can see whether your interpretation of the translated Quran is the same as others and whether it makes sense. I would like to look at the source of your information and interpret it myself as well, since your interpretation would tend to be biased.
 

wayfarer

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I think you should always try and quote the piece from the Quran that you base your assertions on. That way we can see whether your interpretation of the translated Quran is the same as others and whether it makes sense. I would like to look at the source of your information and interpret it myself as well, since your interpretation would tend to be biased.
I often present the canonical references. However, the views expressed in this thread are not my own assertions, but are the general consensus of the most senior scholars of mainstream Islam (about 90% of Muslims adhere to the mainstream), according to their learned and widely respected interpretations of Islam's canonical works (not only the Quran, as the Islamic sciences derive from much more than just the Quran). Personally, I am not an Islamic scholar, but a student of the scholars.

The most developed sound school of Islamic belief supported by the overwhelming majority of the Islamic mainstream is Ashari Aqida. The views on belief expressed in this thread are therefore according to the Ashari school. There is consensus amongst mainstream scholars on the validity of the Ashari school.

I re-iterate, this thread is representative of the established positions/assertions of mainstream Islam (also known as Sunni Islam) based on a wide range of canonical texts. These types of arguments (such as Divine Decree and free will) can be extremely complex, with numerous lengthy sources spread across many of Islam's canonical texts (along with loaded interpretive explanations), drawing on logic systems such as Aristotelian logic, that to present the actual arguments and source texts here is beyond the scope of this Introduction to Islam thread.
 

skyhawk

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I often present the canonical references. However, the views expressed in this thread are not my own assertions, but are the general consensus of the most senior scholars of mainstream Islam (about 90% of Muslims adhere to the mainstream)
I have already proved that mainstream Islam does not represent 90% of all Muslims. Mainstream Islam does not condone stoning but +30% of Muslims live in countries that have stoning as law. i have also stated that 7 of the most dangerous countries in the world are Islamic and wayfarer just said its biased.

In A newsweek issue last year Pervez Musharraf denied that Pakistani is the most most dangerous country in the world but the 2nd after Afghanistan. We have Somalia , Mali , Iraqi , Bangladeshi.

The majority of Muslims are mainstream yes but not 90 %
 

wayfarer

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I have already proved that mainstream Islam does not represent 90% of all Muslims. Mainstream Islam does not condone stoning but +30% of Muslims live in countries that have stoning as law. i have also stated that 7 of the most dangerous countries in the world are Islamic and wayfarer just said its biased.

In A newsweek issue last year Pervez Musharraf denied that Pakistani is the most most dangerous country in the world but the 2nd after Afghanistan. We have Somalia , Mali , Iraqi , Bangladeshi.

The majority of Muslims are mainstream yes but not 90 %
Hi Skyhawk

Your misconception was cleared up very quickly, so please read that post, and stop beating a dead horse.

http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthr...ion-to-Islam?p=9799468&viewfull=1#post9799468
 
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SaiyanZ

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I often present the canonical references. However, the views expressed in this thread are not my own assertions, but are the general consensus of the most senior scholars of mainstream Islam (about 90% of Muslims adhere to the mainstream), according to their learned and widely respected interpretations of Islam's canonical works (not only the Quran, as the Islamic sciences derive from much more than just the Quran). Personally, I am not an Islamic scholar, but a student of the scholars.

The most developed sound school of Islamic belief supported by the overwhelming majority of the Islamic mainstream is Ashari Aqida. The views on belief expressed in this thread are therefore according to the Ashari school. There is consensus amongst mainstream scholars on the validity of the Ashari school.

I re-iterate, this thread is representative of the established positions/assertions of mainstream Islam (also known as Sunni Islam) based on a wide range of canonical texts. These types of arguments (such as Divine Decree and free will) can be extremely complex, with numerous lengthy sources spread across many of Islam's canonical texts (along with loaded interpretive explanations), drawing on logic systems such as Aristotelian logic, that to present the actual arguments and source texts here is beyond the scope of this Introduction to Islam thread.
Just wondering. If it is too complex to point out the source of the muslim views then how does the average muslim know what they base their religion on? Is it not sheep mentality to follow just because others have said they studied the texts and have interpreted it for everyone else? I mean if people base their entire lives on something they should know the source and be able to easily interpret it for themselves.
 

wayfarer

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Just wondering. If it is too complex to point out the source of the muslim views then how does the average muslim know what they base their religion on?
At least one of us has misunderstood the other.

It is very easy to point out the sources for the view that God decrees everything while we have free will. I was refering to the complex philosophical arguments of how exactly this works, and how Divine Decree is reconciled with free will, which is by no means a matter of cursory inferences from a single source. It is also not a requirement that every individual has a complete understanding of all the philosophical implications and deeper meanings of Islamic belief.

So to present you with some sources for stating that God decrees all matters and has All Power, but that humans nevertheless have free will:

QURAN on God's Knowledge, Power and Will, and on human free will

"He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in truth. In the day when He saith: Be! And it is. His Word is the Truth, and His will be the Sovereignty on the day when the trumpet is blown. Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, He is the Wise, the Aware." (Quran 6:73)

"He is the only One who controls life and death. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is." (Quran 4:68)

"Say, "Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector." And upon Allah let the believers rely." (Quran 9:51)

"Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills let him disbelieve." (Quran 18:29)

"That is because God never changes a blessing that He has bestowed on a people unless they change what is in their own souls, and God is all-hearing, all-knowing." (Quran 8:35)

"They will cry out to them: Were we not with you? They shall say: Yea! but you caused yourselves to fall into temptation, and you waited and doubted, and vain desires deceived you till the threatened punishment of God came, while the archdeceiver deceived you about God." (Quran 57:14)

"Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction. But if good comes to them, they say, "This is from God "; and if evil befalls them, they say, "This is from you." Say, "All [things] are from God ." So what is [the matter] with those people that they can hardly understand any statement?" (Quran 4:78)

HADITH (there are many of these, but here is one:))

The Prophet said, There is no ability or power except through God. [Bukhari (3883); Muslim (4873), and others]

Is it not sheep mentality to follow just because others have said they studied the texts and have interpreted it for everyone else?
In Islam, scholars ("priests") are not ordained. Everyone is welcome to undertake studies within the various Islamic sciences, and grapple directly with the primary texts. They are also then free to contribute towards the rich pool of sacred knowledge. However, 1000s and 1000s of the usual questions have already been worked out and refined by interdisciplinary collaboration of scholarly giants (for over a 1000 years). These efforts have lead to the development of 4 (separate, but very similar) schools of Islamic practice, which together comprise the Islamic mainstream.

Most scholars find themselves trying to further refine existing interpretations, rather than reinventing the wheel (which they are free to do, if they so choose). In earlier centuries, scholars busied themselves with direct exegesis, serious corrective work, filling the gaps, and some refinement. Today, most senior scholarship involves operationalising Islam's massive canonical range by considering the interpretive possibilities that would best suit specific modern contexts (especially in terms of time and place).

Wahhabism does not allow for this, as it has a fetish for reinventing wheels. They use the "sheep mentality" argument, and virtually exclusively engage in exegesis of loaded primary texts (with a strictly literal and rigid approach) - with DISASTROUS consequences. Wahhabis generally reject all 4 schools of thought and the 1400 year scholarly legacy (a rich legacy, subject to continued refinement of religious knowledge to this day), in favour of interpretations by close-minded, extreme, sometimes sexist/racist/bigoted "scholars". Their arrogance has led them to cutting themselves off from vast oceans of refined sacred knowledge - this knowledge being true excellence in its representation of thorough (and nuanced) meanings of primary sacred texts.

I mean if people base their entire lives on something they should know the source and be able to easily interpret it for themselves.
The 6 articles of belief are clearly presented in the Quran and in the Hadith. I explained that, with sources, here (Essence) and here (Belief).
 
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wayfarer

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Hi S.Harris

I did not state that that is the reason why I believe in the Quran or God, nor do I support that silly cyclical argument. This matter will be dealt with later in the thread. I recommend that you remove that self-confessed troll post, as it is out of place in this thread. I invite you to ask a question if you wish.
 

falcon786

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I know this is trolling, and has been posted before, but this is what you really are saying.
View attachment 41060
So you're not here to learn or understand you're here to judge?

You've basically just summed up deep explanations with a picture that is completely irrelevant to what wayfarer took time and effort to explain.I think the least you could to is respect wayfarer enough to actually engage him or ask him questions based on what he has said.

Leave any per-conceived notions that you may have about Islam out of this discussion and approach with an open mind instead.You may just be pleasantly surprised.
 

R/SGT

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Why do the majority of Muslims put up with Wahhabism, as it seems to be behind everything that the world perceives as wrong about islam?
 

falcon786

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Why do the majority of Muslims put up with Wahhabism, as it seems to be behind everything that the world perceives as wrong about islam?
Maybe because they are too rich and powerful with major major American backing?

There was an uprising developing in Saudi during the Arab spring but the sauds quickly extinguished it.
 

SaiyanZ

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But you guys have the numbers and the power of the true God on your side. Or are they richer and more powerful than God too?
 

skyhawk

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Killing and stoning for blasphemous reasons or adultery act as a deterrent and is never actually carried out , thats what you said wayfarer.
Is Pakistan mainstream ? because there is a woman on death row for making derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad. Her name is Asia Bibi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Bibi
 

wayfarer

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Killing and stoning for blasphemous reasons or adultery act as a deterrent and is never actually carried out , thats what you said wayfarer.
Is Pakistan mainstream ? because there is a woman on death row for making derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad. Her name is Asia Bibi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Bibi
Pakistan has a mainstream majority, however Western (USA by itself and with some others in NATO) exploits, invasion, aggression and mass-murder in the region (and elsewhere in the Muslim world) has led to noticeable radicalisation, and the popularising, strengthening and empowering of groups such as the Taliban and the very well organised Jamaat-e-islami.

Nevertheless, I visited the Wikipedia link, and the first paragraph seems to support what I said about killing/stoning for "blasphemy". See relevant quotes from the Wikipedia article that you linked:

If executed, Noreen (Asia Bibi) would be the first woman in Pakistan to be lawfully killed for blasphemy.
According to the Governor of Punjab... Noreen is likely to be (presidentially) pardoned if the High Court does not suspend the sentence.
These "blasphemy" laws should urgently be done away with, as it is easily used as a tool by corrupt and bigoted powers to enact oppression and persecution. Please sign the petition to free Asia Bibi.
 
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