There are different verses some of which seem to clearly suggest determinism :

و ما تشاءون الا ان یشاء الله رب العالمین

and you do not wish unless it is wished by Allah, the lord of the worlds.81:29

فَلَمْ تَقْتُلُوهُمْ وَ لكِنَّ اللَّهَ قَتَلَهُمْ وَ ما رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَ لكِنَّ اللَّهَ رَمى‏ وَ لِيُبْلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنينَ مِنْهُ بَلاءً حَسَناً إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَميعٌ عَليمٌ

You did not kill them; rather it was Allah who killed them; and you did not throw when you threw, rather it was Allah who threw, that He might test the faithful with a good test from Himself. Indeed Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing.(8:17)

On the other hand there are other verses that imply free will:

لَهُ مُعَقِّباتٌ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَ مِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُغَيِّرُ ما بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا ما بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَ إِذا أَرادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوْءاً فَلا مَرَدَّ لَهُ وَ ما لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ والٍ

He has guardian angels, to his front and his rear, who guard him by Allah's command. Indeed Allah does not change a people's lot, unless they change what is in their souls. And when Allah wishes to visit ill on a people, there is nothing that can avert it, and they have no protector besides Him.(13:11)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ لَا يَضُرُّكُم مَّن ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ..

O believers! You have charge of your own souls. He who goes astray cannot injure you if you are rightly guided.5:105

There seems to be a contradiction between these verses, I'd like to know how we should make sense of these apparently contradicting verses? Does Islam teach free will or determinism? I am interested in Shiite view.

  • I think you are mistaking predestination with determinism, for there's really no contradiction between free will and determinism so long as determinism means the existence of causality in events.
    – infatuated
    Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


Verily, mankind and Jinn are given 'free will' to do anything they liked.

But to do a good thing out of that anything, we need Allah's guidance.

You can be guided only if you wish to be guided. But you will wish to be guided, only if Allah wishes that you wish to be guided. Confusing right?

He it is Who sends Salat (His blessings) on you, and His angels too (ask Allah to bless and forgive you), that He may bring you out from darkness (of disbelief and polytheism) into light (of Belief and Islamic Monotheism). And He is Ever Most Merciful to the believers. (Qur'an 33:43)

So, he always wishes to guide us. But,

And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah) (i.e. this Quran and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Shaitan (Satan - devil) to be a Qareen (an intimate companion) to him. (Qur'an 43:36)

So, in order to assure we be guided by Allah, we need remember him in abundance.

And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people. (Qur'an 62:5)

May the creator guide us all.

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