I'm really confused right now. Before he created our soul, He must know for sure, since He knows everything, whether someone is going to go to paradise or hell when they die. And since there is no god above Allah, this knowledge must come from himself, thus he must plan it to be that way. However, this is inconsistent with two names of Allah: The Most Merciful one and The Most Fair.

How can He be the merciful one if He stil insists to create someone whose fate is beeing tortured in hell forever if he already knew it would happen? And how can He be The Most Fair if he decided Jack's fate is paradise but John's fate is hell?

Yes we do have 'free will', but since He already planned that way, who knows that He controls our decision making as well?

This question baffles me so much and threatens my faith immensely.

  • To whomever voted down the question, please take the time to explain why.
    – lemon
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 14:58

14 Answers 14


Allah didn't predestine John or any other person to hell or heaven. He knows in His vast knowledge that Jhon who has a free will, will commit actions that will send him to hell. He doesn't dictate it. He is not forcing Jhon to do bad deeds. His knowledge is so vast that He knows well in advance what Jhon is going to do.

Here's an example. Not a good one but something that will clarify the logic.

Say Jhon is your friend. He is walking down the street and runs into you. You both chat for a while. Then you ask Jhon where he is going. He tells you that he is going to the other side of town. You tell him that the road he's taking is blocked, there's a fight between two groups and he will surely not be able to make it to the other side of town and will get hurt or- even worse- die. If he listens to you and trust you, he will change his mind. If he doesn't and continue the path you believe is dangerous, he will get hurt. Now do you think you were being unjust to your friend Jhon? Do you think you were being tricky? Or was it more like Jhon's own stupidity that sent him the path you both clearly knew was dangerous.

It's the same with our deeds. Allah (SWT) clearly tells us not to do certain things. To believe in him and always seek His forgiveness. But still we go our own way. We do what we think is right. And then when bad things happen to us or when we are punished for what we have done, we blame Allah (SWT) for it? I seek refugee in Allah.

  • 2
    This analogy is flawed and does not answer the actual question. Here's a more accurate analogy: suppose you are imprisoned in a concentration camp, and you know that if you impregnate a woman then your child will also be brought up in the concentration camp where they will suffer a life-time of torture and ultimately death. Would it be merciful or fair for you to have that child?
    – lemon
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 12:07
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    You seem to have completely missed my point. Let me try again: would you agree (like most people do) that it's better for a life not to exist at all than to suffer greatly? A practical example is people born with terrible genetic defects abstaining from sexual intercourse. Do you agree that this is the morally correct position to take?
    – lemon
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 12:16
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    I'll put it as black and white as I can: is it better for someone not to have been born at all or to be born but suffer the worst pain for an eternity?
    – lemon
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 12:21
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    In other words you're creating a special exception for god because you realise the logical conclusions that follow. And the point is that god is presented with this precise question: do I allow person X to be created and end up spending an eternity suffering in hell, or simply not allow person X to be born in the first place? No human would inflict eternal suffering on their own creation. Why? Because we are merciful to those we love, whereas god is not.
    – lemon
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 12:27
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    But the hereafter - which is the very topic we're discussing - is eternal!
    – lemon
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 13:07

I think he means about this hadith:

Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s belly for forty days in the form of a seed, then he is a clot of blood for a like period, then a morsel of flesh for a like period, then an angel is sent to him who blows the breath of life into him and who is commanded about four matters: to write down his means of livelihood, his life span, his actions, and whether he will be happy or wretched. By Allah, other than Whom there is no god, verily one of you behaves like the people of Paradise until there is but an arm’s length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him and so he behaves like the people of Hell-fire and thus he enters it; and one of you behaves like the people of Hell-fire until there is but an arm’s length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him and so he behaves like the people of Paradise and thus he enters it.

This topic is hard one but essential for a muslim to attain true faith. For what I have understood about fate and decree, every man has its own path written in preserved tablet. One might enter paradise with their deeds like the written in tablet, but if he/she somewhat going stray and start doing what a sinner does, he/she will probably go to hell. And vice versa, one might be destined for hell, but if somehow he/she repent and Allah help him/her then the fate is averted.

Somehow I agree that, for someone is most likely to enter paradise if we look at its fate (for example: one born in muslim family and devout community) but that is not guarantee of someone being in paradise later. And vice versa, one is born in disbeliever community, and so he might be the sinner as well. But, no one can tell if he will get revelation later. Allah do as He please.

My knowledge is limited. You can check articles I just read below:

If everything is determined in our fate, why did Allah send us down to earth for testing? Does He not already know everything? He could have sent us to Heaven or Hell without testing, too; why did He not do so?

Destiny in Islam: Revisited

The knowledge about who enter paradise or hell isn't fixed either. No man can judge other whom enter paradise or hell. It is Allah exclusive right. A muslim still subjected to hell with their wrong deeds. Non-muslim that enter paradise with Allah's grace (because of their deeds and circumstance). And so the inadequate people (deaf, crazy, old man with their Alzheimer, and those live before prophet) that seek justice in day of judgment, Allah will test them later. Correct me if I am wrong.


1) Only ALLAH can create us.it is his unique power.we can say that he created us on his own decision without being consulted with us for our will to be created as a human being.does it make any sense that a creator will take permission from an object that is intended to be created ,i mean that has not got its real existence yet.so how a creator can consult with anyone who has not been created yet?

2)even if i take that Allah has created us against our will but simultaneously he has told us every story from the beginning of our creation to the ultimate path to the heaven & hell including the ways that could lead us to them.I mean he has revealed to us everything what to do in this earthen world & what is going to happen in hereafter. In other word he has circulated the checklists(question paper for the upcoming exam & its final result) clearly & directly to his best creature whom he gave sufficient wisdom, conscience to realize & understand it. our life death everything belong to him.we are possessed to him absolutely. He is our owner.we own nothing & absolutely nothing without being gifted anything from him.my existence is unbelievable without his existence & will.thats why he has absolute right to take our lives to create anew life.so we could condemn him if he wouldn't tell us what should be our way of life in this world to get the heaven & to avoid the hell beforehand the final day judgement. It is his great mercy to us that he has given us this life, its guidelines to take the earthen exam correctly & finally face the upcoming trials & their possible questiions that would be asked to you in different steps up until to the heaven or hell.who is the most merciful in your knowledge in this sense other than you creator?

3) if even after clearing every pros & cons of the reward & punishment in life hereafter a bad person does wrong enjoy life ileagally whereas a good person lead a an honest life in spite of bearing pain & suffering...isn't it unfair if ALLAH( swt) treat these two kind of person at a same level without rewarding the honest/loyal over the dishonest/unloyal? what do we do in our practical life? don't we judge honesty in this way?

4) a creator who can create can create anything he wish. it is his freedom. there is no wrong in it.so we cant say that why he has created us. we could complain to Allah if he would create us as a beast & after that punishes us without giving us any sense of wisdom to recognize or realize him.OUR wisdom & will power is our excellence. thats why we are the best among all of the creations.it is our weakness that we want Allah to give us the heaven automatically as like he has given us the life. Actually it is difficult for us to avoid the forbidden things that needs a strong faith, determination, hardship, detachment from gladness,allurement & all other evil deeds which are difficult to achieve as a dishonest worldlover person.we need to think that an honest man will feel this world as if it is incarcerated & unenjoyable because he keep himself refrain from many enjoyment forbidden by Allah.WHAT is for bidden by Allah is not only to satisfy him but there is definite wellbeing for his creatures in it.But what is forbidden in this world ALlah promises to give a vast items of ejoyments to his loyals in the heavens that are not comparable to any most beautiful thing of this world.we need this patience . Allah will reward us for this patience as we have done it only for his satisfaction as our creator. Allah deserves this from us & watching us to justify how much a creation can sacrifice for my satisfaction, how much deternmined he is to through away earthen wordly enjoyment for me? and at last if Allah (swt) is satisfied Allah will give the ultimate peace that is eternal, long lasting, will not end ever, that is not seen by an eye, hot heard by an ear, not imagined by a heart. And ALLAH says he never break his promise.so Allah is the MOst merciful as a creator to his creations & he is a PRECISE JUDGE AS HE TOLD.

5) EVEN Allah ( swt) informed us how iblees has been created, what are the possible techniques he can apply to derail us, what are the solutions to get protected from it, just know it, apply it ,be faithful by your wisdom deeply, sacrifice yourself being with his order.thats it we can do for the ultimate & real peace with eternal enjoyments


You forgot the name "Al kahhaar" too. Allah is merciful if you obey him. He is the one who punishes with a great punishment too if you disobey him by shirk and kufr. He knew who would obey and who would disobey. And hence by his knowledge he created some for hell fire and some for paradise. He could have not make hell at all, right? But he did and no one can question him on what he does but you will be questioned ; Quran. So if you believe in Allah you to believe in all of his attributes. As simple as that. There is no philosophical answer here as people try to give. Allah loves to punish as well to those who deserve . This is our belief , get over it or reject it.


The question is very much valid and it makes very good sense. The following references from Quran and hadeeths seem to lend credence to the dilemma expressed by the questioner:

Quran—Surah.7:178-179; 10:99-100; 76:29-30; 81:28-29
Hadeeths—Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Hadith Number 641; V 2, Book 23, Hadeeth Number 444; V 8, Book 77, Hadeeth Number 593;
Sahih Muslim Book 33, Hadith 6436

Since I am a Christian by faith and practice, I refrain from giving any interpretation of the above references.

However, the question is as relevant to Islam as any other theistic faiths, including Christianity. Therefore, I would like to present the response to the above question from the biblical point of view.

God: By definition God is Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent (Natural Attributes), Eternal, Infinite, One (Philosophical Attributes), Holy, Just and Love (Moral Attributes).

Omniscience: God knows what is knowable, but not what is unknowable. God doesn’t know how to create another God or how to annihilate Himself or how He can commit sin or create a stone which He cannot lift etc. Mainly because all such statements are illogical statements and are, therefore, talking about intrinsically impossible things. In other words, they are non-sensical statements. Such things are unknowable even to God.

However, God knows all that are possible because only they are knowable. There are only three categories of beings, namely, necessary being (exists always--God), possible beings (may or may not exist—humans, creatures, matter, time etc.), and impossible beings (will never exist—a new God, a rock that even God cannot lift, a triangular circle etc.).

All possible beings are contingent beings. They are dependent on the necessary being i.e. God. All possible things God can plan and create. All what God can plan and create are knowable. Therefore, God knows if and only if He plans to create any entity or event. God knows what He has planned, but doesn't know what He hasn't.

Future: Future doesn’t exist as a reality now. If it is going to exist later, then it is God who will be the Creator of the future. So, God knows the future as He intends to create it, including all the free beings such as humans and angels, and their actions (Isaiah 37:26, 46:10-11,48:3). If God is the one who is going to create the future then He knows exactly how He is going to create it and how it is going to be. If He chooses to leave out some roles, events or actions of the free beings in the future He wants to create, He can do so and that’s how He knows the future.

Whatever God leaves out in the future they are the ‘empty spaces’ that can be filled in later either by God or by the free beings with their free-will. Those empty spaces are nothing to know about. Therefore, God doesn’t know how they are going to be until they are determined either by God (in His sovereignty) or by free beings (in their God-given freedom) prior to their actualization.

Does God know which individuals are going to hell? No, He doesn’t. Because neither God nor the individuals have determined that yet. Of course, if God predestines someone to hell only then He knows that information. But that would render God unjust, loveless, and evil which are against His nature. God doesn’t do anything against His own nature.

If God knows the future it implies that it is He who determined it that way. Therefore, according to any particular religion, if God knows which individuals are going to hell before they commit sins worthy of hell, then it is God who has determined that fate for those individuals. But such a god is hardly worthy to be called God for he is devoid of justice and love and becomes the embodiment of evil. Thankfully, such a god doesn’t exist. As far as the Bible is concerned it never attributes such ‘knowledge’ to God.

In conclusion, I can say that God doesn't create knowingly anyone whose fate is hell!


And why are you taking as a premice, that his fate will be imperatively Hell ? (or as I saw in the comments on Noah's answer "Suffer the worst pain for an etrenity")

Allah (SWT) created men whom fate can be even Hell or Heaven, an eternity of suffering or an eternity of delight, and this depends on what he will be doing in his life, if he is going to leave as a bad or a good person, if he is going to help or harm people around him, so a man's fate comes from his hands, from his own deeds, and Allah has send us his prophets, so they can guide us through the path which will avoid us Hell and lead us to Heaven, and in that He has been merciful.

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    You completely miss the point of the question. Presumably at least one person has/will suffer eternal damnation. In which case, why would god create this person knowing that they will suffer for eternity? It's not enough to simply blame the human; god is implicit in the entire process.
    – lemon
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 16:24
  • I totally get your point, but try to get mine : God gave this person life AND free will, so why that person would do things that she knows will lead her to suffer eternally ? in most cases, this person would have made other people suffer, would have rape, kill, torture, so why this person would do that if she have the choice of not doing it ?
    – Koblenz
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 17:17

Because many types of slavery that Allah (SWT) likes were not to exist in the absence of infidelity and infidels, such as bondage of "Mowalah" (loyalty) to Allah, hostility in the cause of Allah, and the bondage of jihad, which is the pinnacle of Islam. If there is no infidels how would the virtue of the Messengers and their followers show? Whom would Allah make Martyrs? and how would patience, "Mosabarah", "Morabata" (stationing) and similar types of slavery which please Allah would have been achieved. Also the effect of some of his attributes would not show; if not for the creation of the infidels, how would Allah make the believers victorious, punish their enemy and make them an example for others. Also Allah likes to praise him for his blessings, and the greatest blessing is faith, but that grace appears gracious and more clear in the existence of a infidelity.

  • 1
    According to the Qur'an, the purpose of our life is to worship god. You seem to be claiming that it's not possible to worship god unless there are also those who refuse to. Where's the logic in that?
    – lemon
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 16:29
  • Please read the answer twice, you may notice that your comment does not apply. first line you read (many types) I did not say (All types), so many types of worshiping does not require the existence of infidelity.
    – M.M
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 16:58

You are saying that Allah is dooming us to hell, which is wrong. The choice of becoming humans and taking this test was out of our own free will, so we could be better than the Angels. If we all were to be perfect and obey Allah then what's the difference between us and the Angels? Nothing. The mere fact that he has given us clear guidance and the ability of free will shows his ability to be just. It is just like going to school and taking an exam. You buy/rent/use textbooks to study the material for an exam. During the final exam you aren't able to reference the material, but afterwards you'll know the result. Given the performance in your class teachers already predict the outcome of which students are going to fail by there actions. These teachers didn't force you to become, say, an engineer or doctor. You CHOSE this just like you CHOSE to be a human. The only thing to do now is educate oneself and learn how to better yourself to pass the final exam.

Edit: maybe this will be easier to understand... Hope this helps.

Also, you mentioned he puts John in heaven and Jack in hell... That's a flawed statement. He gave John and Jack the same exact choice to choose. He isn't putting anyone anywhere he just knows where you will go. That is the beauty of John and Jack's free will. He just didn't want more Angels... He already has that. He created humans to be beings that out of their own free will submitted to his command. Not like Angels who are forced to do everything they are commanded.


As Salaam Alaykum.

Dua changes things. What does your dua consist of? Daily, mine consists of Fatiha. Therein, I am asking for guidance on the straight path. I am asking to be among those who are in HIS good graces, not those who earn the wrath of ALLAH(swt) nor go astray. I don't just say random words in Arabic. I study my Quran in English.(which is my first language) I study my Quran in Arabic- which I attend classes to understand Arabic better.

There are other forms of dua. The kind that you can just say at anytime of day or night in any language or state of being. I ask for ALLAH to keep me. I ask to be of those who HE is pleased with. I ask for forgiveness for my errors and assistance to be a better servant. I'm sure someone like my Imam would do more than me. I'm sure someone like Nouman Ali Khan would do more than him, and Mufti Menk may understand more, and do more for the pleasure of ALLAH (swt) being that he know more.

both John and Jack has the same chance of reaching to ultimate goal-earning the pleasure of ALLAH(swt). It is obtained by supplication. You must ask for it. You must work toward it. Some of us may even struggle for it. But you must ask. We are all constantly bombarded by the enemy to be other than what we were created to be. Predestination is changed with dua. If a person destined for the fire would ask for guidance, Ar-RAHMAN will give it because HE said HE would.

On the other hand, would someone such as yourself allow the enemy the rip you off the true path after having guidance because of worry for others? There are many tactics the enemy would use, and that is one he uses on many rightly guided, especially new and young Muslims. When you read Quran, you will see that even our beloved Prophet(saws) would concern himself with the fate of others, but is only commanded to deliver the message.

If you were a young girl on the Titanic, and you were offered a good seat on a lifeboat-would you take it? What if your friends didn't trust the lifeboat, would you still save yourself, or perish with them? If the sailor told your friend that they would come back for them at any time, if they just called out to them, what would you do? Are you supposed to do anything for them, or are you supposed to make the decision for yourself?

Now literal. Some people were created and destined to go to the fire, yes. But their fate could be changed if they use their freedom of will to ask for forgiveness and guidance. There are also people who will concern theirselves so much with what is beyond their control, that they will not save theirselves because they have an opinion as to how things should be. Do not let the enemy distract you from the straight path because you want things to be the way you want it to be. We are all servants of ALLAH (swt) and there are times when your answer is 'i hear and I obey'. Your journey to ALLAH (swt) is your own unique one. Maybe your focus for a time will be on submission.

We are all trying to be better. Even the prophets begged for forgiveness of their sins (you may ask- what sins!?!!????) lol... But it is true. Very few of us are automatically entered into paradise. Most of us have a lot of work to do. All of us have the possibility of going either way. Sincerity in supplication is key.... read your Quran, and pray for guidance.


This argument is useless; God is NOT responsible for your actions, but you are, and to leave the choice for you cannot be considered selfish.

It is not right to place blame on God and not on the person who actually committed the sin, regardless of God's knowledge who is or is not going to hell, that is entirely beside the point, and ignores the real issue:

What matters is that you as the person made your own choices throughout life. It is your fault and your fault alone if you go to hell for eternity, because you knew what Allah expected of you and you ignored it. You say God knew? So do you.

You Know

And if you do not know everything that is desired from your Lord, you KNOW you have the means to find out and if you don't, that is something God will take into account, because he is just, but at the end of the day, what you do, how you act, is in your hands.

Take responsibility for your own actions, because that's how you're getting through this test, and stop blaming your Lord for your own evil actions. He is not controlling you, you are controlling yourself.


There is a phrase saying "Knowledge depends on the known one, not vice versa." This is the point. You assume that, I committed a sin because Allah knows it, which is not true. Your commitment is not due to knowledge of Allah. Knowledge of Allah is due to your commitment.

Because knowledge cannot have any power to force you to do something.

Remember the rule! Knowledge comes after(not in terms of time, in terms of existence order) the known thing.


Salam wa Rahmat Allah. I pray we are all guided and may ALLAH Aza wa Jal enter us all Janna through His Mercy. And thats one point I'd love to make: There's a lot of great answers and knowledge in them here. Jazakum Allah Kheir! Lots of good examples. Lets just not forget one thing. No one enters Janna on account of their own deeds but rather by Allah's Rahma. Mercy! When Muhammad upon him Peace said this he was asked, "even you ya Rasool Allah?" " Even me." Sahih Hadeeth. This may mean that its His Mercy itself that guides us and makes us good in the first place to even do good deeds, Allah knows Best.

That person who ended up in hell was surely given Mercy after Mercy while living this life!! But heeee denied his Lord! Obvious and clear his fault and no one elses. He was probably given many good things in this life, and only sought the pleasure here and didn't ask for that of the Hereafter. While Knowing!! Because as someone said here we were sent many messengers, 123,000 of them! A clear unambiguous Book! Many signs in Nature, in the skies... in ourselves!!! Food, Drink, Shelter, strength, resources, intelligence to solve problems and find Truth!! what else do you want!! "So which of the Favours of your LORD will you deny??" Asks Allah The Most Merciful in a chapter with that very same name. "Al Rahman" go read it! in fact yes make a habit of searching Quran for answers because its not a lie that it HAS one for EVERY QUESTION! Ask GOD HIMSELF for guidance on questions about Him, if you do so with sincerity HE WILL GUIDE YOU TO A SURE UNDENIABLE ANSWER!!

and yes its True that a hellbound person's course be changed through supplication, what do you think the Aya "save yourselves from hellfire" means? Ask Allah for Janna ya habib el kareem and establish Prayer (Salat) and follow the Sunna of his Rasool upon Peace and Blesses. Example: Muhammad Peace upon him had a dream about alot of women in fire so he woke up and told them save yourselves!! why?? Because they could changed that destiny!! of course!! Said to them do so by "giving charity" Also did you know that some people will be pulled out of hell fire? Allah out of His Mercy and compassion. And HE Knows Best.

Also dont forget this life is full of tests, but while you only focusing on the suffering, which can actually purify you, teach you massively, prevent WORSE suffering etc... you missing the point: THE BIG PICTURE, THE HUGE REWARDS and TREASURES that await those patient ones and Loyal to The Most Merciful. Which are Eternal!! while this life is but a two second stop!! and all the mercies and graces that you have around you WHILE you think youre mostly suffering. Count them! You cant! Allah tells us. Far too numerous. As well as all the countless chances (undeserved) we have at His Mercy and Janna! Dont let shaytan trick you my noble brother, he is your enemy and his misery loves company!! Again, ask ALLAH, Read Quran, it'll insha Allah come crystal clear. Ask the People of Knowledge. Allah says that too! Again, The Big Picture, not one limited angle. I pray this helps. Inna Al Hamdo lIllah Al Aziz Al Ghafoor, wa Barak Allahu feekum wa yarhamakum wa ahleekum. Salat wa Salam Aala Sayedna Muhammad and family and companions Amin.


I feel for the OP. What he/she is asking hasn't been answered at all. In my understanding of Islam, one of the greatest strengths of the tradition is being able to say "I don't know." I agree with the OP, God is all knowing & did has DESIGNED each of His creation, meaning how would it think, how would it respond to challenges, how would it behave, etc. As He MADE us. So the question is absolutely valid, but the answer thereof, I have not found in any religion I have studied over the last 12 years.

Brother/Sister OP, I have grappled with this question for many years, i have come to realise that it is from among the matters of the unseen, which we, in this human state/form, have not been made privy to due to the nature of the test we have to undergo here. If everything was so crystal clear, there would be no way to REALLY test our faith/Iman. There has to be paradoxes in our limited view/perception of creation, seeming hypocricies.

Faith, by definition, is relatively blind. However even then, the clear signs of God's existence & power are clear. For eg, we don't need to beat our own hearts. I know your question does not challenge the existence of God, but I fear that this particular doubt may lead there eventually.

God does not do "an atom's weight of injustice to anyone", and personally I feel it may be that on the day of judgement, those actions which God knows a human or jinn has done which was evil but was not entirely its own decision, He may forgive. He is the All-Knowing, He has all the info, we don't.

Now the paradox is that no religion can start teaching ppl this, because then u will get fatalists & determinists who will do evil without struggling against themselves & simply claim they are instruments of divine predestination. Simultaneously, there has to be at least a seeming choice between doing good & evil in this world, between denying or submitting to the One by which we exist, in order for the test of faith, which is the purpose of this realm, to be fulfilled, as God Himself says He has not created this realm, or us as humans, or the jinn, in vain.

This is what I understand of this deeply perplexing riddle thus far, wa Allahu ta'ala Alam, God knows best.

Hope it helps my dear Brother/Sister.


sckm Bro and sis.let's say you been looking for job and suddenly company offered you good job and told you to start work tomorrow plus the adress.you checked the map and find out the job located east.imagine if you go to west . Allah loves both John and jack and gave both of them the map to go heaven.allah wachING us from above knows us our action.if the person is not crazy. some chose the ather way around

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