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We can only believe in Allah by permission of Allah.

وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ
And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed - all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?
10:99

وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَن تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah , and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason.
10:100

There are those whom Allah guides and those whom Allah sends astray

فَمَن يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَن يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ ۖ وَمَن يُرِدْ أَن يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
So whoever Allah wants to guide - He expands his breast to [contain] Islam; and whoever He wants to misguide - He makes his breast tight and constricted as though he were climbing into the sky. Thus does Allah place defilement upon those who do not believe.
6:125

مَن يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِي ۖ وَمَن يُضْلِلْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
Whoever Allah guides - he is the [rightly] guided; and whoever He sends astray - it is those who are the losers.
7:178

يُثَبِّتُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ الظَّالِمِينَ ۚ وَيَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ
Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.
14:27

وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِن يُضِلُّ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَلَتُسْأَلُنَّ عَمَّا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
And if Allah had willed, He could have made you [of] one religion, but He causes to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do.
16:93

And if Allah sends astray someone, he has no help.

فَمَا لَكُمْ فِي الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِئَتَيْنِ وَاللَّهُ أَرْكَسَهُم بِمَا كَسَبُوا ۚ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَهْدُوا مَنْ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ ۖ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلًا
What is [the matter] with you [that you are] two groups concerning the hypocrites, while Allah has made them fall back [into error and disbelief] for what they earned. Do you wish to guide those whom Allah has sent astray? And he whom Allah sends astray - never will you find for him a way [of guidance].
4:88

إِن تَحْرِصْ عَلَىٰ هُدَاهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَن يُضِلُّ ۖ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن نَّاصِرِينَ
[Even] if you should strive for their guidance, [O Muhammad], indeed, Allah does not guide those He sends astray, and they will have no helpers.
16:37

My question is:

If we can only believe by permission of Allah, and He decides whom He guides and expands his heart to Islam, and whom He sends astray will have "tight breast" and have no help, do we have free will in believing in Allah? Is there free will of faith?

Comment: It appears to me that it only depends on whether you were guided or sent astray. If we were guided we would be on the right path, and if not we would go more deviant. Do we have free will in it?

  • Assalamualaikum brother, This issue of fate and destiny is Very Very sensitive, so be very careful in creating proper understanding of it. I myself research a lot about it and found this video, which has the Best and Amazing explanation of this complex concept. This video is by Dr.Bilal phillips youtube.com/watch?v=PvFJKzpUiEg May Allah guide us all to the right path – Farhan Oct 2 '13 at 15:06
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Absolutely there is free will.

God implemented unbreakable laws that govern this life. Just like there are laws of physics governing the universe, God created, let's call them, "Laws of Guidance". In 10:99 God confirms that if He wished, those laws could have been such that everyone is a submitter. In 10:100 God informs us that his Laws of Guidance are set by him only, are absolute, and they cannot be broken. He then mercifully (within the same verse) gives us the key to these Laws of Guidance: Reason!

God reminds us again in 6:125, 7:178, 14:27, and 16:93 (as you pointed out) that He's the sole definer of his "Laws of Guidance". Let us take a look at the verses that immediately precede those however because they hold a lot of context about these the Laws of Guidance:

6:124 And if a sign comes to them they say: "We will not believe until we are given the same as what God's messengers were given!" God is fully aware where He makes His message; those criminals will have debasement with God and a painful retribution for what they had schemed.

6:125 Whoever God wishes to guide, He will open his chest towards submission; and whoever He wishes to misguide, He will make his chest tight and constricted, as one who is climbing towards the sky. It is such that God afflicts those who do not believe.

And...

7:177 Miserable is the example of the people who denied Our revelations, and it was their souls that they had wronged.

7:178 Whoever God guides, then he is the guided one; and whoever He misguides, then these are the losers.

And...

14:26 And the example of a bad word is like a tree which has been uprooted from the surface of the Earth, it has nowhere to settle.

14:27 God makes firm those who believe with firm sayings in the worldly life, and in the Hereafter. And God misguides the wicked, and God does what He wishes.

And...

16:92 And do not be like she who unraveled her knitting after it had become strong, by breaking your oaths as a means of deception between you. That a nation shall be more numerous than another nation, for God puts you to the test by it. And He will show you on the Day of Resurrection that which you were disputing in.

16:93 And had God wished, He would have made you one nation, but He misguides whom He wishes, and He guides whom He wishes. And you will be asked about what you used to do.

The middle statement of 16:93, above, could be understood as "He misleads those who wish so" or "He misleads those He wishes." (By setting they Laws of guidance as He wishes)

We will be asked what we used to do with our free will.

God guides those (through the Laws of Guidance as demonstrated in the Quran) who seek the truth with honesty through reason, and misleads those who do Not demonstrate honesty and pure intention, by depriving them from witnessing His great signs in the scripture and in nature.

6:110 And We divert their hearts and eyesight, as they did not believe in it the first time; and We leave them wandering in their transgression.

And...

7:146 I will turn away from My revelations those who are arrogant on Earth without right, and if they see every sign they do not believe in it, and if they see the path of guidance they do not take it as a path; and if they see the path of mischief, they take it as a path. That is because they have denied Our revelations and were heedless of them.

  • I`ve used the The Monotheist Group translation of the Quran for quotations. – banging Jul 24 '13 at 2:34
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The answer to your query is in Surah adh Dhariyat 51:56: "I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me." In other words, worshipping Allah is an integral part of human nature. We were created to worship Allah. Worshiping Allah (swt) is what makes us human. Not worshipping Allah (swt) causes us to behave like brainy beasts who have no morals.

According to Surat Al Ar'af: "When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful" The testimony referred to in this aya refers to the covenants in which Bani Adam, thru their respective prophets, testified that Allah (swt) was their Lord. These covenants of Allah with the Jews are especially mentioned in the Bible as the covenants of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus etc. Muslims acknowledge their covenant with Allah thru the Prophet Muhammad, when they recite the shahada. So, the worship of Allah (swt) is what defines us a human beings who were created to establish the caliphate (Q 2:30 & 33:72).

And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know."

Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant.

Those who do not worship Allah (swt) will not fulfill this role for which they were created. On the Day of Judgment they will become a manifestation of their twisted natures when Allah (swt) changes their shapes so they can live in the fires of Jahenem.

Everything Allah (swt) created obeys His will, willingly or unwillingly. The only free will or choice we have is our intention to obey the Creator who created us to worship Him alone.

And Allah (swt) knows best!

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    Not worshipping Allah (swt) does not cause us to behave like brainy beasts who have no morals. I am a Muslim, but I have seen plenty of people from other faiths or no faith who have plenty of morals; moreover, their morals are sometimes better than the general Muslim population that I have seen. I do not think that morality is exclusive with following Islam or any faith for that matter. – yousuf soliman Aug 23 '13 at 4:10
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The free will problem is well known since the birth of Islam and not easily solvable. The verses of Quran can and have been interpreted in ways that support several seemingly opposing views.

It is hard to discuss the subject without reaching uncomfortable conclusions or apparent contradictions. It requires a determined way of reasoning, awareness of different viewpoints and clear definitions of the words you are playing with to get somewhere. Some people feel threatened by it as it touches the foundations of our hearts and our life long spiritual investments.

In the end I guess it is a matter of preference which in my opinion deserves to be further clarified. I have posted a related question from a different angle: How can God create without determining the outcome?

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