Kindly explain the following tradition with examples: ‘‘Neither, fatalism nor free will,· it is a matter between the two extremes?

 Q. Kindly explain the following tradition with examples:

‘‘Neither, fatalism nor free will,· it is a matter between the two extremes?

A: No fatalism means there is no force or compulsion, whereby man may, in his good or bad deeds, be absolutely helpless like a mere instrument of the will of God; that he may not have any power or choice. Falseness of belief in fatalism is one of the self-evident truths, because every sensible person, by conscience knows that he is having a free will and that his voluntary deeds are not like trembling etc. which is involuntarily. Therefore Muhaqqiq Qummi in his Kitabe Qawanin writes:

"Even if the fatalists bring thousands of arguments in favor of fatalism, they are proved baseless and false before self-evident things."

Moreover, this fatalism essentially falsifies the theory of reward and punishment in the Hereafter because, one who is helpless in the matter of obedience or disobedience (good or bad deeds), is logically not entitled to any reward or punishment. He does not deserve either to be praised or criticized even in this world. The fact is that if one commits a bad deed, all wise people consider him guilty and liable to criticism and punishment. No one considers him helpless.

Free will is also not possible as it would mean that man is able to do everything he desires; that he has full and total authority and ability to do whatever he wants in every matter. This belief is also false according to conscience, like the falsity of fatalism, because every sane person has experience that in many matters, he desired something, but it was not achieved due to some hindrance between his wish and the deed desired by him. He failed to do what he wanted to. Sometimes he even faces the exact opposite of his wish.

Therefore Amirul Momineen (a.s.) is reported to have said: "I recognized God through the failure of desires and inability to achieve wanted things."3 Is there any sane person who considers himself able to do whatever he wants? He knows very well that:

"Neither his profit nor his loss nor his death nor his life nor his rising is in his control."4

Also, the requisite of this belief of Free will adopted by the Mutazali is that they believe in 'associates' of Allah, because when they believe that man has absolute power to do whatever he desires, they consider themselves to have the rank of the Almighty Allah (Who alone is All-Powerful with absolute authority over everything). Some of the words of the Mutazalieven negate God's power vis a vis man 's.

"'But it is a matter between two matters." Man is neither totally without freedom of choice about what he likes nor does he has absolute power to do everything he desires. On the contrary, in all voluntary affairs, he requires the will of God to be in favor of his desired deed.

Otherwise what he wants to do will not be done. Likewise, he also requires the will of God in every affair. Also in all good deeds, people are in need of the grace of God. Also evil and sinful deeds of disobedience are due to the allowance granted by God. Of course, both the grace and allowance depend on the wish of man. That is why Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said in reply to a person's question about the meaning of: "There is no power or might except by Allah," that:

"There is no power in us in the matter of disobeying God, except under the allowance of God. Likewise we don't have any ability in performing good deeds except with the assistance of Allah."

In another tradition, he said:

“Good is by the grace of God and evil is due to the allowance granted by God."


Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib Shirazi


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