Part 4 : 22: Fate and Free Will

The teaching of Islam concerning free will, predestination and immortality lays great stress on strengthening man's will to work and try correctly against a background of correct thinking, using up his immense capacity for knowledge, correct judgement and initiative which God had endowed in him , on the one hand and increase his capacity of endurance and resistance against difficulties and tribulations, normally occurring in life on the other hand. Such teachings are opposed to all manner of indolence, and fatalism when man is faced with natural and social difficulties, and frowns upon those who are not robust and possess no self-assurance when faced with the bitter facts of life.

23: Islam, Modern Science, And Technology

From what has already been discussed it is quite clear that Islam is not only not opposed to scientific and technological progress, on the contrary, it encourages it, laying stress only on two points:

  1. Scientific, technological and social progress shall not result in man waxing proud and thereby disregarding his Creator.

  2. This endeavour and progress shall be utilised to better the condition of men and never be used in propagating sin or to buttress the foundations of cruelty and oppression.

24: Prophecy

Man's thought soars above the clouds in problems concerning nature and he can expect increasing progress of his faculties. It is precisely for this reason that God's messengers have had no special functions there. But in order to solve problems beyond the realm of nature, and to gain an insight into the after life and man's ultimate goal , he is surely in need of guidance from God.

The God gives men and the guidance He sends down upon them is through men to whom He makes revelation, ordaining them to guide their fellows and to teach men what has been revealed to them. They are the prophets. The teachings of the prophets are neither the result of scientific research nor that of personal experience, but God's teachings which are sent down to them through revelation.

"And He does not speak out of caprice. It is nought but a revelation revealed, taught him by one terrible in power."

Sura 53: verses 3-5.

25: Right Estimation of The Prophets

The Qur'an from time to time reminds us that the prophets are men in their substance and they are distinct from others owing to their ability to receive and pass on revelations in order to lead men. In other aspects they do not differ from other human beings. Exactly like others, they are born, eat, drink, sleep, procreate, rear children, and live their span of life, and then pass away. The Qur'an says of Mohammed (pbuh&hf):

"Say, I am only a man the like of you, it is revealed to me that your God is the only God, so whoever, he hopes for encounter with his Lord, shall work righteously, and in the worship of his Lord admit no one as His partner."

--Sura 18: verse 110.

Islamic teaching concerning all messengers of God, among them Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus is the same. They are all men raised to the station of prophecy and their only distinction is that they receive God's revelations to hand over to their fellowmen.

26: Miracles by Prophets

Qur'an speaks, too, of miracles worked by the prophets , but in many verses it is stressed that to work miracles is not left at their discretion. They do not possess an extra faculty to those we own, thus working miracles on request.

Those opposed to Islam constantly requested miracles from the Prophet. They would say that if he was truly a prophet of God he ought to be able to do extraordinary things without further ado. The Prophet would reply: "It is not left to me to perform miracles at your caprice."

The miracles you have heard of God's prophets are God's works performed exceptionally when conditions have rendered them necessary, regardless of the personal inclination of the prophet concerned. Accordingly, miracles do not raise a prophet above the station of other men. See Qur'an, Sura 6, verse 109, Sura 17, verses 90-93 and many other verses.

27: Science, Reason And Revelation

Before coming to know the prophets of God we have only one source of knowledge, experiment and thought, science and reason. Once we have known the messengers of God and got sure that they utter nothing but from God we have gained a new source to realise the truth, i.e. the teachings of the prophets which originate from the revelation. Man has no better source of acquainting himself with God, the problems of the hereafter and a way of life both pleasing his God and resulting in eternal happiness.