Risaleh-i-Barkhavi says:

Is this true? In Arabic the word "qadar" (or "taqdir" in theological language, meaning "pre-ordering"; compare also "Qismet") is expressed in Sura 9:51:

How Muslim theologians have tried to accommodate this concept alongside responsibility for actions has been outlined by Alfred Guillaume:

Pre-ordained sin - but man's responsibility?

In a dispute between Adam and Moses (!), which is reported in the Hadis ("Sahih Muslim", pages 1396 - 1398), Moses argues with Adam,

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Apostle as saying:

We find the "interpretation" in a footnote (2900 of Sahih Muslim):

We hold that, if words mean anything at all, the commentator in this footnote deliberately twisted the meaning of the original Hadis. The orthodox Sunni view (Asharian) states the Allah has written preserved tablets. He wills good and evil. Man is under compulsion to do what Allah decrees. Allah may - or may not - admit to Paradise, or cast into hell. ("Dictionary of Islam" pages 472 ff.).

This is in keeping with the Quran (Sura 76:29-31):

Christians view mercy as grace or an undeserved favour. It cannot be earned, for then mercy would not be needed. Since all mankind is in need of mercy from God, all mankind is dependent on His action.

The above-mentioned text from Sura 76 was used as an argument by the Asharians against the Mutazilites (rejected as heretics, because they advocated the free will of man). In contrast, the Jabrians (from jabr = complusion) deny all free agency in man and say that man is necessarily constrained by the force of Allah's eternal and immutable decree to act as he does. Allah can, if he so wills, admit all men to Paradise, or cast all into hell. Elsewhere it says that:

The witness of the Hadis.

To be able to judge the complexity of the problem we turn to the Mishkat (vol. III, pp. 93-121).

The 'solution' of the problem is, however in no way acceptable, if justice is to be done to the Quran or Hadis. It is just a simple fact that contraditions cannot be reconciled or explained.

It is hardly possible in the framework of this little study to consider more quotations, but we can see without difficulty what "pre-decree" is all about. We also see the immense problem facing theologians that have to piece all this together. We fear that an honestly God-fearing man will see his limits here!

Just as in the case of the God of the Bible, Allah is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. We are alarmed, however, to realize that his omnipotence is decidedly arbitrary in nature:

This teaching resulted in the rejection of the Law of Cause and Effect. Only Allah causes things to be or be done. Logically then, a man can do neither a good deed, nor a bad deed on his own. Consequently, man cannot be held responsible for his actions and a righteous God cannot condemn him.

A certain Hadis says:

How did this concept arise? A Hadis by Al-Bukhari and Muslim enlightens us:

In the light of the above it seems strange that Muslims, who accept this concept, find it puzzling that a sinner is acceptable to God when the atoning sacrifice of Jesus has provided a covering for his sin. The suffering of the just for the unjust, is to the Muslim blatant injustice! We can learn from this just how much our morality can be influenced by our upbringing and environment.

The witness of the Quran

When Mohammed saw the stubborness of the people of Mecca, which according to him was against all reason, he must have concluded that it could have been caused only by Allah. It is not surprising, then, that many of his inspirations had this message:

The omnipotent Allah determines, who of his creatures go to bliss and who to damnation. He is Lord.

Regarding unbelievers, we read in Sura 2:6-7:

Speaking of all mankind, it says in Sura 7:178-179 :

This is repeated also in Suras 35:8 and 74:31. According to Sura 91:8, Allah "breathed into it (the soul) wickedness and piety" (other translation - "lewdness and godfearing").

The Hadis (Sahih Muslim, page 1395) confirms the meaning of this verse:

Also in Sura 5:18 we read:

A Hadis reports:

All this is total determinism. Man is judged and condemned for what he cannot help doing. This is, in fact, also total injustice. Dare one overlook all these statements with a sentimental glance at the Islamic doctors of religion, expecting them not to mislead anyone for, no doubt, one takes it for granted that they must have the right answers? No, one cannot, for Islamic theologians have and had in fact no greater problem to deal with - and have discussed this issue for centuries.

Modern writings within Islam strongly tend towards the view that man has a free will. This is in keeping with the Bible and, of course, modern philosophical understanding. But it is not in keeping with the Quran.

The Mutazilite Theologians reasoned that if this is what predestination entails: "what is the use of commandments, and prohibitions, rewards and punishment, threats and promises, prophets or books?" They received no satisfactory answer. They were, in fact, silenced.

Submission to Islam demands the acceptance of the tenet of predestination - or shall we say fatalism. Perhaps we ought to be reminded that the word used for predestination in Islam does not indicate pre-knowlege, but pre-ordering!

There is an apparent ray of hope, however:

In Sura 6:12 we are told that

Verse 35 of the same Sura, however, says, in flat contradiction thereto:

Consequently, the great Islamic theologian, al-Ghazali writes:

Thus Allah is exempted from all ethical norms - those of mankind and those of himself. He is not bound by any promise. He may also change the standard of his behaviour and this would be completely justified.

We must assume then, that this is what happened when: Allah curses all liars - and yet permit Mohammed to break an oath (Sura 66:1-2); or: Allah alone is to be worshipped - yet Satan and the angels were ordered to worship Adam and Satan was eternally punished, because he refused to do so (Sura 2:34).

Ibn-Hazm observes:

A certain Islamic scholar put it in these words:

The problem that arises is simple and clear: If Allah in the Quran manifests himself as the arbitrary God who acts as he pleases without any ties even to his own sayings, he adds a thought totally foreign to the former revelations, which Mohammed claimed to confirm, and in which we are encouraged to take God at His Word.

We should like to suggest that God is consistent, righteous and holy. In the case of contradictions or any flaws of any kind in any record supposed to have come from Him, man must be blamed, and not God. It is intolerable to cover these up to protect the image of a book or prophet, or possibly a religion and its leaders.

If what has been quoted in these pages is news to you, dear reader, then either you have no knowledge of the Quran whatever (and consequently entrust your eternal welfare to other ignorant men); or you are in the hands of men who are aware of this knowledge, but have kept it from you because it disagrees with the general concept of what you learned in the Madressa: namely, that keeping the five pillars of faith, doing good and leaving the rest to the mercy of Allah, will do.

QUESTION: For what reason should a Christian give up his position as an accepted and forgiven person with the God-given assurance of eternal life in His presence - to swop it for total insecurity?

Righteousness or mercy?

Another problem is whether we see God as the merciful, forgiving One. OR instead as the God Who is just and righteous? As they stand these attributes cannot be reconciled, for they are a contradiction in terms. Apparently this thought has not been considered by most people. If a judge is righteous, he must punish sin. If he forgives (whom he pleases), he is neither righteous nor just.

We must hasten to add, however, that the Bible presents a similar problem. On the one hand we have a loving and forgiving God. whom we accept as righteous. This is correct, but on the other hand we should not overlook the fact, that our Holy God has punished sin by executing judgement on the substitutional sacrifice, thereby meeting the required standard of justice. The sin IS punished, though not the offender - the punishment being borne by God Himself in Christ on the cross (Please write for our booklet "Comparing, Confusing, Considering, Concluding"). So forgiveness and mercy need not contradict His righteousness. God's solution for sin is "atonement" or reconciliation.

Forgiveness does not work by a magic formula. It is not just that God forgets about it. No! A righteous God cannot tolerate unjust judgement. Sin is so abominable to God, that He has to deal with it - by righteous judgement! But how can the righteousness of God and the love of God toward us meet? An incident from history may illustrate this point:

Shamuel was a Caucasian prince living a couple of hundred years ago. His people were at constant war with the Turks. Once he besieged a Turkish city with his army. As usual his mother was with him in his camp. One night he planned a surpirse assault, but the enemy was lying in wait. His secret plans had been betrayed. The battle was lost. In anger Shamuel announced that the traitor would be punished with 100 lashes of a whip, if found out. Again in great secrecy another surprise attack was planned. With the same result. But the traitor was discovered. It was Shamuel's mother.

For three days and nights he withdrew to his tent. What should he do? If he were to spare his mother all would rightly say that he was unjust. Were he to punish her, however, all would say: 'Look at Shamuel! He does not even have pity for his own mother!' At long last he appeared. His army gathered expectantly. In a sinister tone he addressed his people: 'We have lost two battles because of treason. Our men have been killed. There is no excuse. The crime was committed, and so the culprit shall be punished according to my law: with 100 lashes! Righteousness and judgement must be maintained."

His mother was led into the circle. She was pale and shivering with fear. The executioner lifted his whip - but before the first lash fell, Shamuel cried: "Wait! - This is my mother. I am of her flesh and blood. I will take the punishment for her!" He went into the circle, took off his garment and commanded "Executioner, dare not strike more lightly than with the last victim. Do your duty. Hit on!" Lash after lash found its mark, until he broke down unconscious. He did survive though, against all expectation.

This event, perhaps more than any other in history, fits the picture of jesus. He was God in bodily form. He had and has to execute righteous judgement. But in His perfect love He took on Himself our - my own, your own - sin and suffered the cruel, but just consequences on the cross. We are aware though that it was not only the physical suffering, bad as it was, that was so cruel, but that the very pure and holy God took on Himself all the ugly filth of our sin.

Righteousness and love met at the cross of Jesus. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses (of God's Law) unto them" (II Cor. 5:19).
This happened once and for all. This sacrifice for sin is good enough for all men at all times. It is God's grace, God's gift to us, which we did not deserve. A gift is, however, only mine, when I accept it. And keep it.

When in sincerity I bring all my sin to Him in a prayer of confession, I shall be cleaned: "I will forgive their iniquity and will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:34). "You will cast all our sins into the depth of the sea." (Micah 7:19). "As far as the East is from the West, so far does He remove our transgressions from us" (Ps. 103:12). "If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9).

I am quite convinced, that no man, after realizing who Jesus is and what He has done, and thus having some understanding of the Person Who is now without a physical body in eternal Glory, can ask the God of the Bible for forgiveness lightly. I mean: without real remorse over what was his part in nailing Christ to the cross. After all, how CAN a person after this realization consider more sin in his heart? Yes, we may be tripped. We may fall. But we will not contemplate and plan actions that will hurt God.

This is the attitude on which we can base our prayer of forgiveness. In the parable of the 'Prodigal Son' (Luke 15:11 ff.), Jesus speaks of a man who has two sons. One went away with his heritage and wasted it in far places, until he had spent all. Working in a pigsty "he came to himself". He seriously and honestly assessed his situatron. He had an 'after thought'. The Bible has this word translated as 'repentance'. It went like this: The young man made a resolution. "I will (a) rise and (b) go to my Father and (c) say to Him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, I am no more worthy to be called your son". All he wished was to be a servant to his Father instead of serving a stranger in a pigsty which had led to his near starvation. This resolution was very good indeed. Perhaps we have made such a resolution before. But it was not enough. The young man in our parable did not stop short of actually fulfilling his resolution: "He (d) arose and (e) came to his Father." Much to his surprise the Father was looking out for him. More surprising, he still recognized him Much earlier he had ridden away confidently, but his high expectation of a successful, truly happy and fulfilled life had not come true. He returned as a filthy, stinking, wretched hobo. But most surprisingly, his Father ran to meet him, embraced him and kissed him! The son could hardly stammer out his confession, before his Father (1) had clothed him (covered his dirt. In Hebrew the word is from the same root as 'atonement', i.e. to reconcile) with 'the best robe', (2) put a ring on his finger (i.e. signet ring to indicate his acceptance as son again), (3) and put shoes on his feet (only free men were allowed to wear them). Then (4) he ordered a feast to be prepared, for "this my son was dead, and he is alive again, he was lost and is found".

No doubt the way home was a very hard one. Repentance, however, is most marvellous, when it is over and done with. Our Father will remember our sins no more! There will be no embarrassing questions on the Day of Judgement. Judgement has already been passed on Jesus.

But the Father had two sons, remember. When the other one came home from the fields and heard the feasting and was told it was for his brother, he became angry. He could not be persuaded to join the feast for 'this your son'. He had always been at home, had always done his work. There was never any feast for him! He had never feasted, although he could have! His sonship was a burden.

The Christian faith is not occupied with do's and don'ts. After the treasurer of Queen Candace (Acts 8:27 ff.) had seen the Light "he went his way rejoicing!" New things occupy the mind of a Christian. New understanding of the world around us leads to new conclusions, purposes and aims. Obviously the old aims and purposes are superseded, and become less important or obsolete. A tremendous new horizon and new meaning in life will emerge, while one is occupied with the things of God, and they will push out old aims and purposes. But this cannot be understood as a sad 'good-bye' to well-loved pleasures. It is rather a fading away of former values to give way to an abundant life. Anything less is legalistic, deadening, a yoke of bondage. It is, in fact, in opposition to a truly spiritual life and an insult to God, Who would then be a taskmaster instead of a Saviour.

The real New Birth is an essential part ot salvation or conversion: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Except a man is born by water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3,5) The New Birth is the beginning of the New Life. This is a process of growth, however, Repentance, the New Birth and conversion may happen within one hour. The Christian's life should grow until he leaves this world.

All this change in a person is actually the 'conversion' (conversion = change) of that person. It is brought about by the loving devotion of such a person who begins to see the folly of his former self-centred life and desires to live in a way pleasing to HIM, in an attitude of thankfulness. This loving devotion is the work of God in a person. When the wedge of sin is gones, God begins to communicate with man, "who was dead and is alive again". "And you He made alive, when you were dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1). The process of 'making alive again' is called the 'the New Birth' (John 3:3-5). This, of course cannot be effected by man. It is a divine interaction.

QUESTION: Why do Muslims want to "buy" by "good deeds" what cannot be bought? Why does he refuse the gift of God? Is it ignorance? Fear? Pride?

Fear or love?

Commitment is then followed by a life devoted to, and empowered by God. We desperately need this power to live godly lives, else we would be starting a life of frustration. This power is love. What no law in the world can achieve, is acchieved by love. And there can be no flaw in a love-relationship with God, for He is absolutely trustworthy and faithful. Being loved by Him brings about all the good in man. Love excludes demands, obligation or force, Love needs freedom of choice and action to unfold itself. Freedom of choice, however, may be exploited, and indeed is exploited by all those who use it for their own ends. Freedom is not only directed upwards, it is at the same time freedom to decline. This is the essential risk factor involved in loving.

A religion may produce all kinds of moral and ritual forms which can be enforced by fear of punishment or social pressure. But abiding by these laws, good though they may be to suppress evil, brings bondage and frustrates love. Moral quality is not improved by suppression of the evil act as such. Moral quality is found in the resentment of evil for what it is.

Outwardly a society under religious laws appears to be morally cleaner, but the nature of the heart of man remains unchanged, and it is the pure heart that God seeks.

God wants to change the mind, intent and purpose (we may call this the 'heart') of man. Therefore Christians do not seek merely to patch up a broken society. The main concern and the social conscience of a Christian is directed at the renewal of society from within. Christians, like Christ, seek to heal the world by sharing the message of the Love of God with others. Love alone is able to renew the spirit and mind of each of the many individuals that care to respond, thereby up-rooting evil instead of trying to control its growth.

In these differing principles the deep split between the Islamic and Christian message becomes apparent. We find that religious demands, fear and even force in Islam stands in contrast to the message of willingness in love in Christianity.

We must be realistic enough to admit that the keeping of the Sunnah, the practice of the five pillars of faith and the tremendous social pressure on anyone turning from Islam represents demand, fear and pressure.

The group of those individuals that respond to such love forms the Church. It is not organized on a grand scale, but is present, though often as a small minority, all over the world. In and from it we ought to find this principle of love directed on the horizontal level from person to person. The process will never be complete, for the self-willed, through fear of losing something they may get or enjoy, will always exclude themselves from the Kingdom of God. This is the sad side of man's God-given freedom. Without this freedom, however, man can be no more than an automat.

Perhaps you would like to ask why there are so many drunkards among Christians, why there is such a lot of immodesty and immorality and exploitation. The answer is very obvious. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21). These are words of Jesus. Not every bottle which is labelled 'Coca Cola' is filled with it. There are empty bottles, and there are those that are alienated in use, may be filled with turpentine - or even brandy. A true Christian can only be a person who has received with a penitent and grateful heart the gift of forgiveness as described above, and who then lives in vital communion with his Lord in total surrender.

All this is strange to and is rejected by lslam. However, there can then be no means of reconciling righteousness with mercy without atonement, and this is precisely what Islam contradicts.

In contrast to the "former revealed Books" the 'heart' of Allah is not involved. In Islamic theology, Al-Barkhawi comments:

Al-Ghazali confirms this:

We compare this with what Jesus said, speaking of Himself:

Jahveh (God) in the Bible will judge man according to His fixed laws. But in Jesus, He provided the sacrifice that can take away the sins of all men, as long as man does not refuse God's pardon in Christ. Here is a clear relationship between cause and effect. The believer is told in no uncertain terms what the will and purpose of God is. "We know" is the ever repeated statement that we see throughout the New Testament. In reality no Muslim has any guarantee of, or basis for, an assurance of salvation. Allah directs all things, thereby determining all ends. Thus no man has any influence on his destiny, hard though he may try. Surely this cannot be true!

the Muslim, on the other hand, may hope for the best, but his problem remains that however much he tries to be justified by doing good works or through reliance on the Quran, if Allah alone is active and if he leads astray, man no longer has a basis for knowing that his sin is forgiven and his peace with God has been effected. The Quran gives no answer to this dilemma. In one passage, however, the Quran does speak of cause and effect:

This verse is no explanation of previously quoted verses, but is a clear contradiction of them.

Apart from Allah's arbitrary action, we also find a different concept altogether, namely that portrayed in Sura 3:29 (and many others).

QUESTION: How can any man prefer to live a life of uncertainty and fear to a life of peace with God in love?

Allah directs believers.

Again we cannot regard these statements as complementary to the earlier quotations, for they are in obvious contrast thereto rather than an explanation thereof.

Looking at this evidence we can conclude only that Islam must mean submission to the inevitable.

We must mention here, that the concept of 'predestination' is not foreign to the Bible either. There, however, we see predestination not as something arbitrarily decreed or pre-ordered, but rather as something resulting from God's foreknowledge:

In the Bible we are commanded to choose whom we will serve (Joshua 24:15 etc.). This demands a decision after intelligent and comprehensive consideration. To choose God means also to choose His Way and His Word as a basis for information and trust. Taking God at His Word means trusting His promises and executing His Will. This trust with its resultant action is called faith.

The Bible clearly teaches that it was the faith of Abraham, Moses and all the other men of renown that made them acceptable to God. And it was and it is this faith alone that was and is reckoned to them and us as righteousness (Hebrews 11, Romans 4:18-25, Genesis 15:6).

So the righteousness needed to enter the presence of God is not the result of an effort by man to repair somehow the damage done, by offering to God good works as payment. There is no merit in doing what is our duty!

Nobody is a Christian because he does good works, but a Christian does good works because he is a Christian. Gratitude and love are the motivating power.

Christian faith accepts God's way of reconciliation alone. He has decreed that no person can be saved from the judgement to come except by accepting His offer: Pardon through Jesus, Who offered Himself in our stead to suffer the just punishment for the sins that you and I have committed:

Jesus said of Himself:

He also said:

Speaking of Jesus the Apostle Peter said:

Jesus made this very same claim:

That these statements were not vain talk is clear, for the very life of Jesus was foretold in every detail in the Old Testament by the prophets hundreds of years before (see "Christians answer Muslims") and thousands of eyewitnesses would have protested against the writings in the New Testament, had these been false.

We deem it unacceptable to reason: "Why did God do it this way and not that?" or. "How can God die for unworthy sinners?", etc. God has spoken! And so it stands. And His Word is supported with enough evidence to be proved divine.

That leaves you, dear reader, with a decision that no-one can make for you and which you cannot escape: Whether or not you will investigate in an honest and reasonably unbiased way the statements made in this book.

You should consider both points of view, of course. Consider all the facts and supporting evidence, and read the New Testament alongside the Quran, earnestly praying for clarity on the Truth of God.

This is your holy responsibility before God, Whose will it is that all men should come to a knowledge of the truth and true repentance. (I Timothy 2:4, II Peter 3:9).

It is primitive and foolish to reason that one's way of thinking and believing is correct, without having tested it in a valid way. It is bordering on insanity to depend on hear-say when it comes to whether or not eternity will be spent in the presence of Almighty God or in hell.

QUESTION: Are you prepared to risk such research and will you dare to act according to the outcome, however the consequences?

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