Solving the Dilemma of Predestination or Fore-knowledge of God

Epigraph:

Allah is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden, and He knows all things full well. (Al Quran 57:3/4)

He is Allah, and there is no God beside Him, the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Gracious, the Merciful. (Al Quran 59:22/23)

Time
The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles on the theme of Religion and Science

By Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

The debates about Predestination or Fore-knowledge of God have raged out of control in the history of Christianity and Islam at different points and there have been sects formed around these debates.

I propose to resolve the dilemma here in a short and sweet manner.

If we can simultaneously hold the following three facts to be true and that they do not negate each other then we have the mystery solved.

  1. God is the Creator of the Laws of Nature and those are fixed and even He does not violate them for His miracles.
  2. The Laws of Nature provide our free will and we are responsible for our actions.
  3. God’s perfect fore-knowledge does not violate our free will.

For the first point all I need to say is that in this scientific era, in the year 2021, what all the atheist scientists have to say about the Laws of Nature, except where they came from, are my Exhibit A and I do not need to huff and puff to demonstrate that fact. So agnostics and atheists with their constant focus on science demonstrate to us that the Laws of Nature are fixed and they are not violated based on our whims and desires or our prayers.  Amputees never regrow the limbs, no matter how fervent their prayers are. But, they can definitely have wonderful prostheses.  

God being the Writer of the Laws of Nature is for another day, a different post.

The second fact I will discuss the last and for the third fact, I merely propose to share an hour long NOVA documentary.  If it does the trick for you and you are able to hold these three facts simultaneously true, then you have complete and satisfying understanding of your physical and spiritual universe:

The documentary did the trick for me and I am no longer bothered how free will and fore-knowledge of God could be both true simultaneously.

In this age of information we need not keep reinventing the wheel and should exercise humility to share from the best sources, when we want to make any point.

With that kind of humility now majority of my theses can be very short.

What I want to say about free will is that it is intuitive to all humans, as we all experience it in our daily lives and as we hold others responsible for their actions, especially when they hurt us. So I do not need to explain free will at any great length here.

I will simply share a few paragraphs from Wikipedia:

Free will is closely linked to the concepts of moral responsibilitypraiseguiltsin, and other judgements which apply only to actions that are freely chosen. It is also connected with the concepts of advicepersuasiondeliberation, and prohibition. Traditionally, only actions that are freely willed are seen as deserving credit or blame. Whether free will exists, what it is and the implications of whether it exists or not are some of the longest running debates of philosophy and religion. Some conceive of free will as the right to act outside of external influences or wishes.

Some conceive free will to be the capacity to make choices undetermined by past events. Determinism suggests that only one course of events is possible, which is inconsistent with a libertarian model of free will.[3] Ancient Greek philosophy identified this issue,[4] which remains a major focus of philosophical debate. The view that conceives free will as incompatible with determinism is called incompatibilism and encompasses both metaphysical libertarianism (the claim that determinism is false and thus free will is at least possible) and hard determinism (the claim that determinism is true and thus free will is not possible). Incompatibilism also encompasses hard incompatibilism, which holds not only determinism but also its negation to be incompatible with free will and thus free will to be impossible whatever the case may be regarding determinism.

In contrast, compatibilists hold that free will is compatible with determinism. Some compatibilists even hold that determinism is necessary for free will, arguing that choice involves preference for one course of action over another, requiring a sense of how choices will turn out.[5][6] Compatibilists thus consider the debate between libertarians and hard determinists over free will vs. determinism a false dilemma.[7] Different compatibilists offer very different definitions of what “free will” means and consequently find different types of constraints to be relevant to the issue. Classical compatibilists considered free will nothing more than freedom of action, considering one free of will simply if, had one counterfactually wanted to do otherwise, one could have done otherwise without physical impediment. Contemporary compatibilists instead identify free will as a psychological capacity, such as to direct one’s behavior in a way responsive to reason, and there are still further different conceptions of free will, each with their own concerns, sharing only the common feature of not finding the possibility of determinism a threat to the possibility of free will.[8]

If you are still not satisfied, let me suggest that you would need to know more about Quantum physics. Search for those articles in the Muslim Times and else where, until we meet again on the theme under discussion.

QED

Urdu Videos: Dr. Israr Ahmad Versus Ghamdi: The Latter Explaining Surah Taubah Better

secularism
We are promoting secularism in every country of the world. For the Muslim Times’ collection on secularism, please click here

Suggested reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Broadly speaking, while Dr. Israr Ahmad is promoting extreme Islamism, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi is offering a secular understanding of Islam and interfaith tolerance. Nevertheless, their debate exposes vulnerabilities of both, for example Ghamdi does not allow any taxation other than Zakat, disregarding possible needs of the society.  Additionally, he wants the Government to coerce the Muslims to say Salat or the five times daily prayer.  In that case would the believers be actually praying to God Almighty or the coercive government?

I must applaud Ghamdi for a beautiful interpretation of Surah Taubah between 50 minutes and 1.15 mark of this video.

Insisting on a narrow understanding of the Quran without benefiting from the history of legislation and constitution making in USA and the West, the Muslims end up with a myopic understanding that cannot satisfy the needs of the modern society.

In Defense of the Secular Narrative of the Holy Quran

The Best English and Urdu Video Refuting Islamism from the Quran and Hadith

Do Muslims Prefer Camels Over Modern Cars?

Sometimes the Quran is Written on Stone and Often on Paper?

The Scope, Style and Effect of the Holy Quran

The History of the Qur’anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation

Sources or Criteria for Interpretation of the Holy Quran

The Quran Gives Principles of Justice, But No Judicial System

The Quran Only Means What Our Wisdom and Intentions Dictate: A Progressive Understanding

The Holy Quran and the Seventh Century Arabian Metaphors

Is God Alive or Dead: A Metaphor for the Scriptures from the US Constitution?

God Is Living, So Why Does Religion Treat God As Dead?

I was an Isis sex slave. I tell my story because it is the best weapon I have

We have saved the above videos in the Muslim Times as well:

Urdu Videos: Dr. Israr Ahmad Versus Ghamdi: Islamism Versus Secularism

secularism
We are promoting secularism in every country of the world. For the Muslim Times’ collection on secularism, please click here

Suggested reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Broadly speaking, while Dr. Israr Ahmad is promoting extreme Islamism, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi is offering a secular understanding of Islam and interfaith tolerance. Nevertheless, their debate exposes vulnerabilities of both, for example Ghamdi does not allow any taxation other than Zakat, disregarding possible needs of the society.  Additionally, he wants the Government to coerce the Muslims to say Salat or the five times daily prayer.  In that case would the believers be actually praying to God Almighty or the coercive government?

I must applaud Ghamdi for a beautiful interpretation of Surah Taubah between 50 minutes and 1.15 mark of this video.

Insisting on a narrow understanding of the Quran without benefiting from the history of legislation and constitution making in USA and the West, the Muslims end up with a myopic understanding that cannot satisfy the needs of the modern society.

In Defense of the Secular Narrative of the Holy Quran

The Best English and Urdu Video Refuting Islamism from the Quran and Hadith

Do Muslims Prefer Camels Over Modern Cars?

Sometimes the Quran is Written on Stone and Often on Paper?

The Scope, Style and Effect of the Holy Quran

The History of the Qur’anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation

Sources or Criteria for Interpretation of the Holy Quran

The Quran Gives Principles of Justice, But No Judicial System

The Quran Only Means What Our Wisdom and Intentions Dictate: A Progressive Understanding

The Holy Quran and the Seventh Century Arabian Metaphors

Is God Alive or Dead: A Metaphor for the Scriptures from the US Constitution?

God Is Living, So Why Does Religion Treat God As Dead?

I was an Isis sex slave. I tell my story because it is the best weapon I have

We have saved the above videos in the Muslim Times as well:

Surah Lail: Compassion and Generosity a Way to Paradise

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

By the enshrouding night, by the radiant day, by His creation of male and female! The ways you take differ greatly.

There is the one who gives, who is mindful of God, who testifies to goodness––We shall smooth his way towards ease. There is the one who is miserly, who is self-satisfied, who denies goodness––We shall smooth his way towards hardship and his wealth will not help him as he falls.

Our part is to provide guidance––this world and the next belong to Us––so I warn you about the raging Fire, in which none but the most wicked one will burn, who denied [the truth], and turned away. The most pious one will be spared this––who gives his wealth away as self-purification, not to return a favor to anyone but for the sake of his Lord the Most High––and he will be well pleased. (Al Quran Chapter number 92)

Suggested reading for living in the image of the Loving and the Most Merciful God by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times:

Thirty Plus Quotes from the Poet of Love

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

A Message of Compassion and Love from the Holy Bible

True Fasting: A Message of Compassion and Love from the Old Testament

Abou Ben Adhem, A Compassionate Man

‘Love Hormone,’ How it works in Hospitality?

‘Love Hormone’ Oxytocin May Enhance Feelings Of Spirituality

I am a Jew, a Catholic, a Christian and a Muslim; I am Zia H Shah

Truth Cannot Contradict Truth: Understanding the Holy Quran

By Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

What was the age of the prophet Noah when he died? Many Muslims over the centuries and even now believe that Noah had an age of 950 years. This misinformation is based on the misreading and literal understanding of the following verse of the Quran, “And We certainly sent Noah to his people, and he dwelt among them a thousand years save fifty years. Then the deluge overtook them, while they were wrongdoers.” (Al Qur’an 29:14/15)

As the understanding of human physiology has increased in the last few centuries, no knowledgeable physician can conceive such long spells of human life now or in the past. So it has become obvious that this verse cannot imply the physical age of the prophet Noah. The ‘Truth’ of the literal word of God, the holy Quran, cannot contradict, the ‘Truth,’ of laws of nature, the God’s creation or vice versa. The subject of Noah’s age I have discussed in some detail in my previous article: Science in the Service of the Scriptures.

The term Truth cannot contradict Truth, has not been coined by me but rather by Pope John Paul II. For the historic background and my proposed debate with him about the Bible versus the Quran please see the article: Pope John Paul II and Me: ‘Truth Cannot Contradict Truth?’

Did the prophet Noah take Kangaroos with him in his ark? The literalist Christian readers of the Bible would answer in the affirmative, based on the literal reading of the some of the verses of Genesis, in the Bible. But I beg to differ, simply based on the geographical understanding of Australia and the fact that Kangaroos only exist in Australia. While Noah was in Middle East and the sea travel was not advanced enough to go to Australia and then come back for demonstration to the local audience.

If my articles are boring to you, it may be that you need to read more of them, as was suggested by John Cage, one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century, “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

The holy Quran is the truth and nothing but the truth and this is a fundamental belief of every Muslim. However, the truth in the creation or nature may not be so self evident to many. So, let me quote a few verses from the holy Quran to illustrate my point:

He it is Who made the sun radiate a brilliant light and the moon reflect a luster, and ordained for it stages, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning of time. Allah has not created this but in truth. He details the Signs for a people who have knowledge. (Al Quran 10:5/6)

We have not created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, but with truth, and for an appointed term; but those who disbelieve turn away from that of which they have been warned. (Al Quran 46:3/4)

And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in accordance with the requirements of wisdom; and the day He says, ‘Be’, it will be. His word is the truth, and His will be the kingdom on the day when the trumpet will be blown. He is the Knower of the unseen and the seen. And He is the Wise, the All-Aware. (Al Quran 6:73/74)

In the following the converse is denied that Allah has not created the universe without truth or in vain:

In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding; Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: ‘Our Lord, You have not created this in vain; Nay, Holy are You; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire. (Al Quran 9:190-191/191-192)

The last verse of Sura Luqman reads:

Only God knows the time of the Day of the resurrection. Only God sends down the rain. Only God knows what is taking shape in the womb of the mother. No living being knows what he will earn the next day, nor does anybody know in what land he will die. Only God knows everything and is All-Aware. (Al Quran 31:54/55)

This is from a recent translation by Bijan Moeinian Ph.D. It is possible to know many details of the fetuses in the womb these days. It is possible to know the whole of the genetic make up of the fetuses and if he or she is carrying any genetic diseases. The commentators of earlier centuries could have understood the term, “Only God knows what is taking shape in the womb of the mother,” in ways that would be contrary to the facts, as we understand them today.

As our knowledge of nature and laws governing it increases our knowledge of several different verses of the Quran embellishes over time.

Muhammad Asad writes in his introduction to the translation of the holy Quran, regarding how one’s insight into the Quran improves as one’s worldly knowledge increases, which in my opinion also includes our scientific knowledge:

If, on occasion, I have found myself constrained to differ from the interpretations offered by the latter (early commentators), let the reader remember that the very uniqueness of the Qur’an consists in the fact that the more our worldly knowledge and historical experience increase, the more meanings, hitherto unsuspected, reveal themselves in its pages.

The holy Quran, God has sent for every Tom, Dick and Harry, in other words for the common man. Not withstanding this simple fact, many a sect leader and Muslim scholars try to monopolize the understanding of the Quran to the detriment of their followers and marginalize the other students and scholars of Islam, in the eyes of their followers.

If only such leaders were supposed to be the exclusive medium for the transmission of the message of the Quran, Allah could have said that I am sending my message for these leaders so they can pass it to the common man. But this was not to be! The Quran does the very opposite and on dozens of occasions addresses the common man.

One area where one can easily expose the false claims of such claimants of false authority, who try to monopolize the scriptures, the Quran and the Bible, is when their teachings or their interpretations go against the laws of nature. Truth cannot contradict truth! So a teaching attributed to the Divine can never be against the laws of nature.

No matter however many followers a given scholar or the Muslim leader may have or how much humanitarian contributions he or she may have made, the laws of nature are supreme and over riding. The Truth of God’s creation can never contradict His revealed word or any other teaching or vice versa. The laws of nature become a litmus test. A key to judge the authenticity of teachers of Abrahamic faiths, be they Jews, Christians, or Muslims and their understanding of the scriptures.

Additional suggested reading

Book Review: The Bible, The Quran and Science

Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature

One of the Best English Translations of the Quran Now Available Online

Surah Yasin’s Lucid Argument About the Afterlife

To Know more how you can benefit from the Muslim Times, go to our Homepage or About Us page

“Does not man see that We have created him from a mere sperm-drop? He disputes openly, producing arguments against Us, forgetting his own creation. He says, ‘Who can give life back to bones after they have decayed?’ Say, ‘He who created them in the first place will give them life again: He has full knowledge of every act of creation. It is He who produces fire for you out of the green tree, lo and behold, and from this you kindle fire. Has not He Who created the heavens and the earth the power to create the like of them?’ Yes, and He is indeed the Supreme Creator, the All-Knowing. Indeed, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!,’ and it is. So Holy is He, in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things. And to Him will you all be brought back.’” (Al Quran 36:77-83) — Surah Yasin verses 77-83.

Suggested Reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times:

Everything is a Miracle According to the Holy Quran and Albert Einstein

‘There is no God,’ says Stephen Hawking in final book

Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story!’

<script async=””

Arctic Ramadan: fasting in land of midnight sun comes with a challenge

Source: The Guardian

BY  in Iqaluit

In Canada’s Arctic, summers are marked by a bright light that bathes the treeless tundra for more than 20 hours a day.

For some, it’s a welcome change from the unrelenting darkness of winter. But for the small but growing Muslim community of Iqaluit, Nunavut, life in the land of the midnight sun poses a singular challenge during the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims typically fast from sunrise to sunset.

“I haven’t fainted once,” said 29-year-old Abdul Karim, one of the few in the city who has fastidiously timed his Ramadan fast to the Arctic sun since moving from Ottawa in 2011. This year that means eating at about 1.30am before the sun rises and breaking his fast at about 11pm when the sun sets.

“The only reason to stop would be if it hurts my health,” Karim said. Pointing to his sizable frame, he laughed as he added: “But looking at my condition, I don’t think fasting will hurt me.”

As the end of Ramadan draws near for Muslims around the world, much of the holy month’s focus on community work, prayer and reflection has been a constant in communities around the world. But in Iqaluit and the other Muslim communities that dot the Arctic, the long days have forced a shift in how the element of fasting is approached.

Most in Iqaluit adhere to the timetable followed by Muslims in Ottawa, some 1,300 miles south of the city – a nod to the advice of Muslim scholars who have said Muslims in the far north should observe Ramadan using the timetable of Mecca or the nearest Muslim city.

It still means fasting for some 18 hours a day, said Atif Jilani, who moved to Iqaluit from Toronto a little over a year ago. “It’s long days, but more manageable.”

Many in the 100-strong community break their fast together, gathering in the city’s brand new mosque – completed in February amid temperatures that dropped as low as -50C with windchill – for nightly potluck suppers. As they tuck into traditional meals such as dates, and goat or lamb curries, the sun shines brightly through the windows.

It’s a scene that plays out across Canada’s northernmost mosques during Ramadan, as Muslim communities wrestle with the country’s unique geography.

The 300 or so Muslims in Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, have several options when it comes to fasting during Ramadan, said Nazim Awan, president of the Yellowknife Islamic Centre, with exceptions made for those who are pregnant or ill.

“There might be some superhumans who want to fast for 23 hours, but the other option is to follow the intent and spirit of fasting by following nearby cities, or they can follow the times of Mecca and Medina.”

In recent years, much of the community has opted to follow the Ramadan timetable of Edmonton, in Alberta. Some, such as Awan – a father of two young kids, including a 12-year-old who recently started fasting – follow the timings of Mecca. He hopes to encourage his son with the more manageable timetable of about 15 hours of fasting as compared with about 18 hours in Edmonton. “If I fast Yellowknife or Edmonton times, my son might say, Papa, you are really insane, what are you doing?” he said.

Faced with the impossibility of following the local movements of the sun, the 100 or so Muslims in Inuvik, a small town that sits 125 miles north of the Arctic circle, have also been following Edmonton’s timetable. “We currently have 24 hours a day of sun,” said Ahmad Alkhalaf. “There’s no sunrise or sunset.”

The adherence to Edmonton’s schedule was already in place in 2001 when he moved from Toronto to the small northern community of 3,500 people. “My first Ramadan here was in December. There’s no sun at that time; it’s dark all day and night. So we used Edmonton time.”

At times, it can be psychologically challenging to follow the clock rather than what is happening outside, Alkhalaf said. “You’re supposed to break your fast when it’s dusk, and we eat when the sun is out. It’s not usual to have iftar [the meal breaking the fast] when the sun is up,” he said.

In Inuvik, where much of the population is Inuit, the Muslim community has sought to strike a balance between Ramadan and the local culture and traditions. The iftar meal includes dates and rich curries – as well as local game such as reindeer, prepared in accordance with Islamic law. “We make a soup or curry it – we make a biryani, but instead of using beef, we use reindeer.”

In Iqaluit, as the Muslim community prepares to mark the end of Ramadan, some reflect that this year’s timing – stretching across some of the longest days of the year – has made this year one of the more challenging of recent years.

It’s particularly true for those like Karim who have determinedly followed the local sunrise and sunset. But his efforts will be rewarded years from now, said Karim, thanks to the lunar calendar. Ramadan will eventually fall during winter, which in Iqaluit sees the sun rise and set within a few hours each day. “I’ll follow those hours too,” he said with a laugh. “Oh yes, definitely.”

Reference

Scope, Style and Preservation of the Quran

The Muslim Times, Perhaps the Only Medium Presenting the Creator God of the Holy Quran

Epigraph:

He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise (Al Quran 59:24)

Suggested reading and viewing by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times for the Creator God of the Abrahamic Faiths:

A Slight Twist Makes David Attenborough a Great Teacher for God of the Abrahamic Faiths

Corona-virus Reminds Once Again: The Indispensable God-hypothesis

Whatever is in the Heavens or the Earth Glorifies Allah

How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution

Charles Darwin: An Epiphany for the Muslims, A Catastrophe for the Christians

Photosynthesis: deserving of our awe or ridicule?

Allah the Creator, the Maker and the Fashioner: The Best Documentary on Birds

The anesthesia of familiarity: There should be a Creator of Our Universe

The Beauty and the GPS of the Birds and the Quran

Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God

A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from?

Plain Water will Tell you the Story

Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe by Martin Rees

The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? by Paul Davies

Moon: Does it have a purpose?

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

Twelve Famous Scientists On The Possibility Of God

Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature

National Geographic Video: All Knowing, All Seeing God Keeps Us Away from Crime and Sin, See the Evidence

Epigraph:
For those who do not believe in the Hereafter are negative metaphors, while all the best attributes and metaphors are for Allah alone. He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Al Quran 16:60)

The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles about Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Afterlife and interfaith tolerance

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Agnostics and atheists argue against accountability and stress that they can also be moral without belief in God.   They can certainly be.  As every human being has a conscience and each one of us embellishes it to a variable degree, in that sense both theists and atheists can be moral.

However, theists have an additional factor driving them to be moral, namely a belief in All-Seeing God. I do not want to argue this issue at length here, but would just suggest watching 6 minutes of a recent 50 minute documentary by National Geographic starring Morgan Freeman, season 01, episode 05, starting at minute 32 of the video below and focus on the work of a New Zealand researcher, Jesse Michael Bering, with 6 year old children, how a belief in invisible Princess Alice affects their behavior and their honesty:

Just like a belief in invisible princess Alice makes the 6 years old more honest, a genuine belief in All-Seeing God can improve the character and the morality of the believers.

The above researcher, Jesse Michael Bering (born 6 May 1975) is an American writer and academic. He is Associate Professor in Science Communication at the University of Otago (where he serves as Director of the Centre for Science Communication), as well as a frequent contributor to Scientific AmericanSlate, and Das Magazin (Switzerland). His work has also appeared in New York MagazineThe Guardian, and The New Republic, and has been featured on NPR, the BBC, and elsewhere.

The holy Quran makes a repeated case for Monotheism, with the background of Judaism and Christianity. The other article of faith which finds numerous mentions, with one metaphor or the other, is the belief in the accountability in the hereafter, which is mentioned in almost every chapter of the Quran.

Suggested reading

Surah Qaf: The First Creation as the Foremost Proof for Afterlife

The West Needs Islam: Because Ashley Madison Revealed 38 Million Cheating Spouses

Stephen Hawking Passes Away – May God Bless His Soul, But He Didn’t Believe in One

Seven Reasons Why European Agnostics and Atheists Should Consider Islam

Charles Darwin: An Epiphany for the Muslims, A Catastrophe for the Christians