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In this article, Sam Shamoun argues about Predestination, known as Al-Qadar. We will examine how his article, not only refutes his own Calvinist creed (since Shamoun is a Calvinist), but also goes against the Bible, and we will examine what exactly was Paul's view of Predestination. But first:
1- Predestination in Islam
Book 33, Number 6398:
All reported: We were in a funeral in the graveyard of Gharqad that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to us and we sat around him. He had a stick with him. He lowered his head and began to scratch the earth with his stick, and then raid: There is not one amongst you whom a scat in Paradise or Hell has not been allotted and about whom it has not been written down whether he would be an evil person or a blessed person. A person said: Allah's Messenger, should we not then depend upon our destiny and abandon our deeds? Thereupon he said: Acts of everyone will be facilitated in, that which has been created for him so that whoever belongs to the company of the blessed will have good works made easier for him and whoever belongs to the unfortunate ones will have evil acts made easier for him. He then recited this verse (from the Qur'an): "Then, who gives to the needy and guards against evil and accepts the excellent (the truth of Islam and the path of righteousness it prescribes), We shall make easy for him the easy end and who is miserly and considers himself above need, We shall make easy for him the difficult end". (XCii. 5-10).
Volume 2, Book 21, Number 227:
Narrated 'Ali bin Abi Talib
One night Allah's Apostle came to me and Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet and asked, "Won't you pray (at night)?" I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Our souls are in the hands of Allah and if He wants us to get up He will make us get up." When I said that, he left us without saying anything and I heard that he was hitting his thigh and saying, "But man is more quarrelsome than anything." (18.54)
Volume 6, Book 60, Number 469:
We were in the company of the Prophet in a funeral procession at Baqi Al-Gharqad. He said, "There is none of you but has his place written for him in Paradise or in the Hell- Fire." They said, "O Allah's Apostle! Shall we depend (on this fact and give up work)?" He said, "Carry on doing (good deeds), for every body will find it easy to do (what will lead him to his destined place)." Then he recited:
'As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah, and believes in the Best reward from Allah (i.e. Allah will compensate him for what he will spend in Allah's way). So, We will make smooth for him the path of ease. But he who is a greedy miser....for him, the path for evil.' (92.5-10)
Volume 6, Book 60, Number 473:
While we were in a funeral procession in Baqi Al-Gharqad, Allah's Apostle came and sat down, and we sat around him. He had a small stick in his hand and he bent his head and started scraping the ground with it. He then said, "There is none among you, and no created soul but has his place written for him either in Paradise or in the Hell-Fire, and also has his happy or miserable fate (in the Hereafter) written for him." A man said, "O Allah's Apostle! Shall we depend upon what is written for us and give up doing (good) deeds? For whoever among us is destined to be fortunate (in the Hereafter), will join the fortunate peoples and whoever among us is destined to be miserable will do such deeds as are characteristic of the people who are destined to misery." The Prophet said, "Those who are destined to be happy (in the Hereafter) will find it easy and pleasant to do the deeds characteristic of those destined to happiness, while those who are to be among the miserable (in the Hereafter), will find it easy to do the deeds characteristic of those destined to misery." Then he recited: 'As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and believes in the Best reward from Allah, We will make smooth for him the path of ease. But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self sufficient, and gives the lie to the Best reward from Allah we will make smooth for him the path for evil.' (92.5-10)
Volume 9, Book 92, Number 446:
Narrated 'Ali bin Abi Talib:
That Allah's Apostle came to him and Fatima the daughter of Allah's Apostle at their house at night and said, "Won't you pray?" 'Ali replied, "O Allah's Apostle! Our souls are in the Hands of Allah and when he wants us to get up, He makes us get up." When 'Ali said that to him, Allah's Apostle left without saying anything to him. While the Prophet was leaving, 'Ali heard him striking his thigh (with his hand) and saying, "But man is quarrelsome more than anything else." (18.54)
As shown above, the Holy Prophet (S) clearly told the Muslims that you should not stop doing good deeds, one should continue doing it. In another tradition, the Holy Prophet (S) rebuked the people who discussed about predestination, because it leads to confusion:
"Once he came to the mosque. There were two groups of companions. One was busy in reciting the Holy Qur'an and Dhikr and prayer. While the other was busy in conversation on religion. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Both are doing virtuous acts but Allah has sent me to teach (religion). So he sat in the group which was occupied in religious education. He did not like discussion on difficult topics which were beyond the ken of a common man in these gatherings. One day conversation was going on about predestination in the meeting of the companions. When the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard it, he came out of his apartment. His face turned red as if someone had sprinkled the juice of pomegranate on his cheeks. He addressed the companions: Have you been created to cause disharmony and discord between (the teachings of) the Qur'an. The previous people were destroyed due to these things."
(Source: Sirat Un Nabi by Syed Sulaiman Nadvi rendered into English by Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui Vol. III, p. 152, Kitab Bhavan India 2004)
"It was a general concept that predestination means inaction, making a man lazy and inactive as what has been predestined must happen and no effort on the part of man can avert it. But the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in a meeting which was held suddenly negated this concept saying: Actions are by themselves the fate and the actions of a man which he performs with the Grace of Allah, determines his fate. So reliance of Allah does not mean inaction and laziness and to let the God-given power go waste. The companions were in a funeral. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came and they gathered around him. He had a stick in his hand with which he began to scratch the earth. Then he said: There is not one amongst you whom a seat in paradise or hell has not been allotted. A person said: Allah's Messenger! Should we not then depend upon our fate and abandon our deeds? Thereupon he said: Whoever belongs to the blessed ones will have good works made easier for him. Whoever belongs to the unfortunate ones will have evil acts made easier for him."
(Source: Ibid, p. 153)
Clearly, Sam Shamoun who loves to create disharmony and discord would have no problem discussing predestination, since he is paid to create fitnah!
2- The View of the Islamic Scholars' on Predestination
Imaam Tahawi wrote in his famous Al-Aqida Al-Tahawiyya:
" The exact nature of the decree is Allah's secret in His creation, and no angel near the Throne, nor the Prophet sent with a message, has been given knowledge of it. Delving into it and reflecting too much about it only leads to destruction and loss, and results in rebelliousness. So be extremely careful about thinking and reflecting on this matter of letting doubts about it assail you because Allah has kept knowledge of the decree away from human beings, and forbidden to enquire about it, saying in His Book, "He is not asked about what He does, but they are asked" (al-Anbiya' 21:23)."
" It is necessary for the servant to know that Allah already knows everything that is going to happen and in His creation and has decreed it in a detailed and decisive way. There is nothing that He has created in either the heavens or the earth that can contradict it, or add to it, or erase it, or change it, or decrease it, or increase it in any way. This is a fundamental aspect of belief and a necessary element of all knowledge and recognition of Allah's oneness and Lordship. As Allah says in his book: "He created everything and decreed it in a detailed way." (al-Furqan 25:2) And he also says: "Allah's command is always a detailed decree." (al-Ahzab 33:38) So woe to anyone who argues with Allah concerning the decree and who, with a sick heart, starts delving into this matter. In his deluded attempt to investigate the Unseen, he is seeking a secret that can never be uncovered, and he ends up an evil-doer, telling nothing but lies."
(Source: Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna, Vol. 1 by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, p.20-21, As-Sunna Foundation of America 1996)
In the Anti-Islamists' deluded attempt to discredit Islam, one of their main arguments is Predestination. Thus, they are nothing but evil doers and liars, for delving into matters which should not concern them!
3- Paul's view of Predestination
In the book of Romans, one finds a very interesting passage, where Paul rebukes people who question Al-Qadar, something Sam Shamoun has done:
19One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?"
20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "[a]
21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
(Romans Chapter 9, Verses 19-21)
The NIV Bible commentators wrote on this verse:
" Someone may object: "if God determines whose heart is hardened and whose is not, how can he blame anyone for hardening their hearts?"
Who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Paul is not silencing all human questioning to God, but he is speaking to those with an impenitent, God-defying attitude who want to make God answerable to them for what he does and who, by their questions, defame the character of God.
(Source: NIV Study Bible, p. 1760)
Matthew Henry also comments:
II. It might be objected, Why doth he yet find fault? For who had resisted his will? V.19. Had the apostle been arguing only for God's sovereignty in appointing and ordering the terms and conditions of acceptance and salvation, there had not been the least colour for this objection; for he might well find fault if people refused to come up to the terms on which such a salvation is offered; the salvation being so great, the terms could not be hard. But there might be colour for the objection against his arguing for the sovereignty of God in giving and withholding differencing and preventing grace; and the objection is commonly and readily advanced against the doctrine of distinguishing grace. If God, while he gives effectual grace to some, denies it to others, why doth he find fault with those whom he denies it? If he hath rejected the Jews, and hid from their eyes the things that belong to their peace, why doth he find fault with them for their blindness? If it be his pleasure to discard them as not a people and not obtaining mercy, their knocking off themselves was no resistance of his will. This objection he answers at large,
- By reproving the objector (v.20) Nay but, O man. This is not an objection fit to be made by the creature against his Creator, by man against God. The truth, as it is in Jesus, is that which abases man as nothing, less than nothing, and advances God as sovereign Lord of all. Observe how contemptibly he speaks of man, when he comes to argue with God his maker: "Who art thou, thou that art so foolish, so feeble, so short-sighted, so incompetent a judge of the divine counsels? Art thou able to fathom such a depth, dispute such a case, to trace that way of God which is in the sea, his path in the great waters?" That replies against God. It becomes us to submit to him, not to reply against him; to lie down under his hand, not to fly in his face, nor to charge him with folly. Ho antapokrinomenos- That answerest again. God is our master, and we are his servants, and it does not become servants to answer again, Tit. 2:9.
- By resolving all into the divine sovereignty. We are the thing formed, and he is the former, and it does not become us to challenge or arraign his wisdom in ordering and disposing of us into this or that shape of figure. The rude and uniformed mass of matter hath no right to this or that form, but is shaped at the pleasure of him that formeth it. God's sovereignty over us is fitly illustrated by the power that the potter have over the clay; compare Jer. 18:6, where, by a like comparison, God asserts his dominion over the nation of the Jews, when he was about to magnify his justice in their destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. "
(Source: Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 2218, Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1995)
Another verse, which illustrates that God Almighty has the will to do what he wants is:
14The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.
(Isaiah Chapter 19 verse 14)
Thus it is also demonstrated, that the Bible also supports the idea of predestination. That one must not question God, as Matthew Henry points out . It becomes us to submit to him, not to reply against him; to lie down under his hand, not to fly in his face, nor to charge him with folly. Therefore, Sam Shamoun is in conflict with his apostle Paul regarding this issue.
4- Predestination according to John Calvin
Now, to see what John Calvin, founder of the Calvinist movement (Sam Shamoun is also a Calvinist) thinks of Predestination:
" We assert, that by an eternal and immutable counsel, God has once for all determined, both whom He would admit to salvation, and whom He would condemn to destruction. We affirm that this counsel, as far as concerns the elect, is founded on His gratuitous mercy, totally irrespective of human merit; but that to those whom He devoted to condemnation, the gate of life is closed by a just and irreprehensible, but incomprehensible, judgment"
(Source: Mankind's Search for God, p. 323, quoting from John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion)
It is evident, that the doctrine of Predestination is something not "comprehensible" as John Calvin admits, because it is a secret only known to Allah SWT.
We end by quoting an Ayat from the Holy Qur'an:
He cannot be questioned for His acts, but they will be questioned (for theirs). (Sura 21 Ayat 23)
And Truly, Allah SWT Knows Best!