​Free Will and Moral ​responsibility

​Free Will and Moral ​responsibility

Haya Muhammad Eid

Article translated to : العربية
​Free Will and Moral ​responsibility

Free will is a faculty of the reason and soul, by which a human is capable of distinguishing and choosing right from wrong and good from evil.

• Islam teaches that in order for humans to freely perform the test of life, God has given them free will as an inherent capacity of their nature, which is made up of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual powers.

• Human choices are not coerced or determined, yet humans cannot choose beyond what is choosable. Certain aspects of life — such as parents, gender and genetic makeup — have been predetermined for humans, but their moral choices have not. Those aspects of human life which incur reward or punishment are not under the control of destiny; they are truly free choices.

• Human will is neither greater than nor conflicting with God’s Will. Humans behave according to God’s Will, which allows them to exercise free choices in matters of action, belief and behavior. As the Qur’an states:

“Had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed — all of them entirely. Would you then (O Muhammad) compel the people, against their will, to believe?”


• Thus, both divine destiny and free will are real and not mutually exclusive. They operate simultaneously without negating one another. To die one day is the destiny of every human. To do good or bad while humans are living is their free choice.

• Humans make the choices; God decides the consequences. Humans are free to choose, but not free from responsibility for and the consequences of their choices and life outcomes. The outcome of each of their actions is governed by God’s Will.

• Whether humans choose to accept or reject Almighty God, they, as the rest of the universe, submit to God’s Sovereign Law. A believer submits willingly, in matters of both free choice (such as belief and disbelief or right and wrong) and non-free choice (such as birth and death), while a disbeliever submits unwillingly, in matters of non-free choice.

• This exercise of volition is neither indefinite nor unaccountable. It is limited by the inescapability of death and the finite time of life on earth. It will then be followed by the inevitable return of each person to God and accountability before Him for free will choices made in the worldly life.

Being human is a given but keeping your humanity is a choice.

"There is reward for keeping to every living thing" Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

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