By Tousif Raza
Human freedom and human limitation are the parental Subjects of philosophical controversy. There are a number of renowned philosophers who believe in unqualified freedom :there are others who believe in unqualified restriction. The former turn freedom into license and and absolute lack of discipline, the latter shrink restrictions into an unredeemed determinism and a pressure_cooker attitude towards life. Both postures reflect a perverse state of mind and a hopeless mis valuation of the sources and springs of life : their lop_sidedness is quite obvious :only the nature of their respective tilt varies. But the bend is there and transforms both the crests and troughs of their imaginative exercise into a humpy assessment of human acts. Islam is a religion of moderation it avoids extremes and encourages the balance of synthesis without compromising it’s vital principles. Islam creates an equipoise, which is in the form of a vibrant equilibrium between man’s tendency towards waywardness and his equally natural inclination to cramp and constrict his creative energies and comes out with a viable coalescence of the extreme attitudes.
There is a delicate distinction between the creation of an act and the performance of an act. It is a vital distinction and can not be brushed aside as a phenomenon of peripheral significance. The balance and popular view of muslim jurists is that man is neither the creator of his deeds nor his actions are divinely predetermined. The reality exists between these two positions. The theologians believe that man’s authority operates between creation and predetermination (Baynal Qadr e wal Jabr).
Although the acts and deeds indiscriminately created by Allah, human beings have free choice to perform acts of Commission or omission. Thus Allah is the creator of acts and man is their performer and operater. The function of human action is neither creation nor predetermination but free performance and accomplishment.
As Quran declares clearly regarding this subject by a verse in surah Al_safaat. “And Allah has created you and what you make” (Al_safaat :96). The verse categorically affirms that God has created everything whether it exists in the form of an accountable creature or in that of an act or deed. None of the creatures is outside His range of jurisdiction. But it should be clearly grasped that his creation does not bind a man to become a criminal or the victim of a predetermined fate because his legal and normal liability is created on the basis of his performance, and not on that of creation. That is why a driver who causes the death of a person on the road is liable for his action (the act of killing a person) although the creator of life and death is Allah, and none else.
There are basically three postulates of Islamic philosophy which are quite relevant to an understanding of the problem. Man is free to perform any act, good or bad it is the essential condition of divine reward or punishment. Man is blessed with the power to discriminate between vise and virtue which is the primary basis of his accountability in the next world. Lastly man is accountable for his acts and deeds which spring from his freedom of will and choice. Human struggle is absolutely inconceivable without his basic freedom.
The holly Quran clearly proclaims in un ambiguous terms about the freedom of performance some of the verses are mentioned below.
“And you shall not be rewarded except for what you did”. (Al_Saffat: 39)”So this day no soul shall be dealt with. unjustly in the least and you shall not be rewarded for anything but that which you did”. (Al_Yasin: 54) The Quranic verses pin_point the fact that the divine decision of reward and punishment is not and can never be, capricious, arbitrary and unjust. Human being is free to perform his acts and deeds. People who fail in life should stop blaming their luck, should stop finding excuses for doing good. Do good and have good is basically a lesson for human being.
By Tousif Raza