Rafed English

What is Predestination?

From the foregoing discussion it is clear that a belief in fate and destiny and that every event, including human deeds and acts, is determined by Divine decrees, does not necessarily mean predestination. It would have certainly meant so, had we believed that man and his will have no role in this respect. As hinted earlier, the Divine Being does not influence the events of the world direct. That is absolutely impossible. He necessitates the existence of a thing through its particular causes only. That everything is decreed by Allah simply means that the system of causation is subject to His Will and Knowledge. As already pointed out, the acceptance of the principle of causation implies that the destiny of everything in existence depended on the causes preceding it. It does not matter whether we believe that the system of causation emanates from the Divine Will or presume that it exists independently, for its independence or dependence does not in any way affect human destiny.

It is foolish to hold that the doctrine of predestination has any relation to the belief in fate and destiny, or to criticize this belief on that account.

There is absolutely no such thing as destiny if it means the denial of an inevitable connection between the causes and their effects. It will amount to the denial of human liberty and volition. In theology very strong and convincing arguments have been advanced to prove the baselessness of such an idea.

But if destiny means a link of inevitability between an event and its causes, then its existence is an undeniable fact. Anyhow, it should be remembered that the belief in destiny is not peculiar to the theists. Every school of thought which believes in the general system of causation has to accept the existence of this link of inevitability. The only difference is that the theists hold that the chain of causes at a dimension other than that of time or place ends at the Essential Being, Who is self-existent. Thus all inevitabilities and determinations stop at a particular point.

Anyhow, this difference neither proves nor disproves the doctrine of predestination.

Adapted from the book: "Man and Destiny" by: "Shahid Mutahhari"

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