Questions and Answers about Islam Vol. 1 and 2 have been prepared to provide first-hand information from one of the most leading Islamic scholars of our time. In this book, Fethullah Gülen, sensitive to the real questions people have - the questions given rise to by the modern age - has tried, through patient argument, to answer people's doubts and questions.
Are Manner and Moment of Death Predetermined?
Every event, including the manner and time of death, are predestined. Everything occurs within the framework of the Divine Decree, and also within an individual plan for each being. Such plans are always in harmony with one another. This is a system established by God in the past eternity. It never changes, and will continue in the future eternity.
The established and universally acknowledged principles of the positive sciences confirm that everything has been made and runs according to such a design and determination. In the absence such predestination, the universe's order, harmony, and magnificence could not be understood or explained, nor could any scientific advances be made. God's preordained, mathematical, and geometrical design in the universe allows us to conduct laboratory research via reliable principles so that we can explore both humanity and space.
Saying that science is no more than a means to reflect and make known what already exists, to give some names and titles to its governing principles, does not diminish its discoveries or technological inventions. By pointing out science's place and weight, we only recall the significant fact that such order and harmony prevailed long before any scientific discoveries and inventions were made, for the Creator made them the very foundation of the universe.
Some sociologists attempt to apply to humanity principles that seem to prevail for all other beings. This is extreme fatalism, which deserves to be criticized severely. And yet it may be helpful to the extent that it acknowledges the very predestination on which the universe and its order depend.
Each fact related to faith and creed does not need human support or acceptance, or human acknowledgment of its reasonableness, because it comes from God. However, it helps our cause of calling people back to the right path if we can counter their claims. That is why we engage in such a discourse. Otherwise, it is obvious that everything functions according to a perfect balance, harmony, and order, all of which suffices to prove their predestination by an All-Mighty Sovereign. Since existence began, they have acted in full obedience and submission to His Will, Power, and Preordaining.
Predestination has a different essence for humanity. Although we were created by necessity and at the same time as other creatures, our free will makes us unique. God gave us the moral freedom to think, reason, form opinions, and make choices so that we would have personality, individuality, and character. Indeed, the question only arises because some people consider humanity to be the same as any other member of creation.
We have a real (although limited) free will, power of choice, and inclination. Depending on how we use these, we earn good or evil, reward or punishment. As we bring the results of our deeds upon ourselves through our own conscious or unconscious choices, we cannot blame God for what we ourselves set in motion. The ratio of reward or punishment to a particular deed is up to God.
There is a second aspect: How is human free will reconciled with God's all-encompassing knowledge?
In His knowledge, existence and all that is beyond it are not bound by the human concept of "time." Thus, such human concepts as "before," "after," "cause," and "effect" have no meaning and do not occur in what we consider to be the proper sequence. Simply stated, they just are. As a result, God is simultaneously aware of our inclination, what we will do, what we do, and what the result will be. This fact is a recognition of our free will, because our inclination is taken into account and given importance. In other words, God reveals that He will create whatever we incline toward and, as He foresees the consequences, predetermines those consequences accordingly. This means that He accords full importance to our free will. No one is forced to follow a prescribed course, and so everyone can be held accountable for what they do.
Fate and predetermination operate according to God's knowledge. To foreknow something does not determine or cause it to be or to happen as it does. Divine Will and Power make things come into existence on the basis of our inclination. Therefore, the things that happened and came into existence did not do so because they were foreknown. On the contrary, they are known as they are. The same is true of predestination. For example, a weather forecaster does not "cause" the weather by "predicting" it accurately. God All-Mighty's Power to foreknow and foresee the outcomes of choices and inclinations, and thus to assure that they will be fulfilled, does not mean that He causes them.
I end this discussion with one more example. Some people say that murderers cannot be held accountable for their deed, because they were "predestined" to do it and the victim was "predestined" to die in that manner. Such a claim is ludicrous. The truth is that God takes their inclinations into account, prepares the circumstances according to how they will act, and is perfectly fair in calling them to account for their heinous sin.
Topics Covered in Volume 1 of the book are as follows:
- Does God Exist?
- Who Created God?
- Who is God? Why Can't We See Him?
- Why did God Create the Universe?
- Since God Knows What We Will Do, Why Does He Send Us Here?
- The Qur'an Says: There is No Compulsion in Religion (2:256)
- What Does This Mean?
- What is the Point of Worship, and Why Does it Have to Be Done in a Certain Way?
- What is the Primordial Covenant?(Qalu Bala)
- What Does the Islamic Concept of Fitra (Primordial Nature) Mean?
- What is Guidance, and Can We Guide Others?
- What is the Purpose of Spiritual Tension?
- Will Religion, Supposedly Developed by "Primitive" People to Explain the Unknown, Eventually Become Unnecessary?
- Submission, Sense, and Reason
- Can Islam Solve Every Problem?
- Why does Islam Allow Slavery?
- Did Prophet Muhammad Write the Qur'an?
- Why Was the Qur'an Revealed Over A Period of 23 Years?
- Why Does the Qur'an Open With Iqra' (Recite, Read)?
- Why Does the Qur'an Not Discuss Scientific Issues That Concern Us Today?
- When Modern Science Agrees With the Qur'an
- What is the Role of Prophethood and of Prophets?
- How Many Prophets Were There? Were They All From Arabia?
- Was Muhammad's Mission Limited and Temporary?
- Why Was the Prophet Polygamous?
- What Satan is and Why He Was Created?
- What About Involuntary Thoughts and Fancies?
- How to Keep Free of Satanic Suggestions?
- Why Does Satan Insist on His Unbelief?
- Can We Choose Our Actions?
- What Happens to People Born and Living in Non-Islamic Countries?
- Why Are There Fortunate and Unfortunate People?
- Why Are Some People Created "More Equal" Than Others?
- Are the Manner And Time of Death Predetermined?
- Why Are Whole Nations no Longer Punished?
- What is Death?
- What About the Angel of Death?
- What Do We Feel At the Time of Death?
- Should We Fear Death?
- The Happens to the Spirit in the Intermediate World?
- Why Does One Creature's Life Depend on the Death of Another?
- Can Our Intention Save Us?
- What is the Sunna's Role Today?
- Why is Atheism So Widespread?
- What is Jihad?
- Are Muslims Guilty of Imperialism?
- Is Reincarnation Compatible With Islam?