Home > Islamic Rulings (Fatwaas) > Is man restricted in his actions or does he have free will?

Is man restricted in his actions or does he have free will?


His eminence ash-Shaykh al-‘Alaamah ‘Abdullah bin Humayd (rahimahullah) was asked: Is man restricted in his actions or does he have free will? And what is the evidence concerning that?

Answer: Man is both restricted and compelled. So you are restricted in actions in regards to your being created. Allah created you and gave you intellect to distinguish between right and wrong. You have the choice in choosing what will benefit you the most. Your ability to choose what is the most suitable and benefiting is evidence that you possess free will. You are the one who does the action by way of you choosing to do so, but you and the action you choose to take are in the hands of Allah the Glorified and Most High. Allah the Mighty & Majestic is the One Who controls everything in the universe. The Most High says:

{No affliction occurs in the earth or in yourselves but it is preserved in a Book before We brought it into existence, that is easy for Allah to do.} Soorat-ul-Hadeed: 22

Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah has confirmed the understanding of this subject stating accordingly that the servant has free will in that he chooses what will benefit him and abstains from what will harm him. Have you not seen that which benefits you continues throughout your life? Are you free to throw yourself into a well or prevent yourself from destruction or do you control (what befalls you)?

You act in accordance with what your affair requires pertaining to protecting yourself (from harm) so the action you do is done by choice.

As for you committing a sin from the impressible acts and saying: “It was written for me to commit this sin” then no, you are the one who committed this sinful act by choice and by fulfilling your desires. You will be held accountable for this action which was due to your ignorance but you chose the action and Allah gave you intellect, free will, discretion, and desire so you do what benefits yourself. You commit acts of disobedience which you yourself desire; therefore all of this is from your own accord. You are the one who chose to do that action and no one forced you to do it.

Allah the Glorious & Elevated has given you intellect, before you are the paths to good and evil; He gave you the freedom to choose between the two, even though everything in your life has been decreed even the drinking of water, but this doesn’t neglect the action of choice. As for man’s lifespan then it is restricted like his appointed time of life and its decreed limit. Man does not have the choice in setting his lifespan whether putting ahead something beforehand or delaying it. In brief man is both restricted in his actions and he has free will, and Allah knows best.

From the Fataawaa of ash-Shaykh al-Imaam ‘Abdullah bin Humayd page 18.

Arabic source: http://www.al-barq.net/showthread.php?t=14736
Translated by Aboo ‘Imraan al-Mekseekee

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