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The Quranic Concept of Free Will


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Definition of Free Will in Islam

In Islam, free will or aslah (آصله) refers to the ability of a person to choose between right and wrong. It is a fundamental principle in Islamic belief, and the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) repeatedly emphasize the importance of this concept.

Sources of Free Will in Islam

The source of free will in Islam is Allah (God). In several verses of the Quran, Allah states that He has willed and decreed everything, yet He has also bestowed humans with something called “wortäqah” (ورثة), meaning an endowed portion or share, which enables them to have freedom of choice (Razi, 2019).

Importance of Free Will in Islam

The importance of free will in Islam is highlighted in the Quran. Allah says in the Holy Book, “Indeed, We have honored the children of Adam and carried them on land and sea and provided them with sustainable resources and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [distinct] means [such as] ability to hear and sight” (Quran, 17:70). This verse implies that Allah has not created humans like robots but has given them the capacity to make choices.

The concept of free will also underlines the moral accountability of individuals for their actions. As Allah says in the Quran, “Allah will not leave the believer in the state in which you are now, till He separates him from others (by his death). Nor does Allah disgrace anybody when his time comes; and all things have a predetermined end” (Quran, 13:11). This verse implies that every individual will be questioned and judged for their deeds.

Limitations of Free Will in Islam

Despite being an essential concept in Islam, free will is not unlimited in restrictive or absolute terms. There are examples in the Quran and the Sunnah where Allah intervenes in the affairs of humans against their will. These cases illustrate that Allah’s will takes precedence over human will, and there are boundaries to free will.

The Role of Free Will in the Judgment of God

In Islam, the role of free will in the judgment of God is significant. According to tradition, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, “When the son of Adam dies, his deeds come to an end, except for three: a continuous charity, knowledge which is benefiting people, or a righteous child who prays for him” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) – this statement highlights the long-term impact of an individual’s actions in this world.

In the Quran, Allah says, “Whoever works righteousness – whether male or female – while he is a true believer (in the Oneness of Allah) -such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even as a grain of mustard seed, will be done to them” (Quran, 4:124). This statement clarifies that a person’s good deeds and faith will lead them to a blessed place in the hereafter.

Additionally, Allah warns us that every person will be responsible for their choices, and painful punishment awaits those who neglect their responsibilities in this life. As Allah says in the Holy Book, “Do not let the life of this world deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah” (Quran, 31:33). This verse highlights the importance of being aware of the allurements of this world and being cautious of Satan’s deception.

In conclusion, free will is a critical concept in Islam, and its significance is emphasized in the Quran and the Sunnah. The text above has explained the definition, sources, importance, limitations, and role of free will in Islam. These features highlight the role that each individual has in shaping their destiny and the impact of choices on the Hereafter. As Muslims, it is essential to remember that free will is a blessing from Allah, and it is our responsibility to use it wisely.


“Freedom of Choice (Asbıghah): Its Importance in Islam”, Jalaluddin Rumi – Sultan ul Arfeen, Razi, Abdul. Published: February 25, 2019. Retrieved from: https://prog

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