- Apr 23, 2018
Well I think there are two sides to the whole free will equation. On the one hand, we certainly have some power (over ourselves, not the weather etc), on the other we are kind of conditioned biological robots responding to things in accordance with our conditioning.Haich once explained it here:
“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.” – Imam Shafi’i
A case I would suggest to be illuminating would be somebody who is subject to some very heavy conditioning, say they are brought up in a Christian household, go to a Christian school, whatever, to the point where they have a strong visceral and emotional reaction to any other religion, including (and probably particularly Islam). How can you say that this person has a genuine choice whether or not to practice Islam? They cannot break free from such heavy conditioning, it's so deep in them that they have no other possibility of reaction.
Then another case, someone who raised in Islam. For them it is very easy to believe, very easy to practice, they will feel comfortable in the practise, it will seem normal to them.
Now the question you need to answer is why is one person born in a circumstance where they have no real possibility of "believing" and another in one where it is easy to believe? So perhaps you answer "oh it is God's will, God can choose whoever he wants, do whatever he wants etc". In doing so you are creating this anthropomorphic deity who likes some people, dislikes others. To me this is what you would call "shirk".
In order for any Divinity to be genuinely Just, He would have to account for the inequality of the circumstances into which people are born. If you really think it through, the only way this could happen is through the process of reincarnation, karma. Cause and effect, action reaction, "reap what you sow".
Actually I would go further and say that it would be necessary that belief not be the criteria for salvation. Belief may be helpful in making people believe in ethical ways and not fall into complete debauchery, however it isn't something that takes effort (except the occasional anti-effort of trying to ignore logic), it isn't the same thing as leading an ethical life. And surely living a good is really the only objective and Just criteria of judgement?
I'm all for prayer, I'm favourable to most manifestations of religion, even the Abrahamic ones to an extent. Prayer helps us to be decent people, opens us up to light, harmony, wisdom. Unfortunately the dogmatic beliefs of the exoteric religions do the exact opposite, they are limiting rather than liberating.