Religion roundtable: “How do we know if something is God’s will?”
Sep 29, 2012 | 1998 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Because he knows all

Islam, like some branches of Christianity and Judaism, adheres to the idea of predestination. For Muslims, God knows and sees everything — he knows the outcomes good or bad. Nothing happens in this world that God does not know, that God has not permitted.

Even things considered “evil” are not outside God’s realm — it’s thought the evils that happen now will eventually result in human good man cannot understand.

But, although God knows all, that does not mean there is no free will in Islam. Muslims believe God has written down all things in the Preserved Tablet — all that happens or will happen is in there; it’s there now because God exists outside time. For Him there is no difference between past present and future. For him, all is present. He can see what we are doing 30 years from now right in front of him. He has written fates from his knowledge of the future. So, God knows what choices men and women will make, but does not stop them from making them.

Once Prophet Muhammad was asked by his companions why we make prayers when all is predestined. He answered, keep on making prayers and efforts because this is part of fate.

Quite often, when Muslims refer to the future, they preface what they say with the phrase “Insha’Allah” or “god willing.” It’s an acknowledgment that humans do not know what’s coming.

Muhammad Haq, Anniston Islamic Center

Love is God’s will

We find ourselves asking this question in the midst of life’s most perplexing moments, when we feel confused, frustrated or misplaced. Often the implication of such a question is less theological and more practical: We want some sort of divine sign or obvious passage of scripture to tell us what to do when we’ve reached a roadblock of indecision.

At the risk of offering a frustratingly simple answer, I would like to suggest that discerning the will of God may be less complicated than we have made it out to be. You see, all throughout the scriptures there is one commandment (repeated in one form or another) that serves as a sort of “soundtrack”: Love God and each other. This commandment is of such enormous importance that when Jesus is asked which commandment is greatest he responds, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).

When we find ourselves in situations that cause us to seek God’s will, perhaps it’s best to begin by asking, “Does this show love for God and others?” If the answer is “no,” it’s outside of God’s will. If the answer is “yes,” it’s in God’s will; one cannot do wrong in loving God and neighbor.

Chris Thomas, Fairview Heights Northside Baptist Church, Anniston
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