How does the general conscience of human beings deny predestination?

Even if philosophers and divine scholars give different reasons for free will of the human being, here we will take a short cut and give the clearest reason given by the supporters of free will and this is the ‘universal’ or ‘collective’ conscience of human beings.

That is, no matter what we deny, we cannot deny this reality that in all human societies, including both the worshippers of God and the materialists, East and West, ancient and modern, wealthy and poor, developed or undeveloped, of whatever culture, all without exception, agree that a law should rule human beings and that human beings are responsible before the law and people who disobey the law must be punished.

In other words, the rule of law, the responsibility of individuals before it and the punishment of those who disobey the law are things which all intelligent people agree with and it was only savage, primitive tribes who did not officially recognize these three things.

The fact that we explain this as the general conscience of human beings of the world is the clearest proof of the existence of free will in human beings and the fact that they have free choice. How can it be accepted that a human being be obliged in his or her actions and that he or she have no freedom of choice but he or she is responsible before the law? And that when a law is broken, that person must be tried and asked why he or she did this or that or did not do this or that.

And if proven guilty, that person is sent to prison or even, depending upon the crime, executed, this is exactly as if we were to punish stones which slide down a mountain causing a landslide on a mountain road which results in the death of one or more human beings.

It is true that a human being differs from a stone, but if we deny free will and choice in a human being, this external difference between them will not be relevant and both will be the victims of fate. A stone, following the law of gravity, falls upon the roadside and a human being who murders another, is the victim of another factor of fate.

Thus, the logic of those who believe in predetermination allows for no distinction to be made between a stone and a human being from the point of view of result, since neither acted according to their own free will. Why should one be tried and not the other?We are at a crossroad. We either have to deny existence of the common conscience of all of the people of the world and consider the courts, punishment of those who disobey the law to be ridiculous and useless and even oppressive or deny the beliefs of the fatalists. Obviously the latter is preferable.

It is interesting to note that those who believe in the school of fatalism, and give reasons for their belief, when they are faced with a real life situation, they act according to free will! For instance, if a person aggresses against them, or annoys or bothers them, they take this person to court and do not rest at ease until that person is punished. Well, if it is really true that a person has no choice or free will, what are all of this commotion and court and trial about?

At any rate, this common conscience of the intelligent of the world is a living idea for the reality that human beings have accepted the existence of free will in the depths of their being and has always been loyal to that and cannot live without the belief for even one day and have the wheels of social and individual programs progress.

A great Iranian philosopher, Khawjeh Nair al-din Tusi, in discussing predestination and free will says in one short sentence in his book Kitab Tajrubah bih al-Aqa’id, “Our necessary understanding and conscience tells us that we are responsible for all of our deeds.”

Ref: Fifty Lessons of Principles of Belief for Youths; Ayt. Makarem Shirazi; Translated by: Bahador Shirazian; Published by: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly

What is the reason behind God creating man and generally the whole world? Is He in need of creating?

God Almighty is a never-ending entity possessing all forms of perfection and creating is His grace. Since Allah (swt) is the All-Graceful, granting everything and anything possible, his being graceful calls for him to create all things that can and deserve to be created. So, Allah (swt) creates because He is the All-Graceful. In other words, the reason behind the creation of everything lies in Him being the All-Graceful and since His qualities (in which one of them is His grace) are part of His essence, it can be said that the purpose of His creation is His essence.
Of course, although one who creates something usually does it for his/her own needs and to make up for his/her imperfections and deficiencies, but that isn’t the case with Allah (swt) because He is absolutely self-sufficient and is of no imperfection. Nevertheless, His actions must have a purpose since He is the all-Wise and does nothing without a logical reason and just for nothing. Hence, the system of creation is a system with a specific purpose that is in continuation of Allah’s high goals, therefore no distortion can be found in it.
As for the main purpose of creation, one must say that it is for man to reach perfection and eternal prosperity and the highest virtues and it is man who benefits from reaching such goals because God is the All-sufficient and is in no need of anything, on the contrary, all things are in need of Him, as He Himself says: “O mankind! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah, and Allah He is the All-sufficient, the All-laudable”.

n order to find the answer to this question, a few things need to be cleared up:

1) Allah’s reason for creating the universe:

Paying attention to some points helps us in finding out what His motives are:

Because of Allah (swt) being of necessary existence and independent in it, He is of no limitation, and possesses all perfection.

2- One of the high virtues that His Excellency possesses is His never-ending grace and generosity. In the holy Quran, Allah (swt) says:

…and the bounty of your Lord is not confined.” 1

Allah (swt) has no limitations on His behalf when it comes to granting and giving, thus if He ever doesn’t grant anything, that means that the person or object that was supposed to receive from Him wasn’t of the required capacity to receive what His Excellency wished to grant. So it is the one to receive who has limitations, not the one who wants to grant.

3- All goodness and virtues arise from existence (wujud), and all imperfections come from nonexistence (‘adam). For instance, knowledge is something that exists, while ignorance is the lack of knowledge. The same goes for strength and weakness.

4- Taken into consideration the third introduction, one can conclude that God’s grace and generosity manifests in Him creating, therefore being the All-Graceful necessitates creation. In other words, if something ever deserves to be created yet God refuses to create it, it means that God has refused a good thing, because as was said before, all goodnesses and virtues somehow are related to creation. This means that God is being miserly while it is impossible for God to be miserly. Here we conclude that if anyone asks why Allah (swt) created, the answer is that God’s being the All-Graceful is the main cause.

5- God’s qualities and virtues aren’t things added to His essence (there is an argument about God’s qualities and virtues and if they are part of His essence or not; the Shia say that they are part of His essence, yet not causing multiplicity in it unlike some of the Sunnis [Mu’tazilah] who say that they are part of His essence but cause multiplicity, and unlike other Sunnis [‘Asha’irah] who say that they aren’t part of His essence at all but at the same time these virtues are eternal and pre-existent like Allah Himself), while in other objects, they aren’t part of their essence. For instance, the apple has an essence, and it also has some characteristics such as redness and sweetness. Redness and sweetness are all out of the apple’s essence because it can also be green and sour and still be an apple (have the essence of an apple).

The argument of God’s virtues being part of His essence or not is a deep theistic one which can be read about in the chapter on the oneness of God’s virtues and essence in theistic books.
What is important here is that being All-Graceful, is part of His essence (the more accurate way of putting it is to say that this and other qualities and virtues of God are all exactly His essence, not part of His essence, because it isn’t that God’s essence is made up of different parts in which one of them is His being All-Graceful), not outside of His essence. So if it is asked why God created, the answer is that because God is God. So the true reason for Him creating is Himself.

What is important is that although Allah (swt) doesn’t create in order to fulfill His own needs or to make up for His deficiencies because of His self-sufficience and has no deficiencies and is perfect, but His actions surely have a reason behind them because He is the All-wise and the wise one never does vain acts. The system of creation is a system that follows the high goals of Allah (swt) and no signs of disorder can be found in it.

According to Quranic verses, the creator of all things didn’t create them in vain nor for amusement, His creation is on the basis of the truth and wisdom, and even the smallest particles in this world follow high goals and none of them have been created in vain.

Of course, one mustn’t forget that the final goal for creating the universe was for man to come into existence and in other words, Allah (swt) created the universe in order to create man because he is the highest of all creatures as his creator is the highest of all creators that the universe has never seen. It has been reported that Allah (swt) has said:

Oh son of Adam (pbuh), I have created everything for you, and have created you for myself.” 2

God’s purpose for creation:

What was said till now was all about creation itself, but regarding the creation of man, one must say that the specific virtue that God wanted to achieve by creating man, is the goal of creating man.

The inevitable result of God being All-Graceful, is to create all possible virtues (meaning that His grace calls for Him to create all virtues that can be created). Before the creation of man, He had created other creatures called the angels who possessed all virtues that was possible for them from the beginning of their creation instead of acquiring them like man. Hence, they aren’t capable of achieving any new virtues and they don’t perfect any further. Allah quotes them saying:

For every one of us there is a determined place and position; And verily, we are all ranged in ranks to carry out Allah’s commands; And verily, we are those who perpetually celebrate Allah’s attributes”. 3

Now that we have spoken of these two issues, it is time to start the main discussion. No matter what the purpose of creation is, its benefit is for man himself because Allah (swt) is of no need and self-sufficient and it is man who is in true need. Allah (swt) says in the Quran:

O mankind! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah, and Allah He is the All-sufficient, the All-laudable.” 4

Prophet Musa (pbuh) says to Bani-Israel:

Should you be faithless you and everyone on the earth all together [it doesn’t make a difference because] indeed Allah is all-sufficient, all-laudable”. 5

In the famous sermon known as “the sermon of Hamam”, Imam Ali states regarding this matter:

“Allah (swt) created mankind while being in no need of their obedience and servitude towards Him, and (also) being safe from their disobedience because the disobedience of sinners does Him no harm and the obedience of His servants has no benefit for Him (the only reason He has demanded His servants to obey Him and prohibited them from disobedience, is for their own prosperity). 6

The purpose for creating man has been spoken of in different ways in the Quran. In reality, each of these explanations is pointing to one of the dimensions of the purpose of his creation. Some of those verses are as follows:

I did not create the jinn and the humans except that they may worship Me” 7


He, who created death and life that He may test you (to see) which of you is better in their deeds” 8


Had your Lord wished, He would have made mankind one community; but they continue to differ, except those on whom your Lord has mercy and that is why He created them (receiving mercy and reaching perfection as a result)” 9.

As you can see, all of these different assertions (of the purpose of man’s creation) are in reality following one goal, and that is the development, perfection and guidance of man. As a result, we can conclude that the main and final goal for creating man is for him to reach perfection and eternal prosperity and the highest virtues and human values, and all of these goals can be accomplished through the obedience and servitude of Allah (swt).

Imam Sadiq (as) says that Imam Husein (as) came before his companions saying:

Allah (swt) has created His servants solely for them to know Him, when they know Him, they worship Him, and when they worship Him, they no longer have any need to worship other than Him.” 10

[1] Isra:20.
[2] يابن آدم خلقت الاشياء لأجلک و خلقتک لأجل
al-Manhajul-Qawiyy, vol. 5, pg. 516, ‘Ilmul-Yaqin, vol. 1, p. 381.
[3] Saffat:164 and 166.
[4] يا ايها الناس انتم الفقراء الي الله و الله هو الغني الحميد
[5] و قال موسي ان تکفروا انتم و من في الارض جميعاً فإن الله لغني حميد
[6] اما بعد ، فإن الله سبحانه و تعالي خلق الخلق حين خلقهم غنياً عن طاعتهم ، آمناً من معصيتهم ، لأنه لاتضره معصية من عصاه ، و لاتنفعه طاعة من أطاعه
(Nahjul-Balaghah of Faydh, p. 11, the sermon of Hammam.
[7] و ما خلقت الجن و الانس الا ليعبدون
[8] الذي خلق الموت و الحياة ليبلوکم ايکم احسن عملاً
[9] و لايزالون مختلفين الا من رحم ربک ولذالک خلقهم
[10] ان الله عزوجل ما خلق العباد الا ليعرفوه، فإذا عرفوه عبدوه، فإذا عبدوه استغنوا بعبادته عن عبادة من سواه
(‘Ilalul-Shara’i’ of Saduq, according to what al-Mizan has quoted.

From the beginning of Prophet Adam’s life till this day about 5,764 years have passed. The oldest human fossil that has been found up to today is from 25 million years ago!

There is no inconsistence between these two. If we have heard that Prophet Adam has been created six to seven thousand years ago, this might refer to a different and new generation of human beings which started with Prophet Adam (A.S.) and might have been preceded by numbers of generations of human beings who have gone extinct. There is a lot of evidence in hand that suggests a whole different generation of humans unlike Prophet Adam existed before him.
This is also in accord with the teachings of the Quran and Islamic Hadith.

There is no inconsistence between these two. If we have heard that Prophet Adam has been created six to seven thousand years ago, this might refer to a different and new generation of human beings which started with Prophet Adam (A.S.) and might have been preceded by numbers of generations of human beings who have gone extinct. There is a lot of evidence in hand that suggests a whole different generation of humans unlike Prophet Adam existed before him.
This is also in accord with the teachings of the Quran and Islamic Hadith.

Allamah Tabatabai (R.A.) comments under the first ayah of surah Nisa’:

“The surface meaning of the verse suggests that the term “نفس واحدة” is referring to Adam and “زوجها” to Eve, who are the mother and father of mankind. We also are from this generation [1] of humans and judging by the Quran, mankind’s species goes back to them. The noble verse implies that the existing generation of human beings goes back to Adam and Eve and that nobody else has played any part in producing this generation.
In the history of the Jews we read that the human species we know of doesn’t surpass a history of approximately seven thousand years which seems to be reasonable. Therefore, logic suggests the same as what history dictates. But geological experts believe the history of human beings to be millions of years.
This is their point of view, but the proof they present isn’t convincing. We don’t have a reason that proves that these fossils belong to the ancestors of this chain of human beings we witness today. We also have no reason to believe that these fossils don’t belong to a generation or kind of beings who lived before Prophet Adam (The Father of Mankind) and were instinct way before our ancestor and were never connected to the chain of human beings we are from.

The Holy Quran has not explicitly explained the emergence of mankind on the planet earth, in terms of whether we were the only generation of mankind or if there were other generations before us making us the last generation.

From paying attention to some verses of the Quran, we can slightly deduce that before the creation of Prophet Adam (The Father of Mankind) and his generation there were other human beings who lived here, where He says:

“…And when your Lord said to the angels: I am going to place in the earth a khalif (representative), they asked: Will you place in it someone who will make mischief in it and shed blood”. [2]

Allamah Tabatabai says:

“We can slightly deduce from ayah 30 of surah Al-Baqara that before the creation of Prophet Adam (A.S.) there was a different generation of human beings who caused the angels to ask: Will you place in it someone who will make mischief in it and shed blood.” [3]

This ayah implies that another generation of human beings was created before the generation of human beings we know and are part of what was created, which the angels were initially familiar with.
In some traditions coming from the imams (A.S.), we witness proof of the existence of eras of human beings prior to the current era.
Sheikh Saduq (A.S.) has narrated a hadith in which the imam tells the narrator:

“You might believe that God Almighty has not created humans other than you. Well this is false because he has created millions of humans and you from the last generation of them.” [4]

In Khisal, Sheikh Saduq also narrates that Imam Baqir (A.S.) has stated:

“From the time He created the earth, God Almighty has created within it, seven worlds (and made all of them instinct), none of which were of the generation of of Prophet Adam. God created all of them from the crust of this earth and created generation after generation with corresponding worlds for all generations till finally Prophet Adam was created and reproduced his descendants solely from him. [5]

On this account, if we conclude that the line of history for mankind extends to a million years based on fossils found perhaps in caves, they don’t belong to the current generation of human beings, because the story of Prophet Adam appears to be about 7000 years old.

[1] Translation of al-Mizan, vol. 4, p. 214, Qum, Islamic Publications Office, 1417.
[2] Baqarah:30
وَ إِذْ قالَ رَبُّکَ لِلْمَلائِکَةِ إِنِّي جاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَليفَةً قالُوا أَ تَجْعَلُ فيها مَنْ يُفْسِدُ فيها وَ يَسْفِکُ الدِّماءَ وَ نَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِکَ وَ نُقَدِّسُ لَکَ قالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ ما لا تَعْلَمُون
[3] Translation of al-Mizan, vol. 4, p. 223.
[4] Sheikh Saduq, Tawhid, p. 277, vol. 2, Tehran.
[5] Sheikh Saduq, Khisal, vol. 2, p. 652, hadith 54.

Were ancient cavemen also descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh)?

Adopting caves as homes by the descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh) is something the Quran confirms.  Yet, since there is substantial evidence that there have also been people before him and we are sure there have been ancient people who have lived in caves, it is up to different clues, their remains and the drawings and writings they have left behind to exactly determine in what era they lived in.
What is for sure is that Prophet Adam’s (pbuh) time doesn’t belong to a very long time back.

In order to answer this question, a few points need to be made:
1- There is a lot of evidence that before Prophet Adam (pbuh), there were humans living on the face of the planet.
Allamah Tabatabai says:

“Verse 3 of surah Baqarah somewhat suggests that before the creation of Prophet Adam (pbuh), there were humans living, giving rise to the question the angels asked Allah (swt) [when He “announced” that He was to appoint Prophet Adam (pbuh) as His vicegerent on earth]: “Will You set in it [earth] someone who will cause corruption in it, and shed blood…?” [1]

In the book Tawhid of Sheikh Saduq, Imam Sadiq (as) has been narrated saying:

“You think that Allah (swt) hasn’t created humans other than yourselves; but He has.  He has created a thousand thousand [a million] “Adams”, and you are the descendants of the final “Adam”. [2]

2- With help from writings and drawings found in caves, it can be proven that humans from this race also lived in caves. [3] The question is, do all of these drawings and writings belong to those who came after Prophet Adam (pbuh)? [4]
Of course, according to what verses of the Quran say, all of those on earth today are descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh). [5] For instance, Allah (swt) says:

“O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan tempt you, the same way he expelled your parents from paradise” [6]

and as we all know, the Quran is a book to all of humanity, so when it addresses all children of Adam (pbuh), it is actually addressing all people, hence the children of Adam being equal with all the people being addressed by the Quran.
In another verse, He says:

“O mankind! Be wary of your Lord who created you from a single soul, and created its mate from it, and, from the two of them, scattered numerous men and women [across the earth]”. [7]

Therefore, if the things found in caves date back to millions of years ago, one must say that they do not belong to people from our race, but from races before Prophet Adam (pbuh), because Prophet Adam (pbuh) lived about 7000 years ago. [8] But if they belong to after such a date and time, it can be said that even people of this race and descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh) have lived as cavemen as well.

Of course, comparing buildings today with buildings of that time gives us the conclusion that back then, the building process was a very simple one and people would abide in very simple homes to protect them from the cold, heat and wild animals; these homes being caves or gaps and cleavages between mountains; this being pointed to in the Quran as well.
The Quran says:

…and [He] granted you resorts in the mountains.

“أکنان” is the plural form of “کن” (pronounced “kinn”) which denotes a means of concealment and protection, and that being the reason for why hiding places and caves and refuges in the mountains are all called “کن”.
In this verse, we see that resorts in the mountains have been considered blessings by Allah (swt). [10] Living in caves and in the hearts of mountains even after the advancement of building methods, was common and a sign of civilization, as the Quran says that some would hew homes out of the mountains, enjoining themselves therein by wining and dining!” [11]
Therefore there are great chances that people from the race of Prophet Adam (pbuh) actually did live in caves and there is nothing wrong with such a claim.

[1] Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 4, p. 223.
[2] Ibid, p. 231.
[3] Some believe that there is no doubt about people living in caves from this race.  Da’eratul-Ma’arefe No (The New Encyclopedia), vol. 4, p. 331.
[4] Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 4, p. 223.
[5] Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 4, p. 223.
[6] A’raf:27
[7] Nisa’:1
يا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّکُمُ الَّذي خَلَقَکُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ واحِدَةٍ وَ خَلَقَ مِنْها زَوْجَها وَ بَثَّ مِنْهُما رِجالاً کَثيراً وَ نِساء
[8] For further information, see index: The lifetime of man according to the Quran, Question 701.
[9] Nahl:81.
وَ جَعَلَ لَکُمْ مِنَ الْجِبالِ أَکْناناً
[10] See: Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 11, p. 346.
[11] See: Shu’ara:149.

How was the creation of man according to the Quran?

The Quran has explained the creation of man and his origin using different words and phrases. Some verses say that the initial material man comes from is clay.  Other verses say it is water, while a third group say it is sperm.  Meanwhile a fourth group says it was both clay and sperm together. This signifies that the creation of man consisted of various steps.
Nevertheless, what can be deduced from all of these verses is that man was dirt in the beginning [1], then the dirt was mixed with water making it clay [2], then the clay became foul-smelling [3], after that it became sticky [4], then turned into dry clay [5] and finally life was breathed into it.
Meanwhile, scientists have two theories regarding the creation of creatures, both plants and animals:
a) The theory of evolution or transformism b) Fixism
The theory of evolution says that all forms of organisms weren’t created from the start, but certain organisms gradually evolved into ones we see today. The most complete and developed form of those early organisms is man.  This theory is referred to as “Transformism”. As for the other theory referred to as “Fixism”, it says that all forms of life and organisms were created separately, denying any link and development between various forms.
Although the Quran doesn’t explain the creation of man in detail, not saying anything about the two theories mentioned above, yet what some verses slightly suggest is that the Quran’s standpoint regarding this issue is that different forms of animals and plants (especially man) were created separately, although no verse directly mentions such a matter.

The Quran has explained the creation of man and his origin in different ways; this signifies that the creation of man consisted of various steps.
a) Some verses introduce “clay” as the initial material for the creation of man. [1]
b) Some verses say that man was created from “water”. [2]
c) Other verses only name “sperm” as what man has been created from. [3]
d) In other verses, “Dirt and Sperm” together have been considered the origins of man. [4]
There are two ways of explaining these verses:
1- To say that they are unveiling the way all people are created separately.  For instance, when a verse says that man was created from dirt, it means that dirt turns into food and minerals, food and minerals turn into sperm cells and sperm turns into a fetus; meaning that dirt is our “far” origin, while sperm is nearer to us and our creation.

2- To say that each of the four groups of verses are speaking of specific people and individuals. For instance, since Prophet Adam (pbuh) was the first person to be created, he was made from dirt and clay, and since all people today are descendants of Adam (pbuh) and trace back to him, and he was made from clay, it is correct to say clay is our origin as well.

Therefore, although it may seem at first sight that some Quranic verses aren’t in harmony with others on this issue, yet with a little focus one will be able to tell that there is no contradiction between them, because the truth of the matter is that some of these verses are only speaking of the creation of the first person created, Prophet Adam (pbuh). Clearly, the origin of the first person to ever be created is also considered the origin of those who were created from him; if his origin was clay, it is correct to say that all people were created from clay. This is from one perspective.

From another perspective, all people are looked at separately. Of course, this perspective isn’t in contradiction with the first, meaning that looking at the issue from both perspectives can give the same results. If we say that all people come from sperm, sperm comes from food, food comes from meat, fruit, plants and minerals, which all come from the ground and soil and dirt, then we can say that man is created from dirt, the same thing we said from the other perspective [that said we all come from Prophet Adam (pbuh) who was created from clay]. It is because of these two perspectives that some verses of the Quran are actually only speaking about Prophet Adam (pbuh) [5], while others are speaking of all people in general.  In a verse, Allah (swt) says:

“…I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My spirit…” [6]

and in another verse, He says:

“When your Lord said to the angels,” Indeed I am going to create a human out of a dry clay [drawn] from a foul-smelling mud.  So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down in prostration before him.” [7]

Clearly in these verses, Allah (swt) is speaking of the story of the creation of Prophet Adam (pbuh) and how the angels were ordered to prostrate before him. One can’t interpret Adam (pbuh) as all people, because in the the verses that follow the one mentioned, Satan says

…I will surely mislead and destroy his progeny…[8].

If what was meant by Prophet Adam (pbuh) was all people, it wouldn’t make sense for Satan to say “his progeny”.
Some verses which are more general and have taken the creation of all people into consideration are:

“He is the one who created man from water…” [9]


“He [man] was created from an effusing fluid” [10].

In verses like these, in which it has been stated that man has been created from water or sperm and the like, all people in general are meant.
Anyway, what can definitely be concluded by Quranic verses regarding man’s creation and origin, is that in the beginning, man was soil and dirt [11], that was mixed with water, making it clay [12], then became a foul-smelling clay [13], becoming sticky afterwards [14], and finally becoming dry clay [15]b.
How long each step of the process took and what things factored into each of them is something the human mind currently has no answer to, and it is only Allah (swt) who is truly aware of the answers to these questions.

There are two scientific viewpoints on the creation of living organisms including plants.

a) Evolution or Transformism which says that organisms weren’t in the forms they are seen today, but were lifeless things that turned into single live cells in the oceans and seas because of certain circumstances.
These tiny and invisible live organisms gradually developed into different forms of animals and plants. The most developed form they evolved to is the human being, who had descended from the same single cell as apes and monkeys have.

b) The theory known as “Fixism” which says every form of living organisms was there from the beginning (man being one of them), denying any type of evolution from one form to another.
What the Quran apparently says is that Prophet Adam (pbuh) was created from a dark clay and after his body took form, life and divine spirit was breathed into him and the angels were commanded to prostrate before him; all did so except for Satan. These verses suggest that there is no gap between the creation of Adam (pbuh) from clay and the current form humans have, and that people had this form from the start.

Conclusion: Although the Quran hasn’t directly engaged in explaining which of the two theories is correct, yet its verses suggest that the second theory is correct (of course regarding the creation of man), although once again, these verses don’t explicitly mention it. One good reminder before closing is that man was created from two different entities; one being very high and the other very low in value.  Man’s material side, which consists of reeking dark clay, is very low, while his spiritual side is very high, because it bears the divine spirit Allah (swt) has granted him.
What is important regarding this subject, is that the initial material used to create man is worthless and very low, but Allah (swt) has created such a valuable creature from it than can ascend to the highest levels of nearness to Him.

For further information, refer to:
1- Allamah Tabatabai, Al-Mizan, vol. 4 and 17.
2- Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 11, p. 82 and on and vol. 23.
3- Mohammad Taqi Mesbah, Rahnama Shenasi.
4- Mohammad Ali Rezai, Pajooheshi dar I’jaze Elmiye Quran, vol. 2, pp. 429-564.
5- Yadollah Sobhai, Khelqate Ensan.
6- Saduq, Ilalul-Sharaye’, vol. 15, chapter 11.

[1] Hajj:5.
[2] An’am:2.
[3] Hijr:28.
[4] Saffat:11.
[5] Rahman:14
[1] An’am:1; Sajdah:7; Saffat:18
[2] Furqan:54; Tariq:6.
[3] Nahl:4; Yasin:77; Dahr:2; Abas:19; and other verses.
[4] Hajj:5; Ghafir:67; Fatir:11; Kahf:37.
[5] Sad:72; Hijr:29.
[6] Sad:72.
[7] Hijr:29.
[8] Isra’:62.
[9] Furqan:54.
[10] Tariq:5-6.
[11] Hajj:5.
[12] An’am:2.
[13] Hijr:28.
[14] Saffat:11.
[15] Rahman:14.

Can a man, from Islam’s viewpoint, be born twice in the world?

If what you mean is, to be born again in this world, it will suffice to say, that it is possible only by a miraculous power as has been done before; for example, Jesus (a.s) who gave life to the dead, and is confirmed in the Qur’an. But if you mean reincarnation (holul) and the transmigration of souls (tanasukh) – whereby the soul of a dead person comes to life in another body and enters the world – then Islamically and in actuality, this is a null-and-void theory.

What are the factors effective in one’s choices? Why do we choose what we choose to do? Why does one choose to be good or to be bad?

Freewill means the ability to choose good or bad. Your question can be answered by understanding the real meaning of freewill. Freewill means the ability to choose good or bad without any influence from anybody or any factor or reason but out of one’s own decision. The choice to be good or to be bad is a result of many factors, all of them directly related to the one who decides and not to anybody or anything else. Some of these factors are:

1. The state of mind of the person and how he/she looks at life. Those who think in a wrong way usually choose bad thoughts and bad deeds. The mind that acknowledges the main facts of life is a clear mind and usually leads to rightful thoughts and deeds, while the person who insists on denying the main facts of life or tries to bypass them, fails in achieving peace and success. The biggest fact in life is ‘The Creator of life’, Who has put a discipline of harmony between man and himself, man and others, and man and his Creator. Acknowledging this central fact makes one’s life in harmony, while denying or ignoring the discipline of life put by The Creator will definitely lead to bad life. So, understanding or misunderstanding life is crucial in shaping a man’s course of life as good or bad. It is his own decision which takes him by his own freewill to good or to bad.

2. One’s aims in life and how he/she wants to achieve them. As a result of his or her understanding or ‘misunderstanding’ of life, the aims of life are set by every person. Wrong aims like material, desires, lust, fame, power, etc. naturally deviate man from right towards wrong, while right aims like gaining useful knowledge, doing good, helping others etc., make the person closer to success as far as he/she is focusing on and trying to achieve the noble aims. Sometimes some people have good aims but choose wrong ways to achieve their aims. That is why we need to be sure that not only are our aims noble, but so are our means.

3. The result of the conflict between intellect (Aql) and excessive desires – as this conflict is a reality in the life of every human being. Those who give their desires more than the balanced share, fall into bad actions, while those who have a control over their desires succeed in getting more freedom, dignity and self and others respect. It is altogether for the person himself or herself to choose, and there is no power whatsoever, in any inner or outer factor to compel or enforce human behavior. No doubt, the instinct (Fitrah) which is inside every human being, always guides him/her towards good, but many people insist on going against it in favour of their excessive desires or misguided goals of life. As an example of the freewill, look at one of the greatest prophets, Noah (a.s.), who had his own son and wife going astray? On the hand, look at one of the worst evil doers, Pharaoh, whose wife chose to be good. It is after all the human being’s own freewill, as Allah (s.w.t.) says in the Holy Qur’an:

Verily, We have shown him the way, be he grateful, or ungrateful.”

Please explain the reasons for the originality, independence and subsistence of the spirit.

1. A Great World Cannot Be Placed Within a Small One

Assume that you are seated beside the sea and behind it are extremely high mountains. The roaring waves and the shaking of the water against the shore and with great strength, return to the sea. We look at this scene for a moment. Then we close our eyes and see this scene in our minds with all of its greatness. This shows that other than a body and cells of the brain, another jewel exists which can reflect any design no matter how great and at any scale. Clearly, this jewel must be something which is beyond the material world because we find nothing like it in the material world.

2. The External Particularity of the Spirit

We have many chemical and physical properties in our bodies, the motion of the heart has a physical quality but the effects on food is a chemical substance and examples like this are many in our body. If the spirit, thought and reflection were all material and had physical and chemical quantities of the brain cells then why among them and our other physical properties is there a great deal of difference? Our thoughts, ideas and spirit relate and connect us to the external world and make us aware of that which passes outside but the chemical particularities of the stomach and the physical motion of our eyes and tongue and heart never has such a state.

3. Experienced Proof of the Originality and Independence of the Spirit

Fortunately, today scholars by various scientific and experimental means have proven the originality and independence of the spirit and permanently answered those who deny the truth of the independence of the spirit and all people who believe it to be material. Hypnotism is among the clear reasons for this which the experiments have proven this. We see dreams and scenes appear in our dreams which sometimes speak of the future and sometimes they clarify something which had been ambiguous in such a way that it cannot be called chance or accident which is a further proof for the independence of the spirit. These examples show that the spirit is not material and that it is not the result of special physical or chemical properties of the human brain but rather it is a metaphysical truth which does not end when the body dies but, instead, prepares itself for the Day of Resurrection and the Hereafter.

Ref: Fifty Lessons of Principles of Belief for Youths; Ayt. Makarem Shirazi; Translated by: Bahador Shirazian; Published by: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly

What is the relationship between Divine will and human will?

The human being is a contingent existent who derives his existence and existential qualities from Allah. Allah has, by His generative will (irada takwini), created him as a volitional creature and has thus distinguished him from all other creatures. Hence, the human being is the highest being addressed by Allah’s legislative will (irada tashri’i) and as such, has been given permission to choose between obedience and disobedience, to determine his way of life, and to mould his own fate.
The human being is the chosen creature who is able, by making the right choice, to obey the injunctions of Allah; to ascend the levels of perfection by conforming to the legislative will of Allah, and submitting his desire to the generative will of Allah thereby reaching the station of Divine regency – that level which in paradise, entitles him to receive whatever he wishes. Because he has chosen Divine satisfaction, Allah is satisfied with him and will provide for him so profoundly that he will in return be pleased with Him and satisfied with his own conduct.
But the human being can also make the wrong choice by taking up the path of disobedience and aversion to Divine injunctions, descending to the pits of saqar. This would be the result of not making his will conform to the legislative will of Allah (awj). However, this disobedience does not signify that he has overcome the Divine will, for the Divinity Himself has willed that he should choose his path.
In other words, Divine will encompass the entire world of existence – including the human being and his actions – and as such, transcends the human will, hierarchically. This is not the same as the concurrence of two independent, complete, and parallel causes in generating a single effect, which is impossible. Rather, in accordance with the principle of “unity of Divine Acts”, the only independent agent in the cosmos is Allah, and thus all other existents are dependent on Allah in their existence and their agency. Thus, their will, which is an aspect of their agency, is not independent or detached of the Divine will. Therefore, we [as Shi’ites] neither approve of determinism as the Ash’arites do – who believe that the only will at work is the Divine will, thus considering all other agents sterile and merely tools for Allah . Neither do we accept the concept of delegation which is held by the Mu’tazilites, who assumes that Divine will should be abstracted from human will, thereby considering the human being a sovereign agent in his volitional acts. Rather, we, in following the teachings of the Qur`an and the infallible Imams, consider the human being to be a willing and volitional agent, but at the same time we know him to be under the dominion of Divine will and governed by the authority of Allah – being essentially in need of the will and power of Allah.

Human will is vertically inferior to Divine will and as such is dependent on Divine will and cannot exist independently and without need of Allah. This is confirmed by many Qur’anic verses, among them the following:

…but you do not wish unless it is wished by Allah, the Lord of all the worlds” 1

But this in no way contradicts the human being’s volition and his accountability for his thoughts, intentions, and actions. For it is he who is the direct agent of his will, choice, and conduct, but this is possible only through the power and permission that Allah (awj) has granted him in making his choices.

Thus, in many verses [seemingly contradicting the aforementioned verse which reserves authority solely for Allah] the actions of natural agents, including human beings, are attributed to themselves, thereby considering the human being responsible for his own conduct. And it is in this light that the Qur`an established certain responsibilities for him, giving him various encouragements and warnings. Two such verses read:

…and that nothing belongs to man except what he strives for” 2


Whoever acts righteously does so for himself; and whoever works evil does so against himself. Your Lord is not unjust to the servants. 3

Accordingly, on the one hand, the issue concerns the assumption that the human being’s independence is in contrast to the principle of unity of Divine Acts and also to the essential need of existents for Allah. On the other hand, there is the supposition that the human being is totally predetermined and hence powerless, undermining the rationale for all Divine injunctions, encouragements, warnings, and consequently negating Divine justice and wisdom. Hence, the seemingly contradictory verses of the Qur`an must be reconciled by realising that some of those verses merely clarify the meaning of the others (and do not contradict them) so that we are able to avoid being entrapped by either determinism or delegationism.

For a better understanding of this matter, attention must be paid to two points:

1. The different ways in which various causes concur in creating an effect.

2. The various ways in which the Divine will can be conceived of.

The concurrence of causes in generating an effect can transpire in two ways:

1. One possibility is that in the occurrence of a phenomenon only one cause is responsible; such as the Divine Act of creation in which Allah (awj) produces directly and without the mediation of any other existent, or like the dependency of human conceptions on the mind [in which case, it is solely the mind that generates the mental concepts and images without the mediation of any other agent].

2. The other possibility is that several causes are responsible in the creation of a phenomenon. This possibility can itself be conceived in several ways:

a. The various causes are responsible in a collective manner. In this case, each cause is referred to in technical terms as an “incomplete cause” and all of them considered collectively are referred to as the “complete cause.” An example is the interaction of water, light, heat, seed, soil, farmer’s work, etc. in the growth of a plant. In this case, not only is the concurrence of multiple causes not impossible, it is a necessary prerequisite for the production of the effect.

b. The various causes are responsible in an alternating manner. Such as if a certain machine had three motors, but they had to operate one at a time, hence one motor would come into operation only after the previous one had stopped, thereby providing the machine with a constant and uninterrupted movement. [Hence, the constant motion being the effect of three alternating causes.] In this case also, the cooperation and combination of all the causes is necessary for sustaining the effect. However, in this case, there is no particular dependency between the causes as there is in the third case.

c. Certain causes are dependent on other ones in efficacy but without such a dependency in their existences such as the roles that human volition, the motion of the hand, etc. play in producing writing [in which case the will to write propels the hand into motion, which in turn moves the pen, and which in turn makes ink marks on the paper that constitute the writing] or such as the soldier’s obeying his superior [in which case, the soldier’s will to perform a certain action depends on the superior giving an order but the soldier’s existence itself does not depend on the superior’s existence].

d. Two sets of causes are at work in generating one effect in the same mode (haythiyyah) and from the same aspect (jahah)-which is technically referred to as “the concurrence of two complete causes in generating one effect.” An example of this would be a single piece of writing on one specific corner of a sheet of paper, written by two writers writing simultaneously. Or if one particular plant were to grow by the work of two [distinct and independent] groups of causes-e.g. soil, farmer, seed, etc.-simultaneously. In this case, “mutual exclusion” would result, and thus [the actualization of] this case is impossible. For, the agency [i.e. the work, the acting] of each set would bar the agency of the other set, resulting in either one rendering the other ineffective (which would mean that two complete causes have not actually concurred and only one has produced the effect unilaterally) or both mutually hindering the agency of one another (which would mean that neither of the complete causes has been actualized so as to take part in creating an effect). Therefore, as this case is impossible, there is no actual instance of it.
e. Several sets of causes, vertically associated, generate a single effect, in such a manner that the inferior cause is dependent upon the superior in its existence as well as in its agency [or efficacy]; such as, the relation between the grandparents and the parents in the procreation of the latter’s children.

Considering the above-mentioned classification, it must be clarified under which of the aforementioned categories the concurrence of Divine causation, agency, and will with those of His creatures-including human beings-falls.

If this concurrence were of the first, second, or third types, the result would be the existential independence of the human being and the rest of the creatures from Allah (awj), which would contradict the unity of the Divine Acts. Thus on careful examination, the possibility of such instances would prove unacceptable. It cannot be of the fourth category either, as this does not have any occurrence in reality. Furthermore, it is erroneous to consider the concurrence of human will with Divine will impossible as the human being would not even exist without his connection to Allah (awj), and thus his complete agency as parallel to Allah (awj) is not possible 4 so to give rise to the potentiality of parallel and simultaneous concurrence in generating one effect.5

Thus the only category plausible is the last one; that is, the human will and agency be vertically inferior to Divine will and agency. However to understand how the concurrence of Divine and human will in such a vertical manner does not contradict man’s free will, attention must be paid to the different types of Divine will.

In a general classification, Divine will is understood in two ways:
1. The will of essence;
2. The will of action.

The latter is subdivided into the generative will and the legislative will.

The Will of Essence: It is the Divine will that is assigned to Him without the need to consider the creatures or Allah’s (awj) relation to them. Hence, it is identical with the Divine Essence and is the necessary requirement of Divine volition, of His not being restrained by any other agent, of His not being overpowered by anything, and of His needlessness in relation to all creatures. The human being and his relation to Allah (awj) have no role in this sense of Divine will.

The Generative Will of Action: This is Allah’s (awj) will in establishing the objective destiny and portion; that is, it pertains to the systems governing the cosmos, how things come about and operate, and their certain and definite ends This is manifested in the creation of creatures in different shapes, different ways, and in different times.
In the world of being, the Divine generative will governs the entire corpus of existents, including human beings, and as such, no creature has the will or choice to violate it, as is pointed out in the following verses:

Then He turned to the heaven, and it was smoke, and He said to it and to the Earth, ‘Come! Willingly or unwillingly!’ They said, ‘We come heartily.” 6


There is none in the heavens and the earth but he comes to the All-beneficent as a servant” 7

The human being has been created as a willing and volitional creature based on the Divine generative will of action and thus cannot divest himself of free choice and will. So whether he likes it or not, he must act on his own accord, choose the path he desires to follow and determine his own fate. He has no choice in being a volitional creature, just as he has no say in choosing his parents, his gender, or his appearance.

The Legislative Will of Action. This will is identical with Divine legislation for the willing and volitional human being. 8 In the very act of lawmaking for humanity, no one can share the authority with Allah (awj) and no one is capable of changing the laws before they reach the people.

Therefore, the angels, prophets, and successors to the prophets are duty bound to convey to the people the exact rules revealed to them without the slightest change and to interpret and clarify them only in the framework designated by Allah (awj). It is in the stage of implementing these injunctions that the human being has been given the capacity to obey or disobey [on his own accord].

Hence, by making the right decision, the human being can conform his will to the will of Allah (awj), the Supreme, and being satisfied with the Divine generative will, can decide to abide unconditionally by the Divine legislative will thereby securing his final felicity and meriting the leisure and serenity of Paradise-to such an extent that Allah (awj) will satisfy his wishes, whatever they may be, very quickly:

…but those who have faith and do righteous deeds will be in the gardens of paradise: they will have whatever they wish near their Lord. This is the greatest grace.” 9

As they preferred Divine satisfaction over their own, Allah (awj) will in return be pleased with them and will reward them so abundantly that they would be happy with what they have done and with their Lord. 10

Therefore, the human being can, on his own accord, will that which Allah (awj) wills and be satisfied with Allah’s (awj) existential and legislative satisfaction-refusing to want or to seek anything but that which Allah (awj) wants from him and that which He pleases. 11 In so doing, the human being has willed in accordance to the Divine generative and legislative wills, although the human will and potency themselves have been bestowed to the human being by this same Divine generative will, and as such his existence and will is an extension of the will and existence of Allah (awj). This concurrence entails no contradiction and thus is not impossible for it is not the concurrence of two complete causes in the generation of one effect. At the same time, the human will and volition has not been denied to him. Rather, because Allah (awj) has given him the permission to will and choose, he determines what path he wants to follow and in doing so ends up willing what Allah (awj) has willed.

If the human being disobeys and violates the legislative will of Allah (awj), doing what Allah (awj) dislikes, he has done so on his own accord and as such, has headed towards an awful fate. But this disobedience is not a violation of Allah’s (awj) generative will, for He has, through His own generative will, created the human being willing and volitional, and as such has given him the capacity to defy His legislative will. Accordingly, this defiance does not signify the human being’s overcoming the will and power of Allah (awj). He can deprive the hopeless human being of his will and power whenever He desires and it is concerning this that He says:

Do those who commit misdeeds suppose that they can out-manoeuvre Us? Evil is the judgment that they make.” 12

To sum up: In the realm of generative will and the act of Divine legislation itself, the human will cannot exert any influence whatsoever, and hence the question of the concurrence of Divine will and human will does not arise at this stage.

When it comes to the level of abiding by the legislative will, the human will is ontologically an extension of Divine will. If he obeys the Divine injunctions, he has on his own accord aligned his desire to what Allah (awj) desires and as such, is pleased with the Divine generative will, and with this correct decision, has secured a felicitous end for himself. If he disobeys, if he does not make Allah’s (awj) desire his own desire, he has acted only to his own disadvantage, without in any way damaging the creation or harming Allah (awj) for Allah (awj) has through His generative will, granted him the capacity to defy and disobey but has at the same time, through His legislative will, warned him of the consequences.

Thus by making the wrong decision of disobeying Allah (awj), he has incurred Allah’s (awj) wrath. Although, he might arrogantly think that in doing so he has overcome Allah’s (awj) will, the reality of the matter is that the creature can never, even while disobeying, escape the Divine domain, power, and will. The creature is always in need of that Most Sacred Essence. It is to this that the following verse speaks:

“Whatever good befalls you is from Allah; and whatever ill befalls you is from yourself.” 13

Although in essence, everything is from Allah (awj) for nothing can occur without His consent, but the issue is that He does not deem misdeeds and evil appropriate for the human is, and it is the human being himself who, in misusing his free will, chooses evil. 14

However we do admit that to conceive and comprehend the relationship of human volition to Divine will- i.e. the immutable cosmological system- is difficult. It is precisely for this reason that those who are not in touch with Divine revelation and the school of Ahlul Bayt (a.s) have strayed to antipodal extremes in this regard.

One group, the Mu’tazilites, concluded that the human being has been granted absolute autonomy, and as such is the only agent involved in his actions-and for this they have been termed The Delegators15; another group, the Ash’arites, saw the human being as lacking any role in conducting his actions, hence being compelled in his actions, without free will and the right to choose- and for this they have been termed The Compelled Ones. But the truth and the right path is the intermediate path, that is, neither the theory of compulsion nor delegation.

The generative will of Allah (awj) concurs with human will in a vertical manner. If the human being obeys, the Divine legislative will and the human will are in harmony, but if he disobeys, his will and action are despised by Allah (awj). But the latter does not imply liberation from Divine dominion and sovereignty or the overcoming of the will and power of Allah (awj). Such disobedience only signifies being removed from Divine mercy as a result of the individual’s own misuse of volition and free will.

[1] Surat al-Takwir (81), Verse 29:
وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَشَآءَ اللٌّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ
also see Surat al-Insan (76), Verses 30-31:
وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَشَآءَ اللٌّهُ إِنَّ اللٌّهَ کَانَ عَلِيماً حَکِيماً. يُدْخِلُ مَنْ يَشَآءُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ وَالظَّالِمِينَ أَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً
[2] Surat al-Najm (53), Verse 39:
وَ أَنْ لَّيسَ لِلإِنْسَانِ إِلاَّ مَا سَعـى
[3] Surat al-Fussilat (41), Verse 46:
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحاً فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَ مَنْ أَسَآءَ فَعَلَيْهَا وَ مَا رَبُّکَ بِظَلاَّمٍ لِلْعَبِيدِ
[4] For this would mean that the human being is independent of Allah (awj) in his existence. (Tr.)
[5] The reason why this is being said here is that those who have refuted the concurrence of Divine will with human will have first assumed that the only manner in which two causes can concur is if they were parallel in their agency and causation. And because this type of concurrence is obviously impossible, they concluded that the human being is independent in his will. While their mistake stems from their lack of conceiving two or more causes related in a vertical and hierarchical manner; i.e. cause B receiving its existence and efficacy from cause A; and cause C in turn receiving its existence and efficacy from cause B, and so on. (Tr.)
[6] Surat al-Fussilat (41), Verse 11:
ثُمَّ اسْـتَوَى إِلـى السَّمَآءِ وَهِيَ دُخَانٌ فَقَالَ لَهَا وَلِلأَرْضِ اِئْـتِـيَا طَوْعاً أَوْ کَرْهاً قَالَـتَا أَتَـيْـنَا طَائِعِينَ
[7] Surat Maryam (19), Verse 93:
إِنْ کُلُّ مَنْ فِي السَّمٌوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ إِلاَّ آتِي الرَّحْمٌنِ عَبْداً
[8] That is, this concept is abstracted from the act of legislation itself and externally has no instance but the legislation itself. However, the human mind abstracts it from the concept of legislation itself and treats it as a different entity, although externally both concepts refer to the same thing. (Tr.)
[9] Surat al-Shura (42), Verse 22:
وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فِي رَوْضَاتِ الْجَنَّاتِ لَهُمْ مَا يَشَآءُونَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ ذٌلِکَ هُوَ الْفَضْلُ الکَبِيرُ
Also see: Surat Qaf (50), Verse 35; Surat al-Nahl (16), Verse 31; Surat al-Zumar (39), Verse 34; Surat al-Furqan (25), Verse 16
[10] Surat al-Bayyinah (98), Verse 8:
جَزَاؤُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَداً رَضِيَ اللٌّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ذٌلِکَ لِمَنْ خَشِيَ رَبَّهُ
Also see: Surat al-Mujadalah (58), Verse 22; Surat al-Tawbah (9), Verse 100; Surat al-Ma’idah (5), Verse 119
[11] Surat al-Insan (76), Verse 30; Surat al-Takwir (81), Verse 29:
وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَشَآءَ اللٌّهُ
[12] Surat al-’Ankabut (29), Verse 4:
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّـيِّـئَاتِ أَنْ يَسْبِقُونَا سَآءَ مَا يَحْکُمُونَ
Also see: Surat al-Zumar (39), Verse 51:
فَأَصَابَهُمْ سَيِّـئَاتُ مَا کَسَبُوا وَالَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْ هٌؤُلاَءِ سَيُصِيبُهُمْ سَيِّئَاتُ مَا کَسَبُوا وَمَا هُمْ بِمُعْجِزِينَ
[13] Surat al-Nisa` (4), Verse 79:
…مَا أَصَابَکَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللٌّهِ وَمَا أَصَابَکَ مِنْ سَيِّـئَّةٍ فَمِنْ نَفْسِکَ
[14] Surat al-Nisa` (4), Verses 78-79:
…وَإِنْ تُصِبْهُمْ حَسَنَةٌ يَقُولُوا هٌذِهِ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللٌّهِ وَإِنْ تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّـئَّةٌ يَقُولُوا هٌذِهِ مِنْ عِنْدِکَ قُلْ کُلٌّ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللٌّهِ … مَا أَصَابَکَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللٌّهِ وَمَــا أَصَابَکَ مِنْ سَيِّئَّةٍ فَمِنْ نَفْسِکَ…الخ
[15] The name arises from the fact that they assume that Allah (awj) has delegated His authority to the human being in the realm of his volitional actions and so He does not take part in human actions. (Tr.)

Why did God create the human being free and give decision-making power so that he or she can do whatever he or she wants to do?

The truth is that the human being has a basic difference with all other creatures of the universe and that is having free choice and will.

Why did God create the human being free and give decision-making power so that he or she can do whatever he or she wants to do?

The reason is that if he or she were not free, there would be no transformation and this great possibility is a guarantee of spiritual and ethical transformation. For instance, if a person is forced at sword point to help the deprived and to do good deeds for society, of course, this would be considered to be good deeds, but no ethical or human transformation would take place for the person who was forced to do this.

Thus the first condition for a spiritual and ethical transformation is that free will or freedom of choice must be present and available so that the human being can take this way by himself or herself and not through force. It must be like a natural force of the world of nature and if God has given this great gift to human beings it is because of this very elevated goal. But this blessing is just like a flower along which grows thorns and it is the misuse by individuals of this freedom and pollution with oppression and corruption.

Of course, as far as God is concerned, there would be nothing to prevent Him from punishing a human being with the worst kind of punishments if he were to commit oppression so that he would never consider doing it again, his hand be paralyzed, his eye lose sight, or his tongue not be able to Speak.

It is true that if this was the case, no one would misuse freedom and would never commit sins but this piety and devoutness has a coercive side and would in no way be considered to be an honor for the human being but rather it would be because of the fear of immediate punishment.

Thus, at any rate, the human being must be free and must be tested in various ways by the Creator, be free from immediate trial, other than in exceptional cases, to Show the value of his or her self.

Ref: Fifty Lessons of Principles of Belief for Youths; Ayt. Makarem Shirazi; Translated by: Bahador Shirazian; Published by: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly