Allah’s Law of creation is that whenever He wills something, the process of its creation starts right away (36:82). That is, Allah’s Will is the fountainhead of creative power, which releases its directive energy in the form of law. It is accountable to no one outside of itself. This means that Sovereignty in the Universe rests with Allah alone. The most distinctive feature of His Sovereignty is that He is accountable no one. No one can question Him why He created such laws (e.g., the universal law of gravity). Similarly, no one can question Him why He created universal code of divine laws (contained in His Book, the Quran) for running the affairs of humankind. On the other hand, He will question people why they created different codes of life for running their affairs (21:23).
The Universe and all the things in it are, therefore, in direct and intimate contact with the Divine Will every moment of their existence (23:17). The Universe contains two different categories of beings—one self-conscious and possessing a free will (humankind), the other without self- consciousness and not possessing a free will (animate and inanimate matter). The Divine Will relates in different ways to these two categories of beings, as each needs a different kind of sustenance and support. When the Divine directive energy released by the Divine Will in the domain of امر (Amr) enters the realm of space and time, it manifests as خلق (Khalq). Allama Iqbal explains very clearly the Qur’anic distinction between خلق (Khalq) and امر (Amr):
“In order to understand the meaning of the word ‘Amr’, we must remember the distinction which the Qur’an draws between ‘Amr’ and ‘Khalq’. Pringle-Pattison deplores that the English language possesses only one word—creation—to express the relation of God and the universe of extension on the one hand, and the relation of God and the human ego on the other. The Arabic language is, however, more fortunate in this respect. It has two words—‘Khalq’ and ‘Amr’—to express the two ways in which the creative activity of God reveals itself to us. ‘Khalq’ is creation; ‘Amr’ is direction.” [Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, page 82.]
All the laws of Nature flow from the Divine Will and are at the heart of the constant order found in Nature. Nothing in this Universe can escape the grip of these Immutable Natural Divine Laws that determine every object’s behavior in its entirety. In several verses, the Qur’an draws our attention to the rule of law and the order exhibited by Nature. Allah constantly exhorts us to ponder on the regularity of natural phenomena. This regularity is the reflection of the Divine Will, which is free from any trace of internal conflict or contradictions: “For, before God prostrates itself all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth.” (16:49)
Since every object in the Universe is subject to His Will (i.e. to His Immutable Laws), no human has the authority to change these laws; and Allah does not change any of these natural laws for anyone (10:64, 30:30). Human beings can only discover the natural laws and make use of them.
“And He has made the night and the day and the sun and the moon subservient [to His laws, so that they be of use] to you; and all the stars are subservient to His command: in this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who use their reason!” (16:12)
Nevertheless, human beings occupy a unique exalted place in the Universe. Although by virtue of possessing a human body, human beings are part of the material world; and they are as much subject to natural laws as any other object in the Universe – birth, growth, degeneration, and death of the human body are natural processes and subject to the laws of Nature (23:12-13). However, a human being has “self” or “ego”, which expresses itself as freewill. Thus, freedom of choice is inherent in the “self.” Since the “self” is a special gift given to human beings by Allah, it is not part of the material body of human (23:14). Although “self” uses the body as a vehicle for its expression, it transcends space and time and, therefore, it is not subject to any physical laws.
Since the essence of “self” is freedom of choice, the Divine Will in the sphere of humankind performs this function as guidance and not control, and human beings are free to accept or reject His guidance. The Qur’an is very clear on this point: “The Truth has come from Allah. Then whoever will, let him accept, and whoever will, let him reject” (18:29). However, this freedom of choice brings with it the responsibility of making that choice. No one can escape this responsibility and evade the results of one’s own actions. The Qur’an says, “Verily, the grip of thy Sustainer is severe.” (85:12)
No one can bear the responsibility of someone else: “Whoever accepts guidance, it is only for his own self, and whoever goes astray, does so to his own loss. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another” (17:15). “Whoever commits wrong, commits it only against himself” (4:111). “Every soul draws the consequences of its acts on none but itself. No bearer of burdens can bear the burdens of another” (6:164). “Then guard yourselves against a day when no self shall avail another, nor shall intercession be accepted for it, nor shall compensation be taken for it, nor shall anyone be helped” (2:48).
It is also important to note that nothing can wipe out the results of one’s actions. They are entered in the credit and debit side of the ledger kept by Allah: “And on every man We have fastened his record around his neck; and We will bring forth to him, on the day of judgment, a book which he will see wide open” (17:13). A negative deed (i.e., sin) can only be countered by a positive (i.e., righteous) deed: “Verily, good deeds annul ill deeds” (11:114). Allah has given human beings freedom of choice but He wants them to exercise this choice based on reason in the light of His revelation. According to Allama Iqbal:
“Thus the element of guidance and directive control in the ego’s activity clearly shows that the ego is a free personal causality. He shares in the life and freedom of the Ultimate Ego who, by permitting the emergence of a finite ego, capable of private initiative, has limited his own freedom of His own free will. This freedom of conscious behavior follows from the view of ego-activity which the Qur’an takes.” [Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, pages 86-87]
Our Prophet (PBUH) and Sahaba (R) synchronized their will with Allah’s will and raised humanity to its highest levels:
·> Allah’s Will is to give equal respect to all human beings (17:70); they gave their lives to fulfill this Will.
·> Allah’s Will is that no one will bear the burden of another (6:164, 17:15); they established a system in which even the Prophet (PBUH) and Khalifa (R) did not shift their burdens to someone else.
·> Allah’s Will is that everybody should receive the output of one’s effort (53:39) and history bears testimony that the Prophet (PBUH) and Sahaba (R) did not amass any wealth or fortune for themselves. They lived a very simple life in this world. In fact, Khalifa Abu Bakr (R) fixed his salary equal to the poorest worker.
·> Allah’s Will is always to do justice— even to one’s enemies (4:135, 5:8, 16:90); they did just that—no bias was shown even in favor of the son of the Khalifa or against any non-Muslim.
·> Allah’s Will is to explore Nature (2:164, 3:190-191, 22:63-65, 23:80, 24:43-44, 39:21, 80:24-32) and they did this with such passion that they became the founders of modern science.
Although humans have freewill to choose any course of action, but the results depend on the course of action chosen. One cannot make one choice and bring about the result of another choice. This is Allah’s Law of Requital and it works inexorably in the entire Universe, including the human world. In the latter case, the result may come out in present life or in the Hereafter.
May Allah give us the strength to synchronize our will with His Will laid out in His Book, the Quran? This is the universal principle of life that will lead to universal success as it did for our Prophet (PBUH) and his companions!