Can we say Allah wants everybody to be good?

Details of the Question

Are all attributes of Allah (mercy, wrath, etc.) infinite? If Allah wants something, does it definitely occur? Is it permissible to say Allah wants but does not do? For instance, can we say, ‘Allah wanted or wants everybody to be good’? If He wanted, was it not necessary for them to be so? Therefore, is it not better to say Allah approves, not wants?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah wants everybody to be good. However, this wanting is divided into two as related to creation and related to religion.

The name of wanting related to creation is “Mashi’ah at-Takwiniyya”, the name of divine wanting sent through revelation is called “Mashi’ah at-Tashri’iyya”

All of the commands sent through revelation show Allah’s wishes and requests. All of Allah’s commands are good.

Thus, Allah wants everybody to be good. However, as a necessity of testing Allah’s request related to religion is not compelling; it is guiding. For instance, Allah orders all people to believe but He does not compel anyone. Therefore, there are believers and unbelievers. 

“If ye reject (Allah), Truly Allah hath no need of you; but He liketh not ingratitude from His servants: if ye are grateful, He is pleased with you...” (az-Zumar, 39/7) This fact is underlined in the verse above.

On the other hand, there is compulsion in divine request related to creation. That is, if Allah wants to create something whether good or bad, it definitely takes place. Nothing can oppose His request and will related to creation.

To sum up, Allah leaves it to man – as a necessity of testing – to prefer related to something that He wants to happen. If man wants to be an unbeliever despite the request of Allah, his free will is not prevented.    

Allah does not reject the attempts of good deed; He sometimes rejects the attempts of bad deeds, which is His grace and grant.

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