Do people go astray because Allah wills?

The Details of the Question

- Will you explain verse 39 of al-Anam?
- It is not written that Allah misleads people or bring them together under Islam based on their wish as you say. Allah misleads whomever He wishes and guides whomever He wishes to the straight path.
- Is that wishing based on man’s own will?
- And as a result of it, Allah’s guiding them to the right path?
- Or is it the will of Allah directly?
- And to leading whomever He wishes to the true path or the wrong path?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah creates aberration because man desires to deviate; otherwise, man does not deviate because Allah wishes.

The meaning of the verse in question is as follows:

“Those who reject our signs are deaf and dumb,- in the midst of darkness profound: whom Allah willeth, He leaveth to wander: whom He willeth, He placeth on the way that is straight.” (al-Anam, 6/39)

Almighty Allah states the following about those who persist in unbelief though He informs people of all the knowledge and warnings they need:

“Those who reject our signs are deaf and dumb,- in the midst of darkness profound.”

Just as those who are in the dark are not aware of where they are going and cannot see where they step, they cannot distinguish the truth from the wrong; ­they live without knowing the meaning and reality of life; therefore, they neither listen to the truth nor talk about the truth.

That is why Allah misled them, that is, He created aberration for such people. “Allah misleads whomever He wills.”

The following is stated in the chapter of Yunus:

“Verily Allah will not deal unjustly with man in aught: It is man that wrongs his own soul.” (Yunus 10/44)

Thus, Allah only wants those who resist the truth to deviate. It is not because He wants evil, but because He wants justice.

On the other hand, “He guides whomever He wills to the straight path.”; He makes them live according to Sirat al-Mustaqim. If a person keeps his ears open to listen to the truth by being free from obstinacy, prejudices and bad intentions, and makes his tongue ready to tell the truth, Almighty Allah wants him to be on the right path and keeps him on the right path. It is the result of Allah’s justice and grace.

What should be understood from such verses and similar ones is not that Allah compels people to do good or evil at random, unjustly, without wisdom and without a system, similar to the arbitrary attitude of a cruel and ruthless person - God forbid -, as the members of Jabriyya claim but that His will and power cannot be limited by any conditions or stipulations and that He is the absolute sovereign.

Sovereignty is used cruelly only by oppressors.

Allah is absolutely good; He is free from cruelty and injustice. Therefore, He uses His sovereignty in harmony with His own justice, and consequently, He leads the wicked to aberration and the good to guidance with His completely free and unlimited will.

Mutazilites name Allah’s doing justice in this way as wisdom and regard it as “necessary” - God forbid - for Allah to follow wisdom.

Imam Maturidi states the following while criticizing that view in summary:

It is not an obligation for Allah that His actions be in accordance with wisdom. Just as people who do things in accordance with justice and wisdom in this world can do the opposite so too is Allah capable of doing something contrary to wisdom. However, the reason why people deviate from wisdom is either “need” or “ignorance”. Since Almighty Allah is free from such faults, it is unthinkable for Him to go beyond justice and wisdom; therefore, He does not mislead anyone if they do not deserve it. (See Kur'an Yolu, the interpretation of the verse in question)

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