Question 35: Man has the MAOA warrior gene. This gene leads man to crime, makes him aggressive, sometimes causing a murder. If people are directed by their genes, can we mention partial free will?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer: Genes do not manage humans. Man transforms the effects of genes into positive deeds with his partial free will. Man does and should do deeds based on his mind and reason, and the orders of Islam. Man was given mind (intellect) and partial free will for this reason.

One or sometimes more than one gene can have an effect and control over a particular character. That gene or genes willed finitely shape and direct different abilities and talents. This is a necessity of creation, and also of being tested in the world. However, man transforms and should transform these inclinations and talents in the gene into positive deeds. Besides, man will not be held responsible for an ability and talent that cannot be prevented by his will. For example, some genes have the ability to create eyebrows on the forehead, and this ability does not obey human will. Likewise, the activities and effects of the genes that enable the teeth to come out in the mouth cannot be prevented by free will. Therefore, everyone knows conscientiously that human beings will not be questioned for the results of such genes. That is, everyone agrees that Allah will not ask questions like ‘Why did eyebrows come out of your forehead?’ ‘Why did teeth form in your mouth?’. For, they will not obey the will of man. The issues for which man is held responsible are those that depend on his partial free will.

It is stated in the Quran and hadiths that if any gene has a structure encouraging man to commit a crime, it is necessary for man to control his soul and not to listen to the suggestions of Satan regarding the issue. Allah threatens those who oppose the commands by obeying the soul and Satan with penalty in Hell, and wants man to use his partial free will accordingly. Besides, testing requires the existence of such disadvantages. For example, how will someone who is not inclined to lust, whose emotions related to lust are not developed and completely blinded, will be tested whether or no the will commit harams in terms of lust?

If man did not have aggression and the feeling of fury, that is, the effect of anger and fury genes, how would he defend himself and his family in adverse situations and defend his right in cases of injustice? How would he fight the enemy during the war? Man needs to transform the effects of those genes from negative to positive with his partial free will. Besides, the negative states caused by the inborn tendencies, desires and wishes, and Satan’s suggestions at this point are things that man can overcome with his will. Allah does not hold man responsible for the things that exceed human power.

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