Saturday, August 27, 2022

Predestination versus Volition

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 27 August 2022 I fully concur with the erudite reader Mr Ghulam Mohiyuddin that no rational person believes in predestination. If predestination is to be believed, volition will have no place and role in an individual's life. It's interesting to note that even those who don't believe in god, do believe in fate and they too, along with the believers, believe that human life is predestined. In other words, most of us believe in an unknown and hither-to undeciphered agency and submissively ascribe the course and events of life to that. This is a defeatist belief that makes us fatalists. All humans are endowed with volition and we must exercise that. Whether it's Quranic belief of an individual's destiny written and ordained 40 years before his/her birth, Puranik ( according to Vishnu and Garud Puranas) concept of Praarabdh (प्रारब्ध) or Christianity's sacramental predestination, we labour under the belief that, " Hum Log Khilaune Hain Ek Aise Khiladi Ke/ Jis Ko Abhi Sadiyon Tak Ye Khel Rachana Hai " ( ironically penned by an avowed atheist Sahir Ludhianvi in the song, ' Sansaar Ki Har Shai Ka......', film ' Dhund, ' 1973). Predestination is a specious theological device or decoy to subvert humans into helpless creatures. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Qaza wa Qadr: Predestination and Free Will ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr Muhammad Iqbal rejected predestination in his oft-quoted couplet, “Khudi Ko Kar Buland Itna Ke....." In fact, Iqbal was so vocal against predestination in his early years that the ulema felt threatened and condemned him in unison. Iqbal, therefore, had to tone down his idea of Khudi (Purushartha) in later years. Dan Moore wrote in his book, ' Theological Double Dutch and Western Idea of Atheism ' that “The fabricated notion of the Trinity and Semitic Predestination were two predominant religious theories that spawned a battery of rationalists who waged a crusade against these eschatological beliefs." Nietzsche was the forerunner among the modern atheists and non-believers who pooh-poohed predestination. An individual is the architect of his/her destiny and human existence is like a clean slate (Tabula Rasa in Latin, coined by English philosopher John Locke). What an individual does is his/her writings and jottings on this slate of life. Just the way you can expunge what you've written on a slate, you can also wipe out from your existential slate, what's undesirable and unnecessary. Whatever happens to a human is a random phenomenon and you shouldn't impute that to god's will or past Karmas. That’s absolute garbage and utter rubbish. Saying that fate is inexorable or god's ways are inexplicable to humans is a sign of our impotent submission. Granted, things often happen in a way that we've no answer or clue to them. But if we look into them dispassionately and patiently without bringing in god or fate, answers transpire in the due course of time. All we need is removal of the cataract, nay glaucoma, of irrational thinking that has made our vision turbid. Lastly, even if you believe in a god and there's nothing wrong with that, don't make it (no him or her) a determiner and decider of your destiny. Let it be there in some corner of the Universe. You go on with your life, holding only yourself responsible for the vicissitudes and comeuppance you face in your life's eventful sojourn. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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