The belief of some individuals that man is not free in this world and is forced to do what God has already determined for them is in contradiction with the tendencies of man’s spirit and nature.
One of the great challenges ahead for man who believes in God as the Creator of this world is whether they can decide on their own or are forced to do what God has determined for them. This topic is often discussed under the name of “determinism vs free will”.
Different scholars and thinkers offer various viewpoints about this issue. Some of them believe that man is free to decide and act.
Mohsen Qara’ati, a prominent Iranian Quran teacher, believes that God has given free will to man. He names a few reasons for this:
First of all, every individual feels doubt about doing or not doing an act. This doubt is a reason for freedom that signals he is able to choose to do or not to do it.
Criticism is another reason for this as it shows the one who has done something, could have refrained from it.
Every human being experiences the feeling of regret in his/her lifetime and this feeling shows that he/she could have acted differently. For example, one says: I wish I hadn’t done that.
The fact that people raise their children or give the responsibility of raising and training to a teacher shows that children can abandon the wrong path and join the right one.
Therefore, doubt, criticism, regret, and raising can be named as reasons for man’s freedom.
Freedom is what all humans and even animals want. If you put a cat in a cage and offer the best food, it will still be upset as it wishes to walk freely outside.
The absence of freedom will even inflict suffering on Muslims if it happens in Paradise. And hence, believers thank God for their freedom when entering Paradise: “They will say: 'Praise belongs to Allah who has been true to His promise to us and given us the earth to inherit, that we shall live in Paradise wherever we wish. ' How excellent is the recompense of those that labor!” [39:74]
Humans are servants of God and should follow His instructions. Border-less freedom can guide man to the incorrect path. So, freedom should be in the framework of God’s orders and the intellect so as to not violate other people’s freedom.