This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here."If Allah wills..." is a common sentiment among many Muslim believers. For many, it is at the heart of what it means to be Muslim; to be surrendered. It is a belief that God does what ever He does. How can we know and understand God? How can we know and comprehend His ways? He does what He does when He wants to and to whom every He wills. God is God and all His decisions are His own.
However, "If Allah wills..." is more than a statement of surrender, it is also a confession of uncertainty. How can we know what Allah will do? How can we know what He will decide for our life? How can we know for sure if we will end up being among those who are the winners in life? Those chosen to be forgiven, sanctified, and granted a good life in the age to come? All these things are at the discretion of Allah and we are left unknowing.
"He will forgive whom He will [pleases], and chastise whom He will [pleases]; God is powerful over everything." (Koran 2:284)Forgiveness is at the discretion of Allah and one never really knows if they have (or will) be forgiven or if they will be among those who are chastised. Similarly,
"not one of you would have been pure ever [cleansed for ever]; but God purifies [maketh] whom He will [to be clean]" (Koran 24:21)Even if we should be among those whom Allah forgives, our purification and sanctification in this life is not a sure thing. Who knows if they will please Allah enough to become pure and holy in this life? Who knows if all our effort at righteousness, patience, and kindness will be rewarded or achieved? After all, it is up to Allah who wills.
This sense of uncertainty and fatalism is quite contrary to the God of the scriptures. While it is true that God does whatever He does, we are not left unknowing and uncertain of our future. Paul reminds us,
"For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16)Having the mind of Christ not only transforms the way we think but also reveals to us the heart, will, and mind of God. The will of God is not a closed book to us. We can know God and His will for our lives through the Spirit of Christ whom He has placed inside of us. Furthermore, we can know for certain regarding our salvation, forgiveness, and sanctification. John writes,
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)It is possible to hold our salvation as a certainty and not some fugue hope. For the Muslim, salvation is never sure. In fact, the Koran teaches that God has appointed some to disbelieve.
"And if thy Lord had willed, whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together." (Koran 10:99)
"Say: 'To God belongs the argument conclusive; for had He willed, He would have guided you all.'" (Koran 6:150)If God has chosen not to guide us and not to place faith within us, then who can fight against God? How can one come to God except by the aid of God? However, the God of Muhammad leaves the disbelievers and unguided to their own devices; leaving them alone to search aimlessly and endlessly for a God whom they cannot and will not find.
"Thus those associates of theirs have decked out fair to many idolaters to slay their children, to destroy them, and to confuse their religion for them. Had God willed, they would not have done so; so leave them to their forging." (Koran 6:138)If Allah had willed, they would have believed but Allah has not willed, so leave them alone for He has abandoned them as well.
However, the God of the scriptures has not left us to our own vain seeking of God. He has not left us to our own devices. If we are unbelieving it is not God who appointed us to disbelief but rather the result of our own sin and choices we've made in this life and, if we relent and do not persist in our unbelief, we can still find faith and belief in God leading us to salvation. God is calling all to repent, all to return, and He has made a way for all to respond to His grace with faith and trust. Jesus said of Himself, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) Not to dismiss them, not to leave them in their own lostness, but to seek for them and to save them. Furthermore, to this end He has given us His promises that we might make use of them as we grow in sanctification and the knowledge of God.
"For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." (2 Peter 1:4)However, unlike Allah, these promises are not "If Allah wills.." but as God said,
"For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us." (2 Corinthians 1:19-20)The promises of God are "Yes!" They are a certainty! They are sure! It is nice to believe in something and trust in someone who is certain and known. Praise be to God.
More to come...