But ye shall not will except as God wills,- the Cherisher of the Worlds [Quran 81:29]
With respect to Verse 81.29 in particular, the verse doesn’t say that anyone’s will is nonexistent or ineffective. It says that no one wills except as God wills. Even if a person were to decide to leave everything up to God, that would still be a personal decision even though ultimately God’s decision, would it not? In any case, the point I was trying to make in quoting that verse wasn’t that your religion teaches that we have no wills of our own, but rather that each person’s will is ultimately dependent upon God’s will, not upon any other person’s.
One has to look at Quran as a whole and not draw conclusions based on one verse. Secondly, the Sunnah (practice) of the Prophet (s.a.w) needs to be studied for proper interpretation. Quran clearly says that God helps those who help themselves. The verse that you have quoted simply means that God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, ‘can’ override your will, but he does not always do so. Why God would overrule your will is also dependent on several factors. For example:
- God sees some goodness in you, which you developed within yourself through your own efforts, and thus you become worthy of God’s help.
- You wish for something but you don’t realize that what you willed was harmful. God vetoes your will or delays it, because God is Kind and Merciful. For example, let’s say, your marriage ends up is divorce. You are sad and depressed, and you decide that you will never marry again. Then God gives you another opportunity; you meet another woman. You change your will. Or was it God who changed your will? The point is that, yes, you do have a will, but that will is dependent on the will of other people (in this case your new wife) and God’s final consent, who may still have something better for you in store.
- You willed well, but results were bad. That may be due to three reasons. According to Quran and Hadith, it could be because of your own bad decisions. For example, you know smoking is bad, but if you keep smoking, you may get lung cancer. Will that be God’s fault? Absolutely not. You punished yourself. Secondly, many bad things that happen in life are actually learning experiences, which may actually end up strengthening you. And finally, for many sins, you may receive punishment in this life so that your burdens would be lighter in the next world. According to Islamic theology, if you have already paid for your sins or crimes in this world, you would not be penalized for the same acts in the hereafter. At the same time, good deeds wash away bad deeds. In Islam, you can redeem yourself.