From Issue: 990 [Read full issue]
The interplay between the Arabs' lack of a sacred scripture of their own and the culture that prevailed prior to the coming of Islam lay the groundwork for the acceptance of ideas and conceptualizations that were foreign to Islam and which were bound to colour our perceptions of it. One such idea was that of Determinism (al-jabriyyah), that is, the belief that human beings have no genuine free will and that everything we do is predetermined by Fate. Determinism is alien to an Islamic perspective, which places great importance on the moral code and people's accountability before God for their choices and actions. Islam does not acknowledge the notion that God controls human beings' decisions as one of its premises.
On the contrary, Islam is founded upon complete freedom of choice, and the relationship between human beings and their Lord is founded upon an ancient covenant. Human beings were offered a sacred trust and accepted it freely, as a result of which they were to be held morally accountable. Human beings' higher purpose is to be God's vicegerents, or representatives, on Earth, and it is in this capacity that they are put to the test. There is no place for Determinism in a religious teaching or law that rests on free human choices. Nevertheless, the prevailing culture read a deterministic doctrine into some passages of the Quran and treated them as evidence for this baseless doctrine despite its foreignness to Islamic teachings.
"Reviving The Balance: The Authority of the Qur'an and the Status of the Sunnah" - Taha Jabir Alalwani, p. 116