If God has decreed and pre-ordained everything, what role and freedom do we have as humans? Is it worth doing anything if it is all decreed to happen anyway?
In Islam, we believe that God’s providence and decree does not interfere with our ability as humans to make choices. God Himself gave us that ability and so our free will is part of God’s will. God does not force us to do anything or compel us to follow a certain way. If God had done so, there would be no disbelievers. However, the opposite is true as God says in the Quran, “There is no compulsion in religion.” [2:256]
Thus, we are all free to make our own choices and we do so on a daily basis. However, we cannot know what God has decreed for us. For us to assume that God has decreed us to be evil or a non-believer goes against common sense. We work to the best of our ability hoping in God’s reward and grace. We wouldn’t sit at home and expect money to come to us, or food to appear on our table without putting in some work and effort. Therefore, the believer in God trusts in His decree but also works to ensure they have a good life in accordance to God’s commands.
The Messenger Muhammad told us that we should work towards what is beneficial and seek God’s help. If something bad happens, we don’t say, ‘If only I’d done such and such’, because ‘if’ only opens the door to evil. Instead, we trust in God’s decree and say, ‘It is the decree of God and He decrees what He wills.’