In 2019, a 27-year-old man in India attempted to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent. His basic argument is that since he had no say in the matter of being born and coming into this world, then it should be the responsibility of his parents to pay him for the rest of his life since it was their decision to bring him into this world.
But is this a correct understanding according to the Quran? To figure this out we need to first figure out why we are here.
God offered the responsibility, the freedom of choice, to His creations, but it was only the human being who accepted it.
[33:72] We have offered the responsibility (freedom of choice) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they refused to bear it, and were afraid of it. But the human being accepted it; he was transgressing, ignorant.
(٧٢) إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنْسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا
Accepting this responsibility is what made us human. If we rejected this responsibility, then we would have entered into this world as some other creature e.g. tree, star, bird, ant, etc. All these other creatures did not want this responsibility and therefore are not human beings, but the human being wanted it. So this individual who is suing his parent opted to come into this world as a human. This was his own choice and not his mother’s or father’s decision.
So does this mean that God is the One to blame for this man’s creation since God is the Creator of everything (6:102, 13:16, 39:62, 40:62) including the human being (55:3)?
[6:102] Such is GOD your Lord, there is no god except He, the Creator of all things. You shall worship Him alone. He is in control of all things.
(١٠٢) ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَاعْبُدُوهُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيلٌ
According to the Quran, God never wrongs the people.
[10:44] GOD never wrongs the people; it is the people who wrong their own souls.
(٤٤) إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ النَّاسَ شَيْئًا وَلَٰكِنَّ النَّاسَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
God also knows the future of everything.
[22:76] He knows their past and their future. To GOD belongs the ultimate control of all matters.
(٧٦) يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ الْأُمُورُ
[27:65] Say, “No one in the heavens and the earth knows the future except GOD. They do not even perceive how or when they will be resurrected.”
(٦٥) قُلْ لَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ
[16:1] GOD’s command has already been issued (and everything has already been written), so do not rush it. Be He glorified; the Most High, far above any idols they set up.
(١) أَتىٰ أَمرُ اللَّهِ فَلا تَستَعجِلوهُ سُبحانَهُ وَتَعالىٰ عَمّا يُشرِكونَ
[57:22] Anything that happens on earth, or to you, has already been recorded, even before the creation. This is easy for GOD to do.
(٢٢) مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَبْرَأَهَا إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ
So why would create a soul only to have its end destiny reside in the eternal retribution of Hell? To answer this question, we need to understand the concept of Hell. Out of God’s mercy, the Quran describes Hell in the most graphic allegories, for people to attempt to grasp the absolute horrendousness of Hell.
[22:19] Here are two parties feuding with regard to their Lord. As for those who disbelieve, they will have clothes of fire tailored for them. Hellish liquid will be poured on top of their heads.
[22:20] It will cause their insides to melt, as well as their skins.
[22:21] They will be confined in iron pots.
[22:22] Whenever they try to exit such misery, they will be forced back in: “Taste the agony of burning.”
هَٰذَانِ خَصْمَانِ اخْتَصَمُوا فِي رَبِّهِمْ فَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا قُطِّعَتْ لَهُمْ ثِيَابٌ مِنْ نَارٍ يُصَبُّ مِنْ فَوْقِ رُءُوسِهِمُ الْحَمِيمُ
يُصْهَرُ بِهِ مَا فِي بُطُونِهِمْ وَالْجُلُودُ
وَلَهُمْ مَقَامِعُ مِنْ حَدِيدٍ
كُلَّمَا أَرَادُوا أَنْ يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا مِنْ غَمٍّ أُعِيدُوا فِيهَا وَذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ
But what Hell actually is, is simply the absence of God. If all joy and everything good emanates from God, then His absence would cause the void of all joy and everything good, which constitutes the misery of Hell. This is no different than darkness being the absence of light.
[35:19] The blind and the seer are not equal.
[35:20] Nor are the darkness and the light.
[35:21] Nor are the coolness of the shade and the heat of the sun.
[35:22] Nor are the living and the dead; GOD causes whomever He wills to hear. You cannot make hearers out of those in the graves.
(٣٥:١٩) وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْأَعْمَىٰ وَالْبَصِيرُ
(٣٥:٢٠) وَلَا الظُّلُمَاتُ وَلَا النُّورُ
(٣٥:٢١) وَلَا الظِّلُّ وَلَا الْحَرُورُ
(٣٥:٢٢) وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْأَحْيَاءُ وَلَا الْأَمْوَاتُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُسْمِعُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَمَا أَنْتَ بِمُسْمِعٍ مَنْ فِي الْقُبُورِ
God also does not force anyone against their will to reside in His Kingdom. All souls are free to be in the presence of God or not. If one wants to be in God’s presence, then one needs to uphold God’s laws. If, on the other hand, they don’t want to uphold God’s laws, they are free to leave God’s kingdom. Consider the example of Satan vs. Adam. Both individuals broke God’s law, but while Satan chose to be exiled to Hell, Adam chose to seek God’s forgiveness and be redeemed back into God’s kingdom.
[7:14] He (Satan) said, “Grant me a respite, until the Day of Resurrection.”
(١٤) قَالَ أَنْظِرْنِي إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ
[7:23] They (Adam and Eve) said, “Our Lord, we have wronged our souls, and unless You forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be losers.”
(٢٣) قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنْفُسَنَا وَإِنْ لَمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
[2:37] Then, Adam received from his Lord words, whereby He redeemed him. He is the Redeemer, Most Merciful.
(٣٧) فَتَلَقَّىٰ آدَمُ مِنْ رَبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
So now that we understand that the choice between Paradise and Hell is determined by our outcomes, can we blame God if we end up in Hell? Ironically, this is exactly the claim that Satan made.
[7:16] He said, “Since You have willed that I go astray, I will skulk for them on Your straight path.
(١٦) قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
[15:39] He said, “My Lord, since You misled me, I will surely entice them on earth; I will mislead all of them.
(٣٩) قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
But God did not mislead Satan (Iblees), He merely provided him a mechanism to expose his true convictions. If, alternatively, Satan killed his ego and submitted to the command of God, then this ordeal would have purified him, but since he used the circumstances nefariously, he only sent himself astray without perceiving. Ironically, despite his refusal, he still ended up serving the human being, but as a mechanism to either expose or purify the human being.
Similarly, God permitted Satan’s malfeasance toward the humans, but it is up to the individual if this will be to their benefit or harm. If the person accepts Satan’s perspective, then they are the devil’s followers, yet if they seek refuge in God alone from the whispers of the devil, then they belong to God alone and Satan will have claim over them.
[16:99] He has no power over those who believe and trust in their Lord. [16:100] His power is limited to those who choose him as their master; those who choose him as their god.
(١٠٠) إِنَّمَا سُلْطَانُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ
(٩٩) إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ
Again this shows that the choice is ours, but if God is giving us a choice, did He give us a choice if we want to exist or not? The answer to this question can be found in the following verse.
[20:50] He said, “Our Lord is the One who granted everything its existence, and its guidance.”
(٥٠) قَالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذِي أَعْطَىٰ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَىٰ
The Arabic word aʿṭā ( أَعْطَىٰ ) which in the above translation is translated as “granted” means to offer something to someone. It comes from the root ع ط و and has the following derivative meanings.
From this verse, it is clear that God did not force any soul into existence but simply offered it the opportunity, and it was accepted.
- Every soul was given the offer to come into existence and accepted it
- Every human decided to accept the freedom of choice
- Every human opted to come to this world
- Every soul is free to choose between Heaven or Hell
[23:118] Say, “My Lord, shower us with forgiveness and mercy. Of all the merciful ones, You are the Most Merciful.”
(١١٨) وَقُلْ رَبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
Therefore, if an individual chooses to go astray, they have no one to blame but themselves.
[9:70] Have they not learned anything from the previous generations; the people of Noah, ‘Ãd, Thamûd, the people of Abraham, the dwellers of Midyan, and the evildoers (of Sodom and Gomorrah)? Their messengers went to them with clear proofs. GOD never wronged them; they are the ones who wronged their own souls.
أَلَمْ يَأْتِهِمْ نَبَأُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ قَوْمِ نُوحٍ وَعَادٍ وَثَمُودَ وَقَوْمِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَأَصْحَابِ مَدْيَنَ وَالْمُؤْتَفِكَاتِ أَتَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ كَانُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ