Letter 6: What is God like?

“If Allah so willed He could make you all one people: but He leaves straying (should read: leads astray) whom He pleases and He guides whom He pleases: but ye shall certainly be called to account for all your actions” Surah 16:93 – translated by Yusuf Ali. (See also Surah 16:37; 6:149).

It seems as if the greatness of Allah overrules righteousness, mercy and love. These are attributes we certainly expect from God. In fact, verses like the above, and there are many, are contradicting many other passages in the Qur’an – including the Shahada. I indeed fail to see it as an example of righteousness and justice, when a person is punished for something he was compelled by God to commit. This is not an isolated passage. It is verified by verses like:


“Whom Allah doth guide – He is on the right path; whom He rejects from His guidance – such are the persons who perish. Many are the Jinns and men We have made for Hell” (Surah 7:178).


“If We (i.e. Allah) had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance; but the word from Me will come true, ‘I will fill hell with Jinns and men all together’” (Surah 32:130).


“Allah leads astray those whom He pleases, and guides whom He pleases”.

(Surah 14:4, see also Surah 9:51, 5:20, 16:93, 37:96, 76:29-30, 4:88, 16:36, 6:149 and 7:158)


“He forgiveth whom He pleaseth and He punishes whom He pleaseth”.

(Surah 5:20, read also Surah 37:96; 76:29 – 30; 4:88; 16:36; 6:149; 7:158)

Such statements are strongly supported by the Hadith. Let us just look at two passages:

“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in. There would be no escape from it” (Sahih Muslim IV, p. 1396 – 1398).


“Abu Darda’s reported that the Holy Prophet said: ‘Allah created Adam when He created him. Then He stroke his right shoulder and took out a white race as if they were seeds, and He stroke his left shoulder and took out a black race as if they were coals. Then He said to those who were in his right side: Towards Paradise and I don’t care. He said to those who were on his left shoulder: Towards Hell and I don’t care’” (Mishkat vol.3 p. 117).