Is Islam fatalistic?

Most Muslims find it rather odd that their religion, which strikes a remarkable balance between faith and deeds, are sometimes accused of being “fatalistic”. Perhaps this misconception came about because Muslims are known to say “All praise is due to Allah” whenever anything good or bad happens. This is because Muslims know that everything comes from God, the Creator of the universe, and occurs by His will. Thus, a Muslim worries less about material matters and views earthly life in a proper perspective. A true Muslim relies completely on Allah and knows that whatever happens is always for the best, whether one recognizes it or not, so one graciously accepts whatever cannot be changed.

This does not mean that Muslims should simply await destiny and take no action in life. On the contrary, Islam demands action and effort to change every undesirable situation. To be more precise, action is a required part of one’s faith. If human beings did not have the ability to act, it would be unjust for Allah to expect them to do and to avoid certain things. Far from being “fatalistic”, Islam teaches that man’s main obligation in life is to act and exert effort in obedience to God.

Islam teaches that human beings should take positive action in this life and supplement it with prayer. Some people are lazy and careless and then blame the negative result on destiny or fate. Some even say that, if Allah had willed, they would not have sinned or committed crimes. All of these arguments are completely erroneous, because Allah has taught us how to live and has ordered us to always do what is right. Allah has not ordered us to do anything that we are unable to do or prohibited anything that we cannot avoid, because His justice is complete and perfect. Each individual is held responsible within the limits of their ability and not beyond it.

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