An important aspect of Islam is that every human being has the free will to choose between right and wrong. God, The Giver, has honored humanity with this great gift. It comes with heavy responsibility, and on the Day of Judgment, we will be accountable for our use of this gift.
Human free will does not in any way contradict the fact that God, The Witness, knows everything that will ever occur in creation. Someone might ask, “If God knows that I am going to commit a sin tomorrow, then it is unavoidable that I do so because God’s knowledge is infallible, and what God knows will come to pass.” God’s knowledge of this person’s decision does not mean that he or she is being forced to make that decision.
Human free will does not in any way contradict God’s absolute sovereignty over everything in creation. Neither does it contradict the fact that nothing happens in creation except what God wills. Some might say, “Therefore, I have no free will. My free will is but an illusion.” On the contrary, God created within each of us the ability to formulate an intention. God wants us to be able to make our own choices. When a person makes a choice, God, by His divine will, creates the actions and circumstances that allow the person’s intention to be carried out. It is God’s will that human beings have free will. God is not always pleased with the decisions people make, but He wants them to be able to make these decisions by their own free choice. An example of this is a person’s will to do a good deed. The good deed may never be carried out, but God may reward the person for his or her intention to do a good deed. If the good deed comes to pass, God’s will allowed it to take place, and God will reward both the intention and the action. In other words, God, The Judge, may reward you for good deeds willed but not carried out; however, He does not punish people for bad intentions not acted upon.