Predestination between Islam and Hinduism

Let your hand in your work and heart with your Lord.

Let your hand in your work and heart with your Lord.


Belief in predestination was deep-rooted in ancient Indian religions. It is noteworthy that the belief in predestination has two types of extremist followers: one of them views that the human being has no freewill and everything has been pre-ordained, while the other views that there is no predestination and every event happens freshly and recently and every person is free and independent in his actions and doings. Both views were wrong in their perception of predestination. They failed to conceive the idea of predestination in its true nature.

The true belief in predestination which was preached by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to believe in the eternal, everlasting and inclusive Knowledge of Allah, the Almighty, for everything even before the creation of this world espoused with the belief of freewill of the human being. Every person in Islam is ordered to work and struggle with firm belief in predestination; none should rely on predestination and abandon work and action.

Who Determines the Destiny Karma or Ishvar?

There are a lot of disputes about this subject in Hinduism. Some Hindu sects believe that Karma itself is the determiner of the destiny and does not need to an external agent to execute it in human life while the theist sects of Hinduism believe that the distinction between the fruits of Karma, i.e., good and evil Karma, are due to Vishnu as the Supreme Enforcer of Karma, yet souls alone have the freedom and responsibility for their acts.(1)

According to Madhvacharya, a well-known Indian philosopher, God, although has control, does not interfere with man’s free will; although He is Omnipotent that does not mean that He engages in extraordinary acts. Rather, God enforces a rule of law and, in accordance with the just deserves of Jivas, gives them freedom to follow their own nature.(2)

Madhva agrees that the rewards and punishments bestowed by God are regulated by Him in accordance with the good and sinful deeds committed by them and He does so out of His own will to keep Himself firm in justice and He cannot be controlled in His actions by Karma of human beings nor can He be accused of partiality or cruelty to anyone.(3)

According to Islamic doctrine, Almighty Allah is the One Who wrote the destiny and fate of human beings. He is the Just, the Equitable, the Powerful, He does whatever He Wills, no one can ask Him, no one is to hold Him answerable and no one can judge Him on His Commandments and Decrees, He is the Most Compassionate and the Beneficent Who forgives whom He Wills. The Destiny is the true reflection of His Might and Knowledge.

It is notable that the doctrine of transmigration of the soul, with respect to fateful retribution for acts committed, does not appear in the Rig Veda.

The concept of Karma first appears strongly in the Bhagavad Gita. The topic of Karma is mentioned in the Puranas.(4) It is clear that the concept of Karma is a latter development on Hindu faith which shows the human intervention that denotes the weakness of its authenticity and genuineness of this doctrine.

Opinion of Vedanta

Followers of Vedanta, a leading practicing school of Hinduism in existence today, consider Ishvara, a personal supreme God, as playing that role.(5) According to the Vedanta view, a supreme God is ultimately the enforcer of Karma but humans have the free will to choose.

In some earlier historical traditions of Hinduism, followers of an atheistic division of the Samkhya(*) School do not accept the idea of a supreme God. According to the Samkhya School, a supreme God does not exist.

Theistic View about Destiny in Hinduism

According to the theistic view, the effects of one’s bad Karma may be mitigated. Examples of how bad Karma can be mitigated include following Dharma, or living virtuously; performing good deeds, such as helping others; Bhakti Yoga, or worshiping God in order to receive grace; and conducting pilgrimages to sacred places, such as Chidambaram Temple or Rameswaram to get grace of God.(6)

The story of Ajamila in the Bhagavata Purana also illustrates the same point. Ajamila had committed many evil deeds during his life such as stealing, abandoning his wife and children and marrying a prostitute. But at the moment of death, he involuntarily chanted the name of Narayana and therefore received Moksha or union with God and was saved from bad Karma and Ajamila was forgiven for his great sins and attained salvation, despite his bad Karma.

A person can be free from sorrow through the grace of Isvara. Therefore, the Shvetashvatara Upanishad assumes a Supreme Being whose grace to devotees provides a way of escape from the law of Karma.(7)

Opinion of Theistic schools

Theistic schools believe in cycles of creations where souls gravitate to specific bodies in accordance with Karma, which as an unintelligent object depends on the will of God alone. For example, Kaushitaki Upanishad 1.2 asserts that birth in different forms of existence as a worm, insect, fish, bird, lion, boar, snake or a human, is determined by a person’s deeds and knowledge. [8]

Prarabdha Karma is of three categories, Ichha, Anichha and Parechha (personally desired, without desire and due to others’ desire). For the one who has realized the self, there is no Ichha-Prarabdha but the two others, Anichha and Parechha, remain. Neither agency nor actions does the Lord create for the world, nor union with the fruits of actions. But it is Nature that acts. -Gita, Ch.5, Verse 14.


Generally, Hindus believe in predestination and there are some statements in Hindu scriptures that address the issue of destiny in Hinduism. However, they are not as clear as the texts of the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah regarding this subject. The true belief in destination has existed in Hindu culture as was quoted from Krishna and Tulsidas. But the belief has been distorted when they tried to find some justification for the sufferings of mankind in this world especially for the sufferings of innocent babies born with some sorts of defects or disabilities.

However the true faith has been brought by our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In fact, this life is a test and this world is not the permanent abode, rather this life is a temporary residence. The whole universe will be destroyed and everyone would be resurrected for accountability in front of Allah, the Almighty, and the sufferings and disabilities would be compensated with full equity and justice. Not only this but Almighty Allah will multiply the reward and human being will wish that he would have been suffered from disabilities in this world seeing the unlimited Mercy of Allah in the Hereafter.


[*] Samkhya, also Sankhya, Sāṃkhya, or Sāṅkhya is one of the six orthodox or “theist” schools of Hindu philosophy and classical Indian philosophy.

[1] Krishnan Yuvraj, The Doctrine of Karma, Motilal Banarsi Dass Publishers, 1997, pp. 155-156.

[2] Tapasyananda, Swami. Bhakti Schools of Vedantapgs. Chennai, Sri Ramakrishna Math. pp. 178-179.


[4] Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Wendy Doniger, Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions, University of California Press, 1980, p. 14.

[5] David Frawley, Vedantic Meditation, North Atlantic Books, 2000 p. 4.

[6] Editors of Hinduism Today Magazine, What is Hinduism? p. 254.

[7] Krishnan Yuvraj, The Doctrine of Karma, p. 25.


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