Does man has freedom of choice or is he following a course set by Allaah?
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked this question and said: The questioner should ask himself whether anyone forced him to ask this question, and does he choose the kind of car that he drives? And other such questions. Then the answer as to whether he is following a course set by Allaah or has freedom of choice will become clear to him.
Then he should ask himself whether accidents happen to him by his choice? Or whether he falls sick by his choice? Or will he die by his choice?
And other similar questions. Then the answer as to whether he is following a course set by Allaah or has freedom of choice will become clear to him.
The answer is that the things that the wise person does, he undoubtedly does by his choice. Listen to the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):
“So, whosoever wills, let him seek a place with (or a way to) His Lord (by obeying Him in this worldly life)!” [al-Naba’ 78:39]
“Among you are some that desire this world and some that desire the Hereafter” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:152]
“And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it (i.e. does righteous deeds of Allaah’s obedience) while he is a believer (in the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism) — then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, (thanked and rewarded by Allaah)” [al-Isra’ 17:19]
“he must pay a Fidyah (ransom) of either observing Sawm (fasts) (three days) or giving Sadaqah (charity — feeding six poor persons) or offering sacrifice (one sheep)” [al-Baqarah 2:196]
But if a person wants to do something and he does it, we know that Allaah has willed it. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight.
And you cannot will unless (it be) that Allaah wills — the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)” [al-Takweer 81:28-29]
Because His Lordship (ruboobiyyah) is complete and perfect, nothing can happen in the heavens or on earth except by His will.
With regard to things that happen to a person or that he does without choosing or willing them, such as sickness, death and accidents, they are purely divine will (al-qadar) and the person has no choice or will with regard to them.
And Allaah is the Source of strength.
Majmoo Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, vol. 2.