I wrote a 15-page paper for my Major World Religions class. The topic was predestination, comparing and contrasting various views of Islamic predestination to Calvinism. The paper was a wreck (in my opinion), but for our final we had to write a final reflection on how our topic was different from Christianity and how we would resolve the difference. This is what I wrote: (please please comment with your opinions! (especially if you have any sort of authority on the subject 🙂 ))
The topic of predestination is one that is complicated and much-debated. In Christianity the views on predestination range from total predestination to almost complete free will. In my research I discovered that the same goes for Islam. They also have views within the same range. Depending on which points of view you are looking at one can conclude that Christianity and Islam are very similar or very different.
If it is true that Muslims and Christians are worshipping the same God in different ways or with different amounts of revelation, then these differences are not extremely significant. The variation of opinions shows the effects of sin in the world. If humans could understand and interpret the Bible as God intended then there would be one view on predestination and it would be the correct one. Because of this, it is hard to say which view is correct. For example, how can Calvin be sure that God predestines the souls of some and condemns others to hell? How much responsibility does a person really have for their salvation? Were Muhammad Abduh’s concepts of free will way off the right path? Even using proof texts and conviction, there will always be someone else who can find contradictory proof texts and have slightly different convictions.
As a way to resolve the differences in both Islam and Christianity I would encourage taking the middle way. That is Muslim terminology but it can and should be applied to Christianity as well. In both Christianity and Islam there are views ranging from extreme determinism to complete free will and anywhere in between. In any “ism” there is very little room for other possible views. While total truth is important, some things are not that clear. People are allowed to have their own views, but because humans will never have complete knowledge on this earth, I think it is dangerous to come to an absolute conclusion about something that is so widely debated.
The main importance is that it seems as though Muslims and Christians hold the same attributes to be true for Allah and God. God is omnipotent, loving and all-powerful. Maybe it is alright to keep it at that.