Allah’s attribute of knowing the future is difficult for us to understand because we have no point of reference to understand it. For example, it’s easier for us to understand Allah’s attribute of The Forgiving because we can forgive in our small circle of authority. It’s also easier for us to understand Allah’s attribute of The All-Knowing when it relates to the past because we have knowledge of the past in our small circle of experience. However, since we do not have certain knowledge of the future in any circle of experience, so it is difficult for us to understand Allah’s attribute of The All-Knowing when it relates to the future.
One way we can understand Allah’s attribute of knowing the future is if we personally experience knowing the future in some way. How can we do this? We can’t transport ourselves to the future and then come back to the present. But, what we can do is transport ourselves to the past and then come back to the present.
Try this exercise. Watch a live basketball game. As you’re watching the players play, you already know they have free will to make whatever decisions they want. In one play, a player fakes right, goes left, and shoots the ball. Watch a replay of that play, except when you are watching the replay, imagine that you are watching it live. By imagining that the recording is actually happening live, you are transporting yourself to the past. Now, you know that the player is going to
Now imagine a human traveled through time and knows your future. For him, your whole life is like a recorded game. He knows what you are going to do before you decide to do it. He knew everything you did today before you were going to do it. To you, it feels like you’re doing it live, but for him, it feels like he’s watching a recording he’s already seen before. He has no control over your decisions and he’s not responsible for the consequences of your actions. His knowledge of what you are going to do has no effect on your free will, in the same
Similarly, Allah Almighty has chosen to observe our actions rather than control our actions in this world. He gave us free will by temporarily withdrawing His control over our actions. Although He does manifest His will through miracles, generally He has chosen to let us do as we will. Because He is The All-Knowing, He knows everything we will do before we do it. However, His knowledge does not interfere with that power to decide which He gave us. His knowledge and our free will coexist without interfering with each other at all.
One way to understand Allah’s attribute of knowing the future is to find a way to relate to it. Although Allah Almighty knows every decision we are going to make, that knowledge does not affect our free will to make that decision in any way.
Imagine yourself to be in the past, then look to the present as if it is the future. When observed from that perspective, this question is easier to understand.