Some people believe that according to the natural laws not only our body is formed and controlled by nature, but also our thoughts and behaviours are all controlled by nature or natural factors which are not decided or planned by ourselves. These determinists emphasise the effects of climate, environment, food, medicine and inheritance. It is possible to make a person sad or happy with some~foods or medicine. If a person’s father is an artist, a painter, that person will be an artist as well.
This view is partly true. Natural factors have some effects on our behaviour or actions, but they are not absolute. Finally it is up to a person to decide for himself. Those external factors might make the process of decision-making easier or harder. However, a human being is free. If a person’s parents are illiterate, that person will not have to be the same. If the parents are bad, the possibility of him being good is not nil. As we see in history there existed good people amongst bad people and vice versa. Take the example of Noah’s son. Although Noah (a.s.), the father, was a prophet of God, his son chose to become a bad and disobedient servant of God. When Noah made the ship and called all the people to board it, his son refused and claimed on the top of a mountain thinking the water would not reach him. Allah says:
“And Noah called out to his son, and he was aloof O my son! Embark with us and be not with the unbeliever He said: I will betake myself if for refuge to a mountain that shall protect me from the water Noah said: There is no protector today from Allah’s punishment except for whom He has mercy; and a wave intervened between them, so he was of the drowned.” (11:42-43)
Thus, Islam pays attention to the children’s upbringing and training before, during and after birth. All these are taken into account, but their influences are not decisive as free will is preserved.