Friday, July 07, 2006

Understanding the subject of Al Qada wal Qadar

The following is a transcript of a discussion presented on this subject and therefore may not be gramatically acurate.

The subject of al Qada wal Qadar is a subject that engaged Muslims in a massive debate throughout the centuries, for this reason it is impossible to cover all aspects of this discussion in today’s presentation.

The subject of al Qada wal Qadar is an important one, it is from the rational elements of the Aqeeda. It is a subject that many of the Ummah are confused upon to this day. It is a concept that is related to the relationship of this life with the hereafter, if we misunderstood this concept there would be a major vagueness in the relationship between this life and the afterlife in terms of accountability. We may even conclude as those in the past that there is no relationship and therefore can act as we please. Therefore it is important to understand the subject in depth including its origins in history, the different views regarding it and the correct position.

History of the subject of al Qada wal Qadar

The subject of al Qada wal Qadar was never explicitly discussed as a subject by the Prophet (saw) or any of the Sahaba. What they discussed were other issues related to the textual element of the Aqeeda such as al-Qadar referring to the knowledge of Allah (swt) or al-Qada in its linguistic meaning that can mean many things.

This discussion came about amongst the Muslims after the translation of the Greek philosophies into the Arabic language. It was the Greek philosophers who engaged in inquiry and controversy over this issue. They had put forward questions such as: Does man have free will or is he forced to carry out his actions?

There were two main schools of thought regarding the issue amongst the Greeks, the Stoics and the Epicureans.

The Epicureans believed that the will is free in choice and that man does all of his actions according to his will and without compulsion.

The Stoics on the other hand believed that the will compelled to take the path it takes and that it is incapable of departing from it. Man, they said, does nothing in accordance with his will; rather he is compelled to do whatever he does; to do or not to do is not within his control.

With the advent of Islam and the infiltration of the philosophical thoughts Muslims came into contact with these ideas they attempted to answer the same questions from the viewpoint of Islam. One of the major issues that the Muslims began to discuss was the attribute of justice on the with regard to Allah. Islam is based on the concept that Allah is just, and according to this justice we have reward and punishment. Accordingly, the Muslim thinkers attempted to reconcile this premise with the philosophical questions posed by the Greeks.

The most prominent of these was the discussion by the Mu’tazilah; it was the prototype in this matter; the discussion of the other scholastics was a response to repudiate the views of the Mu’tazilah. Thus the Mu’tazilah are considered the pioneers in discussing the issue of al-Qadaa’ wal Qadar, and even in all the topics of scholasticism that the Mutakallimeen engaged in. The head of the Mu’tazilah was Wasil Ibn Ataa’ who had been removed from the circle of the famous scholar Al-Hasan Al-Basri for his views.

The Mu’tazilah responded by first establishing the central role of Allah's justice in order to prevent anyone accusing Allah of oppression. They concluded that Allah's justice has no meaning unless man has free will. Thus, they said man created his actions and he if free to do what he likes because if he does something from his own will, by choice without coercion, then his reward and punishment are both rational and just. They maintained that if Allah creates human beings and also forces them into a certain path, such as making people sinners or believers, then to punish the sinners for being sinful and rewarding the obedient believers for believing would be unjust.

In their methodology they followed the Greek way of thinking. Muslims assumed, like Greek philosophers, that Allah follows laws and codes like man does. They made analogy between Allah (swt) and man. Commenting on the will, they said that the person who wants good is good in himself, and the person who wants bad is both bad and evil. Likewise, he who orders justice is just, and he who orders oppression is an oppressor. Accordingly, they maintained if we assume the will of Allah embraces every aspect of life, both good and bad, Allah would then be described as good and bad, just and oppressor; which is clearly impossible.

They were clearly influenced by Greek logic in their argument. They also said that if Allah wants the disbeliever to be a disbeliever (Kafir) and the sinner to be sinful then He should not warn and admonish them from sin and disbelief. How could it be possible that Allah wanted Abu Lahab to be a disbeliever and yet commanded him to believe and warned him from disbelief. If any man had done such a thing he would be called a fool and ignorant. Allah who never be accused of such things. If the disbelief of the disbeliever and the sin of the sinner were wanted by Allah then they should not be punished, because their actions were obedient to the will of Allah. The Mu'tazilah repeated such arguments, with proof derived from their mind.

The Mu’tazilah supported their opinions based on logic with verses from the Glorious Quran, such as, -in translation:

“But Allah never wishes injustice to His Servants.” (Ghafir:31).

“Say: "With Allah is the argument that reaches home: if it had been His Will, He could indeed have guided you all." (Al-an’aam:149)

“Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties.” (Al-Baqarah:185)

They concluded from this the opinion that man has the freedom of will to do an act or refrain from doing it; thus if he does, it is according to his will and if he refrains from doing, it is also according to his will. As regard the issue of the creation of acts, the Mu’tazilah said that the acts of people are created by them and they are of their own doing not of Allah’s; it is in their power to do these acts or refrain from them without any intervention of the power of Allah. The proof of this is the difference which man feels between the voluntary and the involuntary movement, such as the movement of a person who voluntarily moves his hand and the movement of a trembling person, and the difference between the movement of someone going up a lighthouse and another falling from it; thus the voluntary movement is in the power of man; it is he who creates it; but he has no role in the involuntary movement; also, if man was not the creator of his acts, the takliif (obligation to comply with Shari’a) would be invalid, since if he was not capable of doing or refraining from doing, it would not be rational to ask him to do or to refrain from doing, and this would not have been the subject of punishment and reward.

They used logic to prove their arguments, and then tried to quote many naqli (textual) proofs to support their argument such as:

“Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls).”(Ar-Ra’d:11)

“That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned.”(Ghaafir:17)

In following the methodology of the Greeks they began to discuss the issue and the offshoots of the issue, one of the offshoots of the creation of actions which they discussed was the issue of results.

After the Mu’tazilah had determined that the acts of man are created by him, a question arose from this: What about the acts that result from his action? Is created by him as well? Or is it created by Allah, for example the taste that a thing comes to have as a result of the action of man, the cutting that occurs from a knife, pleasure, health, lust, heat, coldness, humidness, hardness, cowardice, courage, hunger, satisfaction, etc.. They said that all these are part of the action of man because it is man who causes them when he performs his acts. Thus they are resultant from his act and consequently they are created by him.

To summarise their view, they believed that due to Allah’s Justice which has been mentioned in the text it is impossible that Allah forced man to act and then punish or reward him as this would be unjust. Therefore people have free will in all of their actions and it is they who creates their actions and the attributes that occur in things as a result of their action.

Al Jabriyah

In the atmosphere created by the Mu’tazilah a new group emerged, known by the name AI Jabriyah; the most famous of whom was known as Al Jahm ibn Safwan. They held the opinion that man was compelled to carry out actions, man had no free will and no power to initiate his actions. In other words, man was like a feather in the wind or a log floating on the sea.

They argued, if man creates his own actions then Allah’s power does not extend to cover everything, i.e., man is a partner with Allah in creating things in this world. if it is held that Allah's power creates things, then, by definition, man has nothing to do with creating the actions; neither in part or in full.

AI-Jabriyah maintained that Allah is the creator of man's deeds and according to Allah's will the individual carries out the action. AI-Jabriyah believed that man was nothing more than a receiver compelled by Allah, like any object, to carry out actions without any will or influence. They brought verses. of Quran to support their opinions, such as: "You do not guide whom you like, rather Allah guides whom He likes." [al-Qasas] “Allah has created you and your handiwork.” [as-Saffat:96] “Allah is the creator of everything.” [as-Zumur]

As for man's organic needs and instincts, and the effects and attributes of the actions, such as: taste, joy, hunger, courage, the knives ability to cut, or the fires ability to burn, they said all these thing are from Allah.

Ahl-us-Sunnah

The people of Sunnah (ahl-us-Sunnah) responded to the ideas of AI-Mu’tazilah and AI-Jabriyah. They came out with a compromise solution as they didn’t except the extremes of the other views so they attempted to bring together the views of the Mu’tazilah and Jabriyah in a synthesis. They said that their third opinion which has come out from the two opinions is 'the pure milk that is sweet to drink that comes out of the excrement and blood'. The most famous amongst them were Abul Hassan al Asharee and his student al-Maturdi.

They said all man's actions occur by the will of Allah. If Allah wants something He merely says "Be and it is.' They contented that Allah has bestowed on every creature certain qualities, like good and bad, and these qualities contain reward and punishment. Man's deeds, therefore, are the result of destiny. As for the sinful and disbelievers, they argued that Allah wants the sinners to be sinful and the disbelievers to be disbelievers, not by obligation but by their choice. Allah knew that they, by choice, would become sinners and disbelievers.

They were different to the Jabriyah in that they believed that man has free will but Allah creates mans actions, in order to explain this they came out with the concept of Kasb Iktiari. This concept is abstract and contradicts the reality and thus is difficult to understand.

Basically it means that man has free will but Allah knows mans will do and therefore creates mans actions in reality. So you have the free will to turn right or left, if you decide to turn left Allah knows this and makes you turn left. You have the free will to attempt to hit someone, if you decide to hit him, it is Allah that creates the action.

They used the same evidences as the Jabriyah in proving that Allah creates the actions of man. Some of the textual evidences they used for proving the concept of Kasb Iktiari are:

“Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it)” (Al-Kahf:29) and His (swt) saying, “It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns.”(Al-Baqarah:286)

In reality their conclusion is the same as the Jabriyah’s as they believe that Allah knows what you are going to do before you do it and forces you to act to undertake what he knows your going to do, therefore he forces you to act even if you have free will.

Errors in the way the approached the subject

The Mu’tazilah took the issue of ‘al-Qada wal Qadar’ or ‘compulsion and free choice’ from the Greek philosophy under they discussed it using the logical method of the Greeks by viewing it from the perspective of their own view of the Justice of Allah. This led to the emergence of the Jabriyah and Ahl-us-Sunnah to refute the views of the Mu’tazilah, which they did according to the same precepts and on the same basis.

All of them discussed the issue from the perspective of the attributes of Allah not from the perspective of the actual subject of free will and choice. They all made the fundamental error of linking the texts to do with the attributes of Allah such as Iradatullah (The will of Allah), Ilmullah (The knowledge of Allah) and al Lawh al Mahfouz (The Protected Decree) which is an expression of the knowledge of Allah. So they approached the issue from a textual perspective although it is obviously a rational discussion.

By linking the texts related to the attributes of Allah one would definitely become confused on the subject as if you looked at the texts from this perspective they would look contradictory.

An example are the following texts:

In Surat Al-Tawba, He (swt) says in translation:

"Say: Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us. He is our Protector and in Allah, let the Believers place their trust." [9:51]

"If some good befalls them, they say: This is from Allah. But if evil, they say: This is from you (O Prophet). Say: All things are from Allah. But what has come to these people, that they fail to understand a single fact?" [4:78]

“Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls).”(Ar-Ra’d:11)

Some people in history even said that discussing Al-Qadaa’ wal Qadar was absolutely impermissible because the Prophet prohibited this, and they would quote the hadith that at-Tabarani recorded which is Hasan in Sanad (narration): “If the qadar was mentioned abstain from discussion”.

In fact it is a common error of many that they link the term Qadar when mentioned in the text to the subject of al-Qada wal Qadar which is completely unrelated.

Al-Qadar as a word is Mushtarak i.e. it can have more than one meaning, as an example it can mean estimated (taqdeer), Knowledge ('ilm), arrangement (tadbeer), the time (al-waqt), the preparation (tahi'yah) and making an attribute in the thing. Some of the different linguistic meanings of the term have been used in different text in the Quran and the Ahadith.

In many occasions the word Qadar or its derivatives have been mentioned in the text with the meaning of the Ilmullah (Knowledge of Allah).

From Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Adam argued with Mousa. Mousa said : Are you Adam, the one who brought your offspring out of Jannah? Adam said: Are you Mousa, the one whom Allah has bestowed upon you His messages and speech? Then you blame a mater which has been decreed for me (qudera ala'y) before I was born. Thus Adam convinced him". It means that it was decreed to me by the knowledge of Allah.

Tawoos said, I heard Abdullah ibn Omar say, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Everything is with qadar, even impotence and cleverness, or the cleverness and impotence". This means that everything is according to the knowledge ('ilm) of Allah, which means that Allah has written that in the Protected Tablet.

The word qadar has been mentioned in the hadith of Jibreel in some narrations. He said: ‘Believe in al-qadar whether good or bad’

The Messenger of Allah (saw) also said, " … If anything befell you don't say: Had I did (this), it would have been such and such, but rather say: Allah estimated (qaddara) and He did what He willed." This means that Allah recorded (Kataba) in the Protected Tablets (al-lawh al mahfoodh), i.e. He knew. All of these matters are related to the attributes of Allah, and that He knows the things before they happen, and they happen (occur) with qadar from him, i.e. with His knowledge. All of this has nothing
to do with the subject of al-qada wal qadar.

The term Qadar when used in the various texts is not used to mean what the Mutakilmeen (scholastics) differed over in reference to al-Qada wal Qadar.

The term Qada is also Mushtarak and has many meanings that have come in the text such as making a thing with precision, completing a matter, ordered, executed, etc. Again the use of the word al-Qada mentioned in the Ayat or Ahadith are not related to the discussion of al-Qada wal Qadar that the Mutakalimeen discussed.

The correct view

The basis of the discussion in al-Qada wa al-Qadar is not the action of man in terms of whether he created the action or Allah created it. Neither is it the will of Allah (SWT) in the sense that His will is conditional on the action of man so it must exist by this will. Neither is it the Knowledge of Allah in terms of Him knowing that man will do such and such action and that His Knowledge encompass that, nor that this action of man is written in the al-Lawh al-Mahfuz so he must act according to what has been written.

The basis of the discussion is definitely none of these things, because they have no relationship to the subject from the viewpoint of reward and punishment. The topic of discussion on whose basis the question of al-Qada wa al-Qadar is built is the issue of reward and punishment for an action i.e.: Is man obliged to perform an action, good or evil, or does he have a choice? And, does man have the choice to perform his action, or does he have no choice?

When we say the basis is reward and punishment, we mean this from the perspective of the origin of accountability i.e. free will. This is because without free will reward and punishment would be meaningless.

The person who scrutinises the actions of people sees that we live within two spheres: 1) one which we dominate, seen as the sphere that is present within the region of our conduct, and within which our actions happen absolutely by our choice; 2) the other sphere dominates us, we exist within its domain, and the that which occurs upon us within it happen without our choice, whether they originate from us or fall upon us.

The actions that fall within the sphere that dominates us, we have no choice in them or in their existence. They can be divided into two kinds: The first are those required by the law of the universe. The second are those actions which are not directly necessitated by the laws of the universe. We are not accounted for anything that occurs within this sphere and it is classified as fate (Qada) from Allah (swt).

The laws of the Universe being from Allah is fairly simple to grasp. However understanding how those things that fall upon us which are not necessitated by the universal law are Qada from Allah requires more thought.

The easiest examples for this are the accidental happenings such as the contracting of an illness, train accidents or tripping and spraining your ankle. However this area of the sphere which dominates us is not limited to accidents it also includes things we intend such as arriving at a destination, passing an exam or establishing the Khilafah. The key issue to grasp is that we only control our actions i.e. our limbs and not anything beyond this. When it comes to the examples that I mentioned such as reaching a destination, passing an exam or establishing the Khilafah we only control our actions and therefore make an attempt to achieve a goal, the result is definitively not in our control and involves complex interrelationships between people and matter, it includes many factors that are not in the control of people. When embarking upon a journey we may make an attempt to reach a destination but fail due to many factors such as the car breaking down or an accident on the motorway – so we do not definitively control whether we will arrive at our destination.

We attempt to re-establish the Khilafah but where and when we establish it is not in our control. Even though there were bloodless coup attempts in the past, the da’wa carriers not control the outcome.

Complex situations must be studied carefully to ascertain which aspects are actually Qada and which aspects are in peoples control, it is dangerous to generalise and label things as Qada without making this distinction. Take the example of marriage, often people label this as Qada, upon further scrutiny we would ascertain that there are elements which are in man’s control and elements outside of his control. Whether the man and the women initially meet or not is not in their control, once they have met the decision they make to agree to the marriage is their decision and is not forced upon them by Allah (swt). Even if they decide to marry whether they are able to make it to the actual wedding is not within their control.

If we do not control something then by definition it falls into the second sphere and therefore is from Allah (swt).

It is important to understand that when we say what is in man’s control and beyond man’s control we mean man as in mankind not an individual man. As something may not be in your control as an individual but is in someone else’s control and therefore cannot be Qada from Allah (swt), an example is if someone swears at you, it is in his control and so is not Qada. Rather it is an action that he will be accounted for.

If something occurs upon us which we don’t control such as winning a prize or tripping and breaking a leg we can conclude that this is from Allah (swt) but is beyond the role of our minds to understand how Allah (swt) ensured that this would happen to us. It is beyond our perception to discuss how Allah does things and ensures that certain things will occur upon us without our control.

As for the sphere that man dominates, it is the sphere in which he proceeds willingly according to the system he chooses, whether it is the divine law (shar'iyah) or any other. In this sphere, actions carried out by man or befalling him occur by his will. For example, he walks, eats, drinks and travels anytime he likes, likewise he refrains from doing any of these things when he likes; he also burns with fire and cuts with a knife when he chooses; and he satisfies the instincts of procreation and ownership and the hunger of the belly as he likes. All this he performs or abstains from willingly. Therefore, man is accounted for those deeds which occur within this sphere. Thus, he is rewarded for the action which is rewardable, and he is punished for it if it is punishable. These actions have nothing to do with al-Qada or vice versa. Because man is the one who undertook them with his own will and choice. Therefore, actions of choice do not come under the subject of al-Qada.

The issue of Qadar is to do with the attributes of things that Allah (swt) placed within the universe, man and life. In reality it is a subset of the discussion of Qada as it is related to the universal laws in the sphere which Allah dominates, however due to the controversy that existed over it during the centuries it was discussed as a topic on its own. It is clear from the observation of reality that all attributes of the universe, man and life are from Allah (swt) whether this is the weight of a stone, the sexual inclination in man or sharpness of a knife.

Although we are subject to al-Qada wal Qadar this does not mean that we become fatalistic and submit ourselves to whatever is going to happen to us as we have no knowledge of that. There is a difference between Aqeeda and Hukm Shari and in issues of action we must refer to the Shariah rules as Allah (swt) has ordered us regardless of whether we control the outcome or not.

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi

For more in depth knowledge on the subject see the chapter about al-Qada wal Qadr in the book 'Shaksiyyah Islamiyya' (The Islamic Personality) Volume 1 by Sheikh Taqi ud-deen an-Nabhani

20 comments:

Jahangir said...

Assalmu Alaikum,

There seems to be a contradiction or more than likely I have mis-understood the point here. The following paragraph,

"It is important to understand that when we say what is in man’s control and beyond man’s control we mean man as in MANKIND NOT AN INDIVIDUAL MAN. As something may not be in your control as an individual but is in someone else’s control and therefore cannot be Qada from Allah (swt), an example is if someone swears at you, it is in his control and so is not Qada. Rather it is an action that he will be accounted for."

Earlier the writer has explained that we are simply in control of our actions and whatever falls outside of this is Qadar, from Allah. The example of taking an exam shows that a person studies for the test and does his best but after the paper has been handed in the outcome is qadar from Allah as he has no control over this.

However, in the paragraph above it says things which are out of mankinds control not a individual? So the outcome of the exam is not qadar as the person marking the exam has full ability to pass or fail the paper right?

Another confusing point - the situation in the muslims countries and the suffering of people over the world, according to the paragraph this is also not qadar as it is like this due to the actions of mankind so mankind has created the current situation. I'm confused and would appreciate a clarification. How does Allah wants us to understand this concept and how do we show this in our worship to him throughout our lives until we meet him?

abu jibreel said...

Also, if a person hits another person walking around the corner, is this part of the Qada for the person getting hit, because he had no possibility of knowing that someone would hit him when he turned the corner?

There are three spheres: the natural laws, what happens from man, and what happens to man.

How do we distinguish the Qada from the Qadar and vice versa?

jungi said...

Assalamu Alaikum,

This is Jahangir, I posted the 1st question above. Just a reminder if an answer can be provided insha Allah.

Ma Salaama,

Jahangir

Islamic Revival said...

There are only 2 spheres not 3.

We know Allah (swt) exists through rational proof, therefore he is controls the Universe and the natural laws.

We can sense clearly that we have free will over our conscious actions - therefore we can establish we have a spehere of control. However this does not mean that we control the results, such as the example you gave of an accident - that is qada for the one who got hit and the one who hit. Even if someone intentionally shot someone else, he would be accountable for that action - however whether he actually managed to hit the person or no would be qada as it is beyond his control to determine it.

Islamic Revival said...

The following is from the draft translation of the Shaksiyyah Islamiyyah (The Islamic Personality) volume 1 by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani which explains the matter in more detail:

How the Issue of al-Qadaa’ wa ‘l-Qadar Emerged

With the exception of the issue of the perpetrator of a kabīrah [major sin], over which Wāsil Ibn ‘Atā’, the head of the Mu’tazilah, withdrew from the circle of al-Hasan al-Basrī, we scarcely find any issue from the issues of ‘Ilm al-Kalam which had not originated from an issue that was discussed by the Greek philosophers. The issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar by this name and with the referent which they discussed had been discussed by Greek philosophers, whom differed in it. This issue is referred to as the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar and as al-jabr wa ‘l-ikhtiyār, and as hurriyat al-irādah, all of which have the same referent, namely: the actions that man does, is he free to do or not do them or is he compelled? It never occurred to the minds of the Muslims - before the translation of Greek philosophy - to inquire into this subject matter. It was the Greek philosophers who inquired into it and differed in it. The Epicureans opined that the will is free in choice and that man does all of his actions according to his will and choice, without any compulsion. As for the Stoics, they opined that the will is compelled to take the path it takes, incapable of departing from it. Man, according to them, does nothing in accordance with his will; he is compelled to do whatever he does and does not have the ability to do or not to do.

After the advent of Islam and the infiltration of philosophical thoughts, one of the major issues was the attribute of justice with regards to Allah. Allah is Just; from the proposition of this Justice follows the issue of punishment and reward, from which arises the issue of the servant’s commission of his actions, all of which were inquired into, in line with the method of inquiry which they adopted of inquring into an issue as well as into all its offshoots, and due to the influence of the inquisitions of the philosophers, that is, the philosophical thoughts they had studied in relation to the topics they were refuting. The most prominent of these was the discussion by the Mu’tazilah, being the original discussion in this matter; the discussions of the other Mutakallimīn come only as a response to refute the views of the Mu’tazilah. Thus the Mu’tazilah are considered the pioneers in discussing the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar, nay in all the topics of ‘Ilm al-Kalam.

The Mu’tazilah’s view of the Justice of Allah was one of subliming Him above injustice. Regarding the issue of punishment and reward, they took a stance which was consistent with the subliming of Allah and with His Justice. They postulated that the Justice of Allah would be meaningless without the affirmation of the freedom of the will of man and the affirmation that he creates his actions and that he is capable of doing or refraining from doing; thus if he does (an action) voluntarily or refrains from doing (it) voluntarily, his punishment or reward will be understandable and just. But if Allah creates man and compels him to act in a certain way by compelling the obedient toward obedience and the disobedient toward disobediecne and then punishes this and rewards that, this would not be just in the least. Thus they drew analogy between the unseen and the seen, comparing Allah the Exalted to man. They subjected the laws of this world to Allah the Exalted precisely as a group of the Greek philosophers had done. Thus they obligated justice upon Allah, as it were envisaged by man.

The origin of the discussion is the punishment and reward from Allah for the servant’s action. This is the subject matter of the discussion which was given the name ‘al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar’ or as ‘al-jabr wa ‘l-ikhtiyār’ or ‘hurriyat al-irādah’. Their approach in to the discussion was that of Greek philosophers: they discussed volition [irādah] and the creation of acts. On the issue of volition, they said: we see that one who wills good is himself good and the one who wills evil is evil, the one who wills justice is just and one who wills injustice is unjust. Thus if the Will of Allah were associated to all good and evil in the world, good and evil would be willed by Allah the Exalted, and thus the one who willed would merit the description of good and evil, just and unjust, and this is an impossibility with regard to Allah the Exalted. They also said that if Allah had Willed the kufr of the kāfir and the disobedience of the disobedient, he would not have prohibited them from kufr and disobedience, and how can it be thinkable that Allah willed for Abu Lahab that he be a kāfir and then ordered him to have imān and prohibited him from kufr? If any one of the creation did this, he certainly would be (deemed) foolish; Exalted is Allah high above such. Further, if the kufr of a kāfir and the disobedience of the disobedient were Willed by Allah, they would not be deserving of punishment; their acts would be in obedience to his Will…

Thus did they proceed with logical propositions, and then they followed this up with textual proofs from the Noble Quran, citing the saying of Allah the Exalted,

“And Allah does not wish injustice for His Servants” (Ghāfir: 31), and His saying,

“Those who associate partners with Allah will say: ‘If Allah had willed, we whould not have associated partners with Him, nor would our fathers; nor would we have forbidden aught.’ Thus did those before them reject…” (al-An’ām: 148), and His saying,

“Say: ‘Then Allah's is the conclusive argument; had He Willed, He would certainly have guided you all” (al-An’ām: 149), and

يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ..
“Allah intends for you facility; He does not intend for you difficulty” (al-Baqarah: 185) and His saying,

“He likes not ingratitude from His Servants” (al-Zumar: 7).

They interpreted away the ayāt that contradict their viewpoint, for example the saying of Allah the Exalted,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ •
“As to those who reject, it is the same to them whether you warn them or you do not warn them; they will not believe” (al-Baqarah: 6), and His saying,

خَتَمَ اللّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهمْ وَعَلَى سَمْعِهِمْ وَعَلَى أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ..
“Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing; and on their eyes is a veil” (al-Baqarah: 7), and His saying,

“Nay Allah has set the seal on their hearts for their blasphemy” (al-Nisā’: 155).

They concluded from this the opinion that they held and advocated, namely their well-known view that man has the freedom of will to do an act or refrain from it. Thus if he acts, it is according to his will and if he refrains, it is also according to his will. As for the issue of the creation of acts, the Mu’tazilah said that the acts of the servants are created by them and are of their own doing not of Allah’s; it is in their power to do these acts or refrain from them without any intervention of the power of Allah. The proof of this is the difference which man feels between the voluntary and the involuntary movement, such as the movement of a person who voluntarily moves his hand and the movement of a trembling person, and such as the difference between the movement of someone going up a lighthouse and another falling from it. Thus the voluntary movement is in the power of man: it is he who creates it; but he has no role in the involuntary movement. Also, if man was not the creator of his acts, the taklīf (obligation to comply with the Sharī’a) would certainly be invalidated, since if he was not capable of acting or refraining from acting, it would not be rational to ask him to act or to refrain from acting, and this would not have been the subject of praise, reproach, reward or punishment. Thus did they proceed with the proof of this opinion of theirs via logical propositions, and then they annexed to this textual proofs, citing many ayāt, like the saying of Allah the Exalted,

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ..
“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: ‘This is from Allah’” (al-Baqarah: 79), and His saying,

“Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves” (al-Ra’d: 11), and His saying,

“Whoever works evil, will be requited accordingly” (al-Nisā’: 123), and His saying,

“The Day every soul shall be requited for what it earned” (Ghāfir: 17), and His saying,

“He says: ‘O my Lord! Send me back, so that I may work righteousness” (al-Mu’minūn: 99-100).

They interpreted away the ayāt which contradicted this opinion of theirs, like the saying of Allah the Exalted,

“And Allah has created you and your handiwork!” (al-Sāāfāt: 96), and His saying,

“Allah is the Creator of all things” (al-Zumar: 62).

They concluded with the opinion which they held regarding the issue of the creation of acts, namely the view that man creates his own actions by himself and that is capable of doing an act or refraining from it. In pursuance of the methodology of inquiry of the Mutakallimīn in discussing the issue as well as its offshoots, one of the offshoots of the issue of the creation of acts was the issue of causality [tawlad]. After the Mu’tazilah had determined that the acts of man are created by him, a questiond arose from this: what about the acts that result from his action? Are they created by him as well? Or are they created by Allah? For example the pain felt by a person who has been hit, the taste that a thing comes to have as a result of the action of man, the cutting that occurs from a knife, pleasure, health, lust, heat, cold, humidity, solidity, cowardice, courage, hunger, satisfaction, etc. They said that all these are part of the action of man because it is man who causes them when he performs his acts. Thus they are ensuing from his act and as a result are created by him.

This is the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar and the view of the Mu’tazilah regarding it. The essence of it is that it is the issue of the volition of the act of the servant and the attributes that occur in things as a result of the action of man. The essence of their view is that the servant has free will in all of his acts and that it is he who creates his acts and the attributes that occur in things as a result of his action.

This view of the Mu’tazilah provoked the Muslims and it was a view unfamiliar to them; it was an presumptuous/impudent (?) view in the prime basis of the deen, namely, the aqeedah. Thus they addressed themselves to refute it. A group called the Jabriyyah emerged; among the most famous of them was al-Jahm ibn Safwān. They said: man is compelled and he does not have free will, nor does he have the capability of creating his acts; he is just like a feather in the wind or like a piece of wood floating upon waves. Indeed, Allah creates the actions upon the hands of man. They said: if we say that man is the creator of his own acts, what follows is the limiting of Allah’s capability and (the implication) that it does not cover all things: that the servant is a partner of Allah’s in the formation of what is in this world. A single thing cannot be effected by two capabilities. If the capability of Allah created it, then man has no role in it, and if the capability of man created it then Allah has no role in it. It is impossible that part of it the result of the capability of Allah and another part is the result of the capability of the servant. Thus Allah is the Creator of the act of the servant, and it is according to His will that man performs an act. They opined that the acts of the servants occur only through Allah’s capability and that the servant has no influence whatsoever in it; man is merely the subject of what Allah conducts at his hands, he is compelled absolutely. He and the inanimates are equals, differing only in appearance. Thus did they proceed in the proof of their view, citing ayāt of the Quran to support it, like the saying of Allah the Exalted,

“And you will not, except as Allah Wills.” (al-Insān: 30), and His saying,

“You threw not, when you did threw, but it was Allah who threw” (al-Anfāl: 17), and His saying,

“You do not guide whom you love (O Muhammad), but Allah guides whom He Wills” (al-Qasas: 56), and His saying,

“And Allah has created you and your handiwork!” (al-Sāāfāt: 96), and His saying,

“Allah is the Creator of all things” (al-Zumar: 62).

They would interpret away the ayāt indicating the free will of the servant and his creation of acts. Accordingly, they said that the attributes of things that result from the action of the servant such as pleasure, hunger, courage, cutting and burning etc. are from Allah the Exalted.

Ahl ul-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah (also) emerged and addressed themselves to refute the Mu’tazilah. Ahl ul-Sunnah said that the acts of the servants are all by the Will and Volition of Allah. Will and volition, they said, mean the same thing, namely, an eternal attribute of al-Hayy [the Alive, i.e. Allah], which dictates the opting for the occurrence of one of two practicables at one specific time while the capability is uniform with regard to all. The acts of the servants are according to his ruling [hukm] - when He Wills something He says ‘Be!’ and it is – and His qadiyyah, that is, His qadā’, which is a denotation of the act plus conditions; Allah the Exalted says,

“So He completed [qadā] them as seven firmaments” (Fussilat: 12),

“Your Lord has decreed [qadā]” (al-Isrā’: 23); the intent of qadā’ here being the subject affected by the qadā’ not an attribute from amongst the attributes of Allah. The act of the servant is according to the arrangement [taqdīr] of Allah: the characterisation of every created entity with its own specification as regards goodness, badness, usefulness, harmfulness and the time and place that contain it, and the consequent punishment and reward. The intention here is to affirm the generality of the Will and Capability of Allah because all (things) are created by Allah. (This dictates the Capability and the Will (of Allah) for no compulsion or imposition.) They said: if it is said that according to your view a kāfir is compelled in his kufr and a fāsiq is compelled in his fisq and thus there obligation to have imān and be obedient would not be valid, our reply is that Allah the Exalted wanted from them kufr and fisq according to their own volition, thus there is no compulsion; this is just as the Exalted foreknew their voluntary kufr and fisq, thus the incumbency of the impossible does not follow. About the acts of the servants, they said in response to the Mu’tazilah and the Jabriyyah: the servants have voluntary acts for which they are rewarded in the case of obedience and are punished in the case of disobedience. They exaplained how they termed it voluntary whislt holding that Allah is the sole creator and effecter of acts; thus they said: the creator of the act of the servant is Allah the Exalted. The capability and will of the servant have a role in certain acts, such as the movement of striking, but not in others, such as the movement of (involuntary) trembling; Allah is the Creator of all things; the servant is an acquirer [kāsib]. They clairifed this and said: the directing by the servant of his capability and will to the act is acquisition [kasb] and the effecting by Allah of the act thereafter is creation. The same accomplishment is under the two capabilities but in two different directions. The act is accomplished by Allah in the direction of effecting and accomplished by the servant in the direction of acquisition. In other words, Allah the Exalted has consistently created the act upon the capability and willing of the servant but not through the servant’s capability and will; this combination is acquisition. The evidenced their view with the same ayāt that the Jabriyyah cited to prove Allah’s creation of acts and His willing of them, and they evidenced acquisition by the servant by the saying of Allah the Exalted,

“As a reward for what they used to do (of good deeds).” (al-Sajdah: 17), and His saying,

“Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it)” (al-Kahf: 29), and His saying,

لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ..
“Its is what it earns, and upon it is what it earns.” (al-Baqarah: 286).

They considered themselves as having repudiated the views of the Mu’tazilah and the Jabriyyah. In reality their view and that of the Jabriyyah is one and the same. Their notion of acquisition was a complete debacle. It is neither in accordance with the intellect since there is no rational proof for it, nor is it in accordance with the texts since there is no textual proof for it among the shar’i texts. It is no more that a failed attempt to reconcile the views of the Mu’tazilah and the Jabriyyah.

In summation, the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar was a major issue amongst the Mutakallimīn, and all of them focused their inquiry on the act of the servant and the attributes resulting therefrom, that is, the attributes which the servant effects in things as result of his actions. Their basis for the inquiry was the act of the servant and the attributes which he effects as result of his action: is it Allah who created both (the act and the attributes) or it the servant, and does this occur via the will of Allah or via the will of the servant? The cause which gave rise to this inquiry is the taking by the Mu’tazilah of this issue from Greek philosophy with its name and referent ‘al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar’ or ‘al-jabr wa ‘l-ikhtiyār’ or ‘hurriyat al-irādah’, and their discussion of it from a perspective that they deemed consistent with the attribute that neccisitated upon Allah the Exalted of justice. This led to the emergence of the Jabriyyah and Ahl ul-Sunnah to refute the views of the Mu’tazilah, which they did according to the same precepts and on the same basis. All of them discussed the issue from the perspective of the attributes of Allah not from the perspective of the subject alone. They applied the Will of Allah and His Capability to the act of the servant and to the attributes which the servant effects in things; their subject of inquiry became: are these through the capability and will of Allah or are they via the capability and will of the servant?

Al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is, thus, the acts of the servant and the attributes of things which man effects in things as a result of his action. Thus qadā’ is the acts of the servants and qadar is the attributes of things. The fact that the qadā’ is the acts of the servants is evident from their discussion and divergence with regards to it, that is, their saying that the servant carries out the act through his own capability and will, and the saying of those who refuted them that the act is effected through the capability and will of Allah, not the capability and will of the servant, and the saying of those who refuted both groups that the act of the servant is effected through the creation of the act by Allah at the time of the capability and will of the servant for the act, not by means of the capability and will of the servant. This indicate that the meaning of qadā’ is the acts of the servants. The fact the qadar is the attributes effected by the servant in things is evident from their discussion and divergence with regards to it: when they discussed what results from the acts of the servant, they discussed the attributes that he effects; thus they said: if we add starch to sugar and cook the twain, pudding results: is the taste and the colour of pudding of our creation or is it of the creation of Allah? Is the exiting of the rūh upon slaughter, the movement of a stone upon pushing, our vision upon opening our eyes, the breakage of a leg upon falling down and it health upon healing etc.: are all these of our creation or of the creation of Allah?

This discussion is a discussion of the attributes, a fact also indicated by their divergence regarding the resultants. Bishr ibn al-Mu’tamir, the chief of the Mutakallimīn of Baghdad, said, whatever results from our action is of our own creation. Thus if I opened the eye of a person and he saw a thing, then his sighting of the thing is my action because it is resultant from my action. Also the colour of the foodstuffs that we make and their taste and aroma are our actions. Similarly, pain, pleasure, health, lust, etc. are all from the action of man. Abu al-Hudhayl al-‘Allāf, one of the prominent Mu’atazilah, said, there is a difference between resultants: every thing that results from the action of man and whose process is known is from his action; otherwise it is not. Thus the pain which results from beating and the ascent of a stone when thrown upwards and the descent of it when thrown downwards, and the like are from the action of man. But colours, flavours, heat, coldness, humidity, hardness, cowardice, courage, hunger and satisfaction are all from the actions of Allah. Al-Nadhām said that what man does is only the movement and thus whatever is not a movement is not from his action. Man does not perform movement except in himself; he does not perform it in others. Thus if one moved his hand this would be his action, but if he threw a stone and it went upwards or downwards, the movement of the stone it not from the action of man but from the action of Allah, which means that He made it intrinsic in the stone to move if pushed by someone, and so forth. Thus the formation of colours, flavours, odours, pain and pleasure are not from the action of man because they are not movements. Thus this divergence with regards to the issue of causality indicates that in reality it the controversy is regarding the attributes of things: are they from the action of man or are they from Allah?

The discussion thus and the controversy in this discussion is indeed in the attributes effected by man in things. Thus was the discussion carried out on one and the same topic and according to the same precepts by all of the Mutakallimīn. Due to the fact that the discussion on the resultants from actions, that is, on the attributes effected in things by man, was branchial, being built on the discussion of the acts of the servant; it was marginal in the controversy between the Mu’tazilah, Ahl ul-Sunnah and the Jabriyyah. The discussion over the act of the servant was predominant amongst the Mutakallimīn. Debate and discussion were focused on it more than they were on the attributes. Since al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is one name of one referent, albeit a composite of two words which are amalgamated, one of them being a subordinate of the other, the discussion of the al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar later on focused more on the acts of the servant than it did on the attributes effected by man. The discussion on al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar continued and each came to understand it in a way different from the others. After the key scholars of the Mu’tazilah and the key scholars Ahl ul-Sunaah came their disciples and their followers; the discussion continued and was renewed in every era. Due to the diminution of the Mu’tazilah and the dominance of Ahl ul-Sunnah, the debate tilted to the views of Ahl ul-Sunnah. Debaters, who disagreed over al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar, continued to ascribe to it conceived meanings of their own, and to attempt to apply to it linguistic or shar’i terminology. Thus some of them said that al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is one of the secrets of Allah that no one knows (its true meaning); others said that discussing al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar was absolutely impermissible because the Messenger prohibited this, evidencing this with the hadīth, “If qadar is mentioned, leave it”; others came to differentiate between al-qadā’ and al-qadar: they said that al-qadā’ was the general rulings in the general and the al-qadar was the specific rulings in the particulars and their details. Others said that al-qadā’ was the planning and al-qadar was the execution; according to this view Allah plans the act, that is, He draws it up, produces it design and thus proportions the act with is attributes, and this is al-qadar; He the Exalted then executes the act and accomplishes it, and this is al-qadā’. Some others said that the meaning of qadar is taqdīr and the meaning of al-qadā’ is creation. Some considered the two words inseparable and said al-qadā’ and al-qadar are two associated matters which are inseparable because one of them represents the basis, namely the qadar and the other represents the building, namely the qadā’; anyone who seeks to separate them, in doing so seeks to cause the downfall of the building. Some others differentiated between them and said that al-qadā’ was one thing and al-qadar was another.

Thus the discussion continued on the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar as a specific entity, whether be it amongst those who treated them as separate or those who held them to be inseparable. Yet it had only one referent for all of them, irrespective of the interpretation of it, namely, the act of the servant with regard to its creation: is it created by Allah or is it created by the servant, or is it created by Allah at the same time the servant performs it? The discussion crystallised and focused on this referent and continued according to the same precepts. After this discussion began, the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar came to be classified as a topic of aqeedah. It was made as a sixth matter of aqeedah because it dealt with an issue pertaining to Allah, with regard to His Creation of the acts and His Creation of the attributes of things, irrespective of whether the act or the attributes are good or evil.

It thus becomes evident that al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar considered as one term referring to one referent, or in their own words considered as ‘two concomitant matters’, never existed in the discussions of the Muslims except after the emergence of the Mutakallimin. It also becomes evident that there are only two viewpoints in this regard, that is, concerning al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar: first, freedom of choice, which is the viewpoint of the Mu’tazilah, and second, compulsion, which is the viewpoint of the Jabriyyah and Ahl-us-Sunnah, with the difference between them being only is the use of different cocnpetions and words. The Muslims settled on these two views and were diverted from the position of the Quran and the Hadīth and what the Sahābah understood from these, to a discussion of a new term: ‘al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar’ or ‘al-jabr wa ‘l-ikhtiyār’ or ‘hurriyat al-irādah’ and to a new referent: are the actions created by the servant and according to his will or are they created by Allah and according to His Will? Are the attributes that man effects in things from the action of the servant and his will or are they from Allah the Exalted? After the presence of this discussion, the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar came to be included under the realm of aqeedah and was made the sixth matter of aqeedah.

Al-Qadr

The phrase al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar which the mutakallimīn used as the name for a referrent they adopted from the Greek philosophy, had not before them been used for this meaning, neither linguistically nor by the shar’. In order to see to extent to which the linguistic and shar’i meaning of al-qadar and al-qadā’ differs from the one given (to these words) by the mutakallimīn, we return to their meaning, as found in the Arab tongue and the shar’i texts.

The word al-qadar came in many meanings. Lingusitically it is said, he considered [qadara] the matter and assessed [qaddara] it; and, he compared one thing to the other and made the it (the first) upon the measure [miqdār] of it (the second); and it is said, he set [qadara] the thing qadāratan, meaning he prepared it and scheduled it. Qadara ‘l-amr: he looked at the matter, arranged it and measured it. Qadran Allah: His Majesty. Qadar Allahu alayhi/lahu ‘l-amr: He, the Exalted, decreed [qadā’] and judged [hakama]. And it is said, upon him is the division [qadr] of the provision; and, He made it tight/constricted [qaddara] upon his family. Qadara ‘l-rajul: the man thougt over his matter in sorting it out and arranging it; and in the hadīth “And if it (the crescent) is concealed from you, then determine [aqdirū] it,” that is, complete 30 days.

The word qadar came in the Noble Quran in many meanings. Allah the Exalted says

وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَراً مَّقْدُوراً•
“And the command of Allah is a decree [qadarā] determined [maqdūrā]” (al-Ahzāb: 38), that is, it is an irrecovable matter or definitive inescapable decree; and He says:

فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَه..
“…then straitens [qadara] to him his means of subsistence” (al-Fajr: 16), that is, then constricts upon him his means of provision; and He says:

ْتَقَى الْمَاء عَلَى أَمْرٍ قَدْ قُدِرَ•
“So the water met (and rose) to the extent that had been decreed [qudir]” (al-Qamar: 12), that is, it rose to the level Allah had decreed in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh, that is, He Wrote it, namely, the destruction of the people of Nuh by the flood. He the Exalted says:

وَقَدَّرَ فِيهَا أَقْوَاتَهَا..
“And He measured [qaddara] its sutenance” (Fussilat: 10), that is, He made in therein (the Earth) the growing of the inhabitants provisions, that is, the attribute of growing the provisions. He says:

إِنَّهُ فَكَّرَ وَقَدَّرَ•
“He thought and he determined [qaddara]” [al-Muddathir: 18], that is, he thought of what he would say about the Quran and determined in himself what he would say and arranged it. He the Exalted says:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّى •وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَى•
“Who has created and given order and proportion, Who has measured [qaddara] and guided” (al-‘A’la: 2-3}], that is, He Created everything and proportioned it, and determined for every living thing the way to its well-being and guided it to this and made it known to it the way to achieve this, that is, He made in every living thing, man and animal, needs requiring satisfaction and He guided them to the proper satisfaction of their needs. And He says:

وَقَدَّرْنَا فِيهَا السَّيْرَ•
“And between them We had appointed stages of journey in due proportion” (Saba: 18), that is, We made in it easiness in journey and made it safe. He says:

قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْراً•
“Verily, for all things Allah has appointed a due proportion [qadra]” (al-Talaq: 3), that is, a proper proportion and planned timing; and He the Exalted says:

إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَاهُ بِقَدَرٍ•
“Verily, everything We have created in proportion and measure [qadar]” (al-Qamar: 49), that is, with due estimation [taqdīr]; and He says:

إِلَى قَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ•
“For a period [qadar] determined” (al-Mursalāt: 22), that is, for a determined time; and He says:

نَحْنُ قَدَّرْنَا بَيْنَكُمُ الْمَوْتَ•
“We have ordained [qadarna] death amongst you” (al-Wāqi’ah: 60), that is, We made the determination of death amongst you with difference and disparity, so your lives (ages) differ in being short, medium and long. He the Exalted says:

وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ إِلاَّ بِقَدَرٍ مَّعْلُوم •
“We only send down thereof in due [qadar] and ascertainable measure” (al-Hijr: 21), that is, with known measure. He says:

قَدَّرْنَا إِنَّهَا لَمِنَ الْغَابِرِين•
“We ascertained [qadarna] that she will be among those who lag behind” (al-Hijr: 60), that is, Our decree was that she would be of those who lag behind; and He says:

ثُمَّ جِئْتَ عَلَى قَدَرٍ يَا مُوسَى•
“Then you did come here at the time ordained, O Mūsā” (Ta Ha: 40), that is, you came at a specific time I set for that (coming).

The word qadar came in the Hadīth with the meaning of the Knowledge of Allah and His Determination [taqdīr]. From Abu Hurairah that he said, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “A woman should not seek divorce of her sister to terminate her page and in order that she be married (instead), for hers is what has been ordained [quddira] for her”, extracted by Bukhari; that is, that which Allah has ordained in Lawh al-Mahfūdh, that is, that which He has decreed and knew of; this being of similar meaning is similar to His saying:

عَلَى أَمْرٍ قَدْ قُدِرَ•
“… to the extent that had been decreed [qudir]” (al-Qamar: 12), that is, decreed in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh. From Abu Hurairah from the Prophet (saw) that he said, “The nadhr [solemn pledge] will not bring the son of Adam anything that I had not already decreed [qadartuhu], but the qadar lays it out (the nadhr) for him and I had already decreed it for him, by which I extract from the miserly,” extracted by Bukhari; that is, the nadhr does not bring son of Adam anything that Allah did not already decree and record in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh, that is, in His knowledge, rather He extracts from the stingy by the nadhr. Here, ‘I had decreed it [qadartuhu]’ means I had decided it and knew of it; and the qadar here is the determination [taqdīr] of Allah and His Knowledge.

Al-Bukhari relates from the way of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said “Adam argued with Mūsā. Mūsā said: Are you Adam, the one who brought your offspring out of Jannah? Adam said: Are you Mūsā, the one whom Allah chose for His Messages and Speech? Yet you blame me for a matter which had been decreed [quddir] for me before I was born. Thus Adam convinced Mūsā.” That is, it was written for me, meaning, Allah knew of it, that is, it was upon the determination of Allah’s Judgment.

Tawūs said, I heard Abdullah ibn Umar saying, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said “Everything is with qadar, even inability and intelligence, or intelligence and inability,” extracted by Muslim; that is, everything is according to the determination [taqdīr] of Allah and His Knowledge, that is, He has written that in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh.

The phrase ‘the qadar of Allah’ has come in the speech of the Sahabah with the meaning of the taqdīr of Allah and His Knowledge. From Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas that, “Umar ibn al-Khattāb left for al-Sham, until he reached Sawgh where he met the leaders of the armies, Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah and his companions who informed him that plague had befallen the land of al-Sham. Ibn ‘Abbas said, Umar ibn al-Khattāb said, ‘Call for me the first Muhājirīn’. So they called them, he consulted them and informed them about the plague that that befallen al-Sham, but they differed. Some of them said, you went out for a matter and we do not think you should change your mind about it. Some others said, you have with you some people and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and we do not think that you should expose them to this plague. Umar said ‘Withdraw from me’. He then said, ‘Call for me the Ansār’, so they called them, he consulted them, and they took the path of the Muhājirīn, so they differed like them. He said: ‘Withdraw from me.’ Then he said, ’Call for me whoever present here of the leaders of Quraish who are of the Muhajireen of the Conquest’, so they called them and even two men of them did not differ in their opinion to him. They all said, ‘We think that you should turn back together with the people who are with you and not expose them to this plague.’ Thus Umar announced to the people, ‘I will be riding (back) in the morning, so you do the same’. Abu Ubaydah then said, ‘(Are you) fleeing from the qadar of Allah?’ Umar replied, ‘Had someone else said that O Abu Ubaydah; Yes, we are fleeing from the qadar of Allah to the qadar of Allah. What do you think if you had camels and you descended a valley that has two slopes (sides), one of them is fertile and the other barren. Is it not true that if you grazed (in) the fertile one you would do so with the qadar of Allah, and if you grazed (in) the barren one you would so that with the qadar of Allah.” The qadar of Allah here means the determination and the knowledge of Allah, that is, if you grazed (in) the fertile you did what Allah had decreed in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh and what He did know. Similarly if you grazed in the barren one you did what Allah decreed in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh and what He did know.

It it clear from all this that the word ‘qadar’ is a homonym [mushtarak] having many meanings, of which include determination [taqdīr], knowledge ['ilm], arrangement [tadbīr], time [waqt], preparation [tahī'ah] and making an attribute in a thing. Yet despite these various meanings, qadar did not come in them with the meaning that that the servant does the action by compulsion; nor did it come with the meaning that it is the collective judgement in the partial matters and the details; nor did it come with the meaning that it is one of the secrets of Allah. Therefore, the word ‘qadar’ has linguistic meanings and the Quran used it with these meanings. The Hadīth used it with the meanings used in the Quran. There is no difference in the meanings between those used in the Quran and those used in the Hadīth. These are linguist meanings for a term, so the intellect has a no role in that. If there are no shar’i meanings, neither in a verse nor in a hadīth, other than these meanings, then it should not be said that a conventional meaning is the shar’i meaning.

It is clear from all of these meanings that came in the verses that they do not mean the qadar over which the mutakallimūn differed, and that purport of the meanings which came in the ahadīth is the determination [taqdīr] of Allah and His Knowledge, that is, His Writing in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh, and they have no connection with the subject of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar which the mutakallimūn brought up for discussion. As for what what al-Tabarani extracted with a good [hasan] chain from the hadīth of Ibn Mas'ūd who reported it without mentioning the reference to the Messenger of Allah (saw) [marfū']: “If the qadar is mentioned leave it”, that is, if the Knowlegde of Allah or His Determination for things then do not involve (in discussion) in it, because the fact that the Determination for thing is from Allah means that He Recorded them in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh, that is, He knew them. The fact that Allah is Knowing of them is one of the attributes of Allah in which īmān is obligatory. So the meaning of the hadīth is that if it was mentioned that Allah is the One who Determined the things and He knew them, that is, He recorded them in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh, then do not involve yourself in discussing that, rather abstain from that and submit to it.

Similarly, what was reported from Tawūs that, “I reached some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (saw) saying, everything is with qadar.” Its meaning is that (everything) is with the Determination of Allah, that is, with knowledge from Him. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said “…If anything befalls you do not say, ‘Had I done (this), it would have been such-and-such, but rather say, ‘Allah determined [qaddara] and He did what He Willed,’”, extracted by Muslim from the way of Abu Hurayra, and its meaning is that Allah Wrote in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh, that is, He Knew. All of these matters are related to the attributes of Allah, and that He knows the things before they happen, and they occur with qadar from him, that is, with His knowledge. All of this has nothing to do with the subject of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar.


Al-Qadā’

It is said in the (Arabic) language qadā, yaqdī, qadā’an al-shay’, meaning he perfected the thing with precision and determination; and it is said he judged [qadā] between two disputants, meaning he ruled and decided between them; al-‘amru amdāhu: the matter, he executed/accomplished it. The word al-qadā’ has come in the ayāt of the Qur'an in numerous places. Allah the Exalted says:

وَإِذَا قَضَى أَمْراً فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ•
“When He decrees [qadā] a matter, He only says to it: ‘Be!’ and it is” (al-Baqarah: 117), that is, when He decides a matter it come into existence without any prevention or delay; and He the Exalted said:

“He it is Who has created you from clay, and then has decreed [qadā] a term (for you)” (al-An’ām: 2), that is, He has made for this creation which He Created from clay a lifespan [ajāl] between its coming to being and its termination. He the Exalted said:

“And your Lord has decreed [qadā] that you worship none but Him” (al-Isrā’: 23), that is, He commanded a definitive command that you should not worship anyone other than Him; and He said:

“It is not for a believer, man or women, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed [qadā] a matter that they should have an option in their decision” (al-Ahzāb: 36), that is, He ordered with an order and judged with a judgement; and he the Exalted said:

“Then He completed and finished [qadā] from their creation (as) seven heavens” (Fussilat: 12), that is, then made the heaven with the judgement/condition [ihkām] with regards to its nature that it be seven heavens. He said:

“But (you met) that Allah might accomplish [yaqdi] a matter already ordained” (al-Anfāl: 42), that is, that He may accomplish a matter which necessarily had to be done; and He the Exalted said:

وَقُضِيَ الأَمْر..
“And the matter has (already) been decided [qudiya]” (al-Baqarah: 210) that is, He completed the matter, namely, the matter of their destruction and annihilation, and He has brought it to an end; and He said:

“That a term appointed be fulfilled [yuqdā]” (al-An’ām: 60), that is, that the ajāl which He has designated for resurrecting the dead and for the accounting of their deeds be completed. He the Exalted said:

“Say: If what ye would see hastened were in my power, the matter would be settled [qudiya] at once between me and you” (al-An’ām: 58); that is, the matter would have been finished and I would have destroyed you instantly; and He said:

“And it is matter decreed [maqdiyya]” (Maryam: 21); that is, it was a matter decided by Allah and a judgment which had already been commanded to exist, that is, an action which will occur from you by compulsion because it is from the qadā’ [decree] of Allah. He the Exalted said:

“This is with your Lord a Decree which must be accomplished [hatman maqdiyya]” (Maryam: 71). Al-Hatm is a verbal noun. He made it an inevitable matter [hatama] when He obligated it and when He decreed by it, that is, their passing over it (the Fire) is obligated upon, He obliged such upon Himself and judged by it.

Therefore the word qadā’ is a homonym [mushtarak] having many meanings, including: he made the thing with precision; he executed the matter and made the thing; he ordered with an order and he completed the matter; he he made the existence of a matter inevitable and he settled the matter; he finished the matter and he judged with a matter; he ordered a matter to definitely take place.

Despite the multiplicity of meanings it did not come in them that al-qadā’ is the judgement of Allah on the kulliyāt only, just as it did not come that al-qadar is Allah's judgement on the juz'iyāt. Therefore, the word qadā’ has linguistic meanings which the Qur'an used in these meanings and there is no disagreement here about the meanings that have come. These meanings are linguistic, the mind has nothing to do with them. If ‘al-qadā’’ has a shar’i meaning then this meaning must have come in a hadīth or ayāh for it to be said that this meaning is a shar’i meaning, yet no other meanings than these have come. Therefore the purport of ‘al-qadā’’ that has come in the ayāt is not the subject of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar over which the Mutakallimūn differed. These verses have nothing to do with the inquiry of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar just as the ayāt and ahadīth which contain the meaning of al-qadar have nothing to do with the study of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. These ayāt and ahadīth speak of the attributes of Allah and the actions of Allah but al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar inquires into the action of the servant. The inquriy of these ayāt is shar’i and their meanings are linguistic but the inquiry of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar with the mutakallimūn was rational. These ayāt and ahadīth are explained by their linguistic or shar’i meaning, whilst the inquiry of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is a technical [istilāhī] meaning given by the Mutakallimūn.


Al-Qadā’ wa ‘l-Qadar

Al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar, with this name, that is, by connecting two words together for one meaning, has a specific referent; that is, al-qadā’ linked to al-qadar, by making them two concomitant matters whereby one is not separable from the other, has a specific indication/meaning. It is not correct to include in it other than this meaning which has not been used by the Sahabah or the Tabi’een. By studying the shar’i and linguistic texts and studying the sayings of the Sahabah, Tabi’een and those who came after them from the Ulama’, it is apparent that the terms al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar together, have not been used with a specific technical [istilāhī] meaning by any of the Sahabah or Tabi’een, nor have they come together with a specific technical meaning in the Qur'an or the Hadīth; though they have come together in their linguistic meaning in what al-Bazzār extracted from the hadīth of Jabir with a hasan chain on the authority of the Prophet (saw) that he said: “Most of my Ummah die after the qadā’ of Allaah and his qadar with the souls [anfūs].” Therefore this technical designation which alludes to this meaning is not found except after the Mutakallimūn, after the first century had passed and after the translation of Greek philosophy. It did not exist in the time of the Sahabah and nor was there any dispute or discussion of those two terms as one name for a specific technical meaning.

Throughout the era of the Sahabah the Muslims did not know of ‘al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar’ though the word qadā’ had come on its own and the word qadar had come on its own in the ahadīth just as the two had come together in the aforementioned hadīth of Jabir, but in all of these cases they had come in the linguistic meaning. They have not come in the technical meaning. The word qadā’ has come in the hadīth of al-qunut. Al-Hasan said, the Messenger of Allah (saw) taught me words I say in the qunut of the witr, then he mentioned the du’a of qunut, of which is, “...and save me from what You have decreed, for You are the one Who Decrees and you are not decreed upon,” extracted by al-Darimi from the way of al-Hasan ibn Ali; its meaning is, protect me from the evil of what you have judged, for You judge what You wish and no one judges over You. The word qadar has come in the hadīth of Jibrīl in some of its narrations: he (saw) said, “and to believe in al-qadar, the good and the bad thereof”, extracted by Muslim from the way of Umar ibn al-Khattab, and in his (saw) saying “…If anything befalls you do not say, ‘Had I done (this), it would have been such-and-such, but rather say, ‘Allah determined [qaddara] and He did what He Willed,’” extracted by Muslim from the way of Abu Hurayra. The meaning of the word qadar in those two ahadīth is the Determination [taqdīr] and Knowledge of Allah, that is, that you should believe that the things have been written by Allah in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh and He knows of them before they come into existence, whether they be good or bad; and say Allah has written this in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh and he knew it before it came into being and what He did what He Willed. The word al-qadā’ in the meaning which it came in this hadīth or anywhere else it came was not disputed by the Muslims, they did not have discussions with regards to its wording or its import.

As for the word qadar in the meaning it came with in those two ahadīth, the Muslims, before the presence of Greek philosophy, did not disagree about it or have discussions with regards to its wording or import. But after the presence of the Greek philosophy amongst the Muslims, a group from Kufa arose and said: there is no qadar, that is, there is no one who (pre)determines [muqaddir] and everything occurs without any previous determination; they were called the Qadariyyah and they are the ones who deny the qadar and say that Allah the Exalted created the fundamentals of things and then left them, so He does not have knowledge of their particulars [juz'iyāt]. This is contrary to what has come in the clear text [nass] of the Qur'an which states that Allah is the Creator of all things, small or big, fundamental or branchial, and that He the Exalted Determined everything before its existence, that is, He wrote it in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh, that is, He knew it before it came to be. He the Exalted said:

“He Created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything” (al-An’ām: 101), and

“And He knows whatever there is in the Earth and in the sea: not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the Earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.” (al-An’ām: 59)

However, this disagreement and discussion is only with respect to the ‘qadar of Allah’ in terms of His Knowledge. So the Qadariyyah claim that Allah knows the fundamentals of things but not their partial aspects, whilstv Islam states that Allah the Exalted knows the fundamentals of things as well as their partial aspects. Thus, the discussion with respect to the qadar of Allah, that is, His Knowledge, is about the subject of Allah's Knowledge. It is a subject different to that of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. It is a different discussion, separate from the discussion of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. Its reality that took place is the same, that is, it is a different subject to that of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar.

Thus, it is plainly apparent that the words al-qadā’ and al-qadar have each come on their own with each having a specific meaning. They do not have any relation with the study of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. In other words, the word al-qadā’ in all its linguistic and shar’i meanings that have come from the Legislator, and the word al-qadar in all its linguistic and shar’i meanings that have come from the Legislator, have no relation to any of these terms, whether mentioned alone or together, in the discussion of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. They are confined with regards to their meaning, to that which they come with of linguistic and shri’ meanings.

The ayāt which have come in demonstrating the Knowledge of Allah are ones that indicate all-encompassing nature of Allah's Knowledge with regards to all things, thus His saying:

“No calamity befalls on the Earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in a Book, before We bring it into existence. Indeed, that, upon Allah, is easy” (al-Hadīd: 22); and His saying,

“Say: ‘Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Mawla.’ Then in Allah let the believers put their trust” (al-Tawba: 51); and His saying,

“Escapes not from His Knowledge even the weight of an atom, in the Heavens or in the Earth, or less than that, or greater, but it is in a Clear Book” (Saba: 3); and His saying,

“It is He, Who takes your souls by night, and (Who) has knowledge of all that you have done by day, then He raises (wakes) you up again that a term appointed be fulfilled, then unto Him will be your return. Then He will inform you what you used to do” (al-An’ām: 60).

These verses were revealed to the Messenger (saw) and memorised and understood by the Sahabah, it did not occur to them to discuss al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. Furthermore, the wording, understanding and indication of these verses states that they are a clarification about the Knowledge of Allah and have no relation to the study of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. Similarly the ayah,

“And if some good reaches them, they say, ‘This is from Allah’, but if some evil befalls them, they say, ‘This is from you’. Say: ‘All things are from Allah’; so what is wrong with these people that they fail to understand any word?’ (al-Nisā’: 78), it has nothing to do with the discussion of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar because it is a refutation of the kuffār who differentiated between bad and good. Thus, they made bad to come from the Messenger (saw) and good from Allah. So Allah refuted them by declaring that everything is from Allah. The discussion is not about the good that a human being does and the evil that he pursues; rather the discussion is about fighting and death. The ayah itself and that which precedes it clarifies this:

“They say: Our Lord! Why have you ordained for us fighting? Would that you have granted us respite for a short period?’ Say: ‘Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is (far) better for him who fears Allah, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly in the least. Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high! And if some good reaches them, they say, ‘This is from Allah,’ but if some evil befalls them, they say, ’This is from you.’ Say: ‘All things are from Allah’, so what is wrong with these people that they fail to understand any word? Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself. And We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allah is sufficient as Witness. He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you as a watcher over them.” (al-Nisā’: 77-80)

So the subject is what afflicts/befalls them and not what they are doing. This it has nothing to do with the inquiry of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar.

Therefore, all that has been mentioned above has nothing to do with the study of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar; they do not come under its meaning and have no relation whatsoever with what has been mentioned above. Rather, al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar as a meaning has come from Greek philosophy which was transmitted by the Mu'tazilah who gave an opinion with regards to it. Ahl al-Sunnah and the Jabriyyah refuted them and Ahl al-Sunnah (also) made a refutation of the Jabriyyah. The discussion was confined to the same meaning and preceded upon the same premise. Thus the issue is a meaning/sense that came from Greek philosophy and it came to the fore in the debate which used to take place between the Muslims and the kuffar who used to be armed with the Greek philosophy. It is a meaning which has a relevance to the 'Aqeedah, thus what is desired is to give Islam's opinion regarding this meaning. The Mu'tazilah gave an opinion and the Jabriyyah refuted them and gave another opinion. Ahl al-Sunnah refuted all of them and gave an opinion, and said about it that it is a third opinion which has come out from the two opinions and they described it as ‘the pure milk, sweet to drink, that comes out from between excrement and blood’.

Therefore, the subject of discussion, which came from the Greek philosophy, became known, and since it is related to the aqeedah, the Muslim must be clear as to what his belief is regarding this subject. The Muslims indeed stated their opinion and they formed three schools. Thus it is not allowed to refer the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar to what has come of the meaning of al-qadā’ or al-qadar, linguistically and in the shari’ah, nor is it allowed to imagine or conceive for al-qadā’ or ‘l-qadar any meaning from mere supposition, conception or imagination, and to say, for example, that al-qadā’ is the universal judgement on only the universals and al-qadar is the universal judgement on the partial aspects and its details, or to say that al-qadar is the eternal plan for things and al-qadā’ is the execution and creation according to that predetermination and plan. Indeed, this is not allowed because this is mere imagination, assumption and a failed attempt of applying certain linguistic and shar’i expressions because they do not apply to it, they rather indicate general meanings; specifying them without a specifying cause would be an arbitrary judgment llakcing evidence.

Similarly, it is not allowed to claim al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is a secret from amongst the secrets of Allah and that we have been forbidden to discuss it, because there is no shar’i text to say that it is one of the secrets of Allah, not to mention the fact that the subject matter is sensorially perceivable, for which an opinion must be given, so how can it be said that it not to be studied?! In addition to the fact that it is a rational inquiry and a subject which relates to matters that are studied by the intellect as a reality that is sensorially-perceivable; and since it relates to the imān in Allah. Thus, al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar, in the meaning placed as the subject matter and which became part of the aqeedah, must be studied.

The referent of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar, or in other words, the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar, is the actions of the servants and the attributes of things. This is because the issue mentioned is the actions of the servant and what arises from these actions, that is, the attributes brought about by the servant in things: are they the creation of Allah? Is He the One Who has created them and brought them into being? Or is it the servant? Is the servant the one who created them and brought them into being? The Mu'tazilah, all of them, said that the servant is the one who creates his own actions: he is the one who creates the action and brings it into being. They differed about the attributes. Some of them said that the servant is the one who creates all of the attributes that are caused by man and he is the one who brings them into existence. Others differentiated between the attributes. Some of these made them as being created in things by the servant and brought into existence by him and part of them made them as being created in things by Allah the Exalted and brought into existence by Him. As for the Jabriyyah, they said that Allah creates all the actions of man as well as all the attributes caused by man in things. He is the one who brings them into existence; the servant has nothing to do with the creation and formation of the action or in causing the attribute in the thing. Ahl al-Sunnah said that the actions of the servant and the attributes caused in things by the servant are created by Allah the Exalted. But they said that Allah creates them when the servant performs the action and when the servant causes the attribute. So Allah the Exalted creates them when the servant has the ability and will and not by his ability and will.

This is the issue - the issue of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar – and this is a summary of the opinions that have been opined about it. Anyone who scrutinises these views must know the basis on which the discussion has been built such that the discussion is on a common basis. Thus the outcome required by the basis of the discussion will result and not just any outcome. The basis of the discussion in al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is not the action of the servant in terms of whether he created the action or Allah created it, nor is it the Will of Allah the Exalted in that His will is conditional on the action of the servant so it must exist with this Will, nor is it the Knowledge of Allah in terms of Him knowing that the servant will do such and such an action or that His Knowledge encompasses the servant, or that this action of the servant is written in the Lawh al-Mahfūdh so he must act according to what has been written. Indeed, the basis of the discussion is definitely none of these things, because they have no relation to the subject from the perspective of reward and punishment; they are related to the question from the perspective of formation from nothing, the connection of the Will to all possibilities, the all-encompassing Knowlegde of all things and the Lawh al-Mahfūdh. This is quite different from the subject of the reward and punishment for an action.The topic of discussion on whose basis the question of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is built is the issue of reward and punishment for an action, that is, is man obliged to perform an action, good or evil, or does he have a choice? And, does man have the choice to perform an action, or does he have no choice? The person who scrutinises the actions of the servants sees that man lives within two spheres: one which he dominates, the sphere that is present within the region of his conduct, and within which his actions happen absolutely by his choice; the other (sphere) dominates him; he exists within its domain, and the actions that occur within it, whether they originate from him or fall upon him, occur without his choice.

Thus, the actions that fall within the sphere that dominates man, man has no choice in them or in their existence; they are of two types: a type which is a requirement of the laws of the universe, and a type not necessitated by the universal laws, even though all the things (that occur) may not emanate from these laws. As for the actions necessitated by the laws of the universe, man submits to them totally; he acts according to them as a matter of compulsion, because he moves with the Universe and Life, which are subjected to a specific regulation, which does not change. Subsequently, man's actions in this sphere occur without his will, he is forced in these actions and has no choice. He had come to this life without his will and he will leave it without his will; he cannot fly merely by the use of his own body, nor can he walk in his natural form on water, nor choose for himself the colour of his eyes, the shape of his head or the size of his body. Indeed, it was Allah the Exalted who created all of this without any influence or relation from the created man, because Allah created the Laws of the Universe, made them regulate the universe and made the universe act according to them without having the ability to change. As for the second type, they are actions which happen beyond man's control, which he cannot avoid and which are not related to the laws of the universe; they are the actions which occur either unintentionally through him or upon him and which he cannot avoid, such as if someone falls on a person and thus kills him, or if someone shoots at a bird and unintentionally hits a person and kills him, or if a car, train or plane should crash, without any ability to avoid the incidents, and as a result the passengers die. All these examples are actions which occurred from a man or upon him - though they are bound by the laws of the universe - they happened without his will and outside his ability to control them, and they are within the sphere that dominates man.

All the actions which occur within the sphere that dominates man are termed qadā, because Allah alone has decreed them, and has not given the servant freedom of will in such actions; he has no choice with regards to them. Therefore man is not reckoned on these actions, whether, with respect to man, there is benefit or harm in them or like or dislike, that is, regardless of whether they are, according to man, good or bad; Allah alone knows the good and bad in these actions, because man has no influence on them; he does not know them or how they are brought into existence, and he is absolutely unable to avoid and bring them about. Therefore this is nor reward or punishment upon them. Thus then is qadā’, and it is thus said that the action happened by qadā’. It is upon man to have imān in this qadā’ and that this qadā’ is from Allah, the Glorified and Exalted.

As for the actions that occur in the sphere that man dominates, it is the sphere in which he proceeds with choice according to the system he chooses, whether it is the shari’ah of Allah or any other. This sphere is the one in which actions carried out by man or involving him occur by his will. Thus he walks, eats, drinks and travels anytime he likes; likewise he refrains from doing any of these things whenever he likes; he also burns with fire and cuts with a knife when he chooses, and he satisfies his instincts of procreation, ownership and hunger as he likes. All this he performs or abstains from by his choice. Therefore, man is accountable on actions which occur within this sphere. Thus, he is rewarded for the action deserving reward and is punished for for the action deserving punishment. These actions have nothing to do with qadā’ nor does it have anything to do with them because man is the one who undertook them with his own will and choice. Therefore, actions of choice do not come under al-qadā’.

As for al-qadar, it relates to the actions, whether they occur in the sphere which man dominates or in the sphere which dominates him, which occur from or on things from the matter of the universe, man and life, and cause an effect, that is, something results from the action; so this thing that man causes in things in terms of attributes, is it created by man or by Allah the Exalted just as He the Exalted has created the things themself. The one who scrutinises this issue will find that these matters which are caused in things are from the attributes of the things, not from the action of man, as evidenced by the fact that man is not able to form them (these effects) except in the things which possess the (relevant) attribute amongst its attributes. As for the things which are do not have the (relevant) attribute amongst their attributes, man is not able to cause in them what he wants. Therefore these matters are not from the actions of man but from the attributes of the things.

Thus, Allah the Exalted has created the things and set [qaddara] in them attributes in a manner that nothing else is possible to come from them except what He has set in them, such as setting in the date pit (the attribute) of growing date palm from it and not apple, and such the human sperm to result in humans and not in any of the animals. Allah has created specific attributes in things, for example, He created in fire the attribute of burning, in wood the attribute of catching fire, and in the knife the attribute of cutting. He made the attributes an essential [lazim] and perpetual part of the objects in accordance with the Laws of the Universe. When it appears that the attributes are no longer present, it means Allah has stripped them off, and such an event would be unusual; it only happens to the prophets as a miracle for them. Likewise, in the manner that Allah created attributes for the objects He created in man instincts and organic needs and, as He created attributes in objects, He created in the instincts and organic needs specific attributes. Hence, in the procreational instinct Allah created the sexual inclination, and in the organic needs He created the attribute of hunger. He made these attributes adhere to them according to the laws of the universe. The particular attributes that Allah the Exlated has created in objects, instincts and organic needs are called al-qadar, because Allah alone created the things, instincts and organic needs and determined in them their attributes. Thus when the sexual desire occurs in man, when he sees upon opening his eyes and when the stone goes up when thrown upwards and down when thrown downward, all of this is not by man’s action, rather it is by the action of Allah; meaning that it is of the nature of the things to be so, that is, Allah created them and created particular attributes in them, thus they (the attributes) are from Allah and are not from man; man has naught to do with them, nor can he effect them in any way. This is al-qadar, and it is thus said that al-qadar in the subject of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is the attributes of the things which man causes in them. It is upon man to have imān in that the one who determined the attributes in these things is Allah the Exalted.

Hence al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar is the actions which occurs in the sphere that dominates man, irrespective of whether they are a requirement of the Laws of the Universe or not, or if they emante from him or fall upon him, and the attributes which causes in the objects. The meaning of imān in al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar, both the good and the bad thereof being from Allah, is (having) imān in that the actions which occur from him or upon him against his will, and he has no power to drive them away, and the attributes which man causes in the object are from Allah and are not from the servant, nor does he have anything to do with them. Thus the actions with regards to which man has a choice are excluded from the subject of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar, because these actions occur from man or upon him by his choice, and because when Allah created man and created the attributes in the objects and in the instincts and the organic needs, and created in man the distinguishing intellect, He gave him the choice to carry out the action, or abstain from it, and He did not oblige him to do or not do it. Nor did He the Exalted make in the attributes of things, or in the instincts and organic needs anything that obliges man to do or to not do the action. Therefore man has the choice to carry out the action or abstain from it by way of the distinguishing mind that Allah bestowed him with, and He made the (sound) intellect the criteria [manāt] of the accountabilty [taklīf]. Therefore He set for man reward for doing good, because his mind chose to carry out the orders of Allah and abstain from his prohibitions, and He also set for him punishment for doing bad, because his mind chose to disobey the the orders of Allah and commit what He had prohibited. So his accounting on such actions is true and just, because man has the choice to carry out the actions and is not compelled to do so; and al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar has nothing to do with this matter, it is a question of the man himself doing his action by choice. Therefore man is accountable for what he earns,

“Every soul is a pledge for what it earns,” (al-Muddathir: 38).

Anonymous said...

as salamu alaykum,

what exactly is the difinition of qada in the issue of qadawalqadr?

is it: "the event that is the will of Allah"

or: "the event that happened to x without his will"

furthermore, u stated that qada is what befalls man, and man being mankind, but in your example you mentioned an individual intentionally shooting another person as being qada on the latter as it happened without his will, and the person who is waiting for a reply for his exam.

Naim said...

As-Salamu alaikum dear brother.

You must correct this statement: "It is important to understand that when we say what is in man’s control and beyond man’s control we mean man as in mankind not an individual man. As something may not be in your control as an individual but is in someone else’s control and therefore cannot be Qada from Allah (swt), an example is if someone swears at you, it is in his control and so is not Qada. Rather it is an action that he will be accounted for."

The statement is clearly wrong and goes against what sheikh Taqidudin (rha) writes when he states: "All the actions which occur within the sphere that dominates man are termed qadā, because Allah alone has decreed them, and has not given the servant freedom of will in such actions; he has no choice with regards to them. Therefore man is not reckoned on these actions, whether, with respect to man, there is benefit or harm in them or like or dislike, that is, regardless of whether they are, according to man, good or bad; Allah alone knows the good and bad in these actions, because man has no influence on them; he does not know them or how they are brought into existence, and he is absolutely unable to avoid and bring them about. Therefore this is nor reward or punishment upon them. Thus then is qadā’, and it is thus said that the action happened by qadā’. It is upon man to have imān in this qadā’ and that this qadā’ is from Allah, the Glorified and Exalted."

The statement from sheikh Taqiudin (rha) is the right one, the other is contradictory and is wrong.

When we say man, we don't mean "man as in mankind", but rather just plain "man".

May Allah (swt) bless us all, our entire Ummah, with knowledge and His (swt) forgiveness.

Your brother in Islam

Naim al-Gharib

Islamic Revival said...

@Naim, jazakallah khair for your comment brother. What you have said is incorrect

The intentional actions of all human beings are not Qada as they are within the sphere which they dominate, it says in Shaksiyyah Islamiyyah volume 1 by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani:
“As for the actions that occur in the sphere that man dominates, it is the sphere in which he proceeds with choice according to the system he chooses, whether it is the shari’ah of Allah or any other. This sphere is the one in which actions carried out by man or involving him occur by his will. Thus he walks, eats, drinks and travels anytime he likes; likewise he refrains from doing any of these things whenever he likes; he also burns with fire and cuts with a knife when he chooses, and he satisfies his instincts of procreation, ownership and hunger as he likes. All this he performs or abstains from by his choice. Therefore, man is accountable on actions which occur within this sphere. Thus, he is rewarded for the action deserving reward and is punished for for the action deserving punishment. These actions have nothing to do with qadā’ nor does it have anything to do with them because man is the one who undertook them with his own will and choice. Therefore, actions of choice do not come under al-qadā’.”

It says in Ad-Doosiyah by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani in the section of Al-Qada wal-Qadr:

“So, if the servant did something and Allah did not prevent him from doing it, and nor did He force him to do it, He rather left him to do it freely, then his undertaking of this action is by the will of Allah (swt), and not in compulsion to Him; and the servant’s undertaking of the action was free; and the will (of Allah) did not compel for action. Therefore, the subject of the will has nothing to do with the voluntary actions. This is because the subject is not whether Allah wanted the action or not; the subject is rather whether the servant undertook the action forcibly or freely. Since it was proved that man undertook the action freely in the voluntary actions, i.e. the actions that fall within the sphere, which he controls, therefore he was not compelled. Accordingly, these actions do not fall within the subject of ‘al-qadaa’ wal-qadar’, in its technical meaning as translated from the Greek philosophy.”

Therefore the intentional actions of people whether related to themselves or others do not come under al-qada, so if someone insulted someone else by his free will – we cannot say this is qada as this would mean that, “ Allah (swt) alone is the one who has predetermined it” and this is clearly not the case. To say that the insult was Qada would mean that the man had no free will to refrain from it and was compelled to do it which is false and is the argument of the Jabriya.

We can say the physical result of the action is Qada. If someone (Man A) intentionally through a stone at someone else (Man B), the result of that stone hitting the second person and the physical effect upon him is not part of the control of either person and is therefore Qada. The intentional action of the first person (Man A) of throwing the stone is not Qada as he undertook it by his free will, however the stone hits the intended target or misses, where it hits him (Man B), what type of effect it has upon him (Man B), whether he is killed by it or not etc are beyond his control – thus this result is Qada. It is beyond the ability of human beings to determine how Allah (swt) predetermined this effect of the stone hitting the individual without having forced Man A to undertake the action, we can see possibilities of how that effect could occur upon Man B by other means such as someone innocently throwing a stone and accidently hitting the person, etc – but we should not speculate how this would have happened as this is in the realm of logic and not ration. Regarding the Qada it says in Shaksiyyah Volume 1: “he does not know them or how they are brought into existence, and he is absolutely unable to avoid and bring them about.”

Naim said...

BarakAllahufik dear brother for your comment.

I misunderstood your previous statement: "an example is if someone swears at you, it is in his control and so is not Qada".

I understood the example as it is not Qada upon the victim.

If Man A swears at me, it is ofcourse not qada upon Man A, but it is qada upon me as a victim since I could not prevent this action from happening.

Islamic Revival said...

Qada in this context means that it is forced upon you by Allah. If a man swears at you from his own free will - this action that he performed is not forced upon him or you therefore it cannot be termed as Qada. You are not legally accountable his action against you but this is different to Qada, although it is important to understand free will to understand legal accountability, just because you are not legally accountable for something does not mean that it is Qada. You are not liable for the actions of everyone apart from yourself in terms of accountability in from of Allah, however this does not mean that everyones actions are forced upon you by Allah. There is no relative Qada i.e. to say qada upon me and not upon him is incorrect - as either something is qada or it is not.

Naim said...

Dear brother you can disregard my last comment as I misread you.

We do indeed agree.

You wrote: "..however [whether] the stone hits the intended target or misses, whether it hits him (Man B), what type of effect it has upon him (Man B), whether he is killed by it or not etc are beyond his control – thus this result is Qada."

This is what I meant too, but failed to convey clearly.

Islamic Revival said...

To the brother who asked, ad doosiya has not published in english

Starz said...

Assalamualaekum, what does the word Mutakallimeen mean - is the word referring to those who used philosophy to counter logical arguments?

Islamic Revival said...

It means Scholastacism - you are right people who tried to discuss issues on the basis of logic even though sincere adopted the wrong basis in discussing creedal issues.

Anonymous said...

what is the clear understanding about these ayahs (seemingly contradictory and confusing)

Whatever misfortune happens to you is because of the things your hands have wrought and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness [surah shura 30]

Whatever benefit comes to you O people, it is by Allah's grace; and whatever loss you suffer, it is the result of your own doings. We have sent you, O Muhammad, as a Rasool to mankind. Allah is your All-Sufficient Witness.[Surah nisa 79]

"This is from Allah;" but if they suffer a loss, they say: "this is because of you." O Muhammad tell them: "Everything is from Allah." What is the matter with these people that they do not understand a word? [surah nisa 49]

Please please reply !

Islamic Revival said...

If you read the chapter from The Islamic Personality Book posted above the matter will become clear, these verses are not about the subject of al-Qada wal qadar there are about other topics, for example it explains:

These verses were revealed to the Messenger (saw) and memorised and understood by the Sahabah, it did not occur to them to discuss al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. Furthermore, the wording, understanding and indication of these verses states that they are a clarification about the Knowledge of Allah and have no relation to the study of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar. Similarly the ayah,

“And if some good reaches them, they say, ‘This is from Allah’, but if some evil befalls them, they say, ‘This is from you’. Say: ‘All things are from Allah’; so what is wrong with these people that they fail to understand any word?’ (al-Nisā’: 78), it has nothing to do with the discussion of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar because it is a refutation of the kuffār who differentiated between bad and good. Thus, they made bad to come from the Messenger (saw) and good from Allah. So Allah refuted them by declaring that everything is from Allah. The discussion is not about the good that a human being does and the evil that he pursues; rather the discussion is about fighting and death. The ayah itself and that which precedes it clarifies this:

“They say: Our Lord! Why have you ordained for us fighting? Would that you have granted us respite for a short period?’ Say: ‘Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is (far) better for him who fears Allah, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly in the least. Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high! And if some good reaches them, they say, ‘This is from Allah,’ but if some evil befalls them, they say, ’This is from you.’ Say: ‘All things are from Allah’, so what is wrong with these people that they fail to understand any word? Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself. And We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allah is sufficient as Witness. He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you as a watcher over them.” (al-Nisā’: 77-80)

So the subject is what afflicts/befalls them and not what they are doing. This it has nothing to do with the inquiry of al-qadā’ wa ‘l-qadar.

Anonymous said...

assalamu alaikum brother,

I have a question regarding your saying: There is no relative Qada'

For example, if a person is caught by policeman and the policeman is holding the person by his hand and not letting him go. So, the person is compelled here and can't escape. And the policeman is holding the man by his free will.

will this event be called Qada? i.e. the person is compelled here, so it should be Qada for him. But if there is no relative Qada, it shouldn't be a Qada for the person as the policeman is holding him by his free will can let the person go free anytime if he chooses.

Please clarify, Jzk

Anonymous said...

Asalamalaikum! We have witnessed a recent sandy hurricane in america and there was a response from masses that since the event of prophet Muhammads insult was preceeded , its wrath of Allah for their wrong doings. Some said on discussion that using the word azaab of Allah on them in this matter or any other matter like past disasters like earthquake etc is just to remind the muslims to learn lessons and the word should not be understood in its literal terms , some questioned aren't earthquake an indication of azaab like previous other nations were punished whenever the nation went astray . How do you reconcile the situationa and opinions in context with Al Qada Wal Qadar , and please elaborate what ill effects may occur if the understading of Al Qada Wal Qadr is not understood as the party's understanding of the issue.

Anonymous said...

The author provides some historical background of the various ‘schools of thought’ of the various subjects discussed and categories them. As for the author’s view of the correct position, what is its historical background and who were the advocates of that position?

Mohsin

Anonymous said...

Wa ^alaykumussalam. Everything is by the Will and Destining of God. That is the truth.