Al-Qadaa Wa Al-Qadar (Pre-Decree)
Normally when we study the different aspects of Islam, we pay more attention to The Pillars of Islam for the simple reason these are acts of duties for which we will be accountable on the Day of Judgment if we neglect them. I never really looked deeply into the concept of the Articles of Faith. I only studied them briefly.
I spend more than 18 months researching the Articles of Faith- What does it really mean to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, The Last Day and Al Qadar (the good and evil thereof)
What intrigued me the most, during this time, was the concept of Al-Qadaa and Al-Qadar
. We have a free choice in matters yet everything is pre-decreed. Very confusing! Actually not really once you understand this concept.
What I am sharing here is a brief summary from my notes, which I made while researching this subject online from the various websites and books which I have.
Please feel free to comment or correct me, showing references from the Glorious Qur'an and Sunnah, so we all can learn from our mistakes.The meaning of Al-Qadaa and Al-Qadar:
when mentioned separately both mean the predestination (pre-decree) of an action or event. When used together Al-Qadar refers to the pre-decree of an action or event before it occurs and Al-Qadaa refers to the act or event after it took place. “Verily, We have created all things with Qadar (Divine decree)” (Surah Al-Qamar 54:49)
In the famous Hadith referred to as Hadith Jibril (Alayhi Salam) when he asked the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) what is Iman? And the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) replied, “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers and the Last Day and to believe in predestination, both the good and evil thereof.”
The majority of the scholars agree on four principals pertaining to Al Qadaa and Al-Qadar.
1. Allah’s absolute knowledge of all affairs
– what has happened, what is happening and what will happen till the Final Hour.“It is Allah Who has created the seven heavens and of the earth the same thereof. His Command descends between them, that you may know that Allah has power over all things. Verily Allah’s knowledge encompasses all things.” (Surah At-Talaq 65:12)
2. Allah has written all that will occur in a persevered tablet
– Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz before He created the heavens and the earth. “Know you not that Allah knows all this is in the heavens and on the earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz). Verily that is easy of Allah.” (Surah Al-Hajj 22: 70)The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Allah has written what is ordained for creation 50 thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth and this Arsh (throne) is over the water. (Agreed upon)
3. Nothing occurs except by the Will of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala
, making no difference whether it refers to His Actions or to that of the created being. “But you cannot will, unless Allah wills. Verily Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise” (Surah Al-Insan 76: 30)The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “If the whole Ummah were to unite and try to benefit you in something, they would never benefit you except by that which Allah has written for you. If the whole Ummah were to unite and try to harm you in something, they would never harm you except by that which Allah has written for you.” (this is part of a long Hadith narrated by ibn Abbas (Radhi Allahu Anhuma) (Agreed upon)
Allah’s will is divided into two kinds:
-all that Allah wills and hasn’t given man total control over it e.g. orbiting of the earth, sunrise, sunset, the waves in the ocean, ability to see, hear or use our arms and legs, etc.
-all that Allah is pleased with and has ordered mankind to do, but it is in the hands of man to fulfill e.g. believing in the Oneness of Allah, Salah, Siyam, obedience to parents etc.
4. Allah is the Creator of all things
– from the minute atom to our own actions.“While Allah has created you and what you do.” (Surah As-Saffat 37: 96)
According to the majority of the scholars regarding Al-Qadar, as Muslims, we believe that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala knows everything that we do before it happens and has given us the free will to do as we wish. We will be held accountable for what we do, either good or bad. So it is up to us to continue doing good deeds and to refrain from doing evil deeds as we do not know what is decreed for us. We only know what was decreed for us after the event took place. This is the main reason why the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) encouraged us to pray Salatul-Istikharah before making decisions, and put our trust in Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. When the polytheists told the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) “if Allah had willed we would not have committed Shirk” so Allah replied to them thus:“Those who committed Shirk say: "If Allah had willed, we would not have committed Shirk, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His will)." Likewise belied those who were before them, till they tasted Our wrath. Say: "Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us Verily, you follow nothing but guess and you do nothing but lie." (Surah Al-An’am 6: 148)
“Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the (coming of) Messengers. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.” (Surah An-Nisa’ 4: 165)
Narrated by 'Ali ibn Talib (Radhi Allahu Anhu): “While we were sitting with the Prophet (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) who had a stick with which he was scraping the earth, he lowered his head and said, "There is none of you but has his place assigned either in the Fire or in Paradise."
Thereupon a man from the people said, "Shall we not depend upon this, O Allah's Messenger?" The Prophet (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) said, "No, but carry on and do your deeds, for everybody finds it easy to do such deeds (as will lead him to his place).
" The Prophet then recited the Verse: 'As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him." (Surah Al-Lail 92:5)
Now comes the tricky part. If our actions are already pre-decreed, where is the free will? Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala sent Messengers to guide mankind to the truth, and we are given the choice of believing and obeying the command or rejecting the truth. Allah already knows which path we will take, as it is recorded in the Lawh Al-Mahfuz.
If Al-Qadar is already written for us, what is the benefit of making Dua? The answer to this question by the scholars is that, since we know that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is in charge of all affairs and is able to do all things, we ask Him and Him Alone when we are in need. He already knows who will ask Him and who will not and how He is going to answer our Dua. On the other hand we do not know if our Dua will be accepted, will it be answered immediately or a trial removed or differed to the Hereafter. The scholars have further explained events will take place if the appropriate steps are taken to make them happen.
Ibn Al-Qayyim (Rahimahullah) said: “The logical consequence of such reasoning leads to rejection of all efforts. It can therefore be said to such a person who denies pre-creed – ‘If the satisfaction of your hunger and thirst has already been destined for you, then there is no need for you to eat or drink.”
Another example the Shaikh used as an explanation is, “if a son has been destined for you, then you will be granted one, whether you have intercourse or not, if a son has not been destined for you, you will never be granted one, so there is no point in getting married.” This two examples show that this way of thinking is futile and incorrect. Benefits of believing in Al-Qadaa and Al-Qadar
1. Peace of mind and relaxation to know what has reached us was never to pass by, and that which has passed us by, was never meant to befall us.
2. Gives us the will and determination to do righteous deeds as we know that nothing can harm or stop you except by the Will of Allah.
3. We learn not to be arrogant and vain but rather to be modest and humble because we realise our actions are created by Allah, and such and such event did not occur because we were rich or because we were given beauty or a good lineage but by the Will of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.
4. Teaches us to do as much as we can do and then leave the rest up to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala and be satisfied with the result, as we did what we very able to do.The Prophet (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “No slave of Allah will truly believe until he believes in Al-Qadar, its good and its evil is from Allah, until he knows what has befallen him was not meant to pass by him and what missed him was not going to befall him. (Agreed upon)
In this Hadith the Prophet is emphasising Allah’s Will, if we don’t believe that good and evil is from Allah we don’t truly believe. If we are claiming that this does not happen by the Will of Allah, then we are saying that Allah does not have knowledge of events till after they happen. Audho Billahe minash Shaitanir-Rajim! May Allah protect us from such thoughts! Ameen! On the other hand believing in Allah’s Will and pre-creed we realize that we have no idea what will befall us in the next second until after the event happens.
Death may come to me before I even complete this article.
In conclusion I quote the following Hadith:
Narrated by 'Abdullah (Radhi Allahu Anhu) : Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) , the truthful and truly-inspired, said, "Each one of you collected in the womb of his mother for forty days, and then turns into a clot for an equal period (of forty days) and turns into a piece of flesh for a similar period (of forty days) and then Allah sends an angel and orders him to write four things, i.e., his provision, his age, and whether he will be of the wretched or the blessed (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into him. And by Allah, a person among you (or a man) may do deeds of the people of the Fire till there is only a cubit or an arm-breadth distance between him and the Fire, but then that writing (which Allah has ordered the angel to write) precedes, and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters it; and a man may do the deeds of the people of Paradise till there is only a cubit or two between him and Paradise, and then that writing precedes and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it."
I want you to read the last bit very carefully. Those of us whom Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has guided should thank Him for His Blessing and Mercy and we should make Dua for our brothers and sisters who are going astray.
As an Ummah we are going to be facing very trying times, as an individual our biggest Jihad is with our Nafs – trying to overcome our whims and desires so we do not make the same mistakes and commit the same sins which we hate so much today.
O Allah! Our Rabb! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us Mercy from You. Truly You are the Bestower. Ameen!
I seek Allah’s forgiveness for any errors that I may have committed whilst presenting these notes. If what I have presented is correct it is entirely out of His Grace and Mercy, but if there are errors it is totally my fault or Shaitan’s whispers. Insha Allah someone will come forth with a correction.