Download PDF: Islamic Concept of Destiny (Taqdeer)
The literal meaning of Qada and Qadar
In the first hadith shareef, we have come to know that the first person to refute the belief in Qada and Qadar was a person named Ma’bad Jahni who used to live in Basrah. The meaning of Qada is “command” and when we say that this is the Qada of Allah Almighty, it means that this is the Divine Command of Allah Almighty. The meaning of Qadar is “something which is measured”. Hence when we say that this is the Qadar of Allah Almighty, it means that this is what the Almighty has “measured”. In both of these instances whether it is Qada or Qadar, it is impossible for it to change.
Allamah ibn Manzur Afriqi explains that, “Qadar means that Qada which has been decreed. When we say that the Almighty has made a certain thing a Muqaddar and when we say that a certain thing has occurred as per what should have occurred, then we say this is what “taqdeer” is. This has also been mentioned by Ibn Sayyidah who states that, “Qaddar and Qadar signifies Qada and command. This is something which is commanded by the Almighty and He has also measured it in this manner.
Allahmah ibn Manzur further elaborates that: There are many diverse meanings of Taqdeer.
- To ponder and think in creating an object.
- To look at the signs and symbols of a certain object thereby making something similar.
- To make the intention of something or to be become determined to perform a certain act.
- To think carefully on a certain object or to analyse and estimate.
Hadrat Sayyidah Ayesha Siddique May Allah have mercy on her has stated that, “Estimate upon a young girl” in this context, she used the word “qadr”. Shimr has stated that the meaning of taqdeer means to “make something” or to “have power” to become “the owner” or to “allocate a time to a certain thing”. Abu Ubaidah has stated that; that it implies the status of something. At the same time, the meaning of taqdeer could also imply hardship.
In the Quran, it is mentioned that Nabi Yunus Peace be upon him became angry with his people and without Divine Permission, he left that area. He also felt that no hardship would befall these people. The word “fa qaddarah” in this verse implies hardship. But it has been used to imply qudrat or power. In other words Nabi Yunus Peace be upon him thought that perhaps we could not over power these rebellious people. However, this is not the actual meaning of this verse because to think that the Almighty did not have the Divine Power to punish these people is kufr itself and for a Prophet to think like this is impossible. Hence, to imply that the word “fa qaddarat” in this verse implies Divine Power is incorrect because as we have already explained that to imply that the Almighty does not have power or to think in this fashion is clear kufr.
*Allamah Jamaaludeen Mohammed bin Mukarram bin Manzur Afriqi who passed away in 711 a.h.*
The technical meaning of Qada and Qadr
Allamah Taftazani explaining the meaning of Qada states that, “Qada implies a solid act or deed.”
Allamah Khiyaali writes that, “to present an example of an act which is Qada is found in the following verse in Surah Haa Meem Sajdah, verse 12 where it is declared that:
فَقَضٰہُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمٰوَاتٍ فِیۡ یَوْمَیۡنِ وَ اَوْحٰی فِیۡ کُلِّ سَمَآءٍ اَمْرَہَا ؕ
Then He completed them as seven heavens in two days and He sent to each heaven the commands of its own function.
Hence, Qada would imply an actual action. In the sharah of Al Muwaaqit it is mentioned that, “From the very beginning as the Almighty intended for each thing, this Divine Intention is called Qada”. Hence, Qada would also imply a personal action or deed.
*Allamah Syed Mohammed Murtaza Husaini Zubaidi Hanafi who passed away in the year 1205 a.h.
*Allamah Sa’adudeen Masud bin Umar Taftazaani passed away in 791 a.h.
Faadil Abdul Hakeen Siyalkoti in the marginal notes of this treatise writes that, “Allamah Taftazaani in the treatise “Talweeh” has explained that it is established that the meaning of Qada is command and also implies an action or deed. As for command, this can be seen in Surah Bani Israeel verse 23 which is:
وَقَضٰی رَبُّکَ اَلَّا تَعْبُدُوۡۤا اِلَّاۤ اِیَّاہُ
And your Lord Commanded that worship no one else except Him.
As for an action, this is seen in Surah Haa Meem Sajdah, verse 12, which is:
فَقَضٰہُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمٰوَاتٍ فِیۡ یَوْمَیۡنِ وَ اَوْحٰی فِیۡ کُلِّ سَمَآءٍ اَمْرَہَا ؕ
Then He completed them as seven heavens in two days and He sent to each heaven the commands of its own function.
Faadil Siyalkoti explains further that:
“Qada has three meanings. The first is a literal meaning which is “command and action”. The second meaning is that technical meaning of the Ashaa’irah. Which is that as objects are in its actual state from inception and is found; this is; as was the Divine Intention from the beginning. It is in fact the summery of everything from the very beginning of Divine Intent. The third meaning is that which is explained in the technical sense by philosophers. In other words, as things are found in the universe in its perfect state and condition, from the beginning this knowledge was possessed by the Almighty and is referred to as Qada. This Divine Knowledge is a source of Divine Bounty on every creation.
*Allamah Shamsudeen Ahmed bin Moosa Khiyaali – passed away 87 a.h.
*Allamah Abdul Hakeem Siyalkoti – passed away 1067 a.h. – Interesting to note that he was also one of the forefathers of Qutub Madina Shaikh Ziaudeen Madani May Allah shower mercy upon him.
The definition of Taqdeer
Allamah Taftazaani explaining the Shariah meaning of Taqdeer writes that, “The good qualities of any creation, the bad qualities, the advantages, the dangers, its life span, where it will reside, its reward or punishment, all of these limits are considered to be its Taqdeer.”
Allamah Meer Syed Shareef has also given the same meaning to Taqdeer.
Allamah Taftazaani also explains that, “If there is an objection that by accepting the meaning of Taqdeer (as it is found implies that) a Kaafir and Faasiq is helpless in his kufr and sin and that therefore, one cannot hold him accountable for his lack of Imaan or obedience. The answer to this is that the Almighty has intended kufr and transgression because this is what these people have chosen. Therefore this is not something forced (upon them) and because the Almighty was fully aware that these people would adopt kufr and transgression, therefore one cannot say that it was impossible for these people to choose something else”.
*Allamah Syed Shareef Ali bin Mohammed Jurjaani – passed away 815 a.h.
*Allamah Kamaaludeen Mohammed bin Mohammed famously known as Ibn Abi Shareef – passed away 906 a.h.
Refutation of the beliefs held by the Mu’tazilah and Jabariyyah pertaining to who is the Creator of the actions
Allamah Taftazaani explains that, “The Mu’tazilah claim that a person creates his own actions. While the belief of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah is that the actions of a person is a creation of Allah Almighty. The reason for this is that in the Quran, in surah Saffaat, verse 96, it is stated that:
وَاللہُ خَلَقَکُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۹۶﴾
“And Allah has created you and your actions.”
The proof for the Mu’tazliah is that we walk on our own and we also see the difference in someone who faints. They claim that the first type of action is voluntary while the second is helplessness. They say that if the Almighty was the creator of all actions then why did he make a person adhere to Shariah law and then reward him for good action and punish him for bad action? As a matter of fact, this accusation of the Mu’tazilah should be directed at the Jabariyyah cult who believe that man is completely helpless. As the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah, we believe that man earns and also has a choice.
It must be understood that the actions of someone is voluntary. If he does good, he is rewarded if not, he is punished. The Jabarriyah believe in the complete opposite. They believe that a person has no choice and that his actions are like the inanimate objects which also has no choice. It also has no purpose and choice as well. This belief is obviously false. The reason is that we are able to hold something tightly and also able to distinguish certain things while fainting. Hence, if a person had no choice, then it would have been unfair to hold him accountable for his actions and neither would he be entitled for punishment or reward. Yet the Quran negates the belief of the Jabariyyah by declaring in Surah Sajdah, verse 17 that:
فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّاۤ اُخْفِیَ لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ قُرَّۃِ اَعْیُنٍ ۚ جَزَآءًۢ بِمَاکَانُوۡایَعْمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷﴾
And no soul knows what joy of eyes has been kept hidden for them, the recompense of their doings.
Again, in verse 19:
اَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ فَلَہُمْ جَنّٰتُ الْمَاۡوٰی ۫ نُزُلًۢا بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَعْمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾
As to those who have believed and have done good deeds for them are gardens for abiding, an entertainment for their doings.
In Surah Araf, 147, the Quran declares that:
ہَلْ یُجْزَوْنَ اِلَّا مَا کَانُوۡا یَعْمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴۷﴾٪
What they will get in recompense but, the same which, they used to do.
In Surah Taubah, verse 95:
وَّمَاۡوٰىہُمْ جَہَنَّمُۚ جَزَآءًۢ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَکْسِبُوۡنَ ﴿۹۵﴾
and their destination is Hell a recompense what they used to earn.
If we claim that a person is also the creator of his actions even though it may only include intent and purpose, how would you reconcile the fact that you also claim that the Almighty is the Creator of all action? Our answer to this is very simple, there is no doubt that the Almighty is the ultimate Creator, however, we have also seen that in some action, a person is also involved and in some, it is beyond his control. When a person holds something tightly, it means he is deliberately doing this and therefore involved and when he faints, he is not responsible for his action. Therefore, we also say that when a person achieves something through his own personal effort and intention, this would be through his own skill, however the intention has been made, the creator of the net result or the subsequent action, the Creator of that is the Almighty. Hence, the creator of action on the level of skill is performed by the slave and the creator of action through Divine Command is obviously the Almighty.
The view of the Ahle Sunnah and the Ahle Bidah on the issue of Taqdeer
Allamah Nawawi explains that, “The people of truth, in other words the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah believe that Taqdeer is something which is proven and established and that it means that from the beginning the Almighty had destined everything or had determined everything. He also knew fully well that at this time a certain thing will happen and this is what is occurring. Hence these things occur in this manner. The corrupt Qadariyyah sect on the other hands dispute this. They believe that the Almighty did not determine this from the beginning and nor was He aware of all of these things from the very beginning. They claim in their ignorance that the Almighty only comes to know of a certain thing after it is done or performed.
The reason that this corrupt sect is called the Qadariyyah is because they reject the idea of Taqdeer. The scholars have said that this sect no longer exists and no one among the Ahle Qiblah possess this type of belief. At the same time, later on, certain people also became known as Qadariyyah who actually believe in Taqdeer, but they also believe that all good is from Allah Almighty and mischief or transgression is from someone else. The people of truth attribute everything to Allah Almighty. They attribute complete taqdeer and all action towards the Almighty while the qadariyyah attribute all action towards themselves as being the sole creators of these actions.
Imamul Haramain has narrated that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him has stated that, “the qadariyyah is the magians of this ummah”. These people also believe in two creators. They believe that Yazdaan is the creator of good while Ihraman is the creator of all evil. In like manner the qadariyyah believe that the Almighty is the Creator of all good and they are the sole creators of all bad. These are the words of Imamul Haramain and Ibn Qutaybiyah. The hadith shareef quoted by Imamul Haramain is that which is found in the Sunan of Abu Daud and the Mustadrak of Hakim quoted from Hadrat Abdullah ibn Umar May Allah have mercy on him.
Allamah Khatabi has also stated that many people are also under the impression that the meaning of Qada and Qadar is that the Almighty has made people absolutely helpless and that people are forced to do what has been pre-determined by the Almighty in action and command. Yet, this is not the case. The Almighty as per His Divine Knowledge had already known and had already given indication that a person with his own personal choice and intention would perform a certain action or that he will not perform a certain action and also what he will do in matters of good and sin.
In the Quran in Surah Qamar, verse 52/53 it is stated that:
وَکُلُّ شَیۡءٍ فَعَلُوۡہُ فِی الزُّبُرِ ﴿۵۲﴾
And whatever they have done is in the Books.
وَکُلُّ صَغِیۡرٍ وَّکَبِیۡرٍ مُّسْتَطَرٌ ﴿۵۳﴾
And everything, small or big has been written down.
In these verses, it is not written that whatever is recorded in the book, that is what they have done. No, what is written is that whatever they have done, that is what is recorded in the book from the very beginning. All things big or small is recorded in the Lahw Mahfuz. In other words, knowledge is after performance or action and not the other way around.
Allamah Qurtabi Maliki writes that, “In other words, whatever has been committed by previous nations whether it be bad or good all of it has been recorded. This is what is meant by the following verse in Surah Qamar, verse 49:
اِنَّا کُلَّ شَیۡءٍ خَلَقْنٰہُ بِقَدَرٍ ﴿۴۹﴾
Undoubtedly, We created every thing according to an estimate.
In another report it is also mentioned that the Kiraaman Kaatibeen has already recorded this on their own record and all good or bad has already been recorded in the Divine Tablet. This is what is meant by the Infinite Knowledge of the Almighty and this is what is meant by Taqdeer.
Allamah Qurtabi also explains that, “The belief of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah is that the Almighty has determined everything. Before the creation of anything, this would be its destiny or taqdeer. He also knew its time and its state. He then created that object according to His Divine Knowledge. Hence, whether it be knowledge of what happens on earth (Alame Sufli) or what happens in the heavens (Alame Alawi), whatever happens to anything, this is within the Divine Knowledge of Allah Almighty. All of this occurs with His Divine Intent and the slave has no power over this. The slave does have a certain amount of skill and because of this, certain actions are attributed to a slave. This is given through the Divine Power of Allah Almighty, through His Divine inspiration. The qadariyyah claim that we are the sole creators of action and the Almighty is only aware of its time span.
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Zarr narrates that once a delegation appeared in front of the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him from Najran and they claimed that they were the creators of their own action and this was within their own power and the result of this was not in their power. This is when the 49th verse of Surah Qamar was revealed. They also claimed, “O Mohammed! sin and transgression is recorded for us and we are punished because of this.” When he heard this, the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him replied that, “Does this mean that on the day of Judgement, you will argue with the Almighty?”
*Allamah Abu Abdullah Mohammed bin Ahmed Maliki Qurtabi – passed away 668 a.h.
Imam ibn Maja through his authoritative sanad reports from Abu Zubair who reports from Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah May Allah have mercy on him who narrates that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him has stated that, “The people who refute Taqdeer are the magians in this Ummah. If they become sick, do not visit them. If they die, do not go for their janaza. If you meet them, do not greet them”.
The Almighty was fully aware of everything in creation before creating it and everything occurring and the way it happens is what is referred to as Taqdeer. We can explain this in the following manner using the example of an engineer. Before he creates something, he first studies everything. He studies what materials are to be used and the different grades of this material. Before he builds a dam, he creates a plan of the entire thing. He then determines the life span of the material to be used and may determine that this dam would survive for the next hundred years. At the same time, since this is merely his own personal knowledge, he could be wrong in his assumption. However, when the Almighty determines the creation of something, His Divine Knowledge is Perfect and nothing happens without His Divine Knowledge. When He created the entire creation, He already knew what each creation would do. He already knew the life span of each thing and also knew that certain of them would do good and certain would do bad. This is what is meant by Taqdeer.
Taqdeer according to the Quran
In surah Talaq, verse 3, the Quran declares that:
اِنَّ اللہَ بٰلِغُ اَمْرِہٖ ؕ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللہُ لِکُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدْرًا ﴿۳﴾
Verily, Allah is to fulfil His (Divine) Work. Undoubtedly, Allah has kept a measure for every thing.
In Surah Fatir, verse 11, the Quran declares:
وَمَا تَحْمِلُ مِنْ اُنۡثٰی وَلَا تَضَعُ اِلَّا بِعِلْمِہٖ ؕ وَمَا یُعَمَّرُ مِنۡ مُّعَمَّرٍ وَّلَا یُنۡقَصُ مِنْ عُمُرِہٖۤ اِلَّا فِیۡ کِتٰبٍ ؕ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ عَلَی اللہِ یَسِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۱﴾
And no female does not bear, nor she gives birth but with His knowledge. To whomsoever of long age is given age or the age of whomsoever is curtailed, all this is in a Book Verily it is easy for Allah.
In surah waqi’ah, verse 60:
نَحْنُ قَدَّرْنَا بَیۡنَکُمُ الْمَوْتَ
We have fixed death among you;
In surah Hadeed, verses 22/23:
مَاۤ اَصَابَ مِنۡ مُّصِیۡبَۃٍ فِی الْاَرْضِ وَلَا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِکُمْ اِلَّا فِیۡ کِتٰبٍ مِّنۡ قَبْلِ اَنۡ نَّبْرَاَہَا ؕ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ عَلَی اللہِ یَسِیۡرٌ ﴿۲۲﴾ۚۖ لِّکَیۡلَا تَاۡسَوْا عَلٰی مَا فَاتَکُمْ وَ لَا تَفْرَحُوۡا بِمَاۤ اٰتٰىکُمْ ؕ وَ اللہُ لَا یُحِبُّ کُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُوۡرِۣ ﴿ۙ۲۳﴾
No calamity reaches either in the earth or in your own persons, but it is in a Book, before We create it; Undoubtedly, it is easy for Allah. So that you may not grieve over what is lost to you, nor rejoice over what is given to you and Allah loves not any exultant, boastful.
In surah Taubah, verse 51, the Quran declares that:
قُلۡ لَّنۡ یُّصِیۡبَنَاۤ اِلَّا مَا کَتَبَ اللہُ لَنَا ۚ ہُوَ مَوْلٰىنَا ۚ وَعَلَی اللہِ فَلْیَتَوَکَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۵۱﴾
Say you ‘nothing shall reach us, but what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Protector, and the Muslims should keep trust in Allah only.
In surah Ale Imran. the Quran declares:
قُلۡ لَّوْ کُنۡتُمْ فِیۡ بُیُوۡتِکُمْ لَبَرَزَ الَّذِیۡنَ کُتِبَ عَلَیۡہِمُ الْقَتْلُ اِلٰی مَضَاجِعِہِمْۚ وَلِیَبْتَلِیَ اللہُ مَا فِیۡ صُدُوۡرِکُمْ وَلِیُمَحِّصَ مَا فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِکُمْؕ وَاللہُ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُوۡرِ﴿۱۵۴﴾
Say you, ‘If you had been in your houses, even then those for whom killing was already written would have gone forth to the place of their slaughter; and in order that Allah might test the feelings of your breasts, and whatever is in your hearts might purge it. Allah knows the thoughts of your hearts.
In Surah Al Araf, verse 34, the Quran declares that:
وَلِکُلِّ اُمَّۃٍ اَجَلٌ ۚ فَاِذَا جَآءَ اَجَلُہُمْ لَا یَسْتَاۡخِرُوۡنَ سَاعَۃً وَّلَا یَسْتَقْدِمُوۡنَ ﴿۳۴﴾
And for every people there is a promise (been), that, when their term will come, they cannot remain behind for an hour nor will they get ahead of it.
In surah Nisa, verse 78, the Quran declares that:
اَیۡنَ مَا تَکُوۡنُوۡا یُدْرِکۡکُّمُ الْمَوْتُ وَلَوْکُنۡتُمْ فِیۡ بُرُوۡجٍ مُّشَیَّدَۃٍ ؕ وَ اِنۡ تُصِبْہُمْ حَسَنَۃٌ یَّقُوۡلُوۡا ہٰذِہٖ مِنْ عِنۡدِ اللہِ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تُصِبْہُمْ سَیِّئَۃٌ یَّقُوۡلُوۡا ہٰذِہٖ مِنْ عِنۡدِکَ ؕ قُلْ کُلٌّ مِّنْ عِنۡدِ اللہِ ؕ فَمَالِ ہٰۤؤُلَآءِ الْقَوْمِ لَا یَکَادُوۡنَ یَفْقَہُوۡنَ حَدِیۡثًا ﴿۷۸﴾
Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, though if you be in strong forts. And if some good reaches them, then they say, ‘this is from Allah and if some bad reaches them, then they say, ‘This has come from you. Say you, ‘All is from Allah. Then what happened to them, they seem not to understand anything.
A person has freedom to perform an act and also freedom to display his skill and acumen
In the issue of Taqdir, there has been one group who have gone beyond the limit and have claimed that man is totally helpless. He has no choice over anything. This set of beliefs is certainly incorrect. Yes, there is no doubt that the actions and intention of man is a creation of Allah, however the Almighty has given man a specific role. Creation is from Allah Almighty and to display skill and acumen is from man.
If man did not possess this, then what was the purpose of sending the Prophets? What was the purpose of making man obedient to law and also accountable for his action? If we believe as the misled believe, then what would be the meaning of giving him reward and punishment? In fact, if man was helpless, then the idea of giving him reward and punishment would be baseless and no Divine Command is baseless. The Almighty has certainly created good and bad.
When a person leans towards evil and bad deeds, he leans towards the satan and when he leans towards good and noble deeds, he is guided by the teachings of the Prophets. Man has also been blessed with intelligence, in that he can also choose which path to follow. Hence, whatever cause he chooses, he is Divinely enabled towards that path and that deed or action which he has chosen becomes easier for him to commit. Whether it is bad or good and it is through this act of choosing by which he will either be punished or rewarded.
The idea of choosing as explained in the Quran
In Surah Balad, verses 7,8,9,10,11 the Quran declares that:
اَیَحْسَبُ اَنۡ لَّمْ یَرَہٗۤ اَحَدٌ ؕ﴿۷﴾
Does man think that none has seen him?
اَلَمْ نَجْعَلْ لَّہٗ عَیۡنَیۡنِ ۙ﴿۸﴾
have We not made his two eyes;
وَ لِسَانًا وَّ شَفَتَیۡنِ ۙ﴿۹﴾
And a tongue and two lips’?
وَ ہَدَیۡنٰہُ النَّجْدَیۡنِ ﴿ۚ۱۰﴾
And pointed to him the way of two raised things.
فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَۃَ ﴿۱۱﴾۫ۖ
Then he hurried not to the steep valley without deliberation;
In Surah Layl, verses 4,5 the Quran declares that:
اِنَّ سَعْیَکُمْ لَشَتّٰی ؕ﴿۴﴾
Undoubtedly, your strivings are diverse.
فَاَمَّا مَنۡ اَعْطٰی وَ اتَّقٰی ۙ﴿۵﴾
Then as for him who gave (in charity) and feared God.
In surah Ankabut, verse 69, the Quran declares that:
وَالَّذِیۡنَ جٰہَدُوۡا فِیۡنَا لَنَہۡدِیَنَّہُمْ سُبُلَنَا ؕ وَ اِنَّ اللہَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِیۡنَ ﴿٪۶۹﴾
And those who struggled in Our path, surely We shall guide them in Our ways. And no doubt, Allah is with the righteous.
In surah Najm, verse 31, the Quran declares that:
لِیَجْزِیَ الَّذِیۡنَ اَسٰٓـُٔوۡا بِمَا عَمِلُوۡا وَ یَجْزِیَ الَّذِیۡنَ اَحْسَنُوۡا بِالْحُسْنٰی ﴿ۚ۳۱﴾
He may recompense the evil doers for their doings and reward with best those who do good.
Man is helpless in affairs which is from the heaven and has a choice when it comes to Shariah law
We should also try to understand in which laws and actions, man is helpless. He is helpless when it comes to heavenly laws but has choice when it comes to laws of Shariah. For example, affairs such as death, life, health, sickness, calamity, punishment, decrease in sustenance etc. in all of these things man in helpless. However, when it comes to Imaan or Kufr, good and bad deeds etc. In these things people have a choice or have power. This is the reason that when it comes to these actions, a person becomes entitled for either punishment or reward. The issues which we have described from the Quran above, these are heavenly issues in which man is helpless unlike laws of shariah. The following verses of the Quran proves this.
In Surah Kahaf, verse 29, the Quran declares that:
فَمَنۡ شَآءَ فَلْیُؤْمِنۡ وَّ مَنۡ شَآءَ فَلْیَکْفُرْ
then whoso will, let him believe and whoso will, let him disbelieve
In surah Haa Meem Sajdah, verse 46, the Quran declares that:
مَنْ عَمِلَ صٰلِحًا فَلِنَفْسِہٖ ۚ وَ مَنْ اَسَآءَ فَعَلَیۡہَا ؕ
Whoso does righteousness it is for his own good and whoso does evil, it is for his own bad.
In surah Baqarah, verse 286, the Quran declares that:
لَا یُکَلِّفُ اللہُ نَفْسًا اِلَّا وُسْعَہَاؕ لَہَا مَا کَسَبَتْ وَعَلَیۡہَا مَا اکْتَسَبَتْؕ
Allah places no burden on any soul but to the extent of his strength whatever good it earned is useful for it and whatever bad it earned is a loss for it.
Those on whose heart there is a seal, does not mean they are helpless!
There is an objection that if the Almighty has placed a seal on the hearts of certain people and they do not bring faith, then what fault of theirs is this? After all, in Surah Baqarah, verse 7, the Quran declares that:
خَتَمَ اللہُ عَلٰی قُلُوْبِہِمْ وَعَلٰی سَمْعِہِمۡ ؕ وَعَلٰۤی اَبْصٰرِہِمْ غِشٰوَۃٌ ۫ وَّلَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ٪﴿۷﴾
Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their ears, and over their eyes there is a dark covering, and for them is great torment.
The answer to this is very simple. These people have committed such atrocities and transgression through their own action and that too deliberately. Some of them even insulted the Prophet Peace be upon him in such a serious manner which is unpardonable, that the Almighty as ever lasting punishment to them, has placed a seal on their hearts. It would now become impossible for them to bring faith.
In surah Nisa, verse 155, the Quran declares that:
فَبِمَا نَقْضِہِمۡ مِّیۡثٰقَہُمْ وَکُفْرِہِمۡ بِاٰیٰتِ اللہِ وَقَتْلِہِمُ الۡاَنْۢبِیَآءَ بِغَیۡرِ حَقٍّ وَّقَوْلِہِمْ قُلُوۡبُنَا غُلْفٌ ؕ بَلْ طَبَعَ اللہُ عَلَیۡہَا بِکُفْرِہِمْ فَلَا یُؤْمِنُوۡنَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۱۵۵﴾۪
Then! We cursed them because of their breaking the covenant and that they denied the signs of Allah, and slaying unjustly the prophets and for their saying there are covers on our hearts’. But Allah has sealed their hearts because of their infidelity. So that they do not accept faith but little of them.
In surah Al-Munafiqoon verse 2,3 the Quran declares that:
اِتَّخَذُوۡۤا اَیۡمٰنَہُمْ جُنَّۃً فَصَدُّوۡا عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللہِ ؕ اِنَّہُمْ سَآءَ مَا کَانُوۡا یَعْمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۲﴾
They have taken their oaths as shield and they kept back from Allah’s way, undoubtedly, they are doing most vile works.
ذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّہُمْ اٰمَنُوۡا ثُمَّ کَفَرُوۡا فَطُبِعَ عَلٰی قُلُوۡبِہِمْ فَہُمْ لَا یَفْقَہُوۡنَ ﴿۳﴾
This is so because, they believed with their tongues, then disbelieved with their hearts, therefore a seal has been set over their hearts, so now they understand nothing.
Taqdir Mubram and Taqdir Mu’allaq
There are two types of Taqdir. The first is Taqdir Mu’alliq – something which can be changed and Taqdir Mubram which is firm and established and cannot be changed. The reason is that this has been established from the very beginning and is the Divine Decree of the Almighty which is impossible to change. To insinuate that this can change would mean that Ma’azallah there is ignorance in this and this is impossible. The Divine Knowledge cannot change and therefore neither can Taqdir Mubram.
As for Taqdir Mu’alliq, the examples of these are. If on the Divine Tablet, it is written that a certain person is good or bad, or the life span of a person is so much. Then; when a person does a good deed or a pious person makes Dua for him, his state of bad becomes a state of good. Or his life span is increased. However, if he does not do something good, or a pious person does not make Dua for him, then he remains a bad person and his life span remains the same.
However, it must be remembered that this has already been determined by the Almighty whether this person would become an evil or good person or whether his life would be increased or not. This is Taqdir Mubram. It is also referred to as Ummul Kitaab. The scholars of Quran have determined the existence of both types of Taqdir from the following verse which is found in Surah Ra’ad, verse 39:
یَمْحُوا اللہُ مَا یَشَآءُ وَیُثْبِتُ ۚۖ وَعِنۡدَہٗۤ اُمُّ الْکِتٰبِ ﴿۳۹﴾
Allah wipes out what He pleases and establishes (what He pleases) and the real writing is with Him.
In this verse, the act of wiping and establishing is considered to be Qada Mu’alliq and by Ummul Kitaab is meant Qada Mubram.
Imam Tirmidi May Allah have mercy on him records the following hadith shareef.
Hadrat Sayyiduna Salmaan Farsi May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him has stated that, “Taqdir can also be changed through Dua and age is only increased through noble deeds or actions”. This hadith shareef has been termed as Hasan Gharib.
Ibn Maja records:
Hadrat Sayyiduna Thouban May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him ha stated that, “Age is increased through good deeds. And Taqdir is only cancelled through Dua. And a person through his sins loses his sustenance”.
Imam Bukhari May Allah have mercy on him records.
Hadrat Sayyiduna Anas bin Malik May Allah have mercy on him narrates that he heard the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him who declared that, “He who is happy because of his increased sustenance or is happy because of his long life, he should create a connection with his relatives.”
This hadith shareef was also recorded by Imam Muslim May Allah have mercy on him. As for the issue of Qada Mubram, the following ahadith pertain to this issue.
Imam Bukhari May Allah have mercy on him records. Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him once told him, “Whatever is to happen to you, in regard to this, the pen has dried.”
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Masud May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him has stated that, (and certainly he is the truthful) that, “By Allah! there is someone among you who continues to perform deeds just like a person of Hell (performs) until between him and Hell there is a very short distance. Then destiny (or Taqdir) overtakes him and he begins to performs deeds of a Jannati (or of a person who will enter Paradise) and he enters Jannah. And there is someone among you who performs deeds of a Jannati until there remains a very small distance between him and Jannah, then destiny (or Taqdir), overtakes him and he begins to perform deeds of a person in hell and he enters hell.”
The opinion of the Quranic scholars on both these types of Taqdir
Imam Razi May Allah have mercy on him explains the following verse of Surah Ra’ad, “Allah wipes out what He pleases and establishes (what He pleases) and the real writing is with Him”. If there is this objection which in the opinion of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah that whatever is to happen; in this regard the Divine Pen is dry. Then what is meant that certain things are changed in the Divine Tablet and certain things are established The answer to this question is that even in changes and establishment of anything, the Pen is certainly dry. In other words, from the very beginning, it was already established in Taqdir what will be changed and what will be established.
Allamah Qurtabi May Allah have mercy on him writes that, “It is a belief that there is no change in the Qada of Allah Almighty. This change and establishment was from the very beginning and whatever is established in Qada will most certainly happen. When Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas May Allah have mercy on him was questioned about what is Ummul Kitaab, he replied that it was the Divine Knowledge of Allah Almighty.
Allamah Alusi May Allah have mercy on him writes, “There are certain learned people who have stated in respect to this issue that there is a possibility of change or cancellation in Taqdir in everything. In fact, even in Qada from the very beginning, there is a possibility of change. They say that the following are certain proofs in this regard.
In a sahih hadith, the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him made the following Dua while reading the Dua Qunut.
“(O Allah!) Whatever You have made as Qada, please protect me from its mischief.”
In this dua, he is seeking protection from the mischief of Qada azali or Qada recorded from the very beginning. Hence, if there was no possibility of change in this type of Qada, then this type of Dua would not be proper. At the same time, when he presented his excuse for not coming for the Taraweeh salah, he explained, “I had the fear that perhaps Taraweeh would be made Fard (compulsory) upon you and (therefore) you would become powerless to read it (or fulfil it).
The question is: If this was determined in Qada to become Fard, then in all conditions it would have become Fard. And if this was not Fard in Qada from the beginning, then even if he continued to join the Taraweeh, it would have never become Fard. Hence this proves that there was a possibility of change in Qada which is why he refused to join the Congregational salah for Taraweeh.
In like manner on the night of Meraj, he knew full well that there would only be five salah which would be made Fard and besides these, there would be no other Fard salah. Yet, he still had the fear that Taraweeh would be made Fard? Hence, this apprehension proves that there can be change in Qada. In the same way, when there was severe wind or storm, he used to display fear that perhaps the day of Judgement has not arrived.
Yet, the Almighty had already informed him that before Qiyamah, Imam Mahdi will arrive, Yajuj and Majuj will appear, Nabi Esa Peace be upon him will appear etc. Hence, his fear at this moment, proves that there was a possibility of change in Qada. Another example is that when we look at the state of those Ashaab who were given glad tidings of Jannah in this world, even they used to always display fear and apprehension for the fire of Hell. After all, they were already promised Jannah by the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him. So what was the need to fear? This again proves that there is a possibility that can be change in Qada!
However, our answer to all of these questions is very simple. All the reports and statement of eminent scholars in this regard where it is mentioned that there is a possibility of change in Qada, it infers to Qada Mu’alliq and as we have already mentioned previously, whatever was to be changed had already been determined by the Almighty from the very beginning. And therefore, this becomes Qada Mubram and this is the Divine Knowledge of the Almighty. That is why we say that there can be no change in the Divine Knowledge of the Almighty.
The opinion of the Muhadditheen in this regard
Allamah Nanawi May Allah have mercy on him states that, “In certain ahadith where it is mentioned that through some actions, a person’s sustenance and age increases, this is through the Divine Tablet and the Angels. In other words, the Angels are informed that the age of a certain person is seventy years old, however, if he has good relationship with this relatives, then his age should be increased by forty years. Yet, the Almighty already knows what his ultimate age would be. This is what is meant in the verse from Surah Ra’ad. Therefore, as far as the Divine Knowledge of the Almighty is concerned and as far as Qada Mubram is concerned, there is actually no increase in his age. In fact, change at that moment is impossible. At the same time, whatever is displayed to creation in the Divine Tablet, in that regard it looks like it has increased. This is what is meant in this Hadith shareef.
Hafiz ibn Hajr Asqalani May Allah have mercy on him writes that, “That knowledge which is established as the Divine Knowledge of the Almighty from the very beginning, there is no change in this. However, that knowledge which is attributed towards creation, in it, there is a possibility of change. This knowledge is connected with the Kiraaman Kaatibeen and various other Angels who are in the company of mankind. This is that knowledge in which there is sometimes change and sometimes establishment. Such as increase and decrease in knowledge. True and established knowledge only belongs to the Almighty.
Hafiz Badrudeen Aini Hanafi May Allah have mercy on him explaining this issue further states that, “Hafiz Abu Moosa Mudaini with his authentic sanad reports from Hadrat Abdur Rahman bin Thamrah May Allah have mercy on him that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him has stated that, “Tonight, I indeed saw a strange dream. I saw the Angel of death approach one of my followers and the good deed of his father appeared which turned the Angel of death away.” He has also stated that this hadith shareef is very authentic.
Again with his sanad, he reports from Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah and Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Saeed May Allah have mercy on them that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him has stated that, “O son of Adam! Fear your Lord and do good to your parents. And have good relationship with your relatives, through it, your age will also increase. Your difficulties will also become easier (to handle). Your troubles will disappear and there will be ease in your sustenance”
He also reports from Hadrat Sayyiduna ibn Abbas May Allah have mercy on him that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him has stated that, “Having good relationship with your relatives also increases your life span.”
Hadrat Thauban May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him has stated that, “Increase in ones life span is only through being good with your parents and increase in sustenance is through having good family relationship”
Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him narrates that he once asked the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him about the verse in Surah Raa’d and he replied, “To give charity properly, to be good to ones parents, to do good and having good relationship with your family turns bad Taqdir into good Taqdir. It increases your life span and also protects you against sudden calamity.” There is also another increase in this report which is that if a person does any good to anyone of them, the Almighty will reward him as per his intention.
Hadrat Abdullah ibn Amar May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet May Allah have mercy on him has stated that, “There is a person who is good to his relatives and he has only three days to live, the Almighty will increase this by another thirty years. There is another person who breaks all family relationship and there is still thirty years left in his life. The Almighty decreases his life span until he only has three days to live”. He also stated that this hadith shareef is Hasan Gharib.
He has also narrated from Daud bin Esa that in the Taurah it is recorded to have good family relationship, to have good manners, to be kind to relatives, keeps the house in a good state, it increases your wealth, increases your life even if the person is a Kaafir”. He has also stated that this hadith shareef is Hasan Gharib.
Hadrat Abu Saeed Khudri May Allah have mercy on him has also narrated this from the Taurah. All of these reports have been reported by Hafiz Abu Moosa Mudaini in the At Targheeb wat Tarheeb with his own chain of authentic narrators.
If it is asked that sustenance and life span is already established in Taqdir, then how is there change. How is there increase and decrease in these things. Allamah abul Farj has explained this in five different ways.
- By increase in sustenance means that there is more expansiveness in ones sustenance and by increase in life span means healthiness. The reason is that wealth is considered as life and poverty is considered as death.
- A persons life is recorded as a hundred years and his life of good deeds is recorded as eighty years and when he has good family relationship, it is increased by twenty years. Hence, this makes a total of a hundred years. Both of these have been given by Allamah Qutaybiyah.
- At the same time, this increase in ones life was already recorded from the very beginning. However, this increase was because of his good family relationship. In other words, it was recorded that a certain person will live for fifty years and if he does good to relatives, it would be increased to sixty years.
- This increase is written in the Divine Tablet. In other words, fifty was deleted and sixty was recorded. However, this was already known to the Almighty from the very beginning and there was no change in Divine Knowledge. If there is this confusion that if there is no change in Divine Knowledge and only change in the Divine tablet, what is the purpose of this? The answer to this is that this is achieved through apparent deed and acts. While the Divine Knowledge of the Almighty is something which is hidden. It is possible that these things changes in the Divine Tablet and these advices reach the common man through the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him so that it becomes a lesson for them in life. It is also possible that these changes are based on the actions of the Angels and that perhaps they have been given the Divine permission to increase and decrease a persons life span and that perhaps they have not been informed about the actual Divine Knowledge which is already established.
- When we say that a person’s life increases. It could imply barakah, increase in good deeds, and even being able to fulfil this in a very short life span which others may find difficult to fulfil even if they lived longer.
Qadi Ayyaz has also stated that it could also imply that when a person passes away, people would still continue to speak good about him as if he is still living. Hakeen Tirmidi has also explained that perhaps it could mean that the person would live for a very short period in the world of the grave.
The Muta-kallimeen and their opinion of Taqdir.
Those ahadith in which there is mention of increase in life through good deeds and actions, pertaining to this Allamah Taftazaani explains that, “The Almighty was fully aware that if a certain person did not do a certain good deed, his life span would be forty years. At the same, He was also aware that if the person had done this deed, his life span would be seventy, hence the established Divine Knowledge was that his life was ultimately increased because of this good deed.
Allamah Shamsudeen Khiyaali explains that, “It should be borne in mind that all of these ahadith are Ahad ahadith which does not in any manner oppose the institution of Qada Mubram. Increase in life could also imply barakah and goodness.
Allamah Abdul Aziz Parhaarawi explains that, “In some ahadith it is mentioned that ibaadah increases life span and that dua changes Taqdir. In answer to this, one can say that as causes are something established for a certain mean, in like manner, a mean becomes the cause of something. This becomes apparent from the various Prophetic light we see. When the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him was asked, “Does medication and remedy change Taqdir, he replied, medication and remedy is also something destined and established by Allah Almighty. Another answer is that in the Quran it is mentioned in the verse in Surah Ra’ad.
Some mufassireen have stated that there are two books with the Almighty. One which is something which records which is to be changed and one which is established.
He again explains further that, “There are certain people who have the opinion that there are two types of Qadr one being Mubram and other being Mu’alliq. The first is something which never changes and the second is that in which there are changes which has been explained giving the example of medication and remedy. However, (it is my opinion) that all types of Qada are Mubram (as per the Divine Knowledge of the Almighty). If we do not accept this, then it means that there is uncertainty in the Divine Knowledge of the Almighty and this is impossible.
Among the other types of controversy associated with this is one of the statements of Imam Baydawi who says that there are also changes in Qada Mubram. The reason he says this is because in the Hadith shareef, it is mentioned that through the reading of one small child, the punishment on the father was removed. It should also be borne in mind that this hadith shareef itself is considered as Moudu. There are also certain saints who claim that only Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani May Allah have mercy on him has the power to change a Qada even if it is Mubram. Among this also are the reports that certain saints were asked to make Dua and in reply they said that this is already a decision which is against this, however, they continued to make Dua and their Dua resulted in this Qada being changed because their Dua was accepted. All of these statements have no basis.
My opinion is that this statement in which through the dua of certain saints, Qada Mubram actually changes is something which can be explained. I believe that this means Mubram Izaafi which is closely linked to Mubram and not Qada Mubram itself. In reality it is actually Qada Mu’llik, however even through the Dua of certain saints, it can be changed. In other words as far as they were concerned, it was Mubram, yet in reality, it was not. As far as Qada Mubram is concerned, as we have already explained, it is firmly established and can never be changed whatsoever. As we have already explained also, this is the firmly established Divine Knowledge of the Almighty. As for the opinion of this Allamah in which he refutes the concept of Qada Mu’alliq, he is certainly incorrect in his assumption.
The topic of Qada is certainly very expansive and we have merely touched the very basic of it. I have explained this fully in one of my treatise entitled “Maqalaat-e-Saeedi” I have also explained a few other points on this subject in the seventh volume of Sharah Muslim. Please refer to this material for further elaboration.
(Extracted from the commentary of Sahih Muslim)
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