Predestination in Islam
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Qadar (Arabic: قدر, transl.: qadar, English: fate; divine foreordainment/predestination) is the concept of divine destiny in Islam. It is one of the six articles of faith, along with Belief in the Oneness of Allah, the Revealed Books, the Prophets of Islam, the Day of Resurrection and Angels. This concept has also been mentioned in the Quran as Allah's "Decree".
In Islam, "predestination" is the usual English language rendering of a belief that Muslims call al-qaḍāʾ wa al-qadr in Arabic. The phrase means "the divine decree and the predestination"; al-qadr derives from a root that means to measure out.
Qadar is one of the aspects of aqidah. Some Muslims believe that the divine destiny is when God wrote down in the Preserved Tablet ("al-Lauḥ al-Maḥfūẓ") all that has happened and will happen, which will come to pass as written. According to this belief, a person's action is not caused by what is written in the Preserved Tablet but, rather, the action is written in the Preserved Tablet because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time. On the other hand, the causal relationships are also part of Qadar, since human acts affect what's stated in the Erasing And Stating Tablet ("Lauḥ al-Mahu w al-Ithbat"). The phrase reflects a Muslim doctrine that Allah has measured out the span of every person's life, their lot of good or ill fortune, and the fruits of their efforts . Again Allah does not need to force anyone to do good or evil by interfering in his will, and nobody will bear witness that Allah did so. When referring to the future, Muslims frequently qualify any predictions of what will come to pass with the phrase Insha'Allah, Arabic for "if God willed [it]." The phrase recognizes that human knowledge of the future is limited, and that all that may or may not come to pass is under the control and knowledge of God.
However it should be noted that people are not predestined by Allah to enter Hell. Rather people will only bear their own sins that they themselves committed with free will and no one will be responsible for another persons deeds. The Quran holds that no man will be treated unjustly and everything will be judged by Allah. The Qur'an says this in the following verse:
" Say: You will not be questioned as to what we are guilty of, nor shall we be questioned as to what you do. Say: Our Lord will gather us together, then will He judge between us with the truth; and He is the greatest Judge, the All-knowing."
"They will cry out to them: Were we not with you? They shall say: Yea! but you caused yourselves to fall into temptation, and you waited and doubted, and vain desires deceived you till the threatened punishment of Allah came, while the archdeceiver deceived you about Allah. "
The Qur'an makes it clear that the man goes to Hell because he chose to do bad deeds, he goes to Heaven by doing good deeds and even if Allah had chosen to guide them to the truth they themselves would choose to reject the faith:
"And if Allah had known any good in them He would have made them hear, and if He makes them hear they would turn back while they withdraw. "
"Nor would thy Lord be the One to destroy communities for a single wrong-doing, if its members were likely to mend. If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute. Except those on whom thy Lord hath bestowed His Mercy: and for this did He create them: and the Word of thy Lord shall be fulfilled: "I will fill Hell with jinns and men all together."
A hadith reports that Muhammad said about Qadr:
Ali (r) narrated that one day the Prophet (s) was sitting with a wooden stick in his hand with which he was scratching the ground. He raised his head and said, “There is none of you, but has his place assigned either in the Fire or in Paradise.” They (the Companions) inquired, “O Allah’s Messenger! Why should we carry on doing good deeds, shall we depend (upon Qadar) and give up work?” The Prophet (s) said: “No, carry on doing good deeds, for everyone will find it easy (to do) such deeds that will lead him towards that for which he has been created”. Then he (s) recited the verse: “As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him, and believes in al-Husna, We will make smooth for him the path of Ease (goodness) (Surah al-Lail 92:5-7) . Sahih Muslim
However it is made clear that no person has the power to benefit or harm himself or others, and that guidance is only given by Allah, no one else has the power to give guidance. The Quran says:
"For those who do good is good (reward) and more (than this); and blackness or ignominy shall not cover their faces; these are the dwellers of the garden; in it they shall abide."
There are only two groups who represent the extremes regarding Qadar and are considered outside the fold of Islam.[by whom?] Al-Jabiriyah are of the opinion that humans have no control over their actions and everything is dictated by Allah. The other group is Al-Qadiriyyah (not to be confused with the Sufi order, Al-Qaadirriyah) and they are of the opinion of humans having complete control over their destiny, to the extent that Allah does not even know what we will choose to do. The Sunni view is in the middle between these two views, where they believe that Allah has knowledge of everything that will be, but that humans have freedom of choice.
Among the historical proponents of the Sunni view of the doctrine were:
Among those who criticized the Sunni view of the doctrine were:
Sunni enumerate Qadar as one aspect of their creed (Arabic: aqidah) They believe that the divine destiny is when God wrote down in the Preserved Tablet ("al-Lawhu 'l-Mahfuz") all that has happened and will happen, which will come to pass as written.
According to this belief, a person's action is not caused by what is written in the Preserved Tablet but, rather, the action is written in the Preserved Tablet because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time.
An individual has power to choose, but since God created time and space he knows what will happen. God is without any bond of time and space. Therefore, what will happen has meaning only to humans, who are limited in time and space. An analogy is with someone who watches a movie for the second time, who knows what will happen next, while for the first time watcher the next move is unknown.
Belief in al-Qadar is based on four things
- – العلم Al-'Alam – Knowledge: i.e., that Allah knows what His creation will do, by virtue of His eternal knowledge, including their choices that will take place.
- – كتابة Kitabat – Writing: i.e., that Allah has written every thing that exists including the destiny of all creatures in al-Lauh al-Mahfuz prior to creation.
- – مشيئة Mashii'at – Will: i.e., that what Allah wills happens and what He does not will does not happen. There is no movement in the heavens or on earth but happens by His will. This does not mean that He forces things to happen the way they happen in the area of human beings' voluntary actions. It means that He knew what they will chose, wrote it and now lets it happen,
- – الخلق Al-Khalaq – Creation and formation: i.e., that Allah is the Creator of all things, including the actions of His servants. They do their actions in a real sense, and Allah is the Creator of them and of their actions.
Stages Of Taqdeer (Fate)
There are five stages where Qadar is determined and prescribed/send to creation:
- The Decree of Allah that is written in Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuud before the creation of the universe. This destiny written in the preserved tablet is never changed and encompasses everything that will be.
- Allah made a divine decree after the creation of Adam. Allah took out all of the progeny of Adam (i.e. all of the humans from the beginning of time until the end of time), and asked them "Am I not your Lord?" and all of the humans responded "We testify that You are our Lord!" Then Allah decreed to them who shall go to paradise and who shall go to hell.
- The Life-time decree. This occurs when a person is in the womb of the mother, specifically 120 days after conception. Allah sends an angel to put a soul into the person, and the angel writes down the decree that Allah has made; his life-span, his sex, his sustenance (how much he will earn throughout his lifetime) and whether he will be a dweller of paradise or a dweller of hell.
- The yearly decree. This is during the Night of Qadr (Night of Decree) where Allah sends down his decrees from heaven to earth, in it he destines the actions (deeds, sustenance, births, deaths, etc.) of creation for the next year. The word Qadar should not be confused with Qadr; Qadar is destiny, Qadr is that which has been destined, i.e. decree, thus the translation – Night of Decree.
- The Daily Decree. Allah decrees the daily actions of his creation.
An example of how these categorizations help clear the idea of destiny is as follows: It is possible that Allah sends a daily/yearly decree dictating that a person will get a profit. However, due to that person's good deeds (for instance, fulfilling the ties of kinship [being good to your relatives and maintaining the relationship]), Allah sends another decree increasing that person's profit. The reversal of the two decrees is all within Allah's knowledge and is recorded in the Preserved Tablet. The person himself knows nothing of his own destiny or of Allah's decrees, but what he does know is that if he performs certain good deeds, then He will increase his profit (as in the example above) more than if he does not do that deed.
In the light of the above the following may be derived:
- Our supplications do change destiny and are of much avail.
- Good deeds are a source of an increase in ones sustenance, and can avert calamities.
- Sins result in a decrease in ones sustenance, and invite calamities.
Shi'a also believe in predetemined fate similar to the sense defined by the Sunnis. The Shi'ah believe that an individual is responsible for his action and that he or she has 'free will' to carry out his or her actions. But this free will is not something that excludes God's authority like the view of the Mu'tazila. Rather the free will itself is created by God.
A [Motahari (R)], a Shi'a scholar, explains:
The Beginnings of Kalam:
Though nothing definite can be said about the beginnings of 'ilm al-kalam among Muslims, what is certain is that discussion of some of the problems of kalam, such as the issue of predestination (jabr) and free will (ikhtiyar), and that of Divine Justice, became current among Muslims during the first half of the second century of Hijrah. Perhaps the first formal centre of such discussions was the circle of al-Hasan al-Basri (d. 110/728-29). Among the Muslim personalities of the latter half of the first century, the names of Ma'bad al-Juhani (d. 80/ 699) and Ghaylan ibn Muslim al-Dimashqi (d. 105/723) have been mentioned, who adamantly defended the ideas of free will (ikhtiyar) and man's freedom. There were others who opposed them and supported predestination (jabr). The believers in free will were called "qadariyyah" and their opponents were known as "jabriyyah".
Gradually the points of difference between the two groups extended to a series of other issues in theology, physics, sociology and other problems relating to man and the Resurrection, of which the problem of jabr and ikhtiyar was only one. During this period, the "qadariyyah" came to be called "Mu'tazilah" and the "jabriyyah" became known as "Asha'irah". The Orientalists and their followers insist on considering the beginnings of discursive discussions in the Islamic world from this point or its like.
However, the truth is that rational argumentation about Islamic doctrines starts with the Holy Qur'an itself, and has been followed up in the utterances of the Holy Prophet (S) and especially in the sermons of Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (A). This despite the fact that their style and approach are different from those of the Muslim mutakallimun
This belief is further emphasized by the Shia concept of Bada’, which states that God has not set a definite course for human history. Instead, God may alter the course of human history as is seen to be fit.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2007)|
- J. M. Cowan (ed.) (1976). The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Wiesbaden, Germany: Spoken Language Services. ISBN 0-87950-001-8
- Moral Responsibility and Divine Will. Re: Blaming Destiny?
- Tosun, Ender (2012). Guide to Understanding Islam. Istanbul: Ender TOSUN. p. 272. ISBN 9786056319815.
- Quran 34:25–26
- Quran 57:14
- Quran 8:23
- Quran 11:119
- Quran 10:100
- 431 hadith found in 'The Book of Faith (Kitab Al-Iman)' of Sahih Muslim. 
- Faith & Taqdeer
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- See Murtada Mutahhari, Sayri dar Nahj al-balaghah, pp.69–76, where the author has discussed the difference between the approach of the Nahj al-balaghah to the problems of theology and metaphysics and the approach of Muslim mutakallimun and philosophers to such problems. (Translator)