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    Que Sera, Sera

    What will be, will be....

    How would you explain the concept of predestination versus free will in Islam, to someone who is not familiar with this notion or someone who simply cannot reconcile the two?

    Al-Qadaa wal Qadar

    In surah A’al-Imran, Allah (swt), says:

    "Nor shall a soul die except by Allah’s leave, the term being fixed by writing." [TMQ 3:145]

    In surah al-A’raf, He (swt) says:

    "To every people is a term appointed. When their term is reached, not an hour can they delay it, nor (by an hour) can they advance it (in anticipation)." [TMQ 7:34]

    In surah al-Hadeed, He (swt) says:

    "No misfortune can happen on earth nor in your souls but it is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence. That is truly easy for Allah." [TMQ 57 :22]

    In surah al-Tawbah, He (swt) says:

    "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." [TMQ 9:51]

    In surah Sabah, He (swt) says:

    "From Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth, nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but it is in the Clear Record." [TMQ 34 :3]

    In surah al-An’am, He (swt) says:

    "He it is Who gathers you at night and knows that which you commit by day. Then He raises you again to life, that the term appointed (for you) may be fulfilled. And afterward unto Him is your return and He will show you the truth of all that you did." [TMQ 6:60]

    In surah al-Nisa’a, He (swt) says:

    "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?" [TMQ 4:78]

    These ayat of the Qur’an, and other ayat similar in meaning, are used by many as evidences in the question of Qada’a and Qadar. They derive the following understanding from these ayat: Man is compelled to undertake his actions; Man undertakes his actions under compulsion through the will of Allah (swt); and that Allah (swt), Himself, created man and his actions. They try to support their opinion by the saying of the Supreme:

    "But Allah has created you and your handiwork!" [TMQ 37:96]

    They also support their point with the hadith of the Prophet (saw), such as: "The Holy Spirit inspired in my soul that no body will pass away until he accomplishes his livelihood, term of life (ajal), and decree."

    The question of Qada’a and Qadar has constituted much vital discussion amongst the Islamic schools of thought. In sum, those schools held the following views:

    Ahle al-Sunnah: man had Kasb Ikhtiari in carrying out his actions. The Kasb Ikhtiari means man shifts his power and will towards performing the action by his choice. However, Allah (swt) subsequently brings the action into existence. Thus, man is reckoned on the outcome of this choice.

    Al-Mu‘tazila were of the opinion that it is man himself who creates his deed and therefore since he initiates the action, he is judged based upon them.

    Al-Jabriya held the opinion that Allah (swt), the Supreme, creates man and his work and thus man is not free but compelled to carry out his actions like the feather which floats in the air according to the direction of the wind.

    However, when studying this question thoroughly one needs to know the basis upon which the argument is built. This basis should not be whether the actions of man are created by himself or by Allah (swt); It shouldn’t be the knowledge of Allah (swt), i.e., that He (swt) knows that man will perform an action and that His (swt) knowledge covers man’s actions; It’s also not over the will of Allah (swt) related to man’s actions, i.e., that these deeds must happen because of this will; It shouldn’t be whether or not man’s actions are recorded in the Al Lauh Al Mafouh (Protected Decree or Register), and thus having to carry out his actions in accordance with what is recorded.

    Indeed, the basis of this question should not be any of these things, since they have no relationship to the subject of Reward and Punishment. It is merely related to the question of creation, the knowledge covering everything and the will of the Creator relative to all possible matters, and the Al Lauh Al Mafouh including everything. This relationship is different from the subject of Reward and Punishment for the action. In other words, is man obliged to perform an action, good or bad, or does he have a choice? And does man have the choice to perform an action or give it up, or doesn’t he have the choice?

    Any individual who observes the actions of man can conclude that He lives within two spheres:

    A. The sphere which man dominates. This sphere is in his performance domain and includes actions performed by man by his choice.

    B. The sphere which dominates him and in which he is involved. Actions which occur within this sphere occur without his choice, whether they originate from him or fall upon him.

    In regards to the actions that materialise within the sphere that dominates man, man has no choice in them or in their existence. They can be divided into two kinds:

    A. The part mandatory by the law of the universe.

    B. The second being actions which occur beyond man’s control (but are not part of the universal law).

    As far as the actions which are part of the law of the universe are concerned, man is in complete and involuntary submission to them. He is obliged to act in accordance with a specific and unchangeable system. Subsequently, man’s actions in this sphere occurs without his will and he is obliged and has no choice. Consequently, man came to this life without his will and he will leave it without his will. He cannot fly in the air with his body, walk in his natural being on water, nor choose the colour of his eyes. Man did not produce the shape of his head nor the size of his body. Indeed, it was Allah (swt) who created all of this without any input from man. Allah (swt) created the laws of the Universe, regulated the Universe by this law, and had the Universe run according to these laws without the possibility of change.

    Actions which are beyond man’s control and yet are not part of the universal law, but cannot be avoided are deterministic. Either he is the subject or the object (unintentionally) of these actions. Examples of such actions are if someone on a wall accidentally falls on a person and thus kills that person, or if someone shoots at a bird and without any intent hits a person and kills him, or if a car goes off the way, train derails, or plane should crash, without any ability on the part of the pilot or the driver to avoid the accident, the passengers die. All of these examples which emanated from man or involved him materialised without his will and were beyond his ability to control them. Those actions are within the sphere which dominates man, yet they are not part of universal law. They occur from him or affect him without his will and beyond his control sphere. All of the actions which occur within the sphere that dominates man are termed Qada, since Allah (swt) has predetermined them. Therefore, man is not reckoned about these actions, whether they are classified as beneficial, harmful, liked or disliked - although Allah (swt) alone knows the good and bad consequences of these actions - because man has no influence on them. Man does not have enough information about them nor the manner in which they are brought into existence. Additionally, man is unable to initiate or to avoid them at all. Man must believe in this Qada and that this Qada is from Allah (swt).

    As for Qadar, it is evident that the actions which occur, either in the sphere dominating man or in the sphere that man dominates, emanate from or upon things in the universe, man and life. Allah (swt) created certain attributes in these objects. For example, He (swt) created in fire the attribute of burning, in wood the attribute of catching fire, and in the blade the attribute of cutting. He (swt) made the attributes an integral and perpetual part of the objects according to the laws of the universe. When it happens that the attributes are no longer present, it means Allah has eliminated them and such an event would be unnatural. These are miracles and only happen to the. Likewise, in the manner that Allah (swt) created attributes in the objects, He created in man instincts and organic needs. He (swt) created in the instincts and organic needs specific attributes. Hence, He (swt) created in the instinct of reproduction the attribute of sexual inclination and worship, and survival. He (swt) created the organic needs the attributes of hunger/thirst, and He (swt) made these attributes accompany those instincts and organic needs according to the necessity of existence. The particular attributes that Allah (swt) has created in objects, instincts and organic needs are collectively termed as Qadar. This is because Allah (swt) alone created the objects, instincts, organic needs and pre-characterised (Qaddara) them with particular attributes. These attributes are not produced by the objects nor does man have any input or influence on their existence. Therefore, man must believe that it is Allah (swt) who has decreed these attributes in objects. However, these attributes can be used as means for an action by man. Thus actions will either be according to the commands of Allah and is thus good, or contradicting his commands and therefore bad (using objects with attributes or responding to his instincts and organic needs). Man’s action can conform or run counter with the commands of Allah (swt), thus doing good if it is in conformance with Islam and bad if it is not.

    Accordingly, all actions - good or bad - that occur within the sphere that dominates man are from Allah (swt). Also, all the attributes of objects and the instincts and organic needs - whether resulting in good or bad - are from Allah (swt). Consequently, a Muslim must believe that Qada’a - good or bad - is from Allah (swt) i.e. that actions beyond his sphere of influence are from Allah. He (swt) must also believe that Qadar - good or bad - is from Allah (swt) i.e. he must believe that attributes of things found in their nature are from Allah whether those resulting in good or in bad effects and unto which man has no influence. Thus man’s lifespan (ajal), provision (rizq), and himself (ruh) are all from Allah (swt). On the same token, the sexual inclination, and tendency towards ownership found in the instincts or reproduction and survival, and thirst and hunger, of the organic needs, are all established in man by Allah (swt).

    This is in respect to the actions that occur within the sphere that dominates man and the attributes of all things. As for the sphere that man dominates, it is the sphere in which he proceeds freely according to the system he chooses, whether it is Allah’s law (Shari‘ah) or any other. In this sphere, actions carried out by man or involving him occur by his free will. For example, he walks, eats, drinks and travels at anytime, wherever or whatever he likes. Likewise, he refrains from doing any of these things when he likes. He also uses fire and cuts with a knife when he chooses. He satisfies the instincts of reproduction and ownership and hunger of his stomach as he likes. He freely performs or abstains from any action. Therefore, man is reckoned on these acts which occur within this sphere.

    The attributes in objects, instincts, and organic needs are ordained and are an integral part of creation established by Allah (swt). They influence the outcome of the actions but do not in themselves initiate the action. It is man himself who initiates the action when using them. Hence, the sexual inclination in the instinct of reproduction has the potential for good and bad, and the hunger present in the organic need has the potential for good and bad. The one who acts good or bad is man and not the instinct or the organic need. This is because Allah (swt) created for man the mind which has the ability to comprehend, distinguish, and decide. He also guides man to the awareness of the path of good and bad.

    "And we showed him (the man) the two paths (of good and bad)." [TMQ 90:10]

    Allah also creates in man the comprehension of vice and righteousness.

    "And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and what is right for it." [TMQ 91:8]

    When man responds to his instincts and organic needs in a manner agreeing with the commands of Allah (swt), he performs the good and proceeds in the way of righteousness. When he responds to the instincts and organic needs deviating from the commands of Allah (swt), then he performs the bad and proceeds in the way of vice. Therefore, the good and bad emanates from man. He responds to the needs according to the commands of Allah and thus acts in a good way or responds in a way deviating from Allah’s (swt) commands and then acts badly. Consequently man is reckoned on this basis about his actions which occur in the sphere that he dominates, thus he is either rewarded or punished because he has undertaken those actions freely without any coercion.

    Although the attributes of the instincts and organic needs are from Allah (swt), and their potential for good and bad is also from Allah (swt), Allah (swt) didn’t establish them in a way forcing man to use them, whether in a way that satisfies or angers Allah (swt) i.e. in good or bad. This is similar to the attribute of burning which does not compel one to burn neither in the burning which satisfies Allah (swt) or in the burning which angers Him (swt) i.e. in good and bad. However, these attributes that are inherent in the objects, instincts, and organic needs are created in a specific manner and will manifest themselves whenever man fulfils the instincts and organic needs in the afforded way.

    When Allah (swt) created man with his instincts, organic needs, and the mind, He (swt) endowed him with the choice to carry out or abstain from an action. Allah (swt) did not compel him to carry out or to abstain from the action. Furthermore, He did not make the attributes of the objects, instincts and organic needs as compelling factors that make man carry out or abstain from an action. Man is therefore free, to perform or abstain from an action by the use of his mind. Allah (swt) made man accountable because of the latter having a discerning mind. Accordingly, Allah (swt) will reward man for performing the good because his mind chose to obey the commands of Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) would punish for performing the bad because his mind chose to disobey the commands of Allah (swt) by responding to his instincts and organic needs in a way contrary to the commands of Allah (swt). Therefore, man’s accountability is righteous and just, because he is free to carry out his action without compulsion. In this question, the Qada’a and Qadar is irrelevant. It’s rather to do with man carrying out his actions freely and therefore he is responsible for what he receives. Allah (swt), the Supreme, says:

    "Every soul is a pledge for its deed" [TMQ 74:38]

    As for the knowledge of Allah (swt) (‘Ilmu Allah), it does not force man to carry out an action. Allah knows that man is going to freely undertake an action. To carry out this action is not based on the knowledge of Allah (swt), rather, the knowledge of Allah (swt) implies He knows what action man is going to carry out. With regards to "the writing in the Al-Lauh al-Mahfouh", it is an expression for the knowledge of Allah of everything.

    With regards to the will of Allah (swt) (Iradatu Allah) also, it does not compel man to carry out any action. Its meaning, however, is that nothing can take place in his realm without Allah’s (swt) will i.e. nothing takes place against His (swt) will. Thus, if man carried out an action and Allah (swt) did not compel or prevent him from doing so, and instead left him to act freely, without any compulsion, then man has acted according to the will of Allah (swt). Man’s action was undertaken by himself and by his choice, and the will of Allah (swt) did not compel him to carry out the action.

    This is the issue of al qada’a wal qadar which will stimulate man to do good and avoid evil when realising that Allah (swt) is watching him and will account him for his actions and that he has endowed him with the choice to act or abstain. If man does not choose the right actions, he will be severely reprimanded and punished. Therefore, we find the true believer, who understands the concept of al qada’a wal qadar and who is fully acquainted with the mental faculties and decision making capabilities that Allah (swt) has endowed him with, very careful in observing Allah’s (swt) orders and being afraid of Him (swt). He endeavours to comply with the commands of Allah (swt) and to abstain from what is forbidden, because of his fear of the punishment of Allah (swt) and his yearning for Paradise. Ultimately, the believer yearns to attain that which is greater than all of this, namely the pleasure of Allah (swt) (Ridwan Allah).

    source The systems of Islam - Taqiuddin Nabhani

    If anything is unclear just ask and I will get it answered for you Inshallah.


      GfQ--this matter is one which the scholars of Ahle Sunnat w'al Jama'at have explained in a simple and beautiful manner as follows:


      1. Within the Knowledge of Allah Ta'ala , He wrote what was going to happen in the world and whatever His servants were going to do.

      2. Allah Ta’ala wrote good in some people's fate and wrote bad in another person's fate.

      3. He did not make the person helpless by writing this down, but wrote down what the servant was going to do.

      4. An example of this is that if Allah Ta’ala wrote bad for Zaid, then it was because He is aware that Zaid is going to do bad, and if Zaid was to do good, then He would have written good for Zaid, thus His Writing and His Knowledge did not make any person compelled.

      5. After performing bad deeds you should not say that this happened because it was Allah Ta'ala's will and therefore it was in my destiny, but all good things are done with the Pleasure of Allah Ta'ala and all bad deeds are done with the pleasure of one's desires.

      6.To believe yourself as totally without will or totally helpless is a misguided belief. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has referred to those who do not believe in Taqdir to be like fire-worshippers of his Ummah.

      7. It is forbidden to discuss or debate the subject of destiny. A person should only think that they are not helpless like stones and therefore cannot do anything according to their will, but actually Allah Ta'ala has given humans the power to do as they please and the reward and sin is based upon this power of will. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique and Hazrat Umar-e-Farooq (radi Allahu anhuma) were prohibited from discussing Taqdir.
      (quoted from

      May Allah bless the true savants of Ahle SunnaH who have explained the religion and made it easy for us.

      The key to all of Islam is the absolute and total passionate love [ishq] of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam(and all those connected with him). That leads to love of Allah and when you achieve that you become a mine of compassion and love for all of Allah's creation.


        The question of Determinism and Free Will, as understood from the Holy Qur’an was concisely stated earlier (in reply to a question). Further questions arising out of this view can now be discussed once the degrees of determinism imposed by cosmic arrangement and degrees of human freedom have been understood in the context of three different spheres.

        Once we establish the fact that man is accountable for his actions in his earthly life, we immediately face the following paradoxical questions:
        • Knowledge of God:

          Taqdeer in Muslim theology means the Knowledge of God. If everything is in the knowledge of God even before it happens, it means that things have been completely predetermined because God’s knowledge is always true. Whatever is to happen, according to His knowledge, will definitely happen. This means that man is not free to act. Conversely, if we hold that man has freedom of action, it means that whatever we do in this world was not within the prior knowledge of God, which is absurd.
        • Nothing happens without God’s will:

          The Holy Qur’an and the Hadeeth literature often states that nothing can happen in the world without the will of God. This means that everything is predetermined and man is helpless in the world. Moreover, it means that even if one commits a sin, it is so because God had willed it. In other words, God becomes responsible for evil in the world, which is again absurd.
        • If man is free, can he do everything:

          If man can do whatever he wants, then man would destroy the order on the earth leading to chaos.
        • Influence of the environment:

          Why is man accountable for his conduct when he is born in environments predetermined by God? Obviously, to a great extent, the environment and the moral ambiance determine our moral conduct. If the cosmic determinism is there, we should not be punished or rewarded for what we do under the conscious or unconscious influence of our environment.

        I would try to address each of these questions here.

        1. Knowledge of God:

        Some people present the issue of taqdeer (Religious Determinism) in the following manner:
        • Taqdeer is another name for Ilm-e-Ilaahi (Knowledge of God). Now God knows everything before hand, which also includes our future. Suppose God knows that Mary will get good marks in the spot test but Daniel will not. Now God’s knowledge cannot be incorrect. Therefore Mary is pre-determined to get good marks and Daniel is pre-determined to get bad marks. Their results are already determined whether they work hard for the test or ignore it. The same can be applied to sin or piety. A person commits a murder because it was already written in God’s knowledge; a person helps a poor sick lady because it was already written in his Taqdeer.

        But this view fails to answer the question that why should a sinful person be punished and a pious person be rewarded on the day of judgment when they were not doing it out of free will? One can go further and say why should a murderer be sentenced to death when it was actually not his doing, but the result of his Taqdeer, and why should Mary get a prize for getting good marks when it was actually her Taqdeer that did it?.

        It is true that God knows everything. He knew that John will make up his mind to murder his friend. But the question is ‘Did John make up his mind to murder his friend because God knew it? or God knew it because John was to independently make up his mind to murder his friend?

        A couple of illustrations may help us answer the question. Let us imagine that white ants are eating away the wooden pillars of a shed. We can say, “Look ! This roof will fall down.” Finally the roof falls down. The question is “Did the roof fall because we said so” or “We said so, because the roof was about to fall due to other factors?”

        If I drop a glass from the top floor of a high rise building, you would immediately predict that within a few seconds, the glass will crash on the ground. Did it crash because you predicted so? or it it that you said so because you knew it would so happen on the basis of your knowledge about falling bodies?

        These illustrations are only partially and incompletely analogous to the knowledge of God. Our knowledge, on the basis of which, we predicted that the shed will fall down or the glass will crash on the ground is learned and acquired knowledge. This knowledge was not acquired through any supernatural means. It is based on the study of physical bodies and laws of nature. God’s knowledge about future is of a different nature. We have no understanding of God’s ways. But one thing is certain. God knows that a certain individual would perform a certain act, but the individual would perform the act out of his will. God only knew it in advance. Therefore, if John murders his friend, he does that with his free will. Although it is correct that God already knew it. John has not murdered his friend because God knew it; rather God knew it because John was to murder his friend out of his free will.

        Therefore John should be held accountable for his act.

        2. Nothing happens without God’s will:

        It is true that God is the only effective force in the world. He has full control over the universe and not a single particle is beyond his command and control. However this does not mean that God is responsible for every evil in this world.

        Here a distinction between God’s ‘Sanction’ and his ‘Liking’ must be understood. Everything that happens in the universe follows God’s sanction or permission for it. Nothing can happen unless God allows it to happen. However, it does not necessary mean that He also likes whatever He sanctions.

        This world is a place where all men are being judged. Human actions are being watched and recorded for final judgment on the Day of Judgment. Since this life is a test period, men must have the freedom to choose between evil and good. God would not interfere with human choices, nor would manipulate them, because this would defeat the very purpose of a test. This world is like an examination hall. A supervisor passes by a student and finds that the student is writing down an incorrect reply to the question asked. Should the supervisor ignore this mistake or should he tell the student that he is not attempting the question correctly? Obviously, we think that the correct conduct of the supervisor entails that he should ignore the student’s mistake. If the student is checked right during the examination, the very purpose of the examination is defeated.

        Similarly, God allows us to make moral choices at our will and does not interfere through angels and divine powers when we are pursuing an immoral path. Thus we create evil in the world by reckless behavior and by making wrong moral choices. God is not responsible for this evil. He has only permitted it, but surely, does not like it.

        3. If man is free he can do anything

        Man is free to make up his mind and to build intentions to perform good or bad acts. He is free to wish, intend and plan - but he is not always free to implement his plans. To carry out our intentions, we need the cosmic harmony to go along with us. But the number of forces acting in this world may obstruct our plans and thwart them. Our frustrated designs (whether good or bad) show that the cosmic determinism does not necessarily go along with our intentions. Carrying out our good or bad intentions is often beyond our control. God’s superimposed rule over everything fixes boundaries for possibilities open to us in the realm of carrying out actions. Through his power over everything, he plans and designs the universe. His plans clearly and unquestionable overrule ours.

        Thus, when it comes to human actions we must know that although we are not free to carry out our plans in life, but we are free to make up our mind to do anything. In other words, we are free to have an iraada (intention) but not free to implement it.

        But the final judgment is to be passed not on our ability to do something but to intend and strive to do it. We shall be punished or rewarded for something that we are free to choose. We would not be punished or rewarded for something that is beyond our control. We are perfectly free to choose and make up our minds to do something. If the intended action is good we would be rewarded, irrespective of the fact whether we are able to carry it out or not. The same is true of evil intentions and efforts also.

        4. Environment

        Among other factors that affect our lives, the environment (family, peers, media, literature, society and state) is the most obvious. Religion does not argue whether the environment has any influence or not, and if it does affect our moral choices, to what extent can we resist or succumb to it. It however establishes a rule that we would only be held responsible to the extent that we were free to choose. The conscious or unconscious influences that might have shaped our choices would be accounted for in the hereafter. One would only be held responsible for his choices that he was perfectly free to make, and to such extent only.

        Nadir Aqueel Ansari

        I hope this helps to answer your query.

        They shoot partypoopers, don't they?

        [This message has been edited by Mr Partypooper (edited May 04, 2001).]




            Originally posted by Girl from Quraysh:

            Jazak Allah Khair