Explaining The Fundamentals Of Faith

Author: Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen

Source: Dr. Saalih as-Saalih
Translator: Sharh Usool al-Eemaan

Published: Saturday 29th October, 2005

The Belief In Al-Qadar

Al-Qadar is Allaah’s predestination of beings according to His Foreknowledge and as necessitated by His Wisdom.

The Belief In Al-Qadar Comprises Four Matters:

  • First: The Belief that Allaah (Ta’aalaa) knew everything on the whole and in detail which took place in the past and is taking or will take place in the future and forever, whether it is related to His Actions or the actions of His Ibaad (creatures).

  • Second: The Belief that Allaah (Ta’aalaa) wrote (everything pertaining to His Knowledge) in Al-Lauhul Mahfoudh. [1] Regarding these two aspects (knowledge and writing), Allaah (Ta’aalaa) says:

    “Know you not that Allaah knows all that is in heaven and on earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lauhul Mahfoudh)! Verily that is easy for Allaah.” [Qur’aan 22:70]

    In Saheeh Muslim from the way of Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas (radhi-Allaahu anhu) who said, “I heard Allaah’s Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) saying:

    ‘Allaah had written the ordained measures (and due proportions) of the creation, fifty-thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth.’ ” [2]

  • Third: The Belief that all created things do not come to exist except by the Will of Allaah (Ta’aalaa) making no difference whether it pertains to His Action or to that of the created beings. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) spoke about what pertains to His Action:

    “Verily, your Rabb creates whatever He wills and chooses.” [Qur’aan 28:68]

    “And Allaah does what He Wills.” [Qur’aan 14:27]

    “He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases.” [Qur’aan 3:6]

    Pertaining to the action of the created, He (Allaah Ta’aalaa) said:

    “Had Allaah willed, He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you.” [Qur’aan 4:90]

    “Had Allaah willed, they would have not done so. So leave them alone with their fabrications.” [Qur’aan 6:137]

  • Fourth: The Belief that all beings are created by Allaah including Thawaatiha (their selves), their qualities and their motion. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

    “Allaah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Wakeel (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian, etc.) over all things.” [Qur’aan 39:62]

    “And He created everything, and has measured it exactly to its due measurements.” [Qur’aan 25:2]

    He said about His Prophet Ibraaheem (alayhis-salaam) that he told his people:

    “While Allaah has created you and what you make.” [3]

The above description of the matters of belief in Al-Qadar does not negate that the ‘abd has a mashee’ah (will) and an ability (Qurdah) regarding his voluntarily deeds, because both Ash-Shar’a and Reality are proofs that affirm these (qualities) to him.

  • As for Ash-Shar’a, Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said about the mashee’ah (will) (of the ‘abd):

    “So whoever wills, let him seek a place with (or a way to) His Rabb (by obeying Him in this worldly life)!” [Qur’aan 78:39]

    “So go to your Harth [4] when and or how you will.” [Qur’aan 2:223]

    Allaah said regarding Al-Qudrah (man’s ability):

    “So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can; listen and obey.” [Qur’aan 64:16]

    “Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned.” [Qur’aan 2:286]

  • As to the Reality aspect, every person knows that he has a mashee’ah and a Qurdah by which he acts or relinquishes, and that he distinguishes between what he wilfully carries out, like walking, and what occurs unintentionally, like tremors. However, the ‘abd’s will (mashee’ah) and Qurdah exist only by Allaah’s Will and Ability. He (Ta’aalaa) said:

    “To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight, and you will not, unless (it be) that Allaah wills - the Rabb of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinns, and all that exists).” [Qur’aan 81:28-29]

    And since the entire universe belongs to Allaah (Ta’aalaa), then nothing will come to exist in His Kingdom without His will.

Also the belief in Al-Qadar as described above, does not grant the ‘abd an argument neither for what he had abandoned from the obligatory acts nor for the acts of disobedience which he had committed. Accordingly, his justification, by making Al-Qadar as a pretext, is invalid by the following accounts:

  • First: In Allaah’s saying:

    “Those who took partners (in worship) with Allaah will say: ‘If Allaah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His Will).’ Likewise belied those who were before them, (they argued falsely with Allaah’s Messengers), till they tasted of Our Wrath. Say: ‘Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us? Verily, you follow nothing but guesses and you do nothing but lie.’ ” [Qur’aan 6:148]

    Had there been an excuse for them in Al-Qadar, Allaah would not have inflicted punishment upon them.

  • Second: Allaah’s saying:

    “Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allaah after the Messengers. And Allaah is Ever All­Powerful, All­Wise.” [Qur’aan 4:165]

    Had Al-Qadar been a valid excuse for those opposing (the Messengers), it would never be eliminated by the mere sending of the Messengers, because the opposition will occur, by Allaah’s will, even after sending them.

  • Third: The hadeeth narrated by Alee bin Abee Taalib (radhi-Allaahu ‘anhu) and reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim in which the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

    “There is none of you but has his place assigned either in Hell or in Al-Jannah.” A man from amongst the people said: “Shall we not depend upon that (and give up doing any deeds)?” He said: “Carry on doing (good deeds) for everybody will find it easy to do such deeds as will lead him to his destined place for which he has been created.”[/i] (And then the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam recited the Aayah):

    “As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allaah and fears Him, and believes in Al-Husna [5], We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness); But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient, and gives the lie to Husna, We will make smooth for him the path of evil).” [Qur’aan 92:5-10] [6]

    The Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) ordered to carry on doing good deeds and forbade the dependence upon Al-Qadar.

  • Fourth: Allaah (Ta’aalaa) commanded the ‘abd (to do the lawful) and forbade upon him (the unlawful) and did not hold him responsible except towards what he is unable to do. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

    “Keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can.” [Qur’aan 64:16]

    “Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope.” [Qur’aan 2:268]

    If man is compelled to act, then he would be burdened with inescapable things. This is certainly false. That is why if he commits something wrong due to forgetfulness, ignorance, or under compulsion, then there is no sin on him because he is excused.

  • Fifth: The Al-Qadar of Allaah (Ta’aalaa) is a preserved secret kept unknown until the occurrence of what is preordained. The ‘abd’s intention of what he does precedes his action and thus it is not based upon a foreknowledge on his part of the Qadar of Allaah. At that time, his excuse about Al-Qadar is negated, because one can have no established proof in what he knows not.

  • Sixth: We see that man is keen to obtain what suits him from worldly matters. He does not abandon it for that which suits him not and then blame his relinquishment on Al-Qadar. Why is it then that he turns away from what benefits him from the matters of his Deen to that which causes him harm and then resort to Al-Qadar for justification? Isn’t it so that dealing with both matters should be one?! [7]

    The following is an example that clarifies this issue. If there are two roads in front of a person: one leading to a town filled with mischief, disorder, killing, looting, fear, hunger, and all forms of sexual and moral abuse; the second takes him to a town enjoying order, security and quiet, abundant sustenance and good living, and in which lives, honour, and property are respected; which road he will take?

    Certainly he will take the road that takes him to the town of order and security. No sensible person would ever take the road that lead to the town of chaos and fear and then take Al-Qadar as a pretext. Why is it then when it comes to the matter of the Hereafter he takes the way to Fire (Hell) instead of the way to Al-Jannah and then use Al-Qadar as an argument?

    Another example: We see that when a patient is ordered to take the prescribed medicine, he takes it while his self does not like it. And when it is forbidden from taking the food which causes him harm, he gives it up while his self desires it. He does all of this seeking a cure and to be safe. It is rather impossible that he refrains from taking the medicine or eating the food which is harmful to him using Al-Qadar as a pretext! Why does man, therefore, abandon the command of Allaah and His Messenger or does what Allaah and His Messengers forbid and then takes Al-Qadar as evidence?

  • Seventh: If the person who takes the Al-Qadar as a pretext (to justify) what he has abandoned from Al-Qaajibaat [8] or what he has committed from sin, is attacked by someone who takes away his property or violates his honour and then tells him: “Do not blame me! My attack upon you was due to Allaah’s Qadar (i.e. something which Allaah had preordained)”, he would not accept his argument! How come then that he does not accept Al-Qadar as a pretext to justify someone’s else attack on him while he takes it as an argument for his aggression against Allaah’s right?

    It is said that Ameer Al-Mu’mineen [9] ‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab (radhi-Allaahu ‘anhu) ordered to cut the hand of a thief on who, the (Sharee’ah) ruling was rightly applicable. The thief said: “Wait O! Leader of the believers! I committed the theft by the Qadar of Allaah (i.e. he is blaming it on Al-Qadar). ‘Umar replied: “And we assuredly cut (the hand) by no more than the Qadar of Allaah.”

The Belief In Al-Qadar Has Great Benefits, Amongst Them:

  • First: Depending upon Allaah (Ta’aalaa) when using the means (by which a thing is brought about) so as not to depend upon the means itself, on the grounds that everything is preordained by Allaah in exact measures.

  • Second: Saving the person from having a high opinion of himself upon the achievement of his objective, because its attainment is a Favour from Allaah (Ta’aalaa) in view of what He had preordained from the means which lead to what is good and successful. His conceitedness makes him forget being grateful to Allaah for this Favour of His.

  • Third: Securing a state of peace and tranquillity regarding what befalls the person of what had been preordained by Allaah (Ta’aalaa). He worries not over failing to attain what is beloved nor over the occurrence of what is disliked, because all of this is in accordance with Al-Qadar of Allaah - to whom belongs the heavens and the earth - and it is inevitable to take place. Allaah says regarding this matter:

    “No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but it is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauhul Mahfoudh), before We bring it into existence, verily that is easy for Allaah. In order that you may not be sad over matters that you fail to get, nor rejoice because of that which has been given to you. And Allaah likes not prideful boasters.” [Qur’aan 57:22]

    The Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

    “How amazing is the matter of the believers! There is good in every affair of his, and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of the believer: If any Sarraa’ [10] befalls him, he gives thanks (to Allaah), thus there is good for him in it. And if a Darraa’ [11] befalls him, and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.” [12]

Two Sects Went Astray Regarding Al-Qadar:

  • One of them is Al-Jabriyyah [13] who assert that man is compelled to do whatever he does and that he has neither the power nor the will to act.

  • The other one is Al-Qadariyyah [14] who say that whatever man does it is entirely of his own ability and free will, and that Allaah’s mashee’ah (Will) and Qudrah (Ability) has no influence whatsoever on what man does.

  • The Response to the First Sect (Al-Jabriyyah) According to Ash-Shar’a and Reality:

    • As to the Ash-Shar’a, it is certain that Allaah (Ta’aalaa) has affirmed an ability and a free will to the ‘abd and has attributed the deeds to him as well. He (Ta’aalaa) said:

      “Among you are some who desire this world and some that desire the Hereafter.” [Qur’aan 3:152]

      “And say: ‘The truth is from your Rabb (Allaah).’ Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve. Verily, We have prepared for the Thaalimeen (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.) a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them.” [Qur’aan 18:29]

      He also said:

      “Whosoever does righteous good deed it is for (the benefit of) his ownself, and whosoever does evil, it is against himself, and your Rabb is not at all unjust to (His) slaves.” [Qur’aan 41:46]

    • As regard to reality, it is known that each man is aware of the difference between his voluntary deeds like eating, drinking, selling and buying and that which befalls him against his own choice, like tremors associated with fever and like falling from the roof. In the first case he is acting by his own free will and without compulsion, while in the second situation neither he has a choice nor does he want what has befallen him.

  • The Response to the Second Sect (Al-Qadariyyah) According to Ash-Shar’a and Rational:

    • As to Ash-Shar’a, it is certain that Allaah is the Creator of everything and all things exist by His Will. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) has shown in His Book that the actions of creation occur by His Will. He (Ta’aalaa) said:

      “If Allaah had willed, succeeding generations would not have fought against each other, after clear Aayaat had come to them, but they differed - some of them believed and others disbelieved. If Allaah had willed, they would have not fought against one another, but Allaah does what He likes.” [Qur’aan 2:253]

      “And if We had willed, surely! We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect (about evil doers), that I will fill Hell with jinn and mankind together.” [Qur’aan 32:13]

    • As to rational, it is evident that the entire universe belongs to Allaah, and because man is part of this universe, consequently he belongs to Allaah. It is not the right of the possessed to dispose freely the property of the Possessor except by the latter’s leave and will.


[1] Al-Lauhul Mahfoudh: The Preserved Tablet.

[2] Saheeh Muslim, V.4, Hadeeth no. 6416.

[3] Ibraaheem (alayhis-salaam) was referring to the idols that his people used to worship:

“He (Ibraaheem) said (to his people): ‘Worship you that which you (yourselves) carve? While Allaah has created you and what you make!’” [Qur’aan, signifying Aayaat 95-96 of Soorah As-Saaffaat, no. 37] [TN]

[4] Allaah described the wives as Harth: Tilth for their husbands. He said:

“Your wives are as a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will.” [Qur’aan 2:223]

“Go to your tilth” means to have legal sexual relations with your wife.

[5] Al-Husna means either the declaration of: laa ilaaha illa lah: none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, or a reward from Allaah i.e. Allaah will compensate him for what he will spend in Allaah’s Way or bless him with Al-Jannah. [TN]

[6] See Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, V.9, Hadeeth no. 642.

[7] Which means that he must not turn away from what benefits him and blame it on Al-Qadar. [TN]

[8] Al-Waajibaat: The obligatory matters of the Deen. [TN]

[9] Ameer Al-Mu’mineen: The Leader of the believers. [TN]

[10] Sarraa’: Prosperity, being in a well-to-do state, life of ease, success in the form of obedience to Allaah in matters of Deen, etc. [TN]

[11] Darraa’: Poverty, illness, hardship, trouble, trial, etc. [TN]

[12] Reported by Muslim. See Saheeh Muslim, V.4, Hadeeth no. 7138.

[13] Al-Jabriyyah (from Arabic Jabr, ‘Compulsion’) who maintained determinism against free will. These are the followers of Jahm bin Safwan (d.128 Hj/745). Their doctrine is that salvation was predetermined and that man, in effect, could not work either for, not against his salvation. According to this claim man is just like a feather suspended in the air. [TN]

[14] Al-Qadariyyah, Predestinarianism, the opposite extreme to Al-Jabriyyah. They claimed that man creates his own actions by his ability and his will “making” creators other than Allaah! That is why the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) called them the Majoos of this Ummah, because the Majoos claim that Satan “creates” evil and harmful things, making of Satan a “creator” besides Allaah. Far is Allaah above what these sects utter.

Abu Dawood related on the authority of Abdullaah bin ‘Umar that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

“Al-Qadariyyah are the Majoos of this Ummah, if they become ill do not visit them, and when they die do not witness them (their funerals).”

Shaykh Al-Albaanee said that the hadeeth is hasan (authentic) by way of its combined narrations. See At-Tahawiyyah, p.273 and As-Sunnah by Abee ‘Aasim V. 1/149. [TN]


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