Predestination (Qadar)

Dr. Abu  Ameenah Bilal Philips
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 80 | Size: 2 MB

Qadar is a very sensitive topic. It is the sixth pillar of faith, and many people have gone astray regarding it. Some have denied it altogether while others have gone to such extremes in affirming it that they end up denying human free will. The truth as elucidated in Islamic teachings is between these two extremes. In dealing with this topic in his book A‘laam as-Sunnah al-Manshoorah, Shaikh Al-Hakami has extracted from the works of the early scholars the majority of the most important points which must be grasped in order to have a correct understanding. His mode of presentation is the Q&A style, as it was designed as a concise teaching text, whose main body was easily memorized. The commentary represents a brief elucidation of some of the more difficult points through the addition of useful material from other classical texts like that of al-‘Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah as well as modern texts like Dr. Saleh’s compilation The Salaf’s Guide to the Understanding of Al-Qadaa wal-Qadar.

What is the proof for belief in Qadar?

Evidence for belief in Qadar (1) can be found in the following statements of Allaah, the Most High:

وَكَانَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ قَدَرً۬ا مَّقۡدُورًا

“Allaah’s command is a determined decree.” (Soorah al-Ahzaab, 33: 38) (2)


(1) Qadar, coming from the root qadara (evaluate), may be defined as Allaah’s predestination of everything for His creation in accordance with His prior knowledge (Believing in Qadar, p. 8); it is Allaah’s decree or decision as in the verse:

إِنَّا كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ خَلَقۡنَـٰهُ بِقَدَرٍ۬

“Indeed, I have created all things according to predestined proportions [Qadar].” (Soorah al-Qamar, 54: 49)

Also derived from the same root is the word Qadr (amount) from which Laylatul-Qadr (the night in which Allaah sends down His annual decree and decides the amounts of all things relating to His creation) comes. It is synonymous to Qadar in this context. The Divine Names al-Qaadir (Most Able), al-Qadeer (All-Powerful) and al-Muqtadir (Omnipotent) are all derived from the root.

Qadaa (decision) is the implementation of Allaah’s decree (Al-Mufradaat, p. 406) as in the verse:

بَدِيعُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۖ وَإِذَا قَضَىٰٓ أَمۡرً۬ا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ ۥ كُن فَيَكُونُ

“When He decrees a matter, He only says to it: ‘Be!’ – and it is.” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2: 117)

Some scholars like Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalaanee held the opposite view. He said, “The scholars say that Qadaa is the general decree from eternity, and Qadar refers to the details of that decree and how they are implemented.” (Fat’hul-Baaree, vol. 11, p. 477 & 149) The overwhelmingly accepted position makes Qadaa the universal, general eternal decree, and Qadar the individual development or application of that in time. (The Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 199) When the terms Qadar and Qadaa are mentioned separately they are synonymous but when mentioned together, Qadar means the predestination and when what is predestined occurs it iscalled Qadaa. (Majmoo‘ al-Fataawaa, vol. 2, pp. 79-80)

لِّيَقۡضِىَ ٱللَّهُ أَمۡرً۬ا ڪَانَ مَفۡعُولاً۬

“That Allaah might accomplish a matter already ordained (in His Knowledge).” (Soorah al-Anfaal, 8: 42) (3)

وَكَانَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ مَفۡعُولاً۬

“Allaah’s command must be fulfilled.” (Soorah al-Ahzaab, 33: 37) (4)

مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَمَن يُؤۡمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ يَہۡدِ قَلۡبَهُ

“No calamity befalls but by the decision of Allaah. And Allaah will guide the heart of whoever believes in Him.” (Soorah at-Taghaabun, 64: 11) (5)


(2) This verse concerns the incident of the Prophet’s adopted son, Zayd ibn al-Haarithah’s divorce from the Prophet’s cousin, Zaynab, and the Prophet’s subsequent marriage to her. The Prophet (PBUH) tried to avoid and hide Zayd’s marital problems from the community, however it occurred. “Allaah’s command is a determined decree,” means that Allaah’s command which He has decreed must inevitably come to pass; nothing can prevent it or avert it, for whatever He wills happens, and whatever He does not decree, does not happen. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 7, p. 699)

(3) The Battle of Badr was not planned. The Prophet (PBUH) and his companions had set out to capture a Makkan caravan, but found themselves instead confronted with an army of Makkans more than three times their number. This verse affirms that Allaah decreed that He would bring glory to Islaam and its supporters in the Battle of Badr, while disgracing idolatry and its people. The companions had no knowledge of what would happen. It was out of Allaah’s compassion that He did that.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 4, p. 324)

(4) Allaah explained that the Prophet’s marriage to his cousin Zaynab bint Jahsh was to break the taboo on marrying the ex-wives of adopted sons. Though Allaah had put a stop to adoption earlier, saying:

وَمَا جَعَلَ أَدۡعِيَآءَكُمۡ أَبۡنَآءَكُمۡ

“He has not made your adopted sons your real sons.” (Soorah al-Ahzaab, 33: 4)

The marriage to Zaynab further confirmed and clarified the implications. The interpretation of “Allaah’s command must be fulfilled,” is that the divorce and subsequent marriage was predestined and decreed by Allaah and was, therefore, inevitable. Allaah knew that Zaynab would become one of the Prophet’s wives and had destined it. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 7, p. 699)

(5) Another similar verse also addresses the issue of destiny:

وَمَآ أَصَـٰبَكُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡتَقَى ٱلۡجَمۡعَانِ فَبِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ

“What you suffered on the day the two armies met was by the leave of Allaah.” (Soorah Aal ‘Imraan, 3: 166) (6)

(6) The verse: “What you suffered on the day the two armies met was by the leave of Allaah [in order that He might test the believers,]” is in reference to the Battle of Uhud when the archers disobeyed the Messenger’s instructions and abandoned their positions in a scramble for the booty. Khaalid ibn al-Waleed led a pagan counter-attack from the rear which caught the Muslims by surprise and they ran. Many were killed and injured. The dead included the Prophet’s uncle Hamzah and the injured included the Prophet (PBUH) himself whose tooth was knocked out. All of this occurred by Allaah’s will and decree based on His perfect wisdom. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 2, pp. 315-6) Continue reading