A summary of key Theological aspects in Islam

Lesson 1

1. ‘Aqidah as one of the 3 disciplines [funūn] of the religion [dīn].

It was narrated that Sayyidunā ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “While we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless with him and grant him peace, one day a man came up to us whose clothes were extremely white, whose hair was extremely black, upon whom traces of travelling could not be seen, and whom none of us knew, until he sat down close to the Prophet, may Allah bless with him and grant him peace, so that he rested his knees upon his knees and placed his two hands upon his thighs and said, ‘Muhammad, tell me about Islam.’

Scholars understood Islam as the outward actions of the limbs aimed at purifying the limbs [tazkiyah al-badn]. They called the detailed study of Islam, Fiqh

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless with him and grant him peace, said, ‘Islam is that you witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and you establish the prayer, and you give the Zakat, and you fast Ramadan, and you perform the hajj of the House if you are able to take a way to it.

Scholars understood Iman as the inward beliefs of the mind aimed at purifying the thoughts[tazkiyah al-‘aql]. They called the detailed study of Iman, Tawhid

He said, ‘You have told the truth,’ and we were amazed at him asking him and [then] telling him that he told the truth. He said, ‘Tell me about iman.’ He said, ‘That you affirm Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and that you affirm the Decree, the good of it and the bad of it.’ He said, ‘You have told the truth.’ He said, ‘Tell me about ihsan.’ He said, ‘That you worship Allah as if you see Him, for if you don’t see Him then truly He sees you.’ …

 Scholars understood Ihsan as the inward conditions and states of the heart aimed at purifying the soul [tazkiyah al-‘ruh]. They called the detailed study of Ihsan, Tasawwuf

2. The introduction to knowledge [muqaddimat ul-‘ilm].

The introduction to knowledge was summarized in a few verses of poetry as follows:

إن مبادئ كل فن عشرة…الحد والموضوع ثم الثمرة
ونسبة وفضله والواضع…والاسم الاستمداد حكم الشارع
مسائل والبعض بالبعض اكتفى …ومن درى الجميع حاز الشرفا

  1. The definition [al-Hadd]: ‘the singular worship of Allāh with total and complete belief in the uniqueness and perfection of His Essence, Attributes and Actions.
  2. The subject matter [al-Mawdū’]: It is the study of The Essence of Allāh and encompasses that what is necessary [wājib], impossible [mustahīl] and possible [jā-iz] to believe regarding Allāh (Most High), known as the ‘Ilāhiyāt’. Secondly, it is the study of the essence of the messengers, including what is wājib, mustahil and jā-iz regarding them (may Allāh be pleased with them), known as the ‘nubuwwāt’. Thirdly, it includes eschatology, meaning that which is necessary to believe in as reported in the Qurān and Sunnah without rational proofs [sam’iyāt].
  3. The fruits [al-Thamrah]: It is the honor of knowing Allāh [ma’rifahtullāh] as well as everlasting bliss [fawzu bi s-s’ādati l-abadiyyah].
  4. As for its virtues [Fadl]: it is the noblest of sciences [ashraf ul-‘ulūm] as it deals with the essence of Allāh and the essence of the messengers. This subject is honored because of its being attached to Allāh (Most High).
  5. Its relationship to other sciences [al-Nisbah]: It is the foundation of all the sciences of religion [asl ul-‘ulūm id-dīnīyyah], with the other sciences being its branches.
  6. The founders [al-Wādi’]: Abu l-Hasan al-Ash’ari, Abū Mansūr al-Māturīdi and those who followed them. They documented the entire belief system, systemized it and refuted the mu’tazila.
  7. As for its name [al-Ism]: it is the science of tawhid and is the most well-known subject since it discusses the Oneness of Allāh [wahdaniyah]. It is also known as [‘ilmu l-kalām] since there was major debates regarding the attribute of Speech [kalām] of Allāh (Most High).
  8. As for its proofs [al-Istimdād]: it is taken from both rational [‘aqliyyah] and transmitted [naqliyyah] proofs.
  9. As for its ruling in the scared law [Hukm ush-Shāri’]: It is a personal obligation [al-wujūb al-‘ayni] upon every male and female, who is mukallaf
  10. As for the main topics of the subject [al-Masā’il]: it includes topics related to that which is necessary, possible and impossible for Allāh (Most High) and His messenger (peace be upon him).

These ten principals are referred to as the introduction to knowledge.

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Lesson 2

  1. Legal responsibility [taklīf]
  2. On the conditions [shurūt] of the legally responsible person [mukallaf]
  3. The Ahl al-Fatrah
  4. On the parents of the Prophet () and the ruling regarding their salvation

  1. Legal responsibility [taklīf]

It is obligatory according to the sacred law [sharī’ah] upon the legally responsible [mukallaf] person to have knowledge [ma’rifah] of what is necessary [wājib] regarding his Creator (ﷻ).

  1. On the conditions [shurūt] of the legally responsible person [mukallaf]

There are four factors that establish responsibility and obligation [taklīf] thus rendering it incumbent upon someone to follow the sacred law [sharī’ah]. These include sound intellect [‘aql], maturity [bulūgh], sound senses; meaning that one is not deaf and blind [salāmat ul-hawās] and hearing the message [bulūgh ad-da’wah]. If one of these is not established then the individual is not considered as legally responsible [mukallaf].

  1. The Ahl al-Fatrah

The ahl al-fatrah refers to those who lived at time between the advent of a prophet or during the time a prophet was sent while the message of the prophet did not reach them. The ruling regarding the ahl al-fatrah is that they are exempted from divine punishment even if they worshipped idols.[Fatrah refers to a period where a particular Prophethood ended. An example is seen in the period between the Prophet ‘Īsā and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them), which was approximately six hundred years.]

  1. On the parents of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the ruling regarding their salvation

Having understood that the ahl al-fatrah are saved according to the preferred opinion [rājih], you should also know that the parents of the Prophet, peace be upon him, are saved as well since they too are among the ahl al-fatrah. This includes all his grandfathers and grandmothers. All of them are saved and regarded as believers.


Lesson 3

  1. The two testimonies of faith [shahādtayn]
  2. On the various opinions surrounding its articulation
  3. The etiquette [adab] of the shahadatayn
  1. The two testimonies of faith [shahādtayn]
  • The shahādtayn: I bear witness that there is no deity but Allāh and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh.
  • Faith [Iman] is tasdiq and tasdiq means firm resolve in the heart.
  • Good deeds increases and re-enforces faith while bad deeds decreases it and may bring one to the lowest point of faith but cannot remove faith.
  1. On the various opinions surrounding its articulation
  • Imām Bājūrī said that it is necessary that “ash-hadu’ be repeated while it is not a condition that the preposition “wa” be uttered according to what As-Ziyādī said.
  • According to Imām Al-Ramlī it is not sufficient to replace “ash-hadu” with any other word even it is a synonym.
  • It is necessary that the two testimonies be in the correct arrangement [tartīb].
  • The second testimony must be uttered immediately after the first [muwālāt].
  • It is necessary that the messengership [risālah] of Muhammad, peace be upon him, be uttered.
  • If a non-Arab utters the shahādatayn in a language other than Arabic then it is sound while Arabic is better.
  1. The etiquette [adab] of the shahadatayn
  • Verbal utterance [nutq] is a condition [shart] in order for worldly rulings [al-ahkām ad-dunyawiyyah] to apply to a person. These include the rulings of inheritance, marriage, prayers, being buried in the Muslim cemetery, paying zakāt and so forth. This is because tasdīq in the heart, even though it establishes faith, is hidden within the self.
  • Imām Ahmad Sāwī said that regarding the children of the Muslims, they are considered Muslim even if they never uttered the shahādah during their lifetime.
  • As for the one who has a valid excuse and wishes to embrace Islām but is unable to utter the shahādatayn except through indication [ishārah], he is a believer before Allāh and the worldly rulings apply to him.
  • One who accepts it in his heart but does not utter it without a valid reason and is not coerced then he is a Muslim before Allāh, while the worldly rulings do not apply to him.
  • As for the one who utters it, but does not believe in his heart, like the hypocrite [munāfiq], then the worldly rulings apply to him while he is a disbeliever before Allāh, Most High.

These conditions are relied upon [mu’tamad] according to the madhab of Imām ash-Shāfi’ī.


Lesson 4

Mapping the discipline of Tawhid

Aqīdah deals with three important aspects: Al-Ilāyihāt, An-Nubuwwāt and As-Sam’iyyāt.

  • Al-Ilāyihāt, which deals with the questions pertaining to the Divine Essence [Dhāt] and Attributes [Sifāt] of Allāh, Most High.
  • An-Nubuwwāt, which deals with the questions pertaining to Prophethood, the Prophets and related issues.
  • As-Sam’iyyāt, which deals with those doctrines and beliefs which cannot be analysed by reason and who’s chief and only source is the Qurān and the hadīth. These include the signs of the last hour, life after death, the resurrection, heaven, hell and so forth.

Al-Ilāyihāt: This section deals with the attributes [sifāt] of Allah and what is necessary [wājib], impossible [mustahīl] and possible [jā’iz] for Allah, Most High.

There are 20 Attributes [Sifāt] that are necessary for the mukallaf to believe in regarding the Creator, Allāh, Most High, and they are categorised as follows:

  1. Attributes of affirmation [Thubūtiyyah] = 15
  • The Personal Attribute [Sifah Nafsiyyah] -> Being/Existence [Al-Wujūd] = 1
  • The Attributes of Meaning [Ma’ānī] = 7 and The Attributes pertaining to Meaning [Ma’nawiyyah] = 7
  • Power [Qudrah]              2.8 All-Powerful [Qādirun]
  • Will [Irādah]                    2.9 Willing [Murīdun]
  • Knowledge [’Ilm]         2.10  All-Knowing [‘Alīmun]
  • Life [Hayāt]                      2.11  The One Who is Living [Hayyun],
  • Speech [Kalām]             2.12  Speaking [Mutakallimun]
  • Hearing [Sam’]              2.13   All-Hearing [Samī’un]
  • Sight [Basar]                    2.14   All-Seeing [Basīrun]
  1. Attributes of negation [Salbiyyah] = 5
  1. Begininglessness [al-Qidam]
  2. Endlessness [al-Baqā]
  3. Different to created things [Mukhālafa lil-hawādith]
  4. Self-Subsisting [Qiyamu bi n-nafsihī]
  5. Oneness[Wahdāniyyah]

sujud

Lesson 5 & 6

  1. The first Attribute of Affirmation [Thubūtiyyah], Existence [Al-Wujūd] part 1
  2. Knowledge of Allah [Ma’rifatu Allah].
  3. Methods of reflection [nadhar].

1.The first Attribute of affirmation: Existence [Al-Wujūd]

The first Attribute of Affirmation [Thubūtiyyah] is Existence [Al-Wujūd]. It is referred to as the Personal Attribute [Sifah Nafsiyyah].

2.Knowledge of Allah [Ma’rifatu Allah]

One of the goals in studying Aqidah is to attain “Ma’rifah”, i.e. deep knowledge of the Attributes of Allah. Ma’rifah is acquired through careful observation and deep reflection [nadhar and tafakkur].

3. Methods of reflection [nadhar]

a) Self-reflection and b) Reflection on the higher and lower worlds. These are of the most powerful methods for arriving at certainty [yaqīn] in the Existence [Wujūd] of Allah (ﷻ).

a) Self-reflection

Allāh (ﷻ) says: “And also in yourselves. Will you not then see?” 51:21. meaning that within you exists the signs and proofs of His Existence (ﷻ). Will you omit reflecting upon them so that you never see? This means that you should not omit reflecting upon it.

It was narrated: “One who knows himself knows his Lord.” [man ‘arafa nafsahū faqad ‘arafa Rabbah].” This means that one who recognises himself with regards to his contingency [hudūth] and need [faqar] knows that his Lord.

It was also said that it is an indication of one’s inability [ta’jīz], meaning that you cannot really know yourself so how then can you know your Lord.

You have hearing, seeing, speech, length, width, depth, contentment, anger, whiteness, redness, blackness, knowledge, ignorance, faith, disbelief, delight, pain and the likes which cannot be encompassed.  All of these are changing from a state of non-existence to existence. These are therefore contingent [hādith] and attached to ones essence by necessity. That which is connected to the contingent must be contingent itself and this proof of our feebleness [iftiqār] before the All-Wise Creator who is the Necessary Existent [Wājib al-Wujūd], whose Knowledge is All-Encompassing, and whose Power and Will is of sheer perfection. It is only through reflection that we discover the proofs for the necessary existence of the Creator and His Attributes.

b) Reflection on the higher and lower worlds:

After you have reflected upon the conditions within yourself then move your attention to reflect upon the conditions within the higher realms above you [jihati l-‘uluww], then to the lower realms below you [jihat is-sufli]. Imām Laqqāni says in the Jawharah At-Tawhid, verse 16:

تَجِدْ بِهِ صُنْعًا بَدِيعَ الْحِكَمِ … لكِنْ بِهِ قامَ دَلِيلُ الْعَدَمِ

You will find in it a creation of incomparable wisdom…

however in it is established  proof that is was once non-existent

Everything for which the possibility of non-existence is called a possibility [mumkin]. It is impossible for it to be eternal in absolute terms. The created order [‘ālam] from heaven to earth carries the possibility of non-existence [adam]. For everything that carries the possibility of being non-existent, it is impossible for it to be eternal [qidam]. The result of this analogy is the following: that the created order from the heavens to the earth is impossible to be eternal and is thus established as being contingent or created. If it is established that it is created then it is necessary that it have a creator.

Summary: Firstly, we established the temporary nature of the attributes or characteristics of the world through witnessing its ever-changing nature. At one point it is absolute nothingness and then it gains existence and vice versa.  This is to say that the characteristics which are ever-changing from absolute nothingness, gains existence and then returns to nothingness and so forth. Everything which is like that must be created since its characteristics are temporary. Thus, we establish the created nature of the bodies [al-ajsām] as well as the created nature of its attributes [al-a’rād].

A poet summarized this as follows:

زَيْدُ الطَّوِيلُ الأَزْرَقُ ابْنُ مَالِكِ *** فِي بَيْتِهِ بِالأَمْسِ كَانَ مُتَّكِي‎

بِيَدِهِ غُصْنٌ لَوَاهُ فَالْتَوَى *** فَهَذِهِ عَشْرُ مَقُولاَتٍ سُوَى

Zaid is tall, blue, the son of Mālik *** He was in his house yesterday reclining

In his hand was a branch which he bent *** so these ten stated are arranged

Zaid is the body. His attributes include: length, color, lineage, place, time, state or condition, posession or ownership and action.

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Lesson 7

  • The five Attributes of Negation [Sifāt Al-Salbiyyah]

1- Beginningless [Qidam]

There was no beginning to His being; meaning, Allāh (ﷻ) is the first with no beginning; He was and there was nothing and no one with Him. His being was not preceded by non-existence like our presence was.

The textual proof: “He is the first and the last, the Evident and the Hidden” 57:3

The rational proof is that if He was not Beginningless [Qadīm], then He would have originated; and if He originated like the creation, He would not have created everything since things (would have) existed before Him (ﷻ). It is therefore established that He is the First without beginning; and all that is proven to be without beginning [qidam] is impossible to have an end.

2- Everlasting or endlessness [Baqa]

This means – His existence has no end; and non-existence does not pursue Him.

The textual proof is the statement of God “All that is upon the earth will perish; but the Face of your Lord will remain forever”. 55:26-27

The rational proof is that if it were possible for Him to perish and be non-existent, He would have come into being like the creation. Undeniably, it is established that He is without beginning [qadīm], and all that is established as beginningless, is impossible to have an end. And there is nothing that is attributed with beginningless [qidam] and everlastingness [baqā] except Allah (ﷻ). As for the throne [‘arsh], footstool [kursi], pen [qalam], preserved tablet [lawh al-Mahfūdh], souls [arwāh] and coccyx [‘ajb] in the spinal column, even though they are remaining, it is by the permission of Allāh (ﷻ). These things remain by His Will, but if He Willed for them to perish into non-existence, they would.

3- Allah is Absolutely unlike His creation [Mukhālafa lil hawādith]

Allah (ﷻ) is unlike His creation; not in His essence [dhāt]; not in His attributes [sifāt]; and not in His actions [af’āl]. His essence does not resemble created beings; His attributes do not resemble the attributes of the creation; and His actions do not resemble the actions of the creation.

The textual proof is the statement of Allah “There is nothing whatsoever like Him.” 42:11

The rational proof that God is absolutely unlike His creation is – if He resembled the creation, then He would have originated like them. Yet how is this so when indeed it has been proven and established that God is Qadīm, and the one who is Qadīm does not resemble the creation – not in His essence, not in His attributes and not in His actions.

4- Self-Subsistence [Qiyāmu bi Nafsih]

 Allāh (ﷻ) is not in need of a place or anything else in order to exist. He is Ghaniyy, or “absolutely free from need” of anything He has created. All are destitute and dependent upon Him. Verily, God is the creator of time and place; and He is as He was prior to their creation.

 The textual proof is His statement: “O mankind! It is you that have need of Allah: but Allah is Rich beyond need, worthy of all praise.” 35:15

The rational proof – If He was dependent upon others or upon a place and time, He would have originated like the creation. If this was the case, He would be attributed with inability and dependency upon others. And we have already established that God is Qadīm and that He exists independently through Himself independent of all things. Had he been dependent upon others, nothing in the world would have been created. It is only from the one whose essence is existence by which all things are created; and as previously discussed – the origin of all things besides God is non-existence.

 5- Oneness [Wahdāniyya]

Oneness is the negation of multiplicity regarding His essence [dhāt], attributes [sifāt] and actions [af’āl]. He (ﷻ) has no partner in His essence, attributes or actions.

The textual proof is the verse: “Say: He is Allah, the One” 112:1. Imām Al-Bājūrī said that Oneness [Wahdāniyya] in essence, attributes and actions is the negation of multiplicity, plurality and divisibility. The meaning of Allāh (ﷻ) being one in His essence is that His essence is not made up of parts or elements. Likewise, oneness in His essence means that there is no essence in existence which resembles the essence of Allah. Therefore, oneness [wahdaniyya] in His essence rejects multiplicity and quantity in every facet.

The rational proof is the exactitude and meticulousness in the making of the entire creation, which indicates a single maker. If there were numerous creators, the creation would vary, and there would be disagreement from one creation to the other. However, this marvellous system is not in variance or disagreement. This flawlessness illustrates the single and lone nature of the Creator who is responsible for the manufacture of the creation without an associate.

If there was a partner, devastation and ruin would overcome the universe and this corresponds with what Allah says: “If there were in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been ruin in both!”  6: 90

Imām Al-Suyuti commented on this verse and said that heaven and earth would have lost their normal orderliness since there would have inevitably been internal discord, as is normal when there are several rulers: they oppose one another in things and do not agree with one another. Tafsir al-J alalayn.

Al-Haafidh Shihabuddin Abu'l-Fadl Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Muhammad, better known as Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani

Lesson 8

The various beliefs regarding Cause and Effect [Sabab and Musabbib]

Imām Laqqāni says in verse 50 of the Jawhara al-Tawhīd:

 فَإِنْ يُثِبْنَا فَبِمَحْضِ الْفَضْلِ … وَإِن يُعَذِّبْ فَبِمَحْص الْعَدْلِ

And if He rewards then it is from His sheer Grace

and if He punishes then it is from His sheer Justice

 The first group believes that things happen through pure naturalness. They claim that fire burns through itself and that a knife cuts through itself. This means that the cause is the effect itself which is impossible. Those who believe that things happen naturally without being caused by Allāh () fall into kufr according to the consensus [ijmā’].

 The second group, namely the Mu’tazilah, believed that things have an effect through a power that Allāh  (ﷻ)  created in it. Allāh (ﷻ) placed this power in all things and thereafter has no further concern with such things. Their belief is that the human being executes his actions himself through his own choice and that he does it with an ability that Allāh (ﷻ) placed within him previously. They do not fall into kufr but are rather Muslims who are guilty of innovation.

The third group believes that Allāh (ﷻ) creates an effect but that He places between the cause and the effect a logical connection [talāzum ‘aqlī] so that the one necessitates the existence of the other. Such people are regarded as ignorant and this kind of ignorance [jahl] could very well lead to kufr because they will deny the miracles [mu’jizāt] of the prophets. This is because in their miracles we see the effect without the cause. Here the normal causes [asbāb al-‘ādiyyah] do not apply. The same applies to the extraordinary events [karāmāt] of the awliyā. This phenomena rules out that only physical laws exist in this universe. Here we observe a physical effect without seeing the normal physical cause for it.

 The Ahl is-Sunnah believes that, with normal events, between the cause and the effect there is an adhesion [talāzum] between the two while there is a possibility that it can happen differently and that the cause can be withheld. An example is that the sun always rises in the east but there is the possibility that it can rise anywhere else. Likewise in scientific experimentation where constant results are obtained, the cause and effect will always occur in that fashion. We believe those things occur with a normal adhesion [talāzum al-‘ādī] with the provision that there is a possibility that the cause can be withheld. This means that there is no necessary cohesion between cause and effect and there is also no casual sequence. We therefore believe that everything has its effect directly from Allāh ().

surat-al-fatiha


Lesson 9

On Divine Destiny, The Decree [Al-Qada’, Al-Qadr] and Acquisition [Kasb]

Imām Laqqāni says in verse 45 of the Jawhara al-Tawhid:

فَخَالِقٌ لِعَبَدْه وَمَا عَمِلْ … مُوَفِّقٌ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يَصِلْ

He creates the servant and his actions…

granting enabling grace to the one He Wills to arrive

Allāh [) creates the servant and what he does including his good deeds, bad deeds, voluntary actions and involuntary actions [ikhtiyāran wa idtirāran].  The servant has nothing except pure inclination [mujarrad al-mayli] at the time of choosing [hālat al-ikhtiyāri].

Acquisition [Kasb]: While all our voluntary actions [fi’lun ikhtiyārī] are from Allāh [), the following should be kept in mind: These actions are brought into existence [al-ījād] by Allāh and ascribed to the servant from the angle of acquisition [al-kasb] through choice. Kasb is defined as the attachment of the ability [qudrah] of the servant and his will [irādah] to the action carried out [bi l-fi’l]. Allāh [) alone brings into existence the action at the time the servant is able to carry it out, which is not by his own ability nor his own will. This is like using a knife [sikkīn] to cut something for example, for the cutting [al-qat’i] is at the time the knife moves over the object and is not by the knife itself, so it is possible for the knife to move over its object but goes against the law of cutting.

 Reward and punishment are therefore due to acquisition [al-kasb]. This is in contrast to the view of the mu’tazilah who believed that the servant creates his own actions through choice.

 A refutation of the view held by the Mu’tazilah

  1. If they respond by saying that the human being solely creates the action [bi-qudrat il-‘abdi faqat] then we respond by saying that this necessitates that things occur in the world which goes against the Will of Allāh [). This necessitates that He [) is not solely the creator of all things and its actions [wāhidan fi l-af’āl]. The belief that He [) has a partner in actions is kufr.
  1. Their argument is further weakened by the fact that if the human being created his own actions then he would be knowledgeable of them. He would know them intimately, be it moments of stillness or moments of movement [bi-harakāti nafsihī wa sakanātihā] all through the day and for all days. The ignorance of this is proof of the human beings incapacity to create his own actions.

The definition of Qadr: The Ash’ari’s define qadr as “the bringing into existence [ījād] of everything by Allāh (MostHigh) according to a certain measure [qadarin makhsūsin] and a certain pre-determination [taqdīrin mu’ayyanin].” Qadr therefore relates to active attributes of [sifāt al-af’āl] namely Will [Irādah], Knowledge [‘Ilm] and Power [Qudrah].  The implication of qadr is that Allāh (Most High) knows the measure and the limits of all things, how it will perform and how it will run its course. He knows the measures [maqādir] of everything and everything happens according to His Eternal Knowledge. In spite of this, no force is implied to the voluntary actions of the human being. All voluntary actions are created according to choice [kasban]. He (MostHigh) knows the limits and it cannot be said that He is unaware of it for that would imply ignorance which is impossible [mustahīl] for Him.

The definition of Qada’: Qada’ linguistically means judgement [hukum]. The Ash’arī’s define qadā as the eternal Will of Allāh (Most High) which determines the destiny of everything in eternity. According to the Ash’arī’s the Qadr is His works [af’āl] and the Qadā is His will.

On the objective in believing in the qadā and qadr: The object of belief in the qadā and qadr is that one must be satisfied with the limits, decrees and destinies decided upon by Allāh (Most High). He determined the way in which the world functions in eternity [azal]. His Knowledge encompasses how the world runs on certain lines and patterns and creates according to His Knowledge. Thus whatever happens, we should be satisfied with His qadā and qadr.

On the purpose of the belief in the qadā and qadr: It is to stress the generality [‘umūm] of His Divine Will, Power and His Knowledge (Most High). Nothing whatsoever can happen without it and that is His qadā and qadr.

On using the qadā and qadr as an excuse for acts of disobedience: Although it is wājib to be satisfied with the qadā and qadr, it is not allowed for one to assume the qadā and qadr beforehand. For example, one cannot say, “Allāh has decreed that I must perform this act of stealing or murder and therefore I must do it because I am destined for it.” Neither can one use the qada and qadr seeking to be absolved from a crime one may have committed. This is the way of the transgressor [fāsiq]. The believer never blames the qadā and qadr for his or her wrong doings. Allāh (Most High) granted human beings the choice as He says, “And We have shown him the two ways.” [90:10].

 On supplication [du’a] in relation to Qada’ and Qadar: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Du`ā benefits in the things that have happened [yanfa’ mimmā nazal] as well as the things that have not happened yet [wa mimmā lam yazal]. The calamity comes down, but the Du`ā confronts it and they may continuously wrestle until the Day of Resurrection.” In another hadīth, it is reported that the Prophet [peace be upon him) said: “Nothing can change the Qadar except Du`ā…” There is no contradiction between our faith in the power of du’ā to Allāh (Most High) and in our belief in the Qadā’ and Qadar of Allāh (Most High). Scholars have explained that there are two of Qadā’: 1. those that are known as absolute decrees [Qadā’ Mubram], 2. and those that are known as conditional decrees [Qadā’ Mu`allaq].

On the types of Qada’: The mubram does not change while the mu’allaq may change if and when the conditions are fulfilled. The mu’allaq is is that which is dependent upon the du’ā of the supplicant. For example, Allāh (Most High) determined that a certain event must occur and what we want is something different and is the subject of our prayers. What we want is then attached to that which Allāh [) predetermined. Allāh (Most High) is All-Knowing and He (Most High) knows that one is going to make du’ā. He (Most High) then executes according to our du’ā and not according to His original determination. The mu’allaq is therefore dependent on our du’ā. The mubram will be executed, but du’ā brings forth the Mercy of Allāh (Most High) which softens or lightens the effect of the event that must come to pass. For example, the mubram is that a stone must fall on a person. That person made du’ā for protection and Allāh (Most High) then causes the stone to disintegrate into sand so that by the time it hits the person, its effects have been softened. However, the falling of the stone was not stopped or prevented by the du’ā, the effect was merely softened. The du’ā made in the case of a mubram event is not accepted in the way that we may wish it to be, but there remains possible reward for the supplicant for having made du’ā and calling for the graces and mercy of Allāh (Most High) to descend upon him.

And Allah knows best

Allie Khalfe

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