Aqeedah: Divine Decree (Part 2)
The belief in Qadar, divine decree or divine preordainment is a significant part of Islamic creed. It is especially important for a believer to manage and regulate his internal forces, mental process and emotions. This is an important area where the Islamic creed regulates thereby superseding other materialistic philosophies and theories. Allah said:
مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فِي الأرْضِ وَلا فِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ إِلا فِي كِتَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَبْرَأَهَا إِنَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ (٢٢) لِكَيْلا تَأْسَوْا عَلَى مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ وَاللَّهُ لا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ (٢٣)
- No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuuz), before we bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah. 23. 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 Allah likes not prideful boasters.
Belief in Qadar is an attribution of supremacy to Allah and the best affirmation of his All-Knowing Attribute; if He is truly the God, He must be fully aware of anything before they happen, nothing should catch Him by surprise. There is no conflict between the divine predetermination of Allah and the free-will of human beings to make choice. We are responsible for our actions because of our free-will but Allah already knows what choice we will make.
Levels of Qadar
- The knowledge of Allah precedes everything before they happen.
- This knowledge has already been written in the Preserved Tablet (i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuuz).
- Everything that happens is only according to the Wish of Allah.
- Allah is the Creator of everything good and bad.
Some of those who went astray regarding Qadar
- Mu’tazilites: At a time in the history of Islam, the project of translating Greek philosophical materials into Arabic was sponsored by the state; although this project boosted intelligence and improved the literary works of Muslims scholars, the precedence given to human intellect over revelation by the philosophers became a threat to Aqeedah (e. Islamic creed). In Islamic creed, textual proof (i.e. revelation) is the primary evidence and rational proof (i.e. reason) is only a secondary evidence used to support revelation; revelation takes precedence over reason; the mu’tazilites overturned the principle and followed the Greek method. They gave precedence to reason over revelation. This deviation became a theological and political issue as prominent mu’tazilite scholars started interpreting the Islamic works according to their new rational thoughts. The situation worsened when rulers also became influenced by the thought, any orthodox scholar who rejected their claim suffered persecution and imprisonment. Since Qadar is a matter of revelation, it became threatened with the Greek concept of empiricism similar to the Zoroastrians.
- Qadariyyah: They could not comprehend the balance between human free-will of choice and the predetermination of Allah’s decree. They rejected the Qadar denying the ultimate prior knowledge of Allah to any actions.
- Jabariyyah: They exaggerated in establishing the Qadar; they believed that human beings do not have any free-will and all our actions are only according to divine decree predetermined for us. In other words, we were forced by the Qadar to do exactly as we are doing, we do not have any choice of our own. They are the opposite of Qadariyyah.
- Zoroastrians: The Qadar of Allah includes both the positives and negatives. Zoroastrians could not comprehend how the All-Merciful God can predetermine negative things; they believed only positive things were divinely predetermined, so they separated the negative part of Qadar from Allah and attributed it to Shaytan (which means that they have elevated shaytan to the level of a god capable of creation). The Zoroastrians failed especially at the fourth level of Qadar.
The Qadar of Allah is all-inclusive
Allah has predetermined and created everything known and unknown, visible and invisible, tangible and intangible, including the positives such as riches, joy, happiness, love, obedience, intelligence, etc; and the things we consider as negatives such as poverty, hatred, sadness, disobedience, stupidity, etc.
Allah is always merciful and compassionate. He decrees and created what appears negative because of the good in it. For example, He permits disobedience because of repentance, disobedience is negative and leads to hell but repentance is positive and leads to paradise; also, poverty may be considered as negative but sometimes limited sustenance may be required to prevent an individual from oppression and tyranny; also, occasional sadness is an effective check and balance to negligence and a reminder of the imperfection in life.
Some false, corrupted religions and philosophies in their inability to understand how “negative forces” could possibly come from a Merciful God have attributed them to another being (i.e. Shaytan), therefore they elevate shaytan to the level of a god capable of creation. The god of Light (Ahura Mazda) and the god of evils (Ahriman) are two opposing forces in Zoroastrianism separating powers between God and satan. In Islamic belief, shaytan and all what emanate from him are completely part of Allah’s creation.
This understanding is necessary for a Muslim to maintain the three components of Tawheed (i.e. the oneness of Allah in His Lordship, in His worship and in His Names and Attributes).
Tawheed Ruboobiyyah or the oneness of Allah in His Lordship is to maintain that He is the only Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds. Shaytan or any other being doesn’t have the least right in it.
Tawheed Ibadah or the oneness of Allah in His worship is to maintain that He is the only One worthy of worship. Fear is a form of worship, an exclusive right of Allah.
Tawheed asma’u wa siffaat or the oneness of Allah in His Names and Attribute is to maintain perfection of the Names and Attributes with which Allah describes Himself in His Book. Allah is the ultimate Protector and Reliever.
Any seeming “negative” affliction that has reached us through shaytan is ultimately from Allah; He is the ultimate originator and He alone we must seek for protection and relief from all afflictions.