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The Sublime Qadar of Allah [al-Tahwiyyah- pt 19]

Allāh willed that the Prophet Muhammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) would be born into this world in the ‘Year of the Elephant’, 570 CE, the knowledge of that was with Him from an eternity and was written in the Preserved Tablet (al-Law al-Mafūth), when the exact moment came, He decreed that and so it was.

وَقَدَّرَ لَهُمْ أَقْداراً،
He has ordained all things in due measure.

Allāh has created everything, and Allāh has ordained it all to be created in due measure (taqīr); as He said: ‘He created everything and determined it (qaddara) most exactly’.

This means when Allāh created human beings, He fashioned them in due proportion based on absolute precision (taqdīr). He has set for them certain limits of time, space, ability and even provision and wealth. These limits are set and cannot be exceeded. Nothing is arbitrary when it comes to Allāh, Exalted is He. Everything He does is full of knowledge and wisdom. Allāh says: ‘We have created all things in due measure.’2

Abdullāh b. ‘Amr narrated that the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam)said: ‘Allāh ordained the measures of the created things, fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, and His Throne was on water.’3

This statement of the author ought to be understood in light of his previous statement: ‘He created the creation with His Knowledge’, as His creating in due proportion was based on His infinite knowledge.

What is Qadr precisely?
The belief that Allāh ordained all things in due measure is part of one’s overall belief in His Ontological Will (al-Irāda al-Kawniyyah). This is evident from the numerous Quranic verses that speak of Divine decree (qadar) such as His saying: ‘Verily, We have created all things with Qadar’;“>4 which is similar to His saying: ‘He has created everything, and has measured it exactly (fa-qaddarahu) according to its due measurements (taqdīrān)’.5

Imam Ahmad recorded that ‘Ubādah b. Al-Walīd b. ‘Ubādah said that his father said to him, “I went to ‘Ubādah when he was ill, and I thought that he was going to die. So I said, ‘O my father, advise us and make the best effort in this regard.’ He said, ‘Help me sit up,’ and when he was helped up, he said, ‘O my son! Know that you will not taste the delight of faith or earn true knowledge in Allāh until you believe in the Divine Decree (qadar), the good and the bitter aspects.’ I asked, ‘O my father! How can I know (or believe in) the Divine Decree, the good and the bitter aspects of it?’ He said, ‘When you know that what has missed you, would never have come to you and what has befallen you would never have missed you. O my son! I heard the Messenger of Allāh say, ‘The first thing Allāh created was the Pen, right after that He commanded it, ‘Record!’ and the Pen recorded everything that will occur until the Day of Resurrection.’ O my son! If you die not having this belief, you will enter the Hellfire.’”6

The Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is also known to have said: ‘Verily, Allāh recorded the measurements for the creatures fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and earth’ to which Ibn Wahb added the verse: ‘And His Throne was over the water’, after relating the Prophet’s statement.7

The Quran and the Sunnah thus speak of Allāh’s Divine Decree (qadar), the pre-ordainment of things before their creation, and that they are recorded in a Book. This establishes the fore-knowledge and pre-ordainment of everything that will happen and removes the idea of anything occurring outside His Will.

Based on this, the definition of Divine Decree (qadar) is: Allāh’s preordainment of everything that will occur in His dominion according to set limits. This definition comprises of two dimensions-

  1. Allāh’s preordaining everything from an eternity
  2. The actual unfolding of this ordainment occurring within set limits

Therefore, believing in Divine Decree (qadar) entails a conviction that Allāh had already decreed whatever will occur and all that occurs comes into existence in a manner already determined. Nothing occurs autonomously from Allāh’s Will, not rainfall, the passing of seasons, not even the actions of human beings. However this does not mean that Allāh deprives human beings from a free will to act, rather it is a matter of facilitation and this point will be clarified later on. What Allāh wants and loves for human beings is that they use their god-given free will to choose to worship Him by adhering to His religion. Whichever way they decide to act it is Allāh who facilitates their conduct, bringing their actions into existence by His Power and Might.

Other aspects of belief in Divine Decree (qadar) are that Allāh’s determination within His creation was recorded in the Preserved Tablet (al-Law>> al-Mafūth) and Allāh willed that this ordainment unfold as He determined, creating and facilitating its existence. The components of this doctrine are thus: believing in the Will (irādah) of Allāh, the recording thereof, His knowledge, His permitting things to happen, and His Creating things.

Allāh willed that the Prophet Muhammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) would be born into this world in the ‘Year of the Elephant’, 570 CE, the knowledge of that was with Him from an eternity and was written in the Preserved Tablet (al-Law al-Mafūth), when the exact moment came, He decreed that and so it was.

When the Qur’ān speaks of Allāh’s will, it does so in one of two senses; His Ontological Will and His Legislative Will. This, along with a more detailed explanation of Divine Decree will be elaborated upon later.

Allāh has decreed everything and ordained it, and there is a higher wisdom in all, as He said, “He has made everything that He has created most perfect”8. There is, therefore, nothing that He has created which does not have a wise purpose behind it.

Points of Benefit:
Belief (imān) in Divine Decree (qadar) is from the pillars of faith and its correct understanding is key to perfecting one’s inward conviction in Allāh’s Will. The reality is that a sound understanding of Divine Decree (qadar) brings peace and tranquillity into one’s life and a distorted understanding leaves one complacent and disturbed.

Neither is it arbitrary or merely based on whim that Allāh decreed things in due measure, but rather He did so with complete knowledge and wisdom of His creation. Take for instance the example of a disabled person –there is a reason and wisdom that he or she is created in that way. Nothing is arbitrary in this world. When Allāh sends rain, it is not haphazard; as He has said: but He sends down by measure as He wills.9

Notes: Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad’s explanation of al-Aqeedah al-Tahawiyyah will soon be published as a hardback book. Islam21c have exclusive rights to share extracts from the book for its readers, and will be posting certain sections of the book on a weekly basis. The book: al-Aqeedah al-Tahawiyyah, is a short text outlining the aqeedah of Ahl al-Sunnah in short statements. Each extract posted is a complete explanation of any one of those statements. Edited by Asim Khan


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1 Al-Furqān, 25
2. Al-Qamar, 54: 49
3. Sahīh Muslim
4. Al-Qamar, 54: 49
5. Al-Furqān, 25: 2
6. Ahmed & al-Tirmidhi who said it is: Hasan Sahih Gharib
7. al-Tirmidhi, who said it is: Hasan, Sahih Gharib
8. Al-Sajdah, 32:7
9. Ash-Shurah, 42:27

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.

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