Belief in al-Qadar (Di­vine De­cree)


One of the six ar­ti­cles of faith is belief in al-Qadar (pre­des­ti­na­tion/ di­vine de­cree) whether good or bad. Any Mus­lim who does not be­lieve in it or one of the other five ar­ti­cles is said to have dis­be­lieved in Is­lam as a whole, ac­cord­ing to the scholars.

The other ar­ti­cles are: belief in Al­lah, His an­gels, Mes­sen­gers, books and the Last Day.

The belief in al-Qadar, ac­cord­ing to Is­lamic scholars, com­prises four lev­els: the first level is belief in Al­lah’s knowl­edge of ev­ery­thing, both of uni­ver­sals and par­tic­u­lars, be­fore its ex­is­tence. This is re­lated to both, what is re­ferred to as, the ac­tions Al­lah, like mak­ing rain to fall, giv­ing life etc, as well as the ac­tions of hu­man be­ings. Al­lah has fore­knowl­edge of the en­tire deeds of the cre­ations ac­cord­ing to His ever-ex­ist­ing knowl­edge that He is de­scribed as hav­ing eter­nally. This also in­cludes His knowl­edge of all their af­fairs with re­spect to obe­di­ence, dis­obe­di­ence, sus­te­nance and life­span. Al­lah says: “And with Him (Al­lah) are the keys of the un­seen. None knows them but Him. And He knows what­ever there is on the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the dark­ness of the earth or any­thing fresh or dry, but is writ­ten in a Clear Record” (al-An’aam).

The sec­ond level of belief in Qadar is belief in Al­lah’s record­ing of all things be­fore He cre­ated the heav­ens and the earth. Hence, Al­lah not only knew and knows what will hap­pen, but Al­lah has also recorded this in­for­ma­tion in the Pre­served Tablet.

Such an act is not dif­fi­cult for Al­lah what­so­ever. Al­lah says, “Don’t you know that Al­lah knows all that is in heaven and on earth? Ver­ily, it is all in the book.” (al-Hajj 70).

Al­laah also says: “No calamity oc­curs on the earth or among your­selves but it is in­scribed in the Book (of De­crees) be­fore we bring it into ex­is­tence. Ver­ily, that is easy for Al­lah” (al-Hadeed 22).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Al­lah recorded the mea­sures of the cre­ation five thou­sand years be­fore He cre­ated the heav­ens and the earth. (Mus­lim)

One of the fore­most scholars of Is­lam, Imam Sham­sud­din Ibn al-Qayyim, said in his book, Shifa al-Aleel fee Masaail al-Qadha wa Qadar, that there are four dif­fer­ent types of pre-record­ing. They are: 1. The pre-ex­is­tent mea­sure by the knowl­edge of Al­lah that is recorded in the Pre­served Tablet;

2. Al­lah’s de­cree con­cern­ing the life of an in­di­vid­ual while he is still a fe­tus in the womb of his mother. This in­cludes the per­son’s sus­te­nance, life span, deeds and whether he will be suc­cess­ful or mis­er­able.

3. A yearly de­ter­mi­na­tion that oc­curs on Lailat­ulQadr which mea­sures what will oc­cur dur­ing the year.

4. A daily pre-mea­sur­ing for ev­ery­thing that oc­curs. That is what this Quranic verse, “Ev­ery­day He has a mat­ter to bring forth” (ar­Rah­man 29) is re­fer­ring to, ac­cord­ing to Imam Ibn al-Qayyim.

The third level is to be­lieve in Al­lah’s de­cree­ing of ev­ery­thing that is in ex­is­tence, and if He does not will some­thing, it can never come into ex­is­tence. Ac­cord­ing to Ja­maal al-Din Zarabozo in his book Com­men­tary on the forty ha­dith of an-Nawawee, this refers to Al­lah’s ac­tions o giv­ing life, sus­te­nance and so forth; and it also in­cludes all of the acts per­formed hu­man be­ings. Noth­ing can be done un­less Al­lah de­crees it and al­lows it to hap­pen. A per­son may in­tend or try to shoot and kill another per­son but such can only oc­cur if Al­lah de­crees it.

The fourth level of belief in Qadar is the belief in Al­lah’s cre­ation of ev­ery­thing, bring­ing of ev­ery­thing into ex­is­tence and be­ing.


Mus­lim pil­grims touch the Kaaba, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Ara­bia on Septem­ber 26, 2015.

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