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Qadar means that Allah has decreed everything that happens, good or evil, in the universe according to His prior knowledge and the dictates of His wisdom. 

We have to believe firstly that Allah knows all things, whether that has to do with His actions or the actions of His slaves. 

Secondly, we believe that Allah has written everything in al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh (the Book of Decrees) and it was done fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth. Allah says: 

“Know you not that Allah knows all that is in the heaven and on the earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoodh). Verily, that is easy for Allah.” [Al-Hajj 22:70] 

And the Prophet (SAW) said: “The first thing that Allah created was the Pen, and He said to it, ‘Write!’ It said, ‘O Lord, what should I write?’ He said: ‘Write down the decrees of all things until the Hour begins.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, (4700); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. 

We also believe that all things are created by Allah in their essence, their attributes and their movements - “He has created everything, and has measured it exactly according to its due measurements.” [al-Furqaan 25:2] 

Some people think that if Allah decrees that an action should happen, that means that He likes that thing. This makes them think that evil actions happen outside of the will of Allah and they thereby attribute weakness and incapability to Allah, when they say that nothing happens in His dominion that He does not want, and so He may will a thing and it does not happen.

However, there is no connection between what Allah loves and wants in regards to what is permissible and not permissible, and what He wills and decrees should happen in the universe.

The will and decree of Allah according to the Qur’an and Sunnah, is divided into His universal will and decree where nothing happens outside of this will. The kaafir and the Muslim are equal under this will. Acts of worship and acts of disobedience all happen by the will and decree of Allah.  Allah says: 

“And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his heart to Islam; and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky.” [al-An’aam 6:125] 

The second one is His legislative will, which applies only to that which He loves and is pleased with.  Allah says: 

“Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.” [al-Baqarah 2:185] 

The differences between the universal will of Allah and His legislative will is that the universal will deals with that which Allah loves and is pleased with, and with that which He does not love and is not pleased with, whereas His legislative will only has to do with that which Allah loves and is pleased with.

Secondly, by His universal will he may decree something not for its own sake, but to serve another purpose, such as the creation of Iblis, and all evil things, because of which many things happen which Allah loves - repentance, striving and seeking forgiveness.

His legislative will has to do with that which He prescribes for its own sake, for Allah wants us to obey Him and He loves that, so He prescribes it and is pleased with it for its own sake.

His universal will must inevitably come to pass, such as the birth or death of a person, but His legislative will, like Allah wanting everyone to believe does not necessarily happen - it may happen or may not otherwise all of mankind would become Muslims.

His universal will has to do with the Oneness of Allah’s Lordship and the fact that He is the only Creator, whereas His legislative will has to do with His Divinity and Law.

His two wills combine when one who obeys Him. One who prays combines both, because prayer is beloved to Allah; He has enjoined it and He is pleased with it and loves it, so it is prescribed by His legislative will in that sense. But the fact that it happens indicates that Allah willed that it should happen, so it is decreed by His universal decree in that sense.

We have to believe that everything that Allah does is good, wise and just and He does them for reasons that are known to Him although His slaves’ limited minds may be unable to comprehend much of the divine wisdom behind things.

Man has free will and choice to do or refrain from certain things, to believe or disbelieve, to obey or disobey, for which he will be rewarded or punished. Allah knows what he will do, what he will choose and what his ultimate destiny will be. But Allah does not compel him to do evil, or to choose kufr, rather He clearly shows him the path and sent Messengers and revealed Books to show him the right way. Allah says: 

“Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful.” [al-Insaan 76:3]  

Because man does not know what is decreed for him, he must seek the help of Allah and pray to Him for guidance (istikhaarah) concerning all his affairs, whilst implementing the means.

And so, Allah’s attribute of mercy is one that has the element of justice. If Allah were to leave and excuse the disbelievers in the next life, as He had done with them in the Dunya, then it would be open injustice. Moreover, being merciful to one (the wrongdoer) could imply being unjust to another (to whom the wrong has been done).

We could argue that Allah’s mercy is evident in the fact that He did not force any creature to do anything. Although all deeds were written, it was each individual’s choice to perform either good or bad deeds. Therefore, after one has chosen the path of amusement and happiness in this life at the sake of his hereafter, we can only conclude that it is Allah’s mercy to put him in the place that he chose for himself.

And so, Allah is merciful through His justice which is complete justice, a justice that gives everyone exactly what they deserve. It is clear that the mercy, guidance, punishment and misguidance delivered by Allah are not arbitrary at all. There is divine wisdom behind everything and Allah is not unjust in His decisions. Allah is free of evil attributes and He does not decree evil just for its sake but for the greater good as seen above.

And Allah knows best.

photo credit: János Csongor Kerekes

 

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