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slam: God's Message of Guidance to Humanity

 

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

 

Table of Contents

 

I. Introduction: Basic Information

 

1. Islam: A Brief Introduction  

 

2. Three Levels of Faith: Islam, Iman, and I'hsan 

 

3. The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Qur'an Is His Message to Humanity 

 

4. Creation and Evolution in the Holy Quran

 

5. Humans, As God's Caliphs on Earth

 

6. Adam's Contest With the Angels, and Getting Out of Paradise


7. Worshippers By Choice Or Forced Slaves?  

 

8. The Relationship Between the Spiritual and the Physical Aspects of Islamic Teachings  

 

9. Mind, Self, Soul, Spirit, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective 

 

10. Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur'an  

 

II. Islam: The Five Pillars of the Faith Structure

 

1. Islamic Proclamation of Faith

 

2. Performing Islamic Prayers

 

3. Giving Zakat, Charity, The Third Islamic Duty

 

4. Fasting and Ramadhan, Great Gifts from Allah to Muslims

 

5. Haj, Pilgrimage, the Fifth Pillar of Islam

 

III. Iman: Allah, His Angels, Messengers, Messages, Last Day, Qadha and Qadar

 

1. Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran 

 

2. Angels

 

3. Noo'h, Noah, in the Holy Quran  

 

4. Ibrahim, Abraham, in the Holy Quran

 

5. Moussa, Moses, in the Holy Quran

 

6. 'Eissa, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Quran  

 

7. Muhammed in the Holy Quran

 

8. Prophet Muhammed's Night Journey and Ascent to Heavens, Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj

 

9.The Last Day, The Hour, Resurrection, Reckoning, and Judgment

 

10. God's Precise Measurement and His Just Decree, Al-Qadar Wal Qadha,

 

IV. I'hsan: Watching Allah in What We Say and What We Do

 

1. Introduction to Islamic Law, Shari'a, Part I, Prohibition, Don't Do, and Do Commands in the Holy Quran

 

2. The La (No) Commands

 

3. The Imperative Commands

 

***

 

Articles with Islamic Perspective:

 

Health Care Crisis in the US: An Islamic Perspective

 

"Terrorism" & "Islamo-Fascism" Propaganda Campaigns: An Interactive Lecture

 

Six Questions About Islam, Muslims and Jews

 

Five Islamic Issues: Predestination and choice, position toward other religions, angels, and the End of Days

Food: Islamic Rules and Teachings
 

 

Are Muslim women second-class citizens  

The French Ban on Islamic Headscarf

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007-2010

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007

 

Links to Islamic topics 2006

 

Links to Islamic topics 2005

 

Links to Islamic topics 2004

 

Links to Islamic topics, 2003

 

2002 Links to Islamic topics

 

 

Islam:

 

God's Message of Guidance to Humanity

 

III.10

 

God's Precise Measurement and His Just Decree

 

Al-Qadar Wal Qadha

 

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

 

Friday, 28th of Rabi' Awwal, 1437 - 8th of January 2016

 

Updated on 14th of Shawwal, 1438 - 8th of July 2017

 

***

 

 

 

 28 1437 -  8   2016

 

1438 - 2017

 

*** 

ٰ

 

I seek refuge with God from the Stoned Shaytan

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful 

 

 

Introduction

 

The belief in God's precise measurement and His just decrees on everything is the sixth article of faith in Islam, as we learn from the 'Hadith (See Chapter I.2, Three Levels of Faith Islam, Eiman, and Ihsan).  

 

Allah, the Creator, praise to Him, has willed to honor humans with His mandate for them to rule over Planet Earth. The angels were surprised, mentioning that humans were corrupt and blood-shedding. He answered them that He knows "what they don't know," meaning that not all humans are corrupt and blood-shedding creatures. Many of them deserve that honor God bestowed on them because they are righteous and peaceful. Allah, praise to Him, also has trusted that many humans will worship Him and do good by their own choice and free will, during their first and temporary lifetime on Earth, which is a test for them.

 

The believers who choose to do good will be rewarded by an everlasting life of happiness in Paradise but those who willfully do bad deeds, particularly harming other human beings and the Planet, will be punished in the hellfire. However, people will be held accountable for exercising their free will and choice only over the things they are capable to control.

 

A major component of faith is the recognition that Allah, praise to Him, is All Knowledgeable. He knows what His creations may not know. Therefore, He decrees what He wills, which is right, in precise measurement, and in due proportions.

 

It follows that believers accept God's decrees about what may happen to them beyond their control, such as suffering from illnesses, natural disasters and tragic deaths. Thus, when perceived bad things happen to good people, beyond their control, the righteous believers accept these, part of their acknowledgement of God's just decrees.

 

In this chapter, the concepts of God's precise measurement and His just decrees (Al-Qadar Wal Al-Qadha) will be explored, using verses from the Holy Quran, 'Hadiths, and scholarly interpretations, as an educational effort about this sixth article of faith.

 

 

Meaning of Al-Qadar in the Holy Quran

 

 

The Arabic root verb / qadara / means to measure with the right proportions. It applies to what Allah, praise to Him, decrees or decides on the basis of his accurate, ultimate, and circumventing knowledge. This meaning is expressed in the first Verse of Surat Al-Qadr (Chapter 97) of the Holy Quran, as well as in about 42 other verses, which include the verb and some of its derivatives. {1}

 

 

 

ٰ

 

﴿١

 

﴿٢

 

﴿٣

 

﴿٤

 

ٰ ﴿٥ ( 97: 1-5).

 

 

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

Indeed, We sent (the Quran) down during the Night of Decree. (1)

 

And what do you know about the Night of Decree? (2)

 

(Observing) the Night of Decree is better than a thousand months (of worship) (3)

 

The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by permission of their Lord, for every matter. (4)

 

(5) Peace it is, until the emergence of dawn. (5)  (Al-Qadr, 97: 1-5).

 

 

 

    ( 54: 49).

 

Verily, We have created everything in (a specific or due) measure (Al-Qamar, 54: 49).

 

 

 ۚ ٰ  ۚ ( 10: 5).

 

 

It is He who made the sun a (shining) light and the moon a (derived) light and determined for it phases (from which) you may know the number of years and account (of time). Allah has not created that except in truth (right proportions). He details the signs for a people who know (Younus, 10: 5).

 

 

 

 ۚ   ( 13: 26).

 

Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts (it for others) (Al-Ra'd, 13: 26).

 

 ( 15: 21).

 

 

And there is not a thing but that with Us are its depositories, and We do not send it down except with a known measure (Al-'Hijr, 15: 21).

 

 

ٰ ٰ  ( 20: 40).

 

 

And you remained years among the people of Madyan. Then you came (here) at a decreed time, O Moussa (Moses) (Taha, 20: 40).

 

 

 ۖ ٰ   ( 23: 18).  

 

 

And We have sent down rain from the sky in a measured amount and settled it in the earth. And indeed, We are Able to take it away (Al-Muminoon, 23: 18). 

 

 

  ( 27: 57).

 

 

So, We saved him and his family, except for his wife; We decreed (determined) her to be of those who remained behind (for punishment) (Al-Naml, 27: 57).

 

 

 

 ۚ    ( 33: 38).

 

 

(This is) the established way of Allah with those who have passed on before. And ever is the command of Allah a destiny decreed (Al-A'hzab, 33: 38).

 

 

﴿٢

 

 ۚ  ۚ  ۚ ﴿٣  ( 65: 2-3).

 

 

 

And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out (2)

 

And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already made a specific (or due) proportion for everything (Al-Talaq, 65: 2-3).

 

 

    ( 77:  23).

 

 

And We have determined (in precise measurement), and We are the Best of Determiners (Al-Mursalat, 77: 23).

 

 

 

Meaning of Al-Qadha in the Holy Quran

 

 

The Arabic root verb / qadha / means to judge or to decree. It applies to what Allah, praise to Him, does to humans in this life and in the hereafter. For example, in Verse 23 of Surat Al-Issra (Chapter 17) of the Holy Quran, the verb / qadha / means to decree for people to do certain things during their first life on Earth (good treatment of parents, in this case). However, in Verse 17 of Surat Al-Jathiya (Chapter 45), it means to judge among people on the Day of Judgment. {2}

 

ٰ  ۚ   ( 17: 23).

 

 

And your Lord has decreed that you do not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment (Al-Issra, 17: 23).

 

 

( 45: 17).  

 

Indeed, your Lord will judge among them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ (Al-Jathiya, 45: 17).    

 

 

 

Choice or Predestination by Decree?

 

A fundamental question that many people have asked is whether we are predestined to do what we have been doing or we have the freedom to choose? The unequivocal answer from the mainstream Islamic perspective is that we are free to choose. {3}  

 

Consequently, we are responsible for the choices we make. However, Muslims accept God's decrees, which are based on his precise measurement and foreknowledge (Al-Qadar Wal Qadha).

 

God's foreknowledge of our choices is mentioned in several verses of the Holy Quran, such as in 76: 30, which states: 

 

 ۚ  ( 76: 30).

 

And you cannot will unless Allah wills. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise (Al-Insan, 76: 30).

 

 

In a famous 'Hadith, Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbbuh) said that when a person is in the womb, an angel will write his/her earnings, lifespan, deeds, and whether he/she will be happy or unhappy. This represents God's foreknowledge, not His intervention, as the fetus is still in the womb. {4}

 

"    ( ).

 

 

The most renowned Islamic scholar of our time, Shaikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, explains the relationship between the human choice and God's decree, using a middle-ground approach, which he calls "Al-Wasatiya." His basic argument is the same used by this author, as follows. {5}

Humans neither know God's master plan for the universe nor His decrees about what will happen to them during their first life on earth. That is why they are commanded to do their best, during their life, in following His commands in order to pass the test and enjoy the reward of happiness in this life and in the hereafter. They are going to be held responsible only for their actions, which they choose freely to do.

Some early groups of Islamic scholars, such as Al-Qadariya and Al-Jabriya, went astray from the Sunni majority in arguing for a total choice without God's influence or a total Divine influence, without choice for humans. Both arguments are extremes and have been rejected by the majority of Muslim scholars ever since they emerged, more than one thousand years ago.

Some proponents of Al-Qadariya wrongly argued that Allah, praise to Him, measured and decreed (qaddara wa Qadha) the good and the bad for humans, such as their sins, like infidelity and disobedience to Him.

Others went to the other extreme, wrongly also, arguing that humans are capable of everything, and they are totally independent from God. Therefore, humans control their own destiny (qadar).

Al-Jabriya went extremely further than the first group of Al-Qadariya arguing wrongly that a human being is "forced" (mujbar) to carry out God's predestined script, without any will of his/her own.

Both arguments represent views of the "self-Isolated" (Mu'tazila) groups, whose ultimate conclusions contradict with the essence of the Islamic teachings, as expressed in the Holy Quran, which emphasize human choice and responsibility in this life, and consequently reward or punishment in the hereafter. However, God's decrees represent His foreknowledge of the human choices, not His intervention to force people to choose.

The Messenger of Allah, Muhammed, pbbuh, addressed the issue, opting for choice and human initiative, which does not contradict with God's foreknowledge and His decrees. One of his Companions asked him once: What do you think of medicine, dieting, and other means to deal with health and sickness? Are these going to change what God predestined?

In other words, the Companion, may Allah be pleased with him, was asking whether we should accept whatever happens to us, like sickness, and not try to do anything to treat it because it is God's decree (predestination), after all.

The Prophet's answer was: "These (means of dealing with sickness) are also God's decrees (predestination)." {6}

In another very well-known 'Hadith, the Prophet (pbbuh) urged believers to take initiatives and be strong in pursuing what benefits them in this life, while asking for God's assistance, which does not contradict with God's eternal knowledge and Qadar. He said:

"The strong believer is better and more beloved by Allah than the weak believer, with goodness in both. Be vigilant in pursuing what benefits you, ask for God's assistance, and do not be helpless (doing nothing). Do not (justify your helplessness by saying): If I do this, then something else may happen. This will open the door for the Shaytan (who would love for you to do nothing)." The Prophet, pbbuh, told the truth. {7}

 

The Companion Abu 'Ubayda Bin Al-Jarra'h asked Caliph Omar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, about the issue of predestination and the answer was the same as given by the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh. The Caliph intended to travel to Bilad Al-Sham (now Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan) with a group of the Companions. After they had actually left the Capital of the Islamic State, Medina, they received news that there was an epidemic spreading there.

In response to that news, Omar decided to go back to Medina. When he announced his decision, Abu 'Ubayda asked him: "O Prince of Believers! Are you running away from God's predestination (Qadarullah)?" Then Omar answered him promptly: "Yes, we run from God's predestination to God's predestination." {8}

The famous Sufi Abdul Qader Al-Jilani had a very succinct treatment of the issue, which was related by Ibn Taymiya and Ibn Al-Qayyim in a book titled "Fetou'h Al-Ghayb" (Openings of the Unseen), may Allah reward all of them. Al-Jilani said: "The real man does not surrender to the predestination. Rather, he struggles with the predestination by the predestination." {9}
 

 

 

Conditions for God's intervention to change His decrees

 

Despite the fact that humans have the freedom to choose and that what happens to them is a result of their choices, Allah, praise to Him, has promised to intervene in their favor in certain conditions.

 

The first condition happens when He is called upon by His devoted worshippers during their prayers to Him, and after they have exhausted their human efforts, as we read in verse 40: 60. The second is when the evil forces plan to harm His devoted worshippers, He has promised to out-plan them in support for the believers, as we read in 8: 30 and in 30: 47. The third is increasing prosperity for those who are grateful, as we read in 14: 7, and increasing the life span for those who constantly increase their charitable assistance to others. He may give them a longer life to enable them to benefit more people, as we know from the 'Hadith. Finally, as a rule, Allah, praise to Him, guides to the truth. In particular, He guides those who have already chosen to be believers. However, He does not guide those who have already chosen to be disbelievers, as we read in many verses in the Holy Quran.

 

 

 ۚ   ( 40: 60).

 

And your Lord says, "Call upon Me, I will respond to you" (Ghafir, 40: 60).

 

 

 ۚ  ۖ  ( 8: 30).

 

 

And (remember, O Muhammad), when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you (from Makkah). And they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners (Al-Anfal, 8: 30).

 

 

ٰ  ۖ   ( 30: 47).

 

 

And We had sent messengers before you to their people, and they came to them with clear evidences. Then, We took retribution against those who committed crimes, and incumbent upon Us was support of the believers (Al-Room, 30: 47).

 

 

 ۖ    ( 13: 39).

 

 

Allah erases (deletes) what He wills or confirms, and with Him is the Mother of the Book (Al-Ra'd, 13: 39).

 

 

 ۖ ( 14: 7).

 

 

And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favor); but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe' " (Ibrahim, 14: 7).

 

 

 

:

 

:

 

  ( - ). 

 

 

 

Companion Thawban, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said:

 

"Nothing increases a person's life and may change (God's) decree except calling upon Him (Du'a) and that a man maybe deprived of provision for a sin he commits" (Recorded by Ibn Maja in his Introduction, Al-Muqaddima). {10} 

 

***

 

The following verses are examples of God's intervention. As a rule, Allah, praise to Him, interferes for the good of humanity. That's why He sent His messengers with His messages of guidance to humanity. So, He guides to the truth and the straight path, as we read in 10: 35 and 33: 4. In particular, He guides to His straight path those who have already chosen to be believers, as we read in 29: 69, 4: 175, 5: 16, and 10: 9. However, He does not guide those who have already chosen to be disbelievers, as we read in 2: 258, 2: 264, 5: 108, 39: 3, and 40: 28. 

 

 ۗ   ( 10: 35).

 

  ( 33: 4).

 

 ۚ   ( 29: 69).

 

  ( 4: 175).

 

ٰ   ( 5: 16).

 

 ۖ   ( 10: 9). 

 

Say, "Allah guides to the truth (Younus, 10: 35).

 

but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the (right) way (Al-A'hzab, 33: 4).

 

And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good (Al-'Ankaboot, 29: 69).

 

So, those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him - He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path (Al-Nissa, 4: 175).

 

By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path (Al-Ma-ida, 5: 16).

 

Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds - their Lord will guide them because of their faith. Beneath them rivers will flow in the Gardens of Pleasure (Younus, 10: 9). 

 

***

 

  ( 2: 258).

 

  ( 2: 264).

 

  ( 5: 108).

 

  ( 39: 3).

 

  ( 40: 28).

 

... and Allah does not guide the unjust (wrongdoing) people (Al-Baqara, 2: 258).

 

And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people (who reject the faith) (Al-Baqara, 2: 264).

 

... and Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people (Al-Ma-ida, 5: 108).

 

Indeed, Allah does not guide (the one) who is a liar and (confirmed) disbeliever (Al-Zumar, 39: 3).

 

Indeed, Allah does not guide (the one) who is a transgressor and a liar (Ghafir, 40: 28). 

 

 

Conclusion

On the basis of His precise measurement and foreknowledge, Allah, praise to Him, decreed the laws which govern His Dominion and the events which occur therein. However, He has willed to give humans freedom of choice on making their own decisions on the issues that they control in their physical and social environments. He did that in order to hold them responsible for their actions, the good and the bad of them, and consequently to reward or punish them in the hereafter, on the basis of their chosen actions.

 

Islamic scholars debated this issue about the relationship between God's foreknowledge and decrees, on the one hand, and human actions and their consequences, on the other. The overwhelming majority of scholars concluded that Allah, praise to Him, gave humans the choice, which encourages them to do good and seek for the best in this life and in the hereafter.

 

Allah, praise to Him, knows about the human choices, as a result of His circumventing knowledge. However, He does not interfere except in certain conditions but after these choices have been made.

 

 

====================================================================================================

 

Notes:

 

{1} The Arabic root verb / qadara / and its derivatives, meaning to measure with the right proportions, was mentioned about 42 times in the Holy Quran, in verses 10: 5, 13: 17, 13: 26, 15; 21, 15: 60, 17: 30, 20: 40, 21: 87, 23: 18, 25: 2, 27: 57, 28: 82, 29: 62, 30: 37, 33: 38, 34: 18, 34: 36, 34: 39, 36: 39, 39: 52, 40: 10, 42: 12, 42: 27, 43: 11, 54: 12, 54: 49, 56: 60, 65: 3, 67: 7, 73: 20, 74: 18, 74: 20, 76: 16, 77: 22, 77: 23, 80: 19, 87: 3, 89: 16, 97: 1, 97: 2, and 97: 3.

 

{2} The Arabic root verb / qadha /, meaning to judge among people, was mentioned about 11 times in the Holy Quran, in verses 10: 19, 10: 47, 10: 54, 10: 93, 11: 110, 27: 78, 39: 69, 39: 75, 40: 20, 40: 78, and 45: 17. 

 

The Arabic root verb / qadha /, meaning to decree for people to do certain things during their first life on Earth, was mentioned about 23 times in the Holy Quran, in verses 2: 117, 2: 210, 3: 47, 6: 8, 6: 58, 8: 42, 8: 44, 10: 11, 11: 44, 12: 41, 14: 22, 15: 66, 17: 4, 17: 23, 19: 21, 19: 35, 19: 71, 28: 44, 33: 36, 34: 14, 35: 14, 35: 36, 39: 42, and 40: 68.

 

{3} A detailed discussion of the human choice can be found in Chapter I.7, "Worshippers By Choice Or Forced Slaves?"

 

{4} The Arabic text of the Hadith is published at: http://hadith.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=261

 

Here it is in full: 

 

:

 

    ( - -  3036 - 1175).

 

 

{5} For more information, see an explanation of Al-Qadha Wal Qadar By Shaikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi.

 

It can also be accessed at: http://www.qaradawi.net/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=32&version=1&template_id=105&%20parent_id=16

 

{6} The Arabic text of the 'Hadith is as follows:

 

 

:

 

:

 

 

 

: " " ( 111).

 

The Hadith is published at: http://hadith.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=261  

 

 

{7} The Arabic text of the 'Hadith is as follows:

 

:

 

:

" . . : " (   - 2664 - 79 - 2/370).  

 

 

The 'Hadith is published at: http://hadith.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=261

 

 

{8} The Arabic text of the quotation is as follows:

 

.

 

http://library.islamweb.net/newlibrary/display_book.php?flag=1&bk_no=79&ID=184

 

 

:

 

ѿ

 

: ! .

 

Source:  http://islamstory.com/ar/

 

 

{9} The Arabic text of the quotation is as follows:

 

 

:


(   )  

 

 

Source: http://audio.islamweb.net/audio/index.php?page=FullContent&audioid=2657&full=1

 

 

{10} The 'Hadith is published at: http://hadith.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=261

 

 

 

=============================================================================================================================================

 

 

About the Author and the Book:

 

* The author of this book has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology. He was born in Gaza, Palestine in 1369 Hijriya (1950) but he has been living in the United States since 1986.
 
This work is solely devoted for the sake of Allah, to educate people about Islam, in response to a great demand to know about the final message of God to humanity.
 
The authentic Quran Arabic text is used as a reference for the translation of the meanings of the Quran verses, particularly from www.tanzil.net.

 

The works of the three renowned Islamic scholars Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Katheer, have been used throughout the chapters of this book, as these are the most credited interpretations of the Holy Quran, for their use of 'Hadith, companions' interpretations, and their thorough knowledge of the Arabic language.
 
May Allah, praise to Him, enlighten the hearts and minds of all who read this book, and guide them to the right path.
 
May Allah, praise to Him, accept this effort, as a contribution to spreading His light among the people of this Earth.

 

 

   ( 61: 8).  

 

 

They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it (Al-Saff, 61: 8). 

 

 

 

 

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.

editor@aljazeerah.info