The Correct Statements of Ahlus-Sunnah wal- Jama'ah Concerning Qadr
The truth which is obligatory to believe is that Allah, the Glorified, sent His Messenger as a mercy to the creation, and sending the messengers and revealing the Books was a greater mercy for the creation than the sending of the rains and the growing of seedlings, even if some people experience pain due to this mercy.
Then indeed, as Qatadah and others of the Salaf (righteous predecessors) said: "Allah does not command His slaves with the obligations of the religion for His own need, nor does He forbid them from the religion's prohibitions; rather, he orders them to do that which will bring them rectification and forbids them from that which will bring them harm."
Abu Dharr reported in the hadith from the Prophet (ﷺ):
يَا عِبَادِي إِنِّي حَرَّمْتُ الظُّلْمَ عَلَى نَفْسِي وَجَعَلْتُهُ بَيْنَكُمْ مُحَرَّمًا فَلَا تَظَالَمُوا يَا عِبَادِي كُلُّكُمْ ضَالٌّ إِلا مَنْ هَدَيْتُهُ فَاسْتَهْدُونِي أَهْدِكُمْ يَا عِبَادِي كُلُّكُمْ جَائِعٌ إِلا مَنْ أَطْعَمْتُهُ فَاسْتَطْعِمُونِي أُطْعِمْكُمْ يَا عِبَادِي كُلُّكُمْ عَارٍ إِلَّا مَنْ كَسَوْتُهُ فَاسْتَكْسُونِي أَكْسُكُمْ يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّكُمْ تُخْطِئُونَ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَأَنَا أَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا فَاسْتَغْفِرُونِي أَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّكُمْ لَنْ تَبْلُغُوا ضَرِّي فَتَضُرُّونِي وَلَنْ تَبْلُغُوا نَفْعِي فَتَنْفَعُونِي يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ كَانُوا عَلَى أَتْقَى قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ مِنْكُمْ مَا زَادَ ذَلِكَ فِي مُلْكِي شَيْئًا يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ كَانُوا عَلَى أَفْجَرِ قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ مَا نَقَصَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ مُلْكِي شَيْئًا يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ قَامُوا فِي صَعِيدٍ وَاحِدٍ فَسَأَلُونِي فَأَعْطَيْتُ كُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ مَسْأَلَتَهُ مَا نَقَصَ ذَلِكَ مِمَّا عِنْدِي إِلا كَمَا يَنْقُصُ الْمِخْيَطُ إِذَا أُدْخِلَ الْبَحْرَ يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّمَا أَعْمَالُكُمْ أُحْصِيهَا لَكُمْ ثُمَّ أُوَفِّيكُمْ إِيَّاهَا فَمَنْ وَجَدَ خَيْرًا فَلْيَحْمَدِ اللَّهَ وَمَنْ وَجَدَ غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ فَلَا يَلُومَنَّ إِلَّا نَفْسَهُ.
O My slaves, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlaw- ful for you, so do not commit oppression against one another. My slaves, all of you are misguided except those whom I guide to the Right Path, so seek guidance from Me so that I may direct you to the Right Path. O My slaves, all of you are hungry except those whom I feed, so seek your sustenance from Me so that I may give that to you. O My slaves, all of you are naked except those to whom I provide garments, so seek your clothes from Me so that I should clothe you. O My slaves, you commit error night and day and I am there to pardon your sins, so seek forgiveness from Me so that I should grant you pardon. O My slaves, you can neither do Me any harm nor can you benefit Me. O My slaves, even if the first among you and the last among you and all of mankind and jinn, all had the heart of the most pious man, it would not add to My power. O My slaves, even if the first among you and the last among you and all of mankind and jinn all had the heart of the most wicked man, it would cause no loss to My power. O My slaves, even if the first among you and the last among you and all of mankind and jinn were to stand in one place and ask Me for something and I gave each person what he asked for, it would not in any way cause any loss to Me except that which is caused to the ocean by dipping a needle in it. O My slaves, I record your actions, then I reward you. So whoever finds good, then let him praise Allāh, and whoever finds anything other than good, then let him not blame anyone but himself.(1)
And Allah, the Most High, said describing the Prophet (ﷺ):
يَأْمُرُهُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ
He enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them from what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil, and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. [Surah al-A'raf 7:157)
And He, the Most High, said when He mentioned wudu:
حَرَج وَلكِن يُرِيدُمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His favor on you that you may be thankful. [Surah al-Ma'idah 5:6]
So He informed us that He does not want His commands to place us in difficulty, and the phrasing in the verse suggests that the negation of difficulty is general to every kind of difficulty, and He informed us that He only intends to purify us and complete His blessings upon us.
And He, the Most High, said in another verse:
وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ
عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ )
And strive hard in Allah's cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and with all your efforts, that His name should be superior). He has chosen you (to convey His message of Islamic monotheism to mankind by inviting them to His religion, Islām), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship; it is the religion of your father Ibrahim. [Surah al-Hajj 22:78]
Indeed, He clearly tells us in this verse that the religion does not create difficulty for us, and He negates this difficulty emphatically and comprehensively; therefore, whoever believes that there is even an atom of difficulty in Allah's commands has disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger. Hence, what about the one who believes that the thing which Allah commands could be a source of corrup- tion and harm instead of benefit and rectification for us?! Indeed, whatever hardship one experiences from the religion does not come from Allah and His Messenger's commands, but rather the diffi- culty arises from nifaq (hypocrisy), as
Allah, the Most High, said:
فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّى يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:65]
And Allah, the Most High, said after the command to fulfill the fast:
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ
Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship. [Surah al-Baqarah 2:185]
Therefore, if Allah does not want the things He commands us with to be a hardship upon us, then how could He want harm and corruption to befall us if we obey His commands?
Iman & Obedience are Better than Disbelief & Disobedience
Iman & Obedience are Better for the Slave in the Dunya & the Hereafter than Disbelief & Disobedience
Allah tells us that iman and obedience are better for the slave than disbelief and disobedience in the dunya and the Hereafter. A person, due to his ignorance, may think that disbelief and disobedience are better for him in the dunya, as those who possess ignorance and hypocrisy say: "The obligations of the religion may not be of any benefit to the slave throughout his whole life; rather, that is found in the things that are forbidden." Allah, the Most High, said:
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Fighting (for Allah's cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you may dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know. [Surah al-Baqarah 2:216]
And He, the Most High, said about those who follow the shayaṭin:
وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَى مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّى يَقُولَا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلَا تَكْفُرْ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَزَوْجِهِ وَمَا هُم بِضَارِّينَ بِهِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ وَلَقَدْ عَلِمُوا لَمَنِ اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ وَلَبِئْسَ مَا شَرَوْا بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ
They followed what the shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulayman. Sulayman did not disbelieve, but the shayaṭin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Härüt and Märüt, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learn- ing this magic from us)." And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah's leave. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed, they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves, if they but knew. [Surah al-Baqarah 2:102]
He informs us here that they know that their deeds will not benefit them after death. In fact, they know that they have no portion of the Hereafter, and they only seek the benefit that their deeds may bring in the dunya. This is known as worldly-wise, i.e., the kind of intelligence that allows someone to live a good life in the dunya. Allah, the Most High, said:
وَ لَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ اتَّقَوۡا لَمَثُوۡبَۃٌ مِّنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰهِ خَیۡرٌ ؕ لَوۡ کَانُوۡا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۳
And if they had believed and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, the reward would have been far better from their Lord, if they but knew! [Surah al-Baqarah 2:103]
Allah informs us that it is better for His allies that they believe and are pious; it is better for them than what they could seek from the dunya, if only they knew. Hence, the good in the Hereafter, which is the attainment of benefit and the repulsion of harm, is greater than the good that can be attained in the dunya. Allah, the Most High, said:
وَ کَذٰلِکَ مَکَّنَّا لِیُوۡسُفَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ۚ یَتَبَوَّاُ مِنۡهَا حَیۡثُ یَشَآءُ ؕ نُصِیۡبُ بِرَحۡمَتِنَا مَنۡ نَّشَآءُ وَ لَا نُضِیۡعُ اَجۡرَ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۵۶ وَ لَاَجۡرُ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ خَیۡرٌ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ کَانُوۡا یَتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿۵۷
Thus did We give full authority to Yusuf in the land, to settle therein, when or where he likes. We bestow Our mercy on whom We please, and We do not allow the reward of the good-doers to be lost. And verily, the reward of the Hereafter is better for those who believe and fear Allah and keep their duty to Him. [Surah Yusuf 12:56-57]
And He, the Most High, said:
مَا کَانَ قَوۡلَهُمۡ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ قَالُوۡا رَبَّنَا اغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ذُنُوۡبَنَا وَ اِسۡرَافَنَا فِیۡۤ اَمۡرِنَا وَ ثَبِّتۡ اَقۡدَامَنَا وَ انۡصُرۡنَا عَلَی الۡقَوۡمِ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۴۷ فَاٰتٰىهُمُ اللّٰهُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنۡیَا وَ حُسۡنَ ثَوَابِ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ یُحِبُّ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۴۸
And they said nothing but, "Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and our transgressions, establish our feet firmly, and give us victory over the disbelievers." So Allah gave them the reward of this world and the excellent reward of the Hereafter. And Allah loves the good-doers. [Surah Ali 'Imran 3:147-148]
And He, the Most High, said about Ibrahim:
وَ اٰتَیۡنٰهُ فِی الدُّنۡیَا حَسَنَۃً ؕ وَ اِنَّهٗ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ لَمِنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۲
And We gave him good in this world, and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous. [Surah an-Nahl 16:122]
Allah, the Most High, then explained that performing the obliga- tions that one dislikes is better than also abstaining from it in the dunya. He, the Most High, said:
وَ لَوۡ اَنَّا کَتَبۡنَا عَلَیۡهِمۡ اَنِ اقۡتُلُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ اَوِ اخۡرُجُوۡا مِنۡ دِیَارِکُمۡ مَّا فَعَلُوۡهُ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ ؕ وَ لَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ فَعَلُوۡا مَا یُوۡعَظُوۡنَ بِهٖ لَکَانَ خَیۡرًا لَّهُمۡ وَ اَشَدَّ تَثۡبِیۡتًا ﴿ۙ۶۶ وَّ اِذًا لَّاٰتَیۡنٰهُمۡ مِّنۡ لَّدُنَّـاۤ اَجۡرًا عَظِیۡمًا ﴿ۙ۶۷ وَّ لَهَدَیۡنٰهُمۡ صِرَاطًا مُّسۡتَقِیۡمًا ﴿۶۸
And if We had ordered them (saying), "Kill yourselves (i.e., the innocent ones kill the guilty ones) or leave your homes," very few of them would have done it; but if they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them and would have strengthened their (faith); and indeed, We should then have bestowed upon them a great reward from Ourselves. And indeed, We should have guided them to a straight way. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:66-68]
In this context, He, the Most High, also said:
اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ یَزۡعُمُوۡنَ اَنَّهُمۡ اٰمَنُوۡا بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَیۡکَ وَ مَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکَ یُرِیۡدُوۡنَ اَنۡ یَّتَحَاکَمُوۡۤا اِلَی الطَّاغُوۡتِ وَ قَدۡ اُمِرُوۡۤا اَنۡ یَّکۡفُرُوۡا بِهٖ ؕ وَ یُرِیۡدُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ اَنۡ یُّضِلَّهُمۡ ضَلٰلًۢا بَعِیۡدًا ﴿۶۰
Have you seen those (hypocrites) who claim that they believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and they wish to go for judgment (in their disputes) to the taghüt (false judges, etc.) while they have been ordered to reject them. But the Shaytan wishes to lead them far astray. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:60]
These are the hypocrites from among the People of the Book.
The mushrikun resemble those who discard the Book of Allah as if they don't know that "they followed what the shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulayman" [Surah al-Baqa- rah 2:102]. Indeed, they abandoned the Book of Allah to follow superstitions, false deities, magic, and the Shaytan. This is the situation of those given a portion of the Book who believe in super- stition and taghut, and those who pretend to believe in Allah and His messengers yet seek their judgments from taghut.
A taghut is any person, jinn, or idol aggrandized and self-aggran- dized without obedience to Allah and His Messenger.
This is the situation of many of the fuqaha' (Islamic jurists), the mutakallimin, and others from this ummah who imitate the Jews and possess some hypocrisy, those who oppose the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (ﷺ) with superstitions and false deities, and those who judge by other than the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (ﷺ). And He, the Most High, said:
وَ اِذَا قِیۡلَ لَهُمۡ تَعَالَوۡا اِلٰی مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ وَ اِلَی الرَّسُوۡلِ رَاَیۡتَ الۡمُنٰفِقِیۡنَ یَصُدُّوۡنَ عَنۡکَ صُدُوۡدًا ﴿ۚ۶۱ فَکَیۡفَ اِذَاۤ اَصَابَتۡهُمۡ مُّصِیۡبَۃٌۢ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ اَیۡدِیۡهِمۡ ثُمَّ جَآءُوۡکَ یَحۡلِفُوۡنَ ٭ۖ بِاللّٰهِ اِنۡ اَرَدۡنَاۤ اِلَّاۤ اِحۡسَانًا وَّ تَوۡفِیۡقًا ﴿۶۲
And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger," you see the hypocrites turning away from you (Muhammad) in aversion. How then, when a catastrophe befalls them because of what their hands have sent forth, they come to you swearing by Allah, "We meant no more than to do good and achieve success!" [Surah an-Nisa' 4:61-62]
Meaning that they only intended by their actions to withdraw from obedience to Allah and His Messenger and instead follow the false deities that they follow in order to attain a benefit for themselves and to repel a harm, such as seeking knowledge and its application, as is the case with some of the mutakallimin; or such as seeking different perceptions and existences, as is the case with some of the muta'abbidah; or such as those who seek their inner and outer desires, as is the case for those who seek status or temptation.
Allah, the Most High, said:
الشَّيْطَانُ أَن يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
The Shaytan wishes to lead them far astray. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:60]
Meaning: Lead them away from their objective, which is to attain benefit and repel harm, which can only be achieved by being obedi- ent to Allah and His Messenger and by not following the false deities. Hence, if Allah destines them to not achieve their objective in the dunya and afflicts them with calamity due to their actions, they say, "We only intended to do good," i.e., they intended good for themselves and not hardship, "...and to be successful," i.e., to gather together the rights and general good.
Allah, the Most High, said:
اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَعۡلَمُ اللّٰهُ مَا فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِهِمۡ
They (hypocrites) are those of whom Allah knows what is in their hearts... [Surah an-Nisa' 4:63]
He knows their corrupt beliefs and desires, and their doubts.
Then He, the Most High, said:
فَاَعۡرِضۡ عَنۡهُمۡ وَ عِظۡهُمۡ وَ قُلۡ لَّهُمۡ فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ قَوۡلًۢا بَلِیۡغًا
...so turn aside from them (do not punish them) but admonish them, and speak to them an effective word to reach their inner selves. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:63]
Then He, the Most High, said:
وَ مَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا لِیُطَاعَ بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰهِ ؕ وَ لَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ اِذۡ ظَّلَمُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَهُمۡ جَآءُوۡکَ فَاسۡتَغۡفَرُوا اللّٰهَ وَ اسۡتَغۡفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُوۡلُ لَوَجَدُوا اللّٰهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِیۡمًا ﴿۶۴
And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by the permission of Allah. And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you (O Muhammad), and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah accepting of repentance and merciful. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:64]
Therefore, Allah invited them to repent after they committed their sins of hypocrisy. This shows the complete mercy of Allah for His slaves. He commanded them to be obedient before they were disobe- dient, and then after their disobedience, He commanded them to seek forgiveness, and He was merciful with them in both situations: first He commanded them to be obedient with His mercy, then He commanded them to seek forgiveness from His mercy. Therefore, He is merciful with the believers who obey Him first and those who seek His forgiveness second.
Hence, if He is merciful with those who obey Him, and mercy necessitates uniting them with what benefits them and defending them from what harms them, then how can an obligation in the religion contain harm without any benefit?
1. Reported by Muslim (4/1994).
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