Scholars (may Allah be merciful to them) stated that believing in the Divine Decree has four levels:
Fatwas of Bin Baz
The Qur’an, the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet), and the Ijma` (consensus) of the Salaf indicate that it is Wajib (obligatory) to believe in Divine Decree; good or bad. It is one of the six fundamentals of belief. The belief of a person is never complete unless he believes in the Divine Decree. This is indicated in the Qur’an and the Sahih (a Hadith that has been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish) and Mutawatir (a Hadith reported by a significant number of narrators throughout the chain of narration, whose agreement upon a lie is impossible) Hadiths, which were reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: Know you not that Allâh knows all that is in the heaven and on the earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lauh-al-Mahfûz). Verily that is easy for Allâh. Allah (Exalted be He) also says: No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but it is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz) before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allâh. Allah (Exalted be He) also says: Verily, We have created all things with Qadar (Divine Preordainments of all things before their creation as written in the Book of Decrees Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz). It is recorded in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that when Jibril (Gabriel) asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about belief, he (peace be upon him) replied: Belief is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Book, the meeting with Him, His Messengers, the Day of Resurrection, and Divine Decree. Jibril said: You have told the truth. This is the wording of Muslim. It is also recorded by Muslim in his Sahih Book of Hadith on the authority of Amir Al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Believers), `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that Jibril (peace be upon him) asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about belief, so the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Belief is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and the Divine Decree; good and evil. Jibril said: You have told the truth. Many Hadiths have been narrated to the same effect.
Scholars (may Allah be merciful to them) stated that believing in the Divine Decree has four levels:
First: To believe that Allah (Glorified be He) knew everything before its existence through His eternal Knowledge. He knew the measures, lifespan, and the livelihood of His creation. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: Verily, Allâh is the All-Knower of everything. Allah (Exalted be He) also says: …that you may know that Allâh has power over all things, and that Allâh surrounds all things in (His) Knowledge. Allah (Exalted be He) also says: And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record. There are many Ayahs (Qur’anic Verses) to the same effect.
Second: To believe that Allah (Exalted be He) has recorded everything; good and bad, good deeds and sins, and lifespan and provision. Allah (Glorified be He) says: Know you not that Allâh knows all that is in the heaven and on the earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lauh-al-Mahfûz). Verily that is easy for Allâh. There are other Ayahs to the same effect, some of which we have previously mentioned. It is recorded in the Two Sahih Books of Hadith on the authority of `Aly (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is none among you but has a place assigned for him either in Paradise or in Hellfire. The Companions said: O Messenger of Allah, should we not depend upon what has been written for us (and give up doing good deeds)? The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) replied: Continue doing good deeds, as the good deeds are made easy for the blessed and bad deeds are made easy for the wretched. Then, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) recited Allah’s Saying: As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allâh and fears Him, And believes in Al-Husnâ. There are many other Hadith to the same effect. For example, it is recorded from `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, as in the Two Sahih Books of Hadith, concerning the creation of the fetus and its livelihood, lifespan, deeds, and whether they will be blessed or wretched.
Third: To believe that nothing occurs in this universe except that which He wills, and nothing occurs in the heaven and on earth except by His will. Allah (Exalted be He) says: To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight. And you cannot will unless (it be) that Allâh wills – the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists). Allah (Exalted be He) also says: So whosoever will (let him read it), and receive admonition (from it)! And they will not receive admonition unless Allâh wills; He (Allâh) is the One, deserving that mankind should be afraid of, and should be dutiful to Him, and should not take any Ilâh (god) along with Him, and He is the One Who forgives (sins). Allah (Exalted be He) also says: If your Lord had so willed, they would not have done it; so leave them alone with their fabrications. Allah (Exalted be He) also says: Allâh sends astray whom He wills and He guides on the Straight Path whom He wills. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: And whomsoever Allâh wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islâm; and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky. Thus Allâh puts the wrath on those who believe not. There are many Ayahs that stress this meaning. They refer to the universal Will unlike the following Ayahs: Allâh wishes to make clear (what is lawful and what is unlawful) to you, and to show you the ways of those before you, and accept your repentance, and Allâh is All-Knower, All-Wise. Allâh wishes to accept your repentance, but those who follow their lusts, wish that you (believers) should deviate tremendously away (from the Right Path). Allâh wishes to lighten (the burden) for you; and man was created weak (cannot be patient to leave sexual intercourse with woman). The Will in these Ayahs refers to His legislative Will. The first Will is never prevented; what Allah wills must happen, as He says: Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” – and it is!
As for His legal will, some people may follow it and others may not. These Ayahs mean that Allah (Glorified be He) wishes to clarify the matter, and show the right way to the people, and accept their repentance. However, most mankind were misguided. They did not repent or know the Truth. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) sent down and clarified the evidence and proof. He prescribed Tawbah (repentance) and stated its reasons and ways. However, Allah may will that some people will not be guided or repent. This is because they do not follow Allah’s legislation, for it is previously encompassed in Allah’s Knowledge that so and so will not be among the guided people or those who will not make Tawbah.
This is a great research. A Muslim should comprehend and realize its proofs in order to escape the misleading doubts which confuse many people because they did not differentiate between both wills. To elucidate, a believer accepts belief in the Will of Allah and His universal Will, and at the same time his deeds are according to the legislative will, as he carries out all that Allah (Exalted be He) ordained upon him. However, a disbeliever disobeys by the Will of Allah and His universal Decree, not by Allah’s legislative will, as he did not obey Allah (Exalted be He) and accept Islam. You must be careful when writing this book. May Allah grant you success.
Fourth: To believe that Allah is the sole Creator. He (Exalted be He) created every being with a soul, attributes, and actions. All beings are created by Allah and everything occurs by His will. Allah (Exalted be He) has created the people, their provision, and their acts of obedience and disobedience. Their actions are ascribed to them. Thus, they are rewarded or punished. A slave is the real doer; he has a will and Allah granted him power. However, Allah (Glorified be He) created the slave, his actions, his will, and his power. Allah (Exalted be He) says: Certainly, Allâh has power over all things. Allah (Exalted be He) also says: To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight. And you cannot will unless (it be) that Allâh wills None of the deeds of the slaves exists outside His Will or Power, for Allah is the Omnipotent and the Omniscient. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: It is Allâh Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof (i.e. seven). His Command descends between them (heavens and earth), that you may know that Allâh has power over all things, and that Allâh surrounds all things in (His) Knowledge.
The `Arsh (Allah’s Throne), the heavens, the earths, the angels, the seas, the rivers, the animals, and others were created by His Will and Power. There is no Creator or Lord but Him. He has no partners in worship, Attributes, and Names. Allah (Exalted be He) says: Allâh is the Creator of all things, and He is the Wakîl (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian) over all things. Allah (Eaxlted be He) also says: And your Ilâh (God) is One Ilâh (God – Allâh), Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “He is Allâh, (the) One. “Allâh-us-Samad (السيد الذي يصمد إليه في الحاجات) [Allâh the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)]. “He begets not, nor was He begotten. “And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” Allah (Glorified) also says: There is nothing like Him; and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. Allah (Glorified be He) is the Creator and anything other than Him is created. His Attributes and Self are not created. The Qur’an, the Words of Allah, was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). It is not a created being, according to the Ijma` of Ahl Al-Sunnah (authors of Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes) who are the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) and those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Resurrection.
These are the four levels of the Divine Decree. Whoever believes and understands them, believes in Divine Decree with its good and bad consequences.
Scholars have mentioned these four levels in `Aqidah (creed) books and have clarified its proofs. Among those who explained this issue in brief is Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful to him) in his book, “Al-`Aqidah Al-Wasatiyyah”. However, his student Abu `Abdullah ibn Al-Qayyim explained this matter in full in his book entitled, “Shifa’ Al-`Alil fi Masa’il Al-Qada’ wal Qadar wa Al-Hikmah wa Al-Ta`lil”. This is a very precious, unique, and useful book we recommend you to read.
May Allah (Glorified be He) guide us all to holdfast and understand his religion deeply. We ask Him to guide all Muslims to His Straight Path. He is the Most Generous. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.