Shaikh Muhammad as-Saleh Al-‘Uthaimin
We believe in Fate, whether good or bad, which Allah has measured and ordained for all creatures according to His previous knowledge and as deemed suitable by His wisdom.
Levels of Belief:
Belief in Fate has four levels: 1) Knowledge: We believe that Allah, may He be exalted, knows everything. He knows what has happened and what will happen and how it will happen. His knowledge is eternal. He does not acquire a new knowledge nor does he forget what He knows.
2) Recording: We believe that Allah has recorded in the secured tablet (al Lowh al Mahfuz) whatever is going to happen until the Day of Judgment: “Did you not know that Allah knows all that is in heaven and Earth? Surely that is in a book. Surely that for Allah is an easy matter” (22:70).
3) Will: We believe that Allah has willed everything in heaven and Earth. Nothing happens except by His will. Whatever He wills will take place, and whatever He does not will not take place.
4) Creation: We believe that “Allah is the Creator of all things; He is the Guardian over all things, and to Him belong the keys of the heavens and the Earth” (39:62-3). This level includes whatever Allah Himself does and whatever His creatures do. Thus each saying, deed, or omission of the people is known to Allah, Who has recorded, willed, and created them: “To those among you who will to be upright. But you shall not will except as Allah wills, the Lord of the Worlds” (81:2829); “And had Allah willed they would not have fought one against the other; but Allah does whatever He desires” (2:253); “Had Allah willed, they would not have done so, but leave them alone and their false inventions” (6:137); and “And Allah created you and what you do” (37:96). Man’s Free Will:
We believe, however, that Allah has granted man a power and a free will by which he performs his actions. That man’s deeds are done by his power and free will can be proven by the following points:
1) Allah says: “So approach your fields (wives) when and how you will” (2:223); and “Had they desired to go forth, they would have made some preparation for it” (9:46). In these verses, Allah affirmed for man “a going forth” by his will and “a preparation” by his desire.
2) Directing man to do or not to do. If man has no free will and power, these directions mean that Allah is asking man to do that which he cannot do. This proposition is rejected by Allah’s wisdom, mercy and truthful statement: “Allah does not charge a soul beyond its capacity” (2:286).
3) Praising the virtuous for his deeds and blaming the evildoer for his actions and rewarding each of them with what he deserves. If the action is not done by the individual’s free will, then praising the virtuous is a joke and punishing the evildoer is an injustice, and Allah is, of course, far from joking and being unjust.
4) Allah has sent messengers who are “bearing good tidings, and warning, so that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers” (4:165). If the individual’s action is not performed by his free will, his argument is not invalidated by the sending of messengers.
5) Every doer of actions feels that he does or does not do a thing without any coercion. He stands up and sits, comes in and goes out, travels and stays by his own free will without feeling anybody forcing him to be any of these actions. In fact, he clearly distinguishes between doing something of his own free will and someone else forcing him to do that action. The Islamic law also wisely distinguishes between these states of affairs. It does not punish a wrongdoer for an action done under compulsion.
No Excuse for Sinners:
We believe that the sinner has no excuse in Allah’s divine decree, because he commits his sin by his free will, without knowing that Allah has decreed for him, for no one knows Allah’s decree before it takes place: “No soul knows what it will earn tomorrow” (31:34). How can it be possible, then, to present an excuse that is not known to the person who is advancing it when he commits his offense? Allah invalidated this type of argument by saying: “The idolaters will say ‘Had Allah willed, we would not have been idolaters, neither our fathers, nor would we have forbidden anything.’ So did the people before them cry lies until they tasted our might. Say: ‘Have you any proofs that you can show us? You follow nothing but assumption, and you are Lying”‘ (6:148). We say to the sinner who is using divine decree as an excuse: ‘Why did you not perform deeds of obedience, assuming that Allah has decreed them upon you, since you did not know the difference between good deeds and sins? That is why, when Prophet Muhammad told his Companions that everyone’s position in paradise or hell has been assigned, they said: ‘Should not we rely on this and stop working?’ He said: ‘No, work and everyone will be directed to what he is created for”‘ (Bukhari and Muslim).
We say to the sinner who is trying to find an excuse in the divine decree: “Suppose you want to travel to Makkah. There are two roads that may take you there. You are told by a truthful person that one of these roads is dangerous and difficult, the other is easy and safe. You will take the second one. You will not take the first road and say it is decreed upon me. If you did, people would consider you crazy.”
We may also say to him: “If you are offered two jobs, one of which has a higher salary, you will certainly take the one with the higher salary. Why do you choose what is lower in the hereafter and use the divine decree as an excuse?”
We may further say to him: “We see you when you are afflicted with a disease, you knock at every physician’s door looking for treatment and bearing whatever pain that may result from surgical operations and the bitterness of medicine. Why do not you do the same when your heart is spiritually sick with sins?”
Evil Not Attributed to Allah:
We believe that evil should not be attributed to Allah, due to His perfect mercy and wisdom. The Prophet said: “And evil is not attributable to You” (Muslim). Thus Allah’s decree by itself has no evil whatsoever, because it is coming from mercy and wisdom. Evil may, however, result from some of His decrees, because the Prophet said in the supplication for gunut which he taught to al-Hasan: “And protect us from the evil of what You decreed” (Tirmidhi and others). Here, the Prophet attributed evil to what He decreed. Despite this, evil in His decree is not pure evil. It is rather evil in one respect and good in another, or it is evil in one case and good in another. Thus corruption in the land resulting from drought, disease, poverty, and fear is evil, but it is good in another respect. Allah, the Exalted said: “Corruption has appeared on the land and sea for what men’s hands have earned. Allah has ordained this for men, so that they may taste some of what they have done, in order that they may turn back (from evil)” (30:41). Cutting off the thief’s hand or stoning the adulterer is an evil thing for the thief and the adulterer, but it is good for them in one respect, because it is a purification for them so that the punishment of this life and the hereafter are not combined for them. These punishments are good in another respect: their application protects property, honor, and relationships.
Allah’s will is tied to His knowledge and wisdom – Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen
Written by Abu Arwa Ali Mir on April 25, 2015. Posted in Aqeedah (Creed & Belief), Articles
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen said:
Everything [brought about] by the will of Allah is coupled with His wisdom. That is because Allah The Mighty and Majestic doesn’t simply ordain mere decrees, but rather His decree comes from His wisdom. The proof of that is His statement The Most High:
But you cannot will, unless Allah wills. Indeed, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise. (76:30)
His statement The Most High “Indeed, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise” indicates that His wisdom is tied to knowledge and wisdom.
Tafsir Surah Yasin, p.36.
Fatwas of Ibn Baz
Content > Volume 6 > The Divine Decree
(Part No. 6; Page No. 57)
The Divine Decree
From `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz to our honorable brother (…), may Allah protect you.
As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you).
I have received your letter. May Allah guide you and grant you success. You have mentioned in your letter that you are about to write a book on the trend of the Salaf (righteous predecessors) with regard to Divine Decree in which many people have erred when discussing. You have also expressed your wish so that we write a brief treatise in this regard.
On this occasion, I ask Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to guide you to the Truth. It is firm resolution and blessed determination. May Allah grant you the ability to clarify the Truth and clear up doubts. He is the Most Generous.
I am pleased to participate in this outstanding work.
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
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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
(Part No. 6; Page No. 59)
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,
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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.
(Part No. 6; Page No. 61)
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.