Belief in the Divine Decree (al-Qadar)

essential part of eemaan

It is an essential part of eemaan to believe in al-qadar.

The word ‘al-Qadar’

Al-qadar is an Arabic word which originally means ‘measure or amount whether of quantities or qualities’. The verb form of this word means, among other things, ‘to measure or decide the quality, quantity, or position of something before one actually makes it.’

It is obligatory upon every Muslim to believe in al-qadar. Once ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab swore by Allah and said, “If anyone who does not believe in the Divine Decree had with him gold equal to the bulk of [Mount] Uhud of gold and then he should spend it [in the way of Allah], Allah would not accept that from him unless he affirms his faith in the Divine Decree.” {Saheeh Muslim, English Translation, Vol. 1, p. 2)

The Levels of Belief in al-Qadar

There are four levels of belief in al-qadar.

  1. Knowledge: This means to believe that Allah has knowledge of everything, no matter how small or big it is. He sees and has knowledge of even the smallest black ant upon a massive solid rock in an extremely dark night. The hidden for Him is visible and the secret is public. He knows what is secret and what is more hidden than a secret. He knows what is in a person’s mind, conceived in his heart, which is not yet uttered by his lips. He even knows the intentions his heart has not yet formulated. He Knows that his creatures will formulate in their hearts such- and-such an intention at such-and-such a time. Thus Allah possesses foreknowledge of all the deeds of the creation according to His Ever-existing knowledge. This includes His knowledge of all their affairs with respect to obedience, disobedience, sustenance, and lifespan. The Quran says,

“And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.”

(Quran, 6:59)

“Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge.”

(Quran, 65:12)

  1. The Recording of Decrees: This means to believe that Allah had recorded all the decrees regarding His creatures before He created the heavens and the earth. Hence, He not only knew and knows what will happen, but He had also recorded this information in minute detail in the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh). The Quran says,

“No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah , is easy -”

(Quran, 57:22)

“Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah , is easy.”

(Quran, 22:70)

  1. His Will: This means to believe that Allah’s Will is executed and that His Ability is Absolute. If He wills something, it will certainly happen; but if He does not will something, it will never happen. This refers to everything. It denotes Allah’s action of giving life, sustenance, causing death and so on. It consists of the acts performed by human beings. Nothing can happen unless Allah wills it and allows it to occur.

A person may intend or try, for instance, to gun another person down, but such a thing can only happen if Allah decrees it. The shooter may take all the necessary steps, but if Allah does not will it to occur, it will not occur!

The Quran says,

“His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,” and it is.”

(Quran, 36:82)

  1. Allah’s Creativity: This means to believe that Allah has created everything and that there is no other creator except Him.

The Quran says,

“Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs.”

(Quran, 39:62)

Hence, everything is a creation of Allah. Even the deeds of mankind are creations of Allah although they are by man’s own free will. The One Who created that ability and will is no one else but Allah. Therefore, all of the actions of human beings are created by Allah. You will, inshaa Allaah, learn about this interesting subject in greater detail in the years to come.

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