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The Salaf's Guide to the understanding of
al-Qadaa' wal Qadar


Dr.Saleh as-Saleh

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The First Aspect of Qadar - Knowledge
Al-Ilm [Allaah’s Knowledge]

In this regard it is essential to believe that...

1. Allaah knows everything about His Creation, even before He created them
2. Allaah alone chooses on whom to bestow guidance, the choice being related to his Knowledge
3. Allaah knows the outcome of His choice

           Allah’s Knowledge compasses everything. He knew what had occurred and what will occur, and all that did not occur. He knew everything about His creation even before He created it. In His Eternal Knowledge is the provision, life-spans, sayings, moves and deeds of His creation; and knows who among them is obedient or disobedient, and who will be among the people of al-Jannah (Paradise) or the people of an-Nar (Hell-Fire). The following Qur'aanic verses further emphasize this point

“Verily Allaah is the All-Knower of everything.”

Soorah al-Anfaal (8):75

“And that Allaah surrounds (comprehends) all things in His Knowledge.”

Soorah at-Talaq (65):12

“With Him alone are the keys of the Ghayb (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is on the earth 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.”

Soorah al-An'aam (6): 59

        Allaah knows that the disbelievers (Kuffar) on the Day of Judgement will wish to return to the life of this world, so that they may do deeds of righteousness. However Allaah knows that even ….“if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars”

Soorah a-Anaam (6):28
      Allaah says about the disbelievers who do not tolerate listening to His Guidance, that was brought to them by the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa salalam): “Had Allaah known of any good in them, He would have made them listen, and even if he makes them listen they would have turned away, averse (to the truth).”
Soorah al-Anfaal (8):23
      And the people of al-Jannah (Paradise) and an-Naar (Fire) are known to Allaah:
Ali ? narrated that one day the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa salalam) was sitting with a wooden stick in his hand with which he was scratching the ground. He raised his head and said, “There is none of you, but has his place assigned either in the Fire or in Paradise.” They (the Companions) inquired, “O Allaah’s Messenger! Why should we carry on doing good deeds, shall we depend (upon Qadar) and give up work?” The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa salalam) said: “No, carry on doing good deeds, for everyone will find it easy (to do) such deeds that will lead him towards that for which he has been created”. Then he (salallahu alaihi wa salalam) recited the verse: “As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allaah and fears Him, and believes in al-Husna {1} . We will make smooth for him the path of Ease (goodness)
Soorah al-Lail (92):5-7”
Sahih Muslim (english trans.) vol.4, no.6400
      Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa salalam) was asked about the children of the Mushrikeen (polytheists) whereupon he said: “Allaah alone knows what they would be doing (were they to live).”
Sahih al-Bukhari (english trans.) vol.8. no.596 and Sahih Muslim (english trans.) vol.4, no.6433
Commenting on this Hadeeth, Sheikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taimeeyah said: “Allaah knows who among them will be a Kaafir or a Mu’min once they reached the age of puberty.”
Reported in al-Fatawa, vol.4, p.246
He also said, “It cannot be ruled out whether a particular child from the children of the Mushrikeen will be in the Hell or Paradise. As it is mentioned in many Hadeeth, that on the Day of Judgement they will be subjected to trials in which they will be ordered to comply with or abstain from certain commands. Those who will obey will enter al-Jannah and those who disobey will enter an-Naar…”
Reported in al-Fatawa, vol.4, p.303 & vol.24, p.372
      Allah alone knows the actions of all children, if they were to live and grow up, as the Messenger of Allaah explained, “No child is born except on Fitrah (Islaam). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian, just as you help the animals give birth to their young ones, do you find any deficiency in them before you mutilate them (cut their ears after birth) yourselves?” The Companions said, “What do you think about the one who dies in infancy”. The Prophet  (salallahu alaihi wa salalam)  said, “Allaah knows what they would be doing (were they to live)”
Sahih al-Bukhari (english trans.) vol.8, no.597 and Sahih Muslim (english trans.) vol.4, no.6428
      Allaah knew that from the offspring of Aadam there would be Prophets, Messengers and righteous people. None knew this, not even the angles, as Allaah says: “And (remember) when your Rabb said to the angles: ‘Verily! I am going to place (mankind) generation after generation on earth.’ They said: ‘Will You place therein those who will make mischief and shed blood, while we glorify you with praises and thanks (Exalted be You from that which they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You.’ He (Allaah) said, “I know that which you do not know’.”
Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 30
      Allaah knows who deserves Guidance and who does not, as He says: “Have you seen him, who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilah (god), and Allaah (knowing him as such) left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight; Who then will guide him after Allaah? Will you then not remember.”
Soorah al-Jathiyah (45): 23

Most of the Mufasireen (Scholars of Tafseer) have explained this verse to mean that, Allaah knows in advance, that the condition of such a person suit his Dhalal (misguidance) and demand it. Allaah, in His Foreknowledge knows all of the sayings and actions of such a person (even before this person was created). Allaah, the Most High, puts things in its proper and suitable place for he knows who is not worthy of being guided. And so the above verse confirms both the Qadar (pre-destination) and the Hikmah (wisdom).

      Similarly Allaah knows who is suitable to bear and deliver His message, as He says: “Thus We have tried some of them with others, that they might say, ‘Is it these (poor believers) that Allaah has favored from among us? Does not Allaah know best those who are grateful?”

Soorah al-An'aam (6): 53
Had their hearts been grateful, submitting and loving as the hearts of the poor believers, Allaah would have favored them too. But the favors of Allaah only suit their proper places (which Allaah knew in his Foreknowledge). The choice is always linked to His Knowledge, as He says, “Allaah knows best with whom to place His Message.”
Soorah al-An'aam (6): 124
“And your Rabb creates whatsoever He wills and chooses. No choice have they (in any matter). Glorified be Allaah and Exalted above all that they associate as partners (with Him). And your Lord knows what their breasts conceal, and what they reveal.”
Soorah al-Qasas (28): 68-69
“And indeed We have bestowed aforetime on Ibraheem his (portion of) guidance, and We were well-Acquainted with him (as to his belief in Tawheed, etc.).”
Soorah al-Anbiyaa' (21): 51
       Not only is Allaah all-Knowing and all-Wise about His choice, but also of the Consequences and the Noble aims of His Commands and Legislation, as He says:
“Jihaad (fighting in Allaah’s cause) is ordained for you (Muslims), though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing that is bad for you. Allaah knows but you do not know.”
Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 216

This verse calls upon Muslims to abide by the command of Allaah although it may be difficult for them, and that they should accept his Qadaa'.

      A good example related to the issue of Foreknowledge, Choice and Consequence is the Duaa’ of al-Istikharah, whereby a Muslim asks for Allaah’s guidance in a certain affair saying:
“O Allaah, I ask your guidance due to Your Knowledge, and appeal to You to help me due to Your Ability, and ask You from Your great Favor, for You are Able and I am not, You know and I don’t know, and You know all hidden matters. O Allaah, if You know that this matter (whatever it may be) is good for me in my Deen (religion), my livelihood, the aftermath of my matter (also said: for my life in the Hereafter) - its short term and long term; then decree it for me and make it easy for me, and bestow blessings for me in it. And if You know that this matter is bad for me in my Deen, my livelihood, the aftermath of my matter - its short term and long term, then keep it away from me, and turn me away from it and decree for me the good wherever it is and contend me with it.”

Sahih al-Bukhari (english trans.) vol.2 no.263, Sunan Abu Dawood (english trans.) vol.1, no.1533, Sunan at-Tirmidhee & Sunan an-Nasaa'ee

Man needs to know what benefits him? He is not sure whether he can achieve what he wants. He does not whether it is difficult or not. He cannot achieve the most desirable outcome, if Allaah does not guide him with His Knowledge, helps him due to His Ability and makes it easy for him due to His Favor. The believer thus supplicates (makes Duaa') to Allaah to make him content with his choice, or to turn him away from his choice, for Allaah alone knows by his infinite Wisdom what is good for His creation. To summarize, man seeks....
1. Istikharah (before he makes a decision)
2. Ridha or content (after he makes the decision)

Only that happens what Allaah has already decreed, However.....
*  Part of the success that Allaah bestows upon His slaves is to guide him to Isthikharah before what has been decreed happens, and to the contentment after it happens.
*   Part of Allaah’s humiliation of His slave when he does not make Isthikharah before what has been decreed happens, is that he is not content with what has happened.

      In the year of al-Hudayebiyah, the pagan Arabs of the Quraish prevented the Prophet and his Companions from entering Meccah to performing Umrah. Instead they imposed severe conditions on the Muslims and the Prophet accepted them, knowing that Allaah would never abandon the believers and that the final victory would be theirs. On their way back to Medinah, when the Companions (Sahabah) were overwhelmed with grief and distress, Allaah revealed the verse, “Verily! We have given you O Muhammed a manifest victory”

Soorah al-Fath (48):1

Allaah thus rewarded the Muslims for their patience, because.... “He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides that a near victory.

Soorah al-Fath (48):27

See ar-Raheeq al-Makhtoom (english trans.) p.348 and Fath al-Bari (7/378-381)

Some of the consequences of this treaty were that people came near to Islaam and the Muslims were able to speak about their religion with proofs and evidences. And in just two years, there came into the fold of Islaam as many as the people who entered before. The Kaaba was open to anyone who wished to visit it since the time of the Prophet Ibraahim ?. The arrogance and animosity of the Quraish drove many people towards Islaam, who believed that the Muslims too had the right to visit the Kaaba.

Some important points of this section are:-
* Allaah knew all about the conditions and affairs of His slaves even before their creation.
* He tests them with His trials and commands, as He says, “Verily! We have made that which is on earth as an adoration for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds”
    Soorah al-Kahf (18): 7.
* They will then either deserve His praise or His blame, His reward or His punishment- all according to their deeds, and identical to what Allaah knew in His Foreknowledge.
* They did not deserve any Reward of Punishment while it was still Knowledge with Him, until what was known to Allaah became manifest by Man’s own doing.
*  He sent His Messengers to cut off all of man’s excuses …

 "And We have made some of you as a trial for others "                                                 Soorah al-Furqan (25):20
  and to establish proof against themselves, lest the should say, “How can You, O Allaah punish us for what we did not do?”
* When a believers seeks Allaah’s guidance and is patient with the immediate outcome, Allaah rewards them with contentment and a perfectly beneficial and successful aftermath (as in the case of Isthikharah and the treaty of Hudaibiyah).
* The Believers acknowledge Allaah’s Favor upon them and are always grateful to Him. The ungrateful are the ones like those mentioned in the Qur'aan, “When harm touches man, he calls upon Us (for help), then when We offer him a favor from Us by rescuing him from harm, he would say, ‘Only because of knowledge (I possess) that I achieved it.”
          Soorah az-Zumar (39): 49
Remember:   “IT IS ONLY A TRIAL”
Soorah az-Zumar (39):49


{1}The truth, that is Tawheed and the path of righteousness that it prescribes, or a reward from Allaah that will compensate the believer for that which he spends in Allaah’s way

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