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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 Second Aspect of Qadar - Writing
Al-Kitabah (The Writing)

*  Al-Kitaabah means that Allaah wrote everything about His creation; their livelihood, provision, life-spans, deeds, etc. All this is written in Umm al-Kitaab (lit. Mother of all books{1}  ), also known as al-Lauhul Mahfoudh (the Preserved Tablet)
“Do you not know, that Allaah knows all that is in the heaven and in the earth? Verily! It is all in the Book. Verily! That is easy for Allaah.”

Soorah al-Hajj (22): 70
{The above verse combines the two aspects of Qadar - Knowledge and Writing}

* The Qur'aan itself is written in al-Lauh al-Mahfoudh, as Allaah says:

“Indeed this Qur'aan is in Ummul Kitaab before Us, Exalted and full of Wisdom.”
Soorah az-Zukhruh (43): 3
 and “Nay! This is a Glorious Qur'aan, (inscribed) in al-Lauh al-Mahfoudh (the Preserved Tablet).”
Soorah al-Buruj (85): 22
* Even the minutest detail has been recorded in the Preserved Tablet, as Allaah says: “And nothing is hidden from your Rubb (so much as) the weight of an atom on the earth or in the heaven; whatever is less or greater than that except that it is (written) in a Clear Record.”
Soorah Yunus (10): 61
* Everything was written fifty thousand years before the creation of the heaven and earth, as the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu alaihi wa salalam) said: “Allaah had written the ordained measures (and their due proportions) of the creation, fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth as His Arsh (Throne) was on water.”
Sahih Muslim (english trans.) vol.4, no.6416. This Hadeeth indicates that the Arsh of Allaah was created before the writing in the clear Book took place
* Allaah ordered al-Qalam (the pen) to write all the records till the Day is established, of all pre-ordained measures: Narrated Abee Hafsaa: Ubadah Ibn as-Samit said to his son - O son! You shall not get the true sense of Eeman (faith) until you acknowledge that what has befallen you was not to escape you (or miss you), and what missed you was not to befall you; I heard the Prophet saying: “(As soon as Allaah created the Pen, He commanded it saying, ‘Write’. It said, ‘What should I write, my Rabb (Lord)?’. Allaah said, ‘Write the record of all preordained matter until the commencement of the Hour’.” Furthermore, Ubadah Ibn as-Samit said, “O my son! I have heard Allaah’s Messenger saying, ‘He who dies believing in other than this is not from me (i.e. is not on the Prophet’s way of belief).”
Sunan Abu Dawood, Sunan at-Tirmidhi and Musnad Ahmed bin Hambal
*  These records are perfect and have missed nothing. Allaah, the Exalted has said referring to the answer of Moosa to the Pharaoh: “He (the Pharoah) said, ‘What about the generations of old?’ He (Moosa) said, ‘The Knowledge thereof is in a record with my Rabb, He is neither unaware not does He forget’.”
Soorah Ta-Ha (20): 51-52
* All our deeds have been pre-recorded in the Preserved Tablet. Whatever the Pen wrote is certainly to be executed. The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa salalam) said to Abu Hurairah, “The Pen has turned dry after writing what you are going to confront.”
Saheeh al-Bukhari vol.4, p.9, no.13
Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar commented: “This means that the pen has turned dry after writing the predestined matters. Execution of all matters is in accordance with what the Pen wrote in the Preserved Tablet.”
Fath al-Bari, vol.9, p.119
* When Umer ibn al-Khattab was asked about the verse: “When your Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam from their loins, their descendants(offspring), and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (Who cherishes and sustains you)?" They said: "Yes! we testify to it" That was in case you should say on the Day of Judgment: "Certainly we were unaware of all this."
Soorah al-A'raf (7): 172
He said: When Allaah’s Messenger was asked about then I heard him say: [Allaah created Aadam, He passed His Hand over his back, and brought forth from it his offspring, saying: ‘I have created these for Paradise and they will do the deeds of Ahlul-Jannah’. He then passed His Hand over his back and brought forth from his offspring saying: ‘I have created these for Hell, and they will do deeds of Ahlun-Naar.
Sheikh al-Albani commented that on the Hadeeth in which the Prophet said, that Allaah said, “I have created these (men) for Paradise……I have created these (men) for Hell.”
The Sheikh said: “Many people may understand that these Hadeeth indicate that man has no choice with respect to his deeds, while others may think that being from the people of Paradise or the people of Hell, is an arbitrary matter or just sheer luck…It us known that Allaah is Perfect in His Names and Attributes, ad that: ‘There is nothing like unto Him’ (Soorah ash-Shura 42:11) It is in accordance with Allaah’s Knowledge, Wisdom and Justice that He chose people for Paradise or Hell-Fire. He Knew that those who were chosen for paradise will obey Him when they are commanded to do so, and those created for Hell will disobey Allaah’s commandments…(therefore Allaah’s choice is in accordance with what Allaah’s Knowledge and this has already been written)... Eeman (belief) necessitates the admittance to Paradise, and Kufr (disbelief) necessitates punishment in the Hell. Both Eeman and Kufr, are matters of choice for mankind. Allaah, the Exalted does not force anyone to adopt either choice, as He says: ‘Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills let him disbelieve.’
Soorah al-Kahf (18): 29
Because His choice is all-Just and Wise, Allaah, Exalted be He, cannot be questioned about it.”
Sheikh al-Albani in Silsilatul Ahadeeth as-Saheehah, vol.4, p.76-80
{Note: Some of these points have already been discussed under Knowledge}

*  The Pen mentioned above was the first to be created, but there is evidence in the Hadeeth for the presence of more than one Pen. One of the Hadeeth that mentions the pre-recording in the plural form is mentioned below:
Jabir reported that Suraqah bin Maalik came and said: “O Messenger of Allaah! Explain our Deen to us as if we have been created just now. Whatever we do today, is it because of the fact that the pens have turned dry (having written the records) and the destinies have begun to operate? Or is it something that just happens (without pre-destination)?” Thereupon, the Messenger said, “Nay! Surely it is because of what has been recorded by the pens after they have dried and the destinies have begun to operate”

Saheeh Muslim vol.4, no.6402 & 6403. See the Explanation of al-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah, p.267-268

Other Writings of Taqdeer:
There is evidence from the Qur'aan and Sunnah, that apart from the writing of  Taqdeer that Allaah commanded on al-Laauh al-Mahfoudh (The Preserved Tablet) there are other writings of Taqdeer, among them are:-

1.  The Taqdeer al-Umuri (Covering the person’s life span):
The Person’s livelihood, life-term, deeds and his status in the Hereafter (wretched or blessed) are written while in the mother’s womb at an early stage of his development. This is confirmed in the Hadeeth related by Abdullah bin Masood who said, that the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu alaihi wa salalam) said: “The creation of everyone of you is collected for the first forty days in his mother’s womb in the form of a Nutfah after which it turns into a Alaqa for an equal period. Then it becomes a Mudhqah for a similar period and then Allaah sends an angel with four words recording: the person’s provision, his life term, his deeds, or whether he will be of the wretched or the blessed (in the Hereafter).”
Sahih al-Bukhari vol.8, p.387, no.593 and Sahih Muslim vol.4, p.1391, no.6390

2.  The Annual Taqdeer:
This Taqdeer takes place on the night of decree (Lailat al-Qadr), Allaah, the Exalted says: “Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainment”

Soorah ad-Dukhaan (44): 4
Also Ibn Abbas said: “On the night of Decree, everything that occurs over the whole (coming) year from the matters of death, births, provisions, and the rain would be recorded from the Record of the Mother of the Book; it would even be said that such and such a person would perform Hajj.” {2}

3.  The Daily Taqdeer:
It directs the pre-ordained Taqdeer according to its previously appointed terms and on its specific times. Allaah says: “Whosoever is in the heavens and on the earth ask of Him (for their needs). Everyday He has a matter to bring forth.”

Soorah ar-Rehman (55): 29
The Prophet said explaining the verse: “Everyday Allaah has a matter to bring forth, that He may forgive a sin for someone, relief the hardship of someone, lift (in honor) some and lower (in disgrace) others.”
Sunan Ibn Majah and Abee ‘Aasim in “as-Sunnah” no.301 and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Majah no.202
What is the relation between all of the levels of the written Taqdeer?
*  Sheikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taimeeyah and Ibn Qaiyyim al-Jawziyyah, may Allaah be pleased with them both, stressed that the Taqdeer in the Preserved Tablet is a general and comprehensive one that covers everything, while the other writings of Taqdeer are special and specific details for the Taqdeer of the Preserved Tablet. {3}

The writing of the Preserved Tablet is Preserved, i.e. is not subject to any change whatsoever because it is based on Allaah’s Knowledge

Ibn Taimeeyah in al-Fatawa, vol.8, p.840
 In other books (or writings), however changes may occur, as in the case of the books handled by the angels, as Allaah says:
“Allaah blots out what He wills and confirms (what He wills); and with Him is Ummul Kitaab (the Preserbved Tablet).”
Soorah Ar-Ra'd (13): 39
Also the Messenger of Allaah said: “He who loves that his sustenance be expanded, and his life term prolonged, should join the tie of kinship.”
Saheeh al-Bukhari vol.8, p.11-12, no.15 and Saheeh Muslim vol.4, p.1359-1360
Sheikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taimeeyah explained that: “Provisions and life terms are of two kinds:
Soorah Ar-Ra'd (13): 39
In the angel’s books, both the life span and provisions increase and decrease due to specific reasons. Thus, Allaah commands the angel to write the provision and life span of one of His slaves. If the slave joins the tie of kinship, Allaah commands the angel to increase the slave’s sustenance and life term {4}   by specific increments. The angel does not know the actual outcome of extension in the life term, or that related to the increase in provisions. He (Allaah) knows the out come (i.e. the pre-appointed term which is not to be prolonged nor delayed.”
al-Fatawa, vol.8, p.517 and p.540
 Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar said: “For example, to say to the angel that the age of such and such person is hundred years if he joins the tie of his kinship, and sixty years if he severs it. In the Foreknowledge of Allaah it is known whether he will join or sever the tie of kinship; and whatever is in Allaah’s Knowledge is not subject to extension or delay. However, the angels knowledge is the one subject to the increase or decrease. This is what is referred to in Allaah’s saying: “Allaah blots out what He wills and confirms (what He wills); and with Him is Ummul Kitaab (the Preserbved Tablet).”
Soorah Ar-Ra'd (13): 39

Therefore the blotting and confirming is relevant to the knowledge of the angels, but what is recorded in Ummul Kitaab is relevant to Allaah’s Knowledge, where there is absolutely no blotting…”

Fath ul-Bari, vol.10, p.430
Some important points of this section are:-
*  That Allaah commanded the pen to write everything in minute details on al-Lauhul Mahfoudh (the Preserved Tablet). What is written on it will never change.
* It is in the Foreknowledge of Allaah that who from His creation will be obedient to Him and who will be the disobedient, accordingly He termed them as Ahlul-Jannah and Ahlul-Nar, all this being written on al-Lauhul Mahfoudh.
There is evidence of writings other than the one on al-Lauhul Mahfoudh, these are however subject to change.


{1} This expression is used to define something as ‘the orignal’

{2}This explanation of Ibn Abbas is mentioned in as-Syouti’s Ad-Durr al-Manthour [6/25] and al-Shawkani’s Fathul-Qadeer [4/572]

{3}Ibn Taimeeyah in al-Aqeedah al-Wasitiyyah. See its explanation by Muhammed Khaleel Harraas, p.221, Daar al-Hijrah (1993) edition, Riyadh. Ibn Qaiyyim’s explanation is in Shifaa’ul ‘Aleel, p.173.

{4}   Because the slave obeyed Allaah in keeping the tie to his kinship, his life will be extended to a pre-ordained term, otherwise if he severs his tie with his kinship, he would not reach such an age. In all cases it is written in Ummul-Kitaab whether he will keep or sever his tie. The same holds true regarding his sustenance. [See. At-Tahawiyyah, p.143

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