A Case inbetween Two Concerns
- :Al-Risalah Center
A Case inbetween Two Concerns
This book tackles a vital ideological subject which the thought of the progeny (A.S.) has already enriched.
One thousand three hundred years ago Imam AsSadique(A.S.) issued his famous statement (Neither determinism nor authorization, rather a case inbetween two concerns).
If people ever have extracted from the progeny’s glamour (A.S.) and drank from their fountain they would have never gone astray, never would they have gone to the extreme, or refuged to extravagance; nor would have they deluded each other.
Imam Ali Foundation – Central Office – Holy Qum took into consideration the endless need of different schools and various levels of students to know the thought of the progeny(A.S.); hence it introduced this English translation realizing how urgently man needs this book in his mental and daily life.
From Allah the Sublime we obtain success and content.
"In the name Allah the Merciful the compassionate"
Praise and thanks are due only to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and prayer be only upon our most gracious prophet who is sent as a grace for the worlds Muhammad the Mustafa (well chosen) and upon his kind and virtuous progeny.
One of the essential matters that has occupied – and still does – a vast zone in the Islamic thought is man’s deeds and perceiving whether they are attributed to him or to Allah the Great and Almighty, or both to man and Allah the Great and Almighty.
Man due to the mentality and ability to think which has given him superiority over all creatures, is disposed to attribute his deeds – in case he had made them – to himself or to somebody else.
Is he the one who had prepared the introductions, reasons, means and devices under a certain determination and a specific conception for his deed, achieving it thereafter by his own will, choice and desire?
Or, did he undertake that deed without any previous planning and arrangement?
Or, was there a proportional compromise between both cases?
Hence, the Muslims differed about that matter adopting three trends.
Some of them believed that the suitable interpretation for man’s deeds is the concept of (determinism) (AlJabr) so as to keep on the safe side about some very dangerous matters that concern the Muslim’s dogma, such matters like Allah’s non finite potency and his great vast sovereignty being the only creator of every thing; they certify their claim by some Quranic verses such as:
[But Allah is the one who has created you and the material of which you make your gods]. As Saffat v. 96.
[Say: Allah is the creator of all things and beings] Ar Ra'd v. 16.
On such grounds, determinism means negating any relation between man and his deed, for he is deprived of free choice in his deeds, and any act he takes may not be regarded as a reflex for his desires, tendencies, trends and whatever he owns of personality or talents. He has not the slightest influence on his deeds; he is a device no more.
Others believed quite the opposite to this, hence they thought that the core of the matter lies in free choice so as to keep on the safe side about other matters that are no less dangerous from those which the determinists showed their reservations about; such as Devine Justice; for it will not be fair to punish a man for a deed that he has been obliged to do, being deprived of the ability not to do it.
They think that Allah the Great and Almighty has created mankind giving them the potency to act, authorizing them – at the same time – to carry on deeds and acts as much as they claim or like.
This actually means; man’s independence to bring about an act by means of the will and potency consigned to him; moreover, it connotes that Allah the Almighty has no impact whatsoever on any deed a man may do; for without his optional independence of action, the Holly commandments would have been meaningless and reward and punishment would have turned unjust.
Followers of this trend too tried to make use of the facial meaning of Quran to serve their purposes:
[And say (O, Messenger) act as much as you can, soon Allah will observe your deeds and so will His messenger and the believers.] All Taubah v. 105.
[Then he who has done a particle – weight of good will see it, and shall receive the reward for it, and he who had done a particle. Weight of evil will see it (and will receive the recompense for it)] Az Zilz'al v. 7-8.
A third party advocated that the verses of the Holy Quran frankly contradict the theory of determinism.
[And everyone is in pledge of his own deeds] At-Turv. 21.
[Then We showed him the straight path, whether he chooses to be grateful or shows ingratitude and be disbeliever] AlInsan v.3.
[This Quran is a reminder and a guide and whoever wishes can find through it a way towards his Creator and Nurturer] Al-Insa'n v. 29.
In other verses of the Quran free choice of man is repelled, the Sublime said:
[Following their pray they defeated them by Allah’s leave] Al Baquarah v. 251.
[And it is not possible for any (disbelieving) person to believe except by Allah’s will] Yunus. V. 100.
Therefore, this party adopted a midway view in between determinism and free choice – which is defined by the Imams of the progeny of Muhammad (Aa'ymat Ahlu Albait) (A.S.) (who were the original advocates for it) by their expression (A case inbetween two concerns); meanwhile it does not degrade Allah’s destiny, fate, sovereignty and justice. It also maintains the concept of attributing man’s deeds both to Allah the Sublime and to himself, to this end they employed some Holy verses:
[Whatever of good reaches you (O, man) it is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, it is from yourself] An-Nissa'a v. 79.
For, if there is no relation between the Creator and man’s deeds it would not have been correct to attribute man’s good deed to Allah the Great and Almighty.
Both Imam (Al Baquer) and (Al Sadequ) (A.S.) relate: (Allah is too merciful to Oblige His creatures to commit sins thereafter to torment them for those sins; further Allah is too dignified to demand something that would not come true).
Imam Sadiqu (A.S.) too relates:
(Neither determinism nor authorization, rather a case inbetween two concerns).
Imam (Al Redha) (A.S.) too on hearing a conversation among his visitors about determinism and authorization said : (Allah the Great and Almighty may not be obeyed by force, nor is He disobeyed in spite of Him, He does not forsake and neglect the people in His kingdom, He owns what He had made them own,
and He is capable of what He made them capable to do; so if they decided to obey Him He would not reject or prevent them; if they decided to disobey Him and He wanted to forbid them from doing so, He would do; now if He did not forbid them from disobedience, yet they did not obey and really disobeyed; He would not be the One who has obliged them to do so" This book which we put between your hands – dear reader – tackles this matter in its three trends, referring to its evidences and proofs,
discussing them in the light of Quranic verses and the purified example of the prophet (Al Sunah Al Mutahrah); in addition to the reasonable proof, following a modern scientific approach in a comparative study, till it reaches scientific conclusions. Al-Rissalah Center on presenting this book to the dear readers anticipates that it really could have participated in introducing the proper solution for this complicated question.
[And Allah does guide those whom He wills, to the straight path] Al Baquarah v. 213.
Prologue of the Book
Since man realized the creative potency that has innovated the universe by all its various beings, establishing thereafter a relation with the Absolute (The Unique Creator); he started to think dealing several questions within his mind: can I behave and move away from the domination of (the Creator)? To what extent do I own a freedom of choice in doing or not doing things?
Am I forced and helpless having no will to act or misact? Or, is there a definite margin for my free will and free choice? And if I do possess a certain amount of that freedom and choice, do I possess them independently so that I can say: The Potential Creator had nothing to do with what I do or not do?
The case being so, how does this accord with our belief in the creator’s domination, sovereignty, potency and knowledge?
Man has always raised such questions and the like whether he has faith in one of the religions or does not have any.
Along the ideological history of man various answers for those questions emerged.
The philosophers tried to solve these complications according to their approaches and philosophical theories.
The religious texts presented answers, some of which were clear and accurate (Muhkam); others were metaphorical so as to instigate man to think, meditate and reach to an inner conviction, on condition that it does not contradict the accurate (Muhkam) answers mentioned above, for these accept no misinterpretation.
The scholastics and theologians expressed their points of view; some of them relied on the facial connotation of text making use of philosophy and formal logic thus believing in determinism. Man - to them – is like a feather in a storm, deprived of any will power, free choice to act or not to act.
[Allah is the Creator of all things and beings] ArRa'd v. 16.
Others tried to prettify this notion making it more acceptable by innovating the theory of acquisition (AlKasb).
Allah is the Creator of the deed and man acquires (i.e. gains) it, (Man gets reward for that (god) which he has done and he is punished for that (evil) which he has done) Al Baquarah v. 286; giving a completely different interpretation for the word (Kasb).
Others more, emphasized the free will and free choice in away similar to independence to act or not to act.
[They are free to choose between believe and disbelieve] Al Kahf v. 29.
The progeny of Muhammad’s (Ahlu AlBait) (A.S.) doctrine was distinguished by its inbetween moderate position among these trends – which either went to the extreme right "Theory of Determinism ‘AlJabr’ "; or to the extreme left "Theory of Free choice – authorization – (Al Tafwedh)"; their phraseology pertaining to this complicated matter "Neither determinism nor authorization, rather a case inbetween two concerns" became famous.
The proponents of the school of the Progeny of Muhammad interpreted this saying elaborating on it and proving its correctness by quoting the religious texts (the Qumran and the prophet’s example), furthermore they benefited from the development of the philosophical thesis and the scientific data of man’s realization and sensation.
Yes, man really has a decisive strong feeling that he is not a mere helpless instrument; such a feeling is accompanied by realization of the same feeling which is no less clear and manifest, yet beside such a sensation it may be said man does not possess his infinite freedom to schedule the process of his life; whether in the positions he takes or in managing his private and public affairs; for man – one way or another – realizes that he has no control over a lot of things, or they take place against his desire and will.
This book intends to demonstrate dissimilar points of view respective of this exciting subject, taking into consideration the process of simplifying the sentence and abridging the way to infer clear connotation depending on the most important and authenticated references.
The research has been made into four chapters, tackling in the first the historical inevitability and the universal inevitability.
In the second it tackles the Holy Quran view of both (inevitability) and (man’s independence).
In the third, it tackles the progeny’s approach to the (case inbetween two concerns) surveying the various conflicting party’s points of view about the subject.
In the fourth and last it deals with the role of the progeny of Muhammad(A.S.) in defending both dogmas (monotheism. Al Tawheed.) and (Justice – Al Adl.).
Then the book ends with a proper epilogue.
And from Him the Sublime we ask assistance and success.
In the course of the philosophical history of reason we come across two theories that set out from inevitability as a start point.
The first of which; concerns man’s behaviour, in particular, individual and social behaviour.
The other pertains to the universal system as a whole. The first theory tends to believe in the inevitability of man’s behaviour retarding his will and negating its role ever in his behaviour.
The second theory tends to assert inevitability in the universal system as a whole, claiming that the entire universe moves within an accurate system according to the law of casualty. This system runs within a serial chain, each one of its links is connected to the prior and the following one within some inevitable system that does not change or drop behind, and nobody’s will ever may interfere to shift it.
If we presume that we have found the key links in this series of the general universal system, succeeding to read the cardinal order of these links that keep the system in hold; then we shall be able to foretell all events in the universe right to its last day.
Both theories run through each of the two eminent trends of thought, the divine doctrine and the material one.
Some of those who believe that inevitability controls man’s behaviour and history, do believe in Allah the Sublime, and they attribute this inevitability to Him.
Others who belong to the opposite direction (the material trend) reach to the same conclusion on the grounds of casualty law, or the dialectical system of thought.
Thus both trends assert that both, mans behaviour and his history are inevitable.
The second inevitability (the universal) in its turn does not concern this party or that exclusively; it is quite possible that both materialists and religious may adhere to it.
The Jews are one of the religious groups that tend to follow the trend of the universal inevitability. The Sublime said:
[The Jews said: Allah’s hand is fettered. Be their hands fettered and they be cursed for what they uttered] Al Maidah v. 64.
A wide sect of Muslims that is called (Al Ashairah) as well tends to believe that man’s behaviour is inevitable.
The Marxists as a sect from the materialists believe that this inevitability governs man’s history, (calling it – by their terminology – the universal necessity. Translator)
The Negative Results of These Two Inevitabilities
These two inevitabilities lead to negative results in man’s history of thought, they also lead to negative results in man’s political history, for they will necessarily lead to the presumption that there is a compulsory system in the universe; a system that can never be adjusted changed or shifted. And interpretation as such connotes retarding the potency of the will of Allah the Sublime, expelling the domination of His sovereignty over the universal system. This applies to the universal inevitability respectively.
The definite result that the inevitability in man’s behaviour and history brings about is the belief in suspending man’s will.
Both these dangerous results are necessarily produced by these two inevitabilities.
The Political Misuse of the Historical Inevitability:
The rulers and regimes have widely politically exploited both inevitabilities.
Adhering to behavioural and historical inevitability suspends man’s active role and will to change his circumstances of living and his political history, turning him from an active impressive element who can influence the movement of history and change his social circumstances of living into a character floating in the current of history and life, running wherever this current runs.
Such a kind of thinking usually serves the ends of oppressive political regimes. For, in a social media that thus adheres to fatalism, inevitability and determinism, any apparent opposition for the political regime may hardly show.
Therefore the theory of historical inevitability often meets approval and support from the politically oppressive regimes. The rulers encourage such thought tendencies towards destiny and fate to keep on the safe side from people’s rage, rebellion and objections. For there is no way for rage, rebellion and objections as long as all oppression and blood shed are predestined and designed by Allah, and no man has any power or right to change and adjust them!
(Benou Aumyah), Behavioral and Historical Inevitability
It became well known that (Benou Aumyah) used to adopt the doctrine of determinism to interpret history and man’s behaviour, instructing people that their injustice, oppression, suppression, Muslim’s treasury looting… etc, are predestined by Allah the Sublime’s inevitable destiny which nobody may protest against and none may resist.
(Al Hassan Al Bassry) had a tendency to contradict them in the matter of (destiny) believing that people are free to decide their destiny and Allah the Sublime does note inevitably impose their destiny on them; (Al Hassan Al Bassry) sometimes used to propagate this opinion of his, so some people frightened him of the authority (Al Sultan).
Ibn Sa’ad in (Al Tabaquat) quotes (Ayoob):
(Several times I discussed destiny with (Al Hassan), then I threatened him by the authorities, so he said: I shall never say anything about that again.)
At the age of (Al Hassan Al Bassry) the authority that reigned was (Benou Aumyah). A fact that inspires us to conclude, they used to consolidate the theory of behavioral and historical inevitability extending it to the extremes of terrorism and suppression.
Strange enough, the advocates of polytheism used to justify their polytheism and idolatry by this inevitability!
The Sublime – mouthpiecing them – says:
[And these pagans have said: if it had not been the will of ArRahman we would not worship these idols they say these out of ignorance; they say nothing but lies.] Az Zukhruf v. 20.
The way politics had a role in misusing the first inevitability, it also had a role in widely misusing the second inevitability, for universal inevitability necessarily leads to segregate the Divine will from the universe, that does not contradict believing that Allah the Sublime is the Creator of the universe,
for the Jews used to believe in Allah the Sublime and that he is the Creator of this universe, but also they used to believe that this universe runs and moves – after being created by Allah the Sublime – within an obligatory system established on causes and reasons with no role for Allah the Sublime in managing and administrating it, in other words they used to believe that Allah the Sublime is the Creator of this universe,
but He does not have a role in managing or dominating it, while the Holy Quran certifies that Allah the Sublime maintains all qualities of creation, domination, management, simultaneously. Proportionate to the amount of weakness that befalls Allah’s sovereignty, domination and practical influence on the universe from man’s point of view – man’s relation and connection to Allah in turn, turns weaker.
And the way man’s faith in Allah’s sovereignty, authority and direct practical influence on the universe weakens, his relation with Allah also weakens, and the more his adherence and connection to Allah weakens, he himself gets weaker, furthermore his potency, power and resistance will weaken. Opposite to this however, the more man’s faith in Allah the Sublime,
His domination, authority and practical influence on the universe increases, his adherence to Allah and his relation with the Sublime on the other hand will increase. The more strong his relation with Allah becomes, the more strong and potent he will be, for he will get strength and potency from Allah, thus his resistance and hope will increase.
This matter naturally concerns the rulers and the oppressive terrorist regime; this is in the first place.
Second: such a concept of universal inevitability deepens man’s sense of the role of matter and materialism in his mind and soul giving them more value than they deserve meanwhile weakening and flattening the metaphysical sense in man’s soul and consciousness decreasing their real value, quite opposite to what the Quran does to man.
In the Quran we notice that a great attention has been paid to the faith in the unseen, in an attempt to deepen, fix and establish this faith in man’s soul, meanwhile AlQuran through a great number of verses emphasizes the effect and importance of matter in the universe.
Faith in the unseen has a great impact on man’s way of thinking, on the course of his movement, on his aspirations and ambitions, then on his flexibility and potency to face and withhold difficulties, troubles and challenges.
Weakening and flattening faith in the unseen, and strengthening and deepening faith in matter (more than it really deserves) weakens man’s role, activity and dynamism, influencing directly his style of thinking.
The Holy Quran tells about the Jews ultimate faith in the universal inevitability, which cancels Allah the Sublime’s authority and potency to alter the order of the historical and universal events within the frame that the initial episodes of these events impose.
[The Jews said: Allah’s hand is fettered. Be their hands fettered and they be cursed for what they uttered! Nay, Allah’s hands are widely outstretched; He spends (of His bounty) as He wills] Al Maidah v. 64
Relation Between Both Inevitabilities
Although these two inevitabilities are different in shape and significance, yet they meet so as to cripple man’s transitional and pioneering role in the political and social system.
For change depends on two things:
1. Man’s faith in Allah the Sublime and His sovereignty, potency and power; and man’s reliance and dependence on Allah the Sublime and his trust in Him; and if man delivers himself to Allah the Sublime, he will gain from Allah the Sublime some super strength and potency, further he will gain unlimited hope and confidence.
Man, however powerful, influential and efficient might be, but for delivering himself to Allah cannot attain that hope and confidence. And if ever he loses hope and trust in Allah, disconnecting himself from Him, he will become too weak to confront life, and he will have to face the challenges of work and life movement on his own, depending on his own strength and potency which are weak and limited.
Belief in the universal inevitability and denial of Allah the Sublime’s authority to influence and penetrate the serially related events of the universe the way the Jews believe – make man lose his psychological contact with Allah the Sublime, robbing him his trust in Allah and hope in the metaphysical aid expected from Him all the way through his actions and movement.
2. Man’s faith in his free will and potency to change the course of history and decide his destiny and the destiny of history.
Such a faith enables man to act, move and change opposite to which he loses his psychological potency to move and change things, and if ever he loses this faith, he will turn to believe that his history and fate has inevitably been predetermined and there is no way to alter or change it, and that he is only a wheel that is part of a big instrument which makes him act and move with no control over his acts, moves, history and fate. Thus faith in both inevitabilities blocks man from Allah the Sublime concealing him from his ego and abilities, robbing him of hope and freedom to move and make a decision.
Man thus will turn into a piece of wood floating into the current of event and history.
Both this and that are things that rulers and oppressive terrorist regimes seek.
Al Quran has a clear position towards these two inevitabilities. In dealing with the historical and behavioural inevitability the Holy Quran frankly approves man’s free will and responsibility for his deeds, the Sublime said:
[Then we showed him the straight path; it is up to him to choose to be grateful or ungrateful and disbeliever.]
Revised by translator Al Insan v. 3.
[Verily, Allah does not do any injustice to mankind, but men do wrong to themselves.] yunus v. 44.
[Say, (O messenger!) O, men! The truth has come to you from your Creator and Nurturer. Whoever is guided it is only to his own loss.] Revised by translator. Yunus v. 198.
[And whoever wishes can find through it a way towards his Creator and Nurturer.] Revised by translator Al Insan v. 29.
Meanwhile Al Quran clearly confirms the doctrine of Allah the Sublime’s will that dominates man’s life and history without canceling man’s free will. The Sublime says:
[And you mankind does not decide something unless Allah decides so; verily, Allah is the knowing Decreer.] Al Insan v. 30.
[And you shall not wish the truth and shall not be in search of the straight path unless it be the will of Allah the Creator of the worlds] At Takwir v. 29.
[Say (O, messenger!) Allah leaves in his error whom he regards unworthy, and guides to his path those who turn to Him invokingly.] Ar Ra'd v. 27.
[Allah does guide to His light whomever He wills.] Revised by translator An. Nur v. 35.
[And if your Creator and Nurturer had willed, verily, all those who are on the earth would have believed; can you (O, Messenger!) compel people against their wish to become believers? And it is not possible for any (disbelieving) person to believe except by Allah’s will and Allah will put the wrath on those who do not use their reason.] Yunus. V 99 – 100.
This direct influence of Allah the Sublime’s will of domination on man’s life and history in addition to man’s free will and choice is the well known doctrine of (A case in between two concerns) which has been attributed to the progeny of Muhammad (A.S.).
It is a midway dogma inbetween (determinism) that has been adopted by (Al Asha’irah) and (free choice) that has been adopted by (Al Mufawidha).
We shall elaborate more about this in the following chapters of this research.
In relation to the second inevitability, the Holy Quran clearly approves the doctrine of Allah the Sublime’s sovereignty of will over the universe, and His permanent and continuous control over it.
The Sublime says:
[The Jews said: Allah’s hand is fettered, be their hands fettered and they be cursed for what they uttered! Nay, Allah’s hands are widely outstretched, He spends (of his bounty) as He wills] Al Maidah. V. 64.
The Sublime also says:
[Allah abrogates whatever He wills and keeps confirmed whatever He wills, and with Him is the preserved Book]. Ar-Ra'd v. 39.
This doctrine, which the Holy Quran approves, does not connote suspending inevitability and casualty dogma, in addition to all the regulations and reasonable laws resulting from casualty dogma.
We find in the Holy Quran many verses other than those mentioned above, that confirm clearly and accurately the casualty doctrine.
Through the sequence of Islamic history, the progeny (A.S.) confronted an ideological dogmatic digression by some Islamic sects in their misunderstanding of the movement of history and the universe. This digression is represented by their adoption of determinism and inevitability as influential doctrines in man’s history and behavior, applying at the same time the doctrine of inevitability on the movement of the universe.
The ruler’s of the (Aumawey) and (Abbasy) dynasties’ trends of thinking had a great influence on the sects believing in both doctrines, accidentally the progeny of Muhammad (A.S.) lived contemporaneously with both those dynasties.
The Progeny of Muhammad (A.S.) adopted a strong position against both trends expressing their opinion about man’s free will and choice without suspending the role of Allah the Sublime’s will in affecting man’s life; a fact that the Progeny (A.S.) described as being (A case inbetween two concerns).
It has been narrated that (Al Fadhl bin Sahl) asked Imam (Al Redha) (A.S.) at the presence of (Al Ma'amoon) the Abbasi Caliph saying:
- O, Abal Hassan! Are the people compelled in their behaviour?
Al-Redha (A.S.) said: (Allah is too just to compel his creatures in their deeds, then to torment them for what they did?
(Al Fadhl) then said: Then they are completely free, are not they?
Imam (Al Redha) (A.S.) said: (Allah is too wise to neglect man leaving him to his own devices.) 1
Al Sadouqu relates of (Mufdhel bin Ommar) from Abi Abdullah(A.S.) saying:
(Neither determinism nor authorization rather a case inbetween two concerns.) 2
The Progeny (A.S.) expressed their opinion about the second inevitability; Muhammad bin Muslim relates from (Abu Abdullah Al Sadique) (A.S.) saying:
(Allah never has chosen a prophet unless He made sure that the prophet possesses three characteristics: admitting his submission to Allah; never accepting any counterpart to Allah, and approving that Allah brings forward or delays whatever He chooses). 3
The progeny (A.S.) simultaneously rejected and negated both inevitabilities by adopting the doctrine of (A case inbetween two concerns.), further, their refutation of the universal inevitability that was expressed in the dogma of (Al Beda'a) was well known.
Whatever the case might be, we – by the permission of Allah - shall get indulged elaborately through this research in the light of the Holy Quran if Allah the Sublime wishes.
The First Inevitability
The first inevitability pertains to man’s individual behaviour and the history of nations and human communities.
Inevitability theories tackle this field and that, or pertains to individual behaviour one time, and to man’s history another.
These theories sometimes adopt the belief in Allah as a base and a resource for inevitability; theories as such are the Divine inevitability theories.
In other cases these theories adopt other basic resources to explain inevitability in the individual behaviour and the movement of history; such theories might be called (Material Necessity Theories). Theories that rely on inevitability as a foundation to understand man’s behaviour, history, thought and development are old and deep rooted in the history of human culture.
Many elements (namely religious, philosophical and political elements) commingle to shape these theories; it will be very difficult to understand these theories within the framework of science and thought exclusively; political and religious factors that have participated in forming the philosophical formula of these theories must be taken into consideration too.
The Divine Inevitabilities in Man’s Behaviour:
To the religious, the theories of inevitability often pertains to the individual behaviour of man heading to negate his will in his deeds and behaviour, viz. man has no role in his deeds and no sovereignty over them.
This theory is well known by the name of (determinism). The most famous Islamic sect that adheres to determinism is (Al Ashairah) whose founder and leader was (Abul Al Hassan bin Ismaeel AL Asha'ary) who died in the year 330 Hejrah.
This doctrine does not negate man’s will and potency directly, rather it believes that man’s action is not begotten by his own will and potency, rather it is created by Allah the Sublime.
Man has no role in begetting and innovating any deed; his role is only limited to gain the deed, never to invent it. (Al Shaikh Al Asha'ary) thus tries to join together two fundamental origins of religion namely; monotheism (Al Tawheed) and Justice (Al Adl).
In the first place, he believes that Allah the Sublime creates all man’s deeds, and man has no role in begetting, innovating or inventing them, for Allah the Sublime says:
[But Allah is the One who has created you and the material from which you make your Gods] 4 revised by translator. A Saffat v. 96.
Thus, mankind has no role in begetting or innovating their deeds, for this is related to Allah the Sublime, He is the Creator of deeds and things and creatures. This according to (Al Shaikh Al Asha'ary) is the connotation of (Monotheism doctrine).
Actually, this man believes in the doctrine of casualty, never negating its origin, but he also believes that Allah the Sublime is the direct cause for all causes which does not mean that He begets something which will be the cause for other things, replacing only one cause for the many causes that all creatures demand.
In the second place he thinks that trusting the role of man’s will and potency in begetting any deed is a kind of polytheism, which the following gracious verse completely negates:
[But Allah is the One who has created you and the material from which you make your gods] As Saffat v. 96.
What we have mentioned above is the first origin to which (Al Shaikh Al Asha'ary) was committed; his second origin is Gain (Al Kasb) to which he was committed for fear of turning to determinism which might retard the doctrine of reward and punishment, hence man will no more be responsible for his deeds which will result into denying Allah the Sublime’s quality of Justice. 5
For, assuming that man has no role in his deeds neither sovereignty over them will lead to cripple the doctrine of reward and punishment, for it is unfair to punish a man for committing an act that he had no role and authority whatsoever in begetting it.
(Al Ashaa'irah) differed in explaining the word (Al Kasb); the best one among their theorists who tried to explain this word was the famous (Abu Bakr Al Baqulany).
His opinion about (Al Kasb) in short was:
Every deed has two aspects: the aspect of begetting, and the aspect of particularity and title which Allah the Sublime made a criterion for reward and punishment.
These are two diverse aspects, each of which is definitely attributed to.
The first aspect is begetting which belongs to Allah the Sublime, attributing this aspect to anything other that Him is a kind of polytheism.
The second aspect is the title that brings man reward and punishment; (Prayer) for instance, (fasting) (pilgrimage) (Backbiting) and (lying)… etc.
The way the first aspect should not be attributed to man, the second one too should not be attributed to Allah the Sublime, man’s will and potency is only related to the second aspect – never to the first – and it is the criterion for reward and punishment.
Thus, this school – as its proponents believe – conjoins both origins (Monotheism) and (Justice) i.e. deserving reward and punishment.
Hence each deed has two directions – never one -; these two directions belong to two different potencies, that of Allah the Sublime, and that of man. No Problem about this, for diversity of directions justifies the multiplication of potencies to which a deed pertains.
We may not attain a clear sight of (Al Kasb), for these titles which man gains are themselves begotten – and (Al Ashaa'irah) attributes begetting a deed to Allah the Sublime, i.e.: praying, pilgrimage means begetting these acts and gestures which when joined together get the title of prayer and pilgrimage. Other deeds like (fasting) which is achieved by not eating or drinking can actually be attained by forsaking these things that break fasting, (forsaking) is something that man does as much as the rest of the acts done by the senses.
(Al Sheikh Al Baqulany) believes that man’s intention (Al Niah) is the only thing that determines his responsibility for what he does. He claims that a certain act (deed) differs from one intention to another; killing if intended for aggression is a crime, but the same act with the intention (Niah) of legal punishment (Quasas and Had) is a legislative duty, for which Allah the Sublime rewards man.
The act itself is from Allah, but the intention of man which puts the act in a certain direction comes from man, thus reward and punishment do not concern the act itself, they rather concern man’s intention of killing.
We say, if this speech happens to be true, then intention itself is an act of the senses, and there is no difference between one deed and another; I do not know really why should we attribute the intention to man and not the deed itself? An act is an act whether it is done by the senses or by other faculties of man; and if we accept attributing the intention to man himself, we – on the same criterion and justification – ought to attribute to him every deed he commits whether it was done by means of his senses (prayer and pilgrimage) or by his inner faculties (like forsaking food and drinks in the intention of fasting).
Whatever the case might be we do not mean to simplify discussing a theological theory that engaged many Islamic scholastics exerting a lot of time and effort in this way. We only mean to get a sight of this subject. If the reader demands elaboration about it we refer him to theological encyclopedias like (Sharh Al Maquasid) (Altaftazani), and (Sharh Al Mawaquif) by (Al Jurjany).
Contemporary Material Inevitabilities
When we speak about the (Material Theories)- we do not mean those theories which deny faith in Allah the Sublime -, rather we mean the theories that contradict the theory of (Divine Inevitability) adopted by (Al Asha'irah), attributing every act and deed in the individual’s lives and movement of history to Allah the Sublime.
These theories attribute the inevitability which governs the behaviour of individuals and communities to resources other that Allah the Sublime. Some of the advocates of this theory in the west are (Montesquieu) in his book (The Essence of laws), (Spiengler) in his book (The Decline of the Western Civilization) and (Durkheim) the famous French sociologist who believes that the social life is determined separately from the individual’s will and desires.
Social relations and affairs like manners, knowledge’s, social culture, ease (yusr) and distress (Ausur) are characterized by three inseparable qualities namely: (being external), (being inevitable), (being general).
Social affairs by all their particularities are produced by external factors, they never rise from inside the individuals, neither from their will or desires, an individual is obliged to fall under the pressures of social life. Social life as well falls under its own factors of external compulsion, and this is the nature of the relation between causes and results in the movement of history.
The movement of society is (inevitable) so that (results) can never stay behind their (causes). If we may have a look through the reasons and causes of events, we would no doubt have been able to forecast them, this is (being inevitable).
The third quality (being general). Every thing that takes place at a certain time and a certain place may possibly take place any other time at any other place under the same conditions and causes.
One of the most famous contemporary material inevitabilities is the theory of (Karl Marx) – (Fredrick Ingles) which tries to legislate laws for the movement of history arranging them into five stages through the factor of (the struggle of classes) between the exploiting class and the exploited one.
But this theory relapsed at the dawn of its emergence at the stage of appliance; reality proved opposite to it, it became a mere theoretical study today.
Whatever the way these material inevitabilities follow to interpret history, some of them proved righteous and others proved wrong, regardless of their scrupulous details.
Righteousness lies in the fact that these theories dedicate history to some scientific laws, causes, and reasons that dictate its movement.
A historical event – similar to any other phenomenon in the universe - is conditioned to its causes and reasons, therefore casualty law governs historical events the way it governs the physical, chemical, mechanical phenomena, accurately reigning over all their familiar reasonable essentials like, inevitability, originality and so on.
This is righteousness, which can never be suspected, except in the Marxist theory, which fundamentally rejects casualty law replacing it with Dialectical Materialism, which has been extracted from (Hegel).
The wrong aspect of these theories lies in negating man and his independent decision that makes history, considering him a piece of wood floating on the ever flowing waves of history; determining only one destiny for history and man, a destiny that never multiplies or shifts. Certainly, this is wrong,
for man (the individual, society, history) is not conditioned to one cause as a choice, rather he is usually conditioned to fall on a cross way; selecting the right way is related to his will, consciousness, culture and to his own decision to a great extent; so if ever he follows one of these ways according to his own will, decision and opinion he would find no way to get rid of compulsory impacts dictated on him by casualty law. Let us state two examples for this, the first concerns the individual; and the other pertains to society.
In regard to the example of the individual; if ever he moves, activates himself, and learns he will see his way in life; on the other hand, if ever he idles residing to ignorance and laziness he will remain minor, weak, worthless and powerless in life.
Both results are conclusive and inevitable if ever man chooses the right way to attain them. But it does not mean that man faces a one-dimensional inevitable (destiny and fate) in his life.
In the example of society, a society that resists, makes sacrifices, endures the agony of confrontation and the severity of resistance, it will definitely come safe out of oppression, political suppression and terrorism.
A society that surrenders and does not resist is doomed to the worst kind of political suppression and terrorism. Both are inevitable laws that condition the lives of nations. But society in its political life stands at a crossway, if it chooses the first way the result will be inevitable, and if it chooses the second way the result two would be inevitable. Selecting this way or that falls under man’s will and option, never under the inevitable system of things. Within the course of this research we shall come back to tackle this point again.
The Political Exploitation of Inevitability
Most negative results that are brought about by belief in these inevitabilities cripple man’s role and movement in history suspending his role in determining his destiny. If man believes that his movement and acts are subject to a chain of inevitable factors foreign to his will and option, he will start feeling that he is a useless element who has no role in making his destiny and the destiny of his society; with such a belief and satisfaction man can never be a resource for movement and change in his individual and social life.
Therefore, faith in inevitability (historical or individual) has all the way through the history of Islam been adopted by oppressive regimes. Such a belief mobilizes people to political surrender taming them to accept injustice.
Benu Aumyah used to adopt the theory of (determinism); (Abu Hilal Al Askary) says: (Muawiah) was the first to claim that Allah dictates all deeds on mankind; 6 and when Abdullah bin Ommar objected to Muawiah’s assignment of his son (Yazeed) as a successor to govern after him; Muawiah answered him (I warn you, do not segregate the Muslims, disintegrating their unity, spelling their blood. (Yazeed’s) assignment has been predestined by fate, people have no choice about it). 7
Muawiah adopted the same logic when (Aiyshah) objected to assigning (Yazeed) as a successor to caliphate; he told her: (Yazeed’s assignment has been predestined by fate, people have no choice about it). 8
Some scholars took the initiative to confront that trend of determinism, which Benu Aumyah adhered to, the most prominent of them were (Ma'bed Al Jahny) in Iraq and (Ghaylan Al Damashquy) in Sham; they advocated free choice and free will.
(Ma'bed) with his ally (Ibn Al Ashaath) rebelled against (Beni Aumyah), thus (Al Hajaj) killd him. (Ghaylan) was summoned by (Husham bin Abdul Malik) the Aumayah Caliph to Damascus to be interrogated; he then was condemned and nailed on the cross after having his hands and feet cut.
Apparently (Al Hassan Al Bassry) used to adhere to this opinion too, i.e. free choice.
Al Muquriezy says: (Attaa' bin Yessar) and (Mabed Al Jahny) came to (Al Hassan Al Bassry) and told him:
Those Aumyah rulers are shedding blood claiming that Allah has predestined their deeds. Al Hassan said:
Foes of Allah are lying. (He was condemned for this statement) 9. Al Hassan AL Bassry used to propagate openly his opinions that oppose the government of Beni Aumyah; then some people threatened him by the Caliph, thus he kept quiet.
Ibn Sa'ad in his (Al Tabaquat) relates from (Ayub) saying: (I challenged Al Hassan Al Bassry to discuss fate and destiny more than once, then I threatened him by the caliph. He said: I shall never say anything anymore. 10
(Benou Al Abbas) did not deviate from following (Benou Aumyah)’s line, they too adhered to Al Ashairah’s approach to destiny; except (Al Mamoon) and (Al Mutasem) who chose to adopt (Al Mutazilah)’s approach of free choice and authorization.
When (Al Mutawkil) seized reign he adopted Al Ashairah’s faith in determinism again, he even used to punish people who do not follow this ideology; his successors too were committed to his line.
Authorization "Free Choice"
Two contradictory trends pertaining to man’s individual behaviour dominate the Islamic history:
Determinism and Authorization.
The first of which is adopted by (Al Asha'irah), the second by (Al Mutazilah).
Al Mutazilah’s approach of authorization was: Allah the Sublime authorized man to choose whatever he likes, thus man is totally independent in what he does.
This belief completely contradicts the first one.
If the philosophical and ideological justification of the first doctrine was meant to maintain the origin of (monotheism) thus attributing all things and deeds in this universe to Allah the Sublime (But Allah is the one who has created you and the material of which you make your gods).
As Saffat v. 96; the ideological justification for this doctrine (the second) was meant to deem Allah the Sublime far above compelling man to do things he can not do, meanwhile Allah the Sublime’s destiny was paradoxical to what He commands or prohibits; it was meant to deem Allah the Sublime far above creating wrong doings, wicked deeds, heathenism, polytheism injustice, aggression in man’s behaviour.
Abdul Khader Al Baghdady in his book (Al Farqu Bain Al-Firaqu) demonstrates the dogmas of (Al Mutazilah):
(Some of their dogmas claim that Allah the Sublime is not the Creator of people’s gains (deeds); neither of the acts of animals; they claim that people themselves determine their deeds, and Allah the Sublime has no role or hand neither in their deeds nor in the acts of animals). 11
Al Sayied Al Sharif AL Radhy in his book (Sharh Al Mwaqif) said: (Al Mutazilah deduced that many things are attributed to one origin and that is; but for man’s independence to act the way he chooses, assignment (commands) and punishment (which are dictated by the legislations of Allah) would have been suspended, thus there will be no meaning in praising or blaming anybody).
Zuhdi Jar Allah about (Al Mutazilah) relates:
(They have agreed that man is the creator and originator of his deeds, and that Allah the Sublime has no role or hand in man’s deeds (that are gained).) 12
The late Sadrul Muta'lihien says: (Some groups such as Al Mutazilah and the like advocated that Allah the Sublime has created mankind enabling people to act; authorizing them to act according to their free choice, thus they are independent to do these deeds according to their own will and potency.
Further they said: Allah wanted people to obey and believe in Him abhorring their disbelief and disobedience. Also they said: The case being thus, some matters become clear:
First: the benefit of commands and prohibitions, and the benefit of promises and threats.
Second: Deserving reward and punishment.
Third: Deeming Allah the Sublime far above ugly and wicked deeds, far above various kinds of atheism, disobediences and bad deeds). 13
Al Shahristany in his book (Al Milal wal Nihal) thinks that (Al Mutazila tend to consider people as creators and innovators of their deeds, and that Allah the Sublime has no hand or role in their deeds (which they have gained). 14
Al Mutazilah use to advocate authorization (free choice) independence of man in his deeds just to escape from the mistake that (Al Asha'irah) have committed by claiming that man deserves Allah the Sublime’s punishment for a sin or a crime he made in spite of himself; further they wanted to escape from Al Asha'irah’s claim that Allah the Sublime commands man to do things over his power opposite to what destiny and fate dictate.
In order to deem Allah the Sublime far above this and that (Be He Exalted and raised far above all that) they resorted to advocate authorization and the belief that Allah the Sublime has authorized man to handle all his affairs, bestowing on him absolute potency to be independent in all his deeds and behaviour, thus entrapping themselves in something worse than the mistake that (Al Sha'irah) made, namely (polytheism), isolating man’s deeds and acts totally from Allah the Sublime’s will, permission, wish and innovation, is equal to polytheism, if not itself polytheism.
There is a clear difference between the theory of Divine authorization and man’s independence to act apart from Allah the Sublime’s will, permission and wish; and between the doctrine of free choice.
This will be thoroughly explained later in this research.
Now we shall try to explore Al Quran stance of the question of Inevitability. A first reading, AL Quran will acquaint us with two important points:
- Al Quran denies the doctrine of inevitability in the way Al Asha'irah present.
- AL Quran as well denies the doctrine of authorization in the way AL Mutazilah choose to believe.
In the first point, Al Quran clearly confirms the doctrine of free will; in the second it confirms the doctrine of man’s independence and freedom of choice.
These two points do not contradict each other; rather they integrate each other revealing a third doctrine that is neither the first approach nor the second. This is the doctrine that the progeny (A.S.) advocate. We shall declare that later.
Now we move to read the Quranic verses that pertain to both doctrines:
Hereafter we demonstrate the verses taken from the Book of Allah, which confirm the principle of free choice in man’s life. This is a dossier of verses we chose from a vast collection of the Book of Allah verses.
At the first place, Al Quran frankly and clearly determines the principle of assigning Allah’s command-ments to man; such an assignment of course would have no meaning if it does not affirm the principle of free choice.
The Sublime says:
[It is incumbent upon mankind to pay pilgrimage to the Holy House, for those who can afford to make the journey regarding their financial and physical ability] revised by translator. Al Imran v. 97.
[Fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you] AL Baquarah v. 183
[O, you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the congregational prayer of Friday, then hasten to Allah’s remembrance, and quit your trade and every business]. Al- Jumah v. 9.
At the second place All Quran determines that:
Allah the Sublime did not assign to man his duties only after he had bestowed on him, brain, consciousness and the ability to distinguish things.
The Sublime says:
[Have we not made for him two eyes? And a tongue and two lips? And we did show him the two ways [of truth and falsehood] Al Balad- 8, 9, 10.
[Then We showed him the straight path, whether he chooses to be grateful or be in grateful and disbeliever]. Revised by translator Al Insan v. 3.
At the third place AL Quran states that: Allah the Sublime does not charge mankind with their duties only after He perfects His clue on them by giving them a previous note, and after sending His prophets heralding and warning them.
The Sublime says:
[And We do not chastise any people before we send a messenger (for guiding them to the right path] Al Isra'a v. 15.
[And say (O, Messenger), verily evident proofs have come to you from your Creator and Nurturer (to give you) insight about the truth, so whoever keeps his eyes closed on the truth will harm himself.] Al Ana'm v. 104. Revised by translator.
[And never your Creator and Nurturer did destroy a town before sending a messenger to recite to them our revelations, and we never destroy a land unless its population is transgressors] Al Qassas v. 59 revised by translator.
At the fourth place al Quran states that: Allah the Sublime does not force mankind to do things they can not do, He only assigns to them duties fit to their potency.
The Sublime says:
[Allah does not put a task on a person beyond his ability. Man gets reward for that good which he has done and he is punished for that evil which he has done] Al Baquarah v. 286.
All this emphasis on the fact that Allah never assigns to mankind their duties unless He enables them to distinguish things, sending to them heralding warning prophets; never asking them to do things over their potency; we say that all this emphasis never comes true unless accompanied by a recognition of free choice as a principle.
At the fifth place: Al Quran attributes man’s deeds and acts to him himself, it states that those deeds are what he has gained. Such a statement never proves true unless man is free to choose whatever he does according to his own free will. He is not a mere container for the acts that he produces the way those who advocate determinism claim. The Sublime says:
[And whatever befalls you people, it is the result of your own deeds.] Revised by translator. As Shu'ra v. 30.
[So woe be to them for what their hands have written and woe be to them for what they earn thereby.] Revised by translator. Al Baquarah v. 79.
[Aye, those who do evil and are encompassed by their sins, those are the inhabitants of the fire and they shall abide therein forever.] Revised by translator. Al Baquarah v. 81.
At the sixth place: Al Quran confirms the principle that man’s deed pertains to him including the sequences of such a deed (being good or evil), Reward or punishment for such a deed emphasize that it is attributed to him himself (which is part of the constitutional reward and punishment that Allah has programmed within the course of the universe); we say that all this may never come true unless man withstands the responsibility for his deeds, which is conditioned to his free choice.
[And say (O messenger!); verily evident proofs have come to you from your Creator and Nurturer (to give you) insight about the truth, so whoever keeps his eyes closed from the truth will harm himself.] Revised by translator AL Anam v. 104.
[Say (O, Messenger!); O men! The truth has come to you from your Creator and Nurturer; whoever is guided it is only to his own benefit, and whoever goes astray; it is only to his own loss.] Revised by translator. Yunus v. 108.
[Allah does not put a task on a person beyond his ability. Man gets reward for that (good) which he has done and he is punished for that (evil) which he has done.] Al Baquarah v. 286.
At the seventh place: Al Quran confirms that man is rewarded and punished in this mundane world, such an act is conditional to his responsibility for his deeds; the responsibility itself is conditioned to his free choice.
The Sublime says:
[Allah has given an example: some people who lived peacefully in their town and provision came to them in abundance from everywhere, but they did not value the bounties of Allah, and Allah (due to their ingratitude) made them experience and taste hunger and fear.] Revised by translator. An Nahl v. 112.
[So we sent down upon the evil doers a plague from heaven, because of their rebellion against Allah’s command.] Revised by translator, Al Baquarah v. 59.
[Corruption has been spread through out the world in sea and land on the account of men’s wrong deeds.] Revised by translator. Ar Rum v. 61.
At the eighth place: Al Quran determines that man will be rewarded and punished for his good and evil deeds on the Day of Judgment. We have already stated that reward and punishment are related to free choice; they are never correct without choice:
[And they will be paid for what they did, and Allah better knows what people do.] Revised by translator. Al Zumar v. 70.
At the ninth place: Al Quran confirms that Allah the Sublime punishes or rewards everyman according to his deed, never punishing anybody for somebody’s else wrongdoing.
The Sublime says:
[And no one shall bear the burden of another person’s sin.] Al Anam v. 164.
At the tenth place: Al Quran states that man on Dooms Day will repent his ill deeds which he had committed in this mundane world.
Repentance signifies and confirms free choices of man; for he cannot repent a thing he had not chosen.
[O, you who believe! If a spiteful person with a private motive brings you on item of news, try to verify it before making any decision lest you many unknowingly harm other people and then become remorseful of what you have done.] Revised by translator Al Hujurat v. 6.
[And they will hide their remorse when they see the torment but it shall be judged about them fairly and they will not be dealt with unjustly.] Yunus v. 54.
At the eleventh place: Al Quran states that; man’s deeds decide his destiny turning him thus a winner or a looser.
The Sublime says:
[And by the soul and the one who created it and gave order and perfection to it, inspiring it both with evil and with good; (by all these oaths) the winner is the one who had not polluted it with sin and corruption and was deprived from the Grace of Allah.] Revised by translator. As Shams v. 7-10.
At the twelfth place: Al Quran states that the change which Allah the Sublime brings about in the life of people and nations, (A change as enormous as enrichment, annihilation, allurement, torment or deception) is only a result of their deeds, this does not come true unless man enjoys his full freedom.
The Sublime says:
[Allah will not change the inside and facial condition of people until they change what is inside them (of good and evil) themselves.] Revised by translator. Ar Ra'd v. 11.
[That is so because Allah will never change the bounty that He has bestowed upon people unless they change themselves (by rebellion)] Al Anfal v. 53.
At the thirteenth place, al Quran states that, Allah in this mundane world gives mankind some of or all that they ask (according to their deeds they way He chooses). If giving is done by Allah the Sublime (according to His will and desire), demand – on the other hand – comes from man. Giving (from Allah) comes responding to man’s request. All this has no meaning unless man is free to choose his demands.
[Whoever whishes the temporal quick – passing worldly life, We easily grant him such things for whom we will, afterwards, provide hell; he will reside in it despised and rejected. And whoever desires the good of the hereafter and strives for it wholeheartedly while he is a believer (On the Day of Judgment), then such people are the ones whose efforts will be appreciated (with the test reward).
To both groups, these and those in this world, we bestow from the bounties of your Creator and Nurturer; the bounties of your Creator and Nurturer are not spared from anyone.] Revised by translator. Al Israa v. 18 – 19 – 20.
At the fourteenth place: Al Quran states that Allah the Sublime does not do mankind injustice, rather, it is they who do themselves injustice; the verses that indicate this fact in the Book of Allah are nearly eighty verses, all of them clearly authenticate the principle of man’s free choice; punishing man with the most sever torment and punishment for doing something he had no will in is a kind of injustice which Allah the Sublime is too dignified and Great to commit:
The Sublime says:
[Creator and Nurturer is never unjust to His human creatures.] Fussilat v. 46.
[Allah did not treat them unjustly, but they did unjust to themselves.] At Taubah v. 70.
[And whoever brings about an evil deed, will only be recompensed the like of it; And they will not be treated unjustly.] Revised by translator Al Anam v. 60.
[And everyone will be paid fully for what he has done and they will not be dealt with unjustly] An Nahl v. 111.
[We did not treat them unjustly, rather they did themselves injustice.] Revised by translator. Hud v. 101.
[We did not do them wrong, but they did themselves wrong.] Revised by translator An Nahl v. 118.
[We did not do wrong to them but they did themselves wrong.] Revised by translator. Az Zukhruf v. 76.
The way Al Quran rejects inevitability in man’s social and individual behaviour, it also absolutely denies man’s independent behaviour off Allah’s reign, being completely authorized from Allah the Sublime in his affairs and movement (the way AlMufawidah – a sect of Al Mutazilah – claim).
We survey hereafter nine categories of verses taken from the Book of Allah that openly deny the principle of man’s independence and authorization to act.
Verses that affirm man’s
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