Rafed English

Doctrine of al-qada (predetermination) and al-qadar (Divine Decree)

Adopted from the book : "The Faith of Shi'a Islam" by : Allamah Muhammad Ridha al-Muzaffar"

The sect of the Mujabbirah maintained that Allah was entirely responsible for the actions of His creatures: that he forced them to do evil and then punished them for it, and forced them to do geed and then rewarded them for it. They maintained that the actions of people really His actions, but that they were figuratively attributed to people because humans are the locus of Allah's activity. The reason for this view was that the Mujabbirah denied natural causes (as-sababiyyah at tabi'iyyah) between things. and said that Allah was the real cause (as-sabab al-haqiqi), there being no other cause besides Him.

They denied natural causes between things because they supposed that this followed from the necessity of believing that Allah is the Creator without any partner, But one who has made such a claim has in truth attributed injustice to Allah.

Another sect, the Mufawwidah, maintained that Allah had given full power to His creatures for their actions, and that the power, force-ordaining and decree of Allah had no part to play. The reason they held this belief was because they considered that the attribution of man's actions to Allah necessitates attributing imperfection to Him, and that all existing things have particular causes (asbab al-khasah), and that this can be trace back to the cause of causes, the first cause, which is Allah. However, those who made this claim had separated Allah from His Power, and had given Him partners in His Creation.

Now our belief in this matter follows the teachings of our Imams, that the reality is between these two extremes, a middle way between the two opinions, something which understood by these disputants in theology (ahl al-kalam) who have gone some one extremes, some to the other. Knowledge and philosophy were unable to clarify this matter until after many centuries, so it is not surprising that those are not familiar with the wisdom of our Imams (A S) and their sayings suppose that our belief comes from an investigation of the most recent western philosophers, whereas the truth is that our Imams were ahead of them by ten centuries in this matter.

Imam Sadiq (A S) truly said in clarifying the middle way that:

There is no compulsion (jabr) (from Allah), nor is there absolute delegation of power (tafwid) (from Allah to man), but real position is between the two extremes.

What marvellous significance lies in this saying, and how exact is its meaning! It points out that our actions are, from one angle, really our own actions, and we are the natural cause so that they are under our control and subject to our free choice; and from another angle they are decreed by Allah and re subject to His power, because it is He Who gives existence. He does not compel us in our actions in such a way that He wrongs us by punishing us for evil deeds for we have the power and the choice in what we do. But He has not delegated to us the creation of our actions so that they become beyond His power, for to Him belongs Creation, Judgement and Command. He is Powerful over all things. and He has complete authority over people.

For, after all, our belief is that predetermination (qada') and Divine decree (qadar) are one of the secrets of Allah. and if someone can understand them as they should be understood, without going to either of the extremes, he is correct. Otherwise, it is not necessary for him to force himself to understand them exactly, for he may then be lead astray, and his belief may be corrupted. It one of the most difficult topics in philosophy which can only be understood by a few people, and because of this many theologians (mutakalimun) have been led astray. The obligatory to arrive at an understanding of this matter is an obligation which is too great for the understanding of an ordinary man. It is enough for someone to believe in this in a general way following the sayings of our Imams (A S); that it is a reality between the two extremes, i.e. there is neither compulsion nor absolute free-will. Anyway, this matter in not one in which it is necessary to have faith based on investigation and profound thinking.

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