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The Badaa and its significance

There are many pieces of evidence in the Quran and the traditions expressing that Allah may change what He has already willed and He may initiate a new will. However, as we discussed earlier, there is an exception for His Sunan and His promises that He has chosen not to change at all.

The will of Allah is the creation of Allah. Thus, this change only occurs in the created information and does not imply any change in His Eternal Knowledge (i.e., His Essence). In other words, the novelty occurs in Allah's action, and not in Allah's Essence. Allah eternally knew what He would change later.

By al- Badaa, only the created information that has been visible (al-Shahada) for the vice-regents of Allah becomes invisible (al-Ghaib) and vice versa. The visible information is about what Allah has willed to happen in the past and in the future (Ilm Ma Kan wa Ma Yakun), and the invisible information is about all other infinite possibilities that Allah has not willed to happen (Ilm Ma Lam Yakon).

Numerous verses in the Quran prove that Allah's hands are open to originate or change anything in His creation. For instance:

And the Jews said, "The hand of Allah is tied up." Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Nay, His hands are outstretched. (5:64)

Allah erases whatever He wills and establishes (likewise), and with Him is the Mother-Book. (13:39)

Your Lord creates whatever He wills, and He chooses. No choice has they (in creation or in leadership as per traditions). Glory to Allah! And far is He above the partners they ascribe! (28:68)

If He so wills, He removes you and brings in a new Creation, nor is that (at all) difficult for Allah. (14:19-20; 35:16-17)

Every day He brings in a (new) matter/situation. (55:29)

He increases in the creation what He wills, for Allah has power over all things. (35:1)

Nor is an individual's life prolonged, nor does anything decrease from his life span, except that it is (made appear) in a book. Verily, all this is easy for Allah. (35:11)

In a very long discourse narrated from Imam Ali (PBUH), he has stated the following regarding al-Badaa:

Imam Ali (PBUH) said, "As for he who denies al-Badaa, (it would suffice that) Allah said in His Book, 'So turn away from them, and you are not blameworthy' (51:54) (by which) Allah, the exalted, intended their destruction on earth at that time.

Then, Allah rectified for them by His mercy, and made Badaa regarding their destruction, and revealed to His Apostle, 'And reminds, for reminding benefits the believers.' (51:55) A similar case is His saying, 'But Allah was not to punish them while you were among them; nor was He to punish them while they ask for forgiveness.' (8:33) Then Allah made Badaa (by revealing),

'But what plea have they that Allah should not punish them when they keep out (men) from the Sacred Mosque?' (8:34) Similarly, it is His saying, 'If there are twenty tolerant among you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred (like them) among you, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve.' (8:65)

He then made Badaa and said, 'Now, Allah lightened your (burden) for He knew that there is a weakness in you. Thus, if there are a hundred tolerant among you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there are a thousand (like them) among you, they will overcome two thousands by leave of Allah. And Allah is with those who are patient.' (8:66) This way,

Allah carried out the matter in the abrogating (Nasikh) and the abrogated (Mansukh). This shows the reformation of what was originated. Furthermore, it is His saying, 'Allah wipes off whatever He wills and records (likewise), and with Him is the Mother-Book.' (13:39) Hence, does He wipe off (anything) except that which existed (i.e., its will was existent)? And, does He record (anything) except that which did not exist (i.e., its will was non-existent)? There are many examples like these in the Quran..." 8 In another verse of the Quran, Allah states:

Why had not there been a township (among those We decreed to destroy) whose people would accept faith so that their faith should have profited them, except for the People of Jonah (Yunus)? When they believed, We removed from them the chastisement of ignominy in the life of this world, and permitted them to enjoy (their life) for a while. (10:98)

The above verse points to a glaring example of al-Badaa that took place for the People of Prophet Yunus (PBUH) whose calamity was kept off and prevented.

Due to their rejection of Allah's commandments and their disbelief, they became subjected to the severe wrath of the Almighty. At the time that the punishment was about to manifest, Prophet Yunus (PBUH) distanced himself from them and went far away. Upon his leaving, people came to their senses and suddenly changed their behavior and became mindful of Allah.

They pleaded for mercy to the Almighty Allah from the depth of their hearts. Subsequently, Allah decided to avert the calamity that was about to be inflicted upon them all.

Another example for Allah's change of decision is when we pray to Him. If Allah chooses to respond to our prayer, He initiates real change in the outside world and may re-plan our future. Allah states in the Quran:

Call on Me so that I answer you. (40:60)

My Lord would have not concerned Himself with you if it were not for your call (upon Him). (25:77)

There are sayings from the Imams (PBUT) indicating that Allah may cancel a decisive and confirmed decree (Qadhaa al-Mubram) regarding a worldly punishment that is about to take place, merely due to the supplication (Du'aa) of His servant. For instance, it is narrated:

Imam Musa al-Kadhim (PBUH) said, "I advise you to make supplication (Du'aa). Certainly supplication and request from Allah, the mighty and the majestic, drive away an affliction that was planned, was passed, and all that was remaining was its execution (Imdhaa).

When Allah is called upon and is implored, He averts the affliction in an amazing way." 9

As we have seen, there are many pieces of evidence in the Quran that clearly disprove the doctrine which states "the pen has dried up having written down all future events". In contrast, the followers of Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) do not emulate the Jews who considered that Allah had concluded the matter.

We believe Allah's hands are open to do as He wills. Nevertheless, Allah does not act without purpose. The changes in decree have educational purposes for people including the prophets and the Imams, peace be upon them all.

Although people may usually be unaware of the details of all such changes in the world, by realizing the general concept of al-Badaa, one will truly understand that everything is in the hands of Allah and He is able to do all things at any time, and that it is never too late for Him to do anything He wills. It demonstrates the absolute freedom of Allah, the Glorious, in all His actions and that He is never restricted by His own creations, including His previous will.

Moreover, it removes the sense of compulsion and irrevocable predestination, giving sinners hope that Allah may totally revise their past and future. It encourages them to strive hard, supplicate to Allah, and act upon good deeds with the hope that Allah may fix their deeds and may change their fate. Zurara Ibn A'ayun and Hisham Ibn Salim narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "Allah was not worshipped to the extent that He was worshipped due to al-Badaa. Allah was not glorified as much as He was glorified due to al-Badaa." 10


8. Tafsir, al-Nu'mani, as quoted in Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 90, pp. 83-84.

9. Uddat al-Da'i, p. 17; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 90, p. 296.

10. al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 146, Hadith 1; al-Tawhid, p. 331, Hadith 1 & 2; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 4, p. 107, Hadith 19 & 20.

Adapted from the book: "Moment by Moment: Expecting the Advent of al-Qa'im (PBUH)" by: "Vahid Majd"

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