Published in  
August 27, 2021

It Is Written: Understanding Qadr | Part 1

Qadr is a pillar of Iman and without Qadr there is no Iman. But what really is Qadr? Why are there so many differences and confusions with regards to understanding it?


Before we even get into the topic of Qadr, I wish for you to internalize and solidify these points in your mind as a foundation even if you don’t take anything else from this article.

Point 1: Know your limitations. Learn to say, “I don’t know and Allah Knows Best”. We don’t even have a pixel whereas Allah has the complete picture.

‏وَمَآ أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ ٱلْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًۭا ‎

And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little.[Surah al-Isra, 85]

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘It is a sign of having knowledge that, when you do not know something, you say: ‘Allah knows better.’ [Bukhari]

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq said, “Which earth would carry me and which sky would shield me if I said about the book of Allah that which I did not know?" 

Imam al-Sha’bi said: “Uttering ‘I don’t know’ is part of knowledge” [Darimi]

The matter of Qadr is from Ilm al-Ghayb. Ghayb refers to all knowledge that is beyond the reach of human perception. We can learn about it only if Allah reveals it to us. Matters of ghayb mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah need to be accepted and believed in without a shred of doubt. They have real meaning otherwise there was no point of Allah mentioning it to us. Just like Allah mentions trees in Jannah, it doesn’t mean that the trees of Jannah are exactly like the trees in the Dunya. It is just to give a general idea. All matters of ghayb should be interpreted based on the literal meaning of the text unless authentic evidence says otherwise. A very important point to remember is that we are limited by our nature. To apply the laws of this dunya to the hereafter or the ghayb is incorrect. 

Ibn Mas’ud reported the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “When my companions are mentioned (with blame), hold back. When the stars are mentioned (for fortune telling), hold back. And when Qadr is mentioned (without knowledge), hold back.” [Tabarani]

Imam al-Tahawi said, “Qadr is Allah’s secret among His creation. He did not reveal it to an angel near to Him, nor to a Prophet sent by Him. Delving deep into it leads to failure, loss, and excessiveness.” [Sharh al-Tahawiyyah]

If you’re going to dig deep into the matter of Qadr, you will eventually find it difficult to go forward. There will come a point where you have to say “سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا” – We Hear and We Obey. There is always going to be some part of it that you will never completely completely understand and comprehend as it is from the matters of the Unseen.

Point 2: Allah is the King of Kings. He does whatever He wants. We don’t question Allah and especially on that which Allah hasn’t even tasked us to enquire about. Allah will ask us why we did or did not do something based on the revelation that He sent to us.

وَلَكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ ‎

Allah does whatever He intends.[Surah al-Baqarah, 253]

Point 3: Allah is All Knowing and All Wise. Everything that Allah does has wisdom and a good end result in it, even if we cannot understand it because of our limited capabilities. 

يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَىْءٍۢ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِۦٓ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَ

“He knows what is (presently) before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. [Surah al-Baqarah, 255]

Point 4: Allah is the Most Just. He never wrongs the creation and His Promise is always true. Everything is accounted for and not even the smallest iota of an action that one might consider insignificant is left except that it is brought to account. 

‏أَلَيْسَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ ٱلْحَكِمِينَ ‎

Is not Allah the Most Just of judges? [Surah at-Tin, 8]

‏فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًۭا يَرَهُۥ ‎
‏وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍۢ شَرًّۭا يَرَهُۥ ‎

So whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it.
And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it. [Surah al-Zalzalah, 7]

Allah says:

‏لَا يُسْـَٔلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْـَٔلُونَ ‎

“He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.” [Surah Al-Anbiya, 23]

And He says: 

‏ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍۢ فَقَدَّرَهُۥ تَقْدِيرًۭا ‎

“He has created everything, and so He has assigned its Preordainment.” [Surah Al-Furqan, 2]

Qadr: A Pillar of Iman

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "No servant of Allah will truly believe until he believes in the good and evil of Qadar and until he knows that what has befallen him could not have missed him, and what missed him could not have befallen him.." [Tirmidhi]

Ali reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “A person will not truly believe unless he fulfils 4 things:

  1. He testifies that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.
  2. He testifies that I am Allah’s Messenger and that Allah sent me with the true message.
  3. He believes that there will be resurrection after death. 
  4. He believes in all of Qadr. [Tirmidhi] 

The belief in Qadr is obligatory as Allah stated in multiple ayat across the Quran; 

‏إِنَّا كُلَّ شَىْءٍ خَلَقْنَهُ بِقَدَرٍۢ ‎

Indeed, all things We created with predestination. [Surah al-Qamar, 49]

In the famous Hadith of Jibreel, we see Angel Jibreel enquiring, "Inform me about Iman (faith)." He (the Prophet ﷺ) answered, "It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects." [Muslim]

It was because of a clarification with regards to the understanding of Qadr that Ibn Umar Narrated the famous Hadith of Jibreel. At the time of Tabi’in, 2 men had come from Basra and on the way to Umrah, they met Abdullah Ibn Umar. One of the men said: ”Abu Abdur Rahman! There have appeared some people in our land who recite the Quran and pursue knowledge. And then after talking about their affairs, added: They (such people) claim that there is no such thing as Divine Decree (Qadr) and events are not predestined.”

He (Abdullah ibn Umar) said: “When you happen to meet such people tell them that I have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with me. And verily they are in no way responsible for my (belief).” Abdullah ibn Umar swore by Him (the Lord) (and said): “If any one of them (who does not believe in the Divine Decree) had with him gold equal to the bulk of (the mountain) Uhud and spent it (in the way of Allah), Allah would not accept it unless he affirmed his faith in Divine Decree.” At this point, Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated the famous Hadith of Jibreel that he had heard from his father, Umar ibn al-Khattab. [Muslim]

In another narration, Ibn Umar narrated from the Prophet who said: "There will be earthquakes and transformation (into animals) in my Ummah, and that is for those who deny Al-Qadar." [Tirmidhi]

Ibn al-Dailami said: “I went to Ubayy ibn Ka'b and said to him: “I am confused about Qadr, so tell me something by means of which Allah may remove the confusion from my mind. 

He replied: “Were Allah to punish everyone in the heavens and in the earth. He would do so without being unjust to them, and were he to show mercy to them his mercy would be much better than their actions merited. Were you to spend in support of Allah’s cause an amount of gold equivalent to Uhud, Allah would not accept it from you till you believed in qadr and knew that what has come to you could not miss you and that what has missed you could not come to you. Were you to die believing anything else you would enter Hell. 

He said: “I then went to ‘Abd Allah b. MAs’ud and he said something to the same effect. I next went to Hudhaifah b. al-Yaman and he said something to the same effect. I next went to Zaid b. Thabit who told me something from the Prophet to the same effect. [Abu Dawud]

Qadr is a pillar of Iman and without Qadr there is no Iman. This is clearly understood from the reports mentioned above. 

What Is Qada’ and Qadr?

Allah’s decree is usually described with two words: Qada’ and Qadr.

The word Qada’ along with its derivatives appears more than 60 times in the Quran. It usually refers to rulings, ordainment, or legislation. 

Allah says,

‏وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍۢ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى ٱللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُۥٓ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ ٱلْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَلًۭا مُّبِينًۭا ‎

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. [Surah al-Ahzab, 36]

It also means conclusion or completion. Allah says, 

‏هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَأْتِيَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِى ظُلَلٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْغَمَامِ وَٱلْمَلَٓئِكَةُ وَقُضِىَ ٱلْأَمْرُ ۚ وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ ٱلْأُمُورُ ‎

Do they await but that Allah should come to them in covers of clouds and the angels (as well) and the matter is (then) decided? And to Allah [all] matters are returned. [Surah al-Baqarah, 210]

 It also refers to creation or making. Allah says,

‏فَقَضَىٰهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَوَاتٍۢ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ وَأَوْحَىٰ فِى كُلِّ سَمَآءٍ أَمْرَهَا ۚ وَزَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنْيَا بِمَصَبِيحَ وَحِفْظًۭا ۚ ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلْعَلِيمِ ‎

And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing. [Surah Fussilat, 12]

The main meaning that we are looking at in our context refers to Allah’s Decision or Decree. Allah says:

‏بَدِيعُ ٱلسَّمَوَتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ وَإِذَا قَضَىٰٓ أَمْرًۭا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُۥ كُن فَيَكُونُ ‎

Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is. [Surah al-Baqarah, 117]

The word Qadr and its derivatives appears more than a hundred times in the Quran. Linguistically, Qadar comes from the root word ‘qadara’ which means to evaluate, plan, or measure. And likewise we get the word Qadr that is synonymous with Qadar and means to decree, amount, or ordainment. Allah says:

‏وَإِن مِّن شَىْءٍ إِلَّا عِندَنَا خَزَآئِنُهُۥ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُۥٓ إِلَّا بِقَدَرٍۢ مَّعْلُومٍۢ ‎

And there is not a thing but that with Us are its depositories, and We do not send it down except according to a known measure. [Surah al-Hijr, 21]

The Divine Names al-Qadir (Most Able), al-Qadeer (All-Powerful) and al-Muqtadir (Omnipotent) are all derived from this root.

The meaning most relevant to our context is Allah’s predestining everything for His creation as per His Knowledge. Allah says,

‏إِنَّا كُلَّ شَىْءٍ خَلَقْنَهُ بِقَدَرٍۢ ‎

Indeed, all things We created with predestination. [Surah al-Qamar, 49]

Technically Qadr means Allah's decree (in Lahw al-Mahfouz) of all things from eternity, and His Knowledge that they will come to pass at the times that are known to Him, and in the specific manner that He has decreed and willed. They will happen the way they are meant to and the way they are created. Qada’ (decision) is the implementation of Allah’s decree.

Imam Ibn Hajr says that as per the Shariah - Qadr refers to Allah having the Knowledge about the decree regarding everything before even creating them, then brought into existence that what is in His Knowledge, and that which comes about into existence is from His Knowledge and Will. 

Everything happens with the Knowledge, Will, Power, and Execution of Allah. Imam Ahmad said that Qadr is from the Qudrah (Ability) of Allah. Nothing happens without the Permission or Decree of Allah. It is also from the matters of the unseen and a test of our faith. Imam Ahmad also called it one of the secrets of Allah. This is why we will not delve too much into the matter. We will try to see and limit ourselves to only that which has been explained from the Quran and the Sunnah. As for the rest, we simply believe in it and submit as is the practice of the successful generation of the salaf. 

Just like the linguistic usage of Iman and Islam - when Islam and Iman are mentioned together in the same place, then Islam refers to the outward actions and iman refers to the inward beliefs. When they are used individually, they can be used interchangeably. The same happens with Qada’ and Qadr. ​​When they are stated together, then it refers to that which Allah has eternally pre-ordained (in due measure) pertaining to His creation.

A second explanation is that Qada’ comes before Qadr. Qada’ is the Knowledge of Allah that was prescribed before creation and it is preserved in the Lahw al-Mahfouz. When it manifests into reality, it is known as Qadr. Imam Ibn al-Hajar says in al-Fath, “The scholars said the divine decree (Qada’) consists of the entire and complete judgment forever, and the divine measurement (Qadar) consists of the particulars of the judgment and its details.”

Qada = Qadr + Qadr + Qadr.....

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as said, “Nothing can change the Divine decree except dua”. [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi]

A third explanation is the exact opposite of the last opinion. Qadr comes before Qada’. Qadr is the Knowledge of Allah that was prescribed before creation and it is preserved in the Lahw al-Mahfouz. When it manifests into reality, it is known as Qada’. This was the position of Sheikh Ibn al-Uthaymeen among other scholars. 

Qadr = Qada + Qada + Qada.....

End of the day, it is just a semantic difference that doesn’t change anything in terms of our belief and understanding.  Moving forward we will use the term Qadr to refer to both terms and meanings.

The Pillars of Belief in Qadr

To make the understanding of Qadr easy, scholars divided it into 4 levels:

  1. Before Creating the creation - Allah Knew everything about it.
  2. Before Creating the creation - Allah Recorded everything that was going to happen.
  3. Nothing happens in the creation except by the Will of Allah.
  4. Everything is Created by Allah alone. 

1. Knowledge (Al-Ilm)

The belief that Allah’s knowledge encompasses everything, every matter, major or minor, and the time frame of everything that happens in this universe. Allah’s Knowledge encompasses all of His actions and actions taken by His slaves.

Allah knows everything that has happened, that is happening, that is going to happen, and even that which did not happen, if it had happened (hypothetically) with no end. Multiverse, parallel universes, throw everything into the mix and nothing is outside the Knowledge of Allah.

Allah’s Knowledge is Perfect. It is unlike his creation. His Knowledge is not preceded by ignorance and it is not followed by forgetfulness. It was always perfect. Allah says:

‏وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عِلْمًۢا ‎

“And that Allah’s Knowledge encompasses all things.” [Surah al-Talaq,12]

يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَىْءٍۢ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِۦٓ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَ

“He knows what is (presently) before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. [Surah al-Baqarah, 255]

‏قُلْ إِنَّمَا ٱلْعِلْمُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَإِنَّمَآ أَنَا۠ نَذِيرٌۭ مُّبِينٌۭ ‎

Say (O Prophet), "The knowledge is only with Allah , and I am only a clear warner." [Surah al-Mulk, 26]

‏هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى لَآ إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ عَلِمُ ٱلْغَيْبِ وَٱلشَّهَدَةِ ۖ هُوَ ٱلرَّحْمَنُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ ‎

He is Allah , other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. [Surah al-Hashr, 22]

لَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْهُ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍۢ فِى ٱلسَّمَوَتِ وَلَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَآ أَصْغَرُ مِن ذَلِكَ وَلَآ أَكْبَرُ إِلَّا فِى كِتَبٍۢ مُّبِينٍۢ

Not absent from Him is an atom's weight within the heavens or within the earth or (what is) smaller than that or greater, except that it is in a clear register. [Surah Saba, 3]

Also with regards to what would have happened if another instance of it occurred, Allah mentions how the disbelievers on the Day of Judgement would say that they will be good and believe only if they were to to given another chance and sent back:

‏بَلْ بَدَا لَهُم مَّا كَانُوا۟ يُخْفُونَ مِن قَبْلُ ۖ وَلَوْ رُدُّوا۟ لَعَادُوا۟ لِمَا نُهُوا۟ عَنْهُ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَكَذِبُونَ ‎

But what they concealed before has (now) appeared to them. And even if they were returned, they would return to that which they were forbidden; and indeed, they are liars. [Surah al-An’am, 28]

Note: We might see at times that Allah is Speaking to what we perceive as inanimate objects. It needs to be understood that this perception is because of our limited senses and knowledge. Allah is the Creator, the All Knowing and the Most Powerful. We need to know our limitations and humble ourselves when it comes to dealing with the King of Kings. 

Our Sheikh, Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله said, “Appreciate the Knowledge of Allah. Allah commanded the pen to write everything before the creation even came into existence. Allah Knows what His Creation will choose. Allah is not forcing you to choose anything, we choose what we want based on our own free will. Then there is the other decree where we have no choice or will and that is in matters like when it will rain etc.

Remember that the keys of the unseen lie with Allah alone. Knowledge is of 2 types: That which is the gayb - that is the unseen and that which is apparent and can be seen and felt by us. Allah tells us that He is the Owner of the Unseen. How then would be his authority over the seen which even we, the slaves of Allah can interact with.  Allah told us that He has Knowledge of ALL that is in the lands and in the seas. Forget the seas, just look at the multitude of creation around you in the land you are living. Even the smallest of ants, Allah knows everything about it. All of these are under the caretaking of Allah. 

That is why the first pillar of Qadr is the Knowledge of Allah and only after that comes the writing down of the Qadr by the pen. The third pillar is the Will of Allah based on which the Qadr comes into action. The fourth pillar is the creation that was Created based on the Will of Allah.”

2. Pre-Recorded (Al-Kitabah)

The belief that Allah recorded everything in a Book or Tablet that He kept with Himself, called 'Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooz' (The Preserved Tablet). In it, Allah wrote everything about creation, their livelihood, provisions, ages, and deeds, etc in this preserved book. Nothing is missed in this record.

It is referred to by many names in the Quran like: Al-Kitab (The Book), Imamun Mubeen (Clear Book), Kitabun Mastur (Inscribed Book), Umm al-Kitab (Mother of the Book), and Ad-Dhikr (The Supreme Reference)

Ubadah ibn as-Samit said, “O my little son, you will never find the taste of Iman’s reality until you know that whatever caught you would not have missed you and what missed you would never have caught you. I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say: “Indeed the first thing which Allah created was the pen and He told it to write. It asked: ‘O my Lord, what should I write?’ He said: Write the destiny of everything until the Final Hour comes.” O my little son! I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say, “Whoever dies believing in other than this is not a true follower of mine.” [Abu Dawud]

Note: Based on this we learn that the first things that Allah created in order were: The Pen -> Throne -> Water -> Preserved Tablet

Imam Ibn Abil-‘Izz said, “The Pen referred to in these ahadith is the first, best and most glorious Pen. Many commentators on the Quran are of the opinion that it is the Pen by which Allah swears in the ayat: “Noon. By the Pen, and by what they write.” (Surah al-Qalam, 1-2) The second pen is the pen with which the revelations that are sent to prophets and messengers are written. Those who write with this pen are the governors of this world.All other pens are in the service of their pens. During the Ascension, Allaah’s Messenger heard the sounds of these pens (Bukhari) which record the things that Allaah reveals that He will do concerning this world above and the lower world.” [Sharh al-Tahawiyyah]

Abu Darda narrates that the Prophet of Allah ﷺ said, “Allah has already predestined five things for all people: age, sustenance, deeds, place of burial and final salvation or condemnation. [Ahmad]

Abdullah b. 'Amr b. al-'As reported: I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: “Allah ordained the measures (of quality) of the creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, as His Throne was upon water.” [Muslim]

Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu gives an example, “There is no leaf that falls except Allah knows where it will fall, why it will fall and even how it will fall. Go to the deepest and darkest depths of the ocean and bury a grain of rice there. How many layers of darkness cover it? The lower you go, the darker it gets. Despite all this, the grain is as though it is right in front of Allah. Let it sink in - Allah Hears, Sees and Knows everything about His slaves and creation. All of this to the most minute of details is recorded by Allah.”

Allah says:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ وَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُوا وَآثَارَهُمْ وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُّبِين

Indeed, it is We who bring the dead to life and record what they have put forth and what they left behind, and all things We have enumerated in a clear register. [Surah Ya Seen,12]

‏أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ فِى كِتَبٍ ۚ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِيرٌۭ ‎

Are you (Prophet) not aware that Allah knows all that is in the heavens and earth? All this is written in a Record; this is easy for Allah. [Surah al-Hajj, 70]

The Prophet ﷺ said: Verily, Allah Almighty created His creation in darkness and He cast over them His light. Whoever is touched by that light is guided, and whoever misses it is astray. Thus, I say the pens have been dried upon the knowledge of Allah. [Tirmidhi]

The provision, life span, deeds, and ultimate fate in the Hereafter of every human being are written by the angels as soon as the soul is blown into the fetus. Our destiny was decreed for us even before we were born.

The Prophet ﷺ said: The creation of each one of you is in his mother’s womb for forty days or nights, then as a clot for a similar period, then as a piece of flesh for a similar period, then the angel is sent to it to announce four decrees. He writes his provision, his life span, his deeds, and whether he is blessed or damned. Then, he breathes the soul into it. Verily, one of you acts with the deeds of the people of Paradise until he is not but an arm’s length away from it, yet the decree overtakes him, he acts with the deeds of the people of Hellfire and thus enters Hellfire. And one of you acts with the deeds of the people of Hellfire until he is not but an arm’s length away from it, yet the decree overtakes him, he acts with the deeds of the people of Paradise and thus enters it. [Bukhari]

As a side note, there are 4 types of Pens:

  1. The first Pen is for writing the measures of all created things. This is the Pen that was mentioned in connection with the Preserved Tablet. 
  2. The second pen was created with Adam. This pen is for recording the measures of mankind. The Quran refers to it when it states that Allah wrote the acts of human beings, their provisions, ages and destinies right after He had created their father Adam. 
  3. The third pen is referred to in many authentic ahadith which state that after conception an angel is sent to the fetus in the womb of the mother to blow the soul into it. He is then asked to record its provisions, lifespan, deeds and whether it will be saved or doomed. 
  4. The fourth pen is referred to in verses and ahadith that state that when a person reaches the age of maturity, two honorable angels are appointed to record his actions.

Having understood these points, we can look into a quick summary on the types of Qadr. A lot of it is terminology from different scholars that can be used interchangeably. The main point is understanding the concept. 

​​Types of Qadr - Based on Recording

Allah Decreed destinies and not just a destiny. We learn from this that there are different records of decrees or destinies. There is a qadr that is recorded in the Preserved Tablet and cannot be changed. Then we have the daily decree, the yearly decree, the decree given to the angels, and the decree revealed at different special times etc. We also learn from the Sunnah how things like dua and evil eye can change a decree. This is different from the first decree that can never be changed. Rather, the change in the decree because of a dua or something similar is itself already recorded in the Preserved Tablet already.

Allah says:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَاب

It is He who has sent down to you, (O Muhammad), the Book; in it are verses (that are) precise - they are the foundation of the Book - and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation (from truth), they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation (suitable to them). And no one knows its (true) interpretation except Allah . But those firm in knowledge say, "We believe in it. All (of it) is from our Lord." And no one will be reminded except those of understanding. [Surah Aal Imran, 7]

The different types include:

  1. Taqdeer Al-Azli: This is the qadr that was written 50,000 years ago which includes everything that is about to happen in Lahw Al-Mahfooz also known as Umm al-Kitab to which no changes can be made. This is also known as Iradah Qawniyyah Qadariyyah. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim mentions this as “the pre-existent measure according to the knowledge of Allah that is recorded in the Preserved Tablet.
  2. Taqdeer Al-Meethaqi: This is the qadr that occured at the creation of Adam and when we all testified to Allah.
  3. Taqdeer Al-Umri: This is the qadr that  was written at the time of the creation of the baby (after 4 months) - 4 things are written here: deeds, livelihood, date of death and if the person is to be wretched or blessed.
  4. Taqdeer Al-Hawli: This is the yearly qadr that Allah gives to the angels. This is the qadr which is decreed on Laylatul al-Qadr. This is the reason it is called the Night of Decree.
  5. Taqdeer Al-Yawmi - This is the qadr that includes all the daily rulings and decrees of Allah.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim listed only four types. He did not include the life-time decree of the covenant aka taqdeer al-Meethaqi. Likewise, our Sheikh Maqsoodul Hasan Faizi also listed just 4.

The significance of the different levels of decrees is that the changes in the record which Allah speaks about are in some books and not others. The record in the Preserved Tablet is fixed and not subject to any change whatsoever because it is based on Allah’s eternal knowledge. However, changes may occur in the books handled by the angels, as He says: 

‏يَمْحُوا۟ ٱللَّهُ مَا يَشَآءُ وَيُثْبِتُ ۖ وَعِندَهُۥٓ أُمُّ ٱلْكِتَبِ ‎

Allah eliminates what He wills or confirms, and with Him is the Mother of the Book. [Surah ar-Ra’d, 39]

Sheikh Bilal Philips further explains, “Writing of the Decree is an expression of Allah’s all-encompassing knowledge. Allah has no need to record the decree as He does not forget. He did so and informed human beings about it in order to make them more aware and accepting of the Decree.”

How does it occur?

  1. Taqdeer Mubram - This is the qadr that is fixed and cannot be changed - This is Taqdeer al-Azli or Iradah Qawniyyah Qadariyyah.
  2. Taqdeer Muallaq - This is the qadr that changes according to conditions.
    Ex - Allah tells the angels that if a person lies, reduce his lifespan and if he speaks the truth increase it. This taqdeer is conditional to our actions. Point to note is that these changes and our decisions are already part of the Taqdeer Azli. This taqdeer is also known as Iradah Shari’yyah.

3. The Will of Allah (Al-Mashee’ah or al-Iradah)

This is the belief that nothing, whether related to Allah’s actions or actions taken by His slaves, can occur without His Will. His Will and His Preordainment power effectively covers everything. Whatever He wills, will occur, and whatever He does not will, will not take place. Far above Allah is from the need to compel anyone to do anything. Allah’s Will is always paired with His Justice and His Wisdom.

Allah says:

وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمً

And you do not will except that Allah wills. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. [Surah al-Insan, 30]

‏وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلْعَلَمِينَ ‎

And you do not will, except that Allah wills - Lord of the worlds. [Surah al-Takweer, 29]

Likewise natural phenomena like the movement of the planets, social phenomena like wars, peace etc, as well as matters of guidance and misguidance - nothing happens except by the Will of Allah. Allah says:

وَلَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مَا ٱقْتَتَلُوا۟ وَلَكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ

And if Allah had willed, they would not have fought each other, but Allah does what He intends. [Surah al-Baqarah, 253]

‏ وَلَوْ أَنَّنَا نَزَّلْنَآ إِلَيْهِمُ ٱلْمَلَٓئِكَةَ وَكَلَّمَهُمُ ٱلْمَوْتَىٰ وَحَشَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ كُلَّ شَىْءٍۢ قُبُلًۭا مَّا كَانُوا۟ لِيُؤْمِنُوٓا۟ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَجْهَلُونَ ‎

And even if We had sent down to them the angels (with the message) and the dead spoke to them (of it) and We gathered together every (created) thing in front of them, they would not believe unless Allah should will. But most of them, (of that), are ignorant. [Surah al-An’am, 111]

It is important at this point to understand the Iradah (Will) of Allah. Different scholars might use different terminologies to refer to the same concept. It is of 2 types:

  1. Iradah Qawniyyah Qadariyyah: Qawn refers to the entire creation and Qadr here refers to the Qadr prescribed for the entire creation. Nothing can go against this Iradah. This is a qadr that has to happen without a doubt. This includes something that might be pleasing to Allah and also that which might not. It will take place on that which it has been ordained. Ex: Time of death, the rizq for a person etc

    Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani said, “Imam Ahmad was asked regarding a person who remains at his home or the masjid, and says that I will not do anything, my rizq will come to me.

    Imam Ahmad replied: This person is ignorant, The Prophet said: "Allah made my rizq under the shadow of my spear"  and he said: If you have tawakkul on Allah, Allah will give you the rizq as He provide rizq to the birds, who are hungry when they go out from their home, when they come back in the evening they are full." Meaning when they go out they are hungry (They do not say we will stay at home as we have tawakul on Allah, they work hard).  Ahmad said: The companions did business and other things, we should follow their footsteps. [Fath al-Bari]

    Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu said, “There is no way for you to get that has not been written and there is no way for you to miss a thing that has been written for you. It has to come. Your rizq was decided 50,000 years before the creation of the universe where the pen writing the decree has dried and the book has been closed.  If I believe and understand this concept then I will relax. Jibreel came all the way from Allah, just to tell the Prophet ﷺ that no one will leave this life till they have completed that of their rizq precisely. All that a Muslim needs to do is fear Allah and get the rizq from the Halal sources. We see people taking riba (interest), cheating, taking bribes etc because this Iman is missing from their hearts. What happens now is that what the person was supposed to get via the Halal means, is not being gotten by the Haram means.

  1. Iradah Shar'iyyah Deeniyyah: This entails the Shariah of Islam. This is what Allah likes, and orders the creation to do and that which He has ordered them to stay away from. This may or may not occur upon whom it has been ordained.
    Qadr Shari'yyah is a subset of Qadr Qawniyyah.

There is nothing that can happen except that Allah has to have Willed it. Anything and everything be it the good or the bad befalling the creation is perfectly Planned by Allah to the last degree. Allah Creates, Owns, and Administers the creation. We are completely dependent on Allah for everything while He is free from us. We praise Allah and His Actions in all conditions and yet, we cannot praise Him enough for what His Majesty deserves. Allah is the Master of the slave as well as the slave's actions. Allah sets the Qadr in motion and when the time comes, the Qadr comes into effect.

4. Creation (Al-Khalq)

The belief that Allah created all creation, all what they possess of attributes, and all their actions. Nothing that takes place in this world except that Allah has created it (including evil).

Allah says:

اللَّهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيل

Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs. [Surah az-Zumar, 62]

‏وَٱللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ ‎

While Allah created you and that which you do? [Surah al-Saffat, 96]

The Messenger of Allah said, “Indeed, Allah is the Creator of every craftsman, and of whatever he crafts.” [Khalqu Af’al il’Ibad]

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Allah said, 'Spend (O man), and I shall spend on you." He also said, "Allah's Hand is full, and (its fullness) is not affected by the continuous spending night and day." He also said, "Do you see what He has spent since He created the Heavens and the Earth? Nevertheless, what is in His Hand is not decreased, and His Throne was over the water; and in His Hand there is the balance (of justice) whereby He raises and lowers (people). [Bukhari]

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