FAQ in the category of Qadar

1 If everything is determined in our fate, why did Allah send us down to earth for testing? Does He not already know everything? He could have sent us to Heaven or Hell without testing, too; why did He not do so?

The following is reported from Abdullah Ibn   Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him):  Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, "(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature's) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him. So, a man amongst you may do (good deeds till there is only a cubit between him and Paradise and then what has been written for him decides his behavior and he starts doing (evil) deeds characteristic of the people of the (Hell) Fire. And similarly a man amongst you may do (evil) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and the (Hell) Fire, and then what has been written for him decides his behavior, and he starts doing deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise."  . (Buhari)

Explanation: The words of the Messenger of Allah ends with the words shaqiy and said. The part that comes after belongs to Abdullah Ibn-i Mas'ud, the narrator of the hadith.

The meaning conveyed by this Ibn-i Mas'ud hadith is expressed as: “a ‘said’ (blessed) person is ‘said’ in the womb of the mother and a ‘shaqiy’ (wretched) person is ‘shaqiy’ in the womb of the mother”, and it is famous like a proverb.  

This hadith states that some people will go to Paradise and some will go to Hell.

That Allah created some people for Paradise and that they will act accordingly should be understood as follows: Some people will want, in this world, to do deeds that will be worthy of entering Paradise and Allah will create those deeds and as a result, those people will go to Paradise.    

That Allah created some people for Hell and that they will act accordingly should be understood as follows: Some people will want to commit deeds that will necessitate entering Hell and Allah will create those deeds and they will go to hell by committing those deeds.

As a matter of fact, a person can go to a place where sins are committed of his own accord; he may go to places where Allah’s name is mentioned, too. He is free to go to either place. He will reap what he sows. That is what is meant by the hadith.

Are the hands of a person tied when it is decided in the womb of the mother that he will be a blessed or wretched person? If it is claimed to be so, how is it compatible with the divine justice that the person is tested and then a reward or punishment is given to him?

First of all, God Almighty is Wise and Just. He does not do anything without a reason (wisdom) and in vain; He is just. He does not oppress His slaves.

One meaning of fate (Qadar) is that Allah knows the life programs of the beings He created with his pre-eternal knowledge. That is, everything beginning from the moment a person falls into the womb of the mother to coming to the world and every breath that he takes is recorded in his fate and Allah knows it all.

Allah created every person in a clean nature and as a good person in essence. Every person has a tendency towards both the good and evil. A person’s responsibility depends on which one he tends more. Allah created a potential Abu Bakr and Abu Jahl in each person. It is valid for every person except prophets because Allah is just; He does not oppress people.

However, not every man can develop the sapling of belief in them; and some people make it wither. That a person is given inclinations toward the evil and that the soul and satan pester him is good in a sense. Man can be elevated to higher ranks than angels and can go down to lower levels. The main reason why the universe was established and life continues is to bring about perfect man. Man needs to oppose bad tendencies, his soul, and satan in order to be elevated to high ranks. If it were not like that, man would be like angels, with a fixed rank. In fact, there are many angels with fixed ranks.  

Fate (qadar) is a program arranged by science and will. Qada (decree) is the name of the application phase of that program.  

Qada is the manifestation of the power of Allah. Qadar is a reflection of the knowledge of Allah. When it is seen in this light, knowledge (science) is thought of. As a matter of fact, the following verse shows that Qadar means the knowledge of Allah: “And there is not a thing but its (sources and) treasures (inexhaustible) are with Us; but We only send down thereof in due and ascertainable measures..” (al-Hijr, 21).

Since Qadar is a program originating from knowledge, it has no compulsory effect on the acts of man. As a matter of fact, the following rule of the science of kalam relating to Qadar will express the issue more clearly:  “knowledge is subject to what is known”. Let us explain it by giving an example; for instance, the fact that we know when the sun will rise and when it will set has no effect on the rising and setting of the sun.  The sun will not rise and set at those times because we know it; on the contrary, we know that it will rise and set at those times.

The sustenance and deeds of a person, and whether he is blessed or wretched mentioned in the hadith is related to the point of Qadar. In fact, the expression stated in the hadith is used in order to declare that Allah knows what happened, what is happening and what will happen, in short, everything.    

That Allah knows who will go to Hell and who to Paradise with His pre-eternal knowledge is a qualification of His Divinity. The fact that He makes the appointed angel write it when the baby is in the womb of the mother does not change this qualification of His attribute, knowledge, which has no sanction power. That is, there is no compulsion in terms of Qadar.  

Man has properties that are suitable for deeds that will lead him both to Hell and to Paradise. Man can do the deeds that will lead him to Paradise or to Hell with the partial free will given to him. All of the responsibility for it belongs to him. That hadith mentions that property of man.

Qadar has two aspects: One is out of man’s will; they are issues like coming to the world, his father and mother, time of his death, etc. Man is not responsible for them since he cannot decide about them using his own will.

He is responsible for his deeds that he decides to do. Every man knows that one goes to the mosque or to the pub of his own accord. There is no compulsion here.

It is stated in a hadith that every person has the nature of Islam when he is born. One of the meanings of the word Islam mentioned in hadiths is high ethics. That is, every man is created with high ethics in essence and with a property that can approve the fundamentals of belief. However, if man changes this property of his using his own will and adopts a belief that belongs to the people of Hell and commits deeds that are peculiar to the people of Hell, he will definitely be responsible for it.  

Allah did not create some men for Hell. Contrarily, He created Hell for some men. For instance, a state builds a prison but it does not build it to put such and such men in it. It builds it for those who deserve to enter there. Similarly, Allah created Hell. It is not suitable for His wisdom and justice to say, “I prepared Hell for such and such people” because those people will have the right to object to if they have not deserved hell.  

2 If what we are going to do is determined in our fate, what is our fault? If Allah knows whether we are going to enter Heaven or Hell, why did He send us down to Earth?

We will try to answer your question via some questions and answers.

Fate is a part of faith and it is described as follows: “Fate means that Allah knows every feature, situation, place, time, attributions and characteristics of everything that happened and that is going to happen from the pre-eternity to the post-eternity, with His infinite knowledge and He ordains them.”

And qada (decree) means the creation, manifestation and practice of what one’s fate includes.

Every event from the creation of universe in six stages to the formation of humans in wombs in nine months points out to fate!..

Each wise system from the Solar System to atom systems declares the existence of fate. Numbers and characteristics of elements hint fate. Categorization of plants and animals according to species and families and different skills of each species have been possible due to fate…

The fact that positions of angels, animals and lifeless beings are stable and that human beings and the jinn are put through testing is planned in fate…

Creation of Heaven and Hell were determined by Divine wisdom and decision. The ways leading to them were also determined due to fate…

How much reward will be given for which good deed and how much punishment will be given for which evil deed is also determined by fate…

In a science magazine, the wonderful system of human body was described and many nice examples about Divine decision were listed. And the article was concluded as follows:

“Let alone our whole body, if we did not have our thumbs, technique and civilization would not have emerged.”

Frankly, all inventions, discoveries and arts are somewhat bounded to the thumb. And if it was not supported by other fingers, we would neither be able to hold a spoon, nor a pen and nor a hammer. Let alone the whole world of beings, if humankind could look at the thumb carefully, they could see the Divine decision most clearly.

People who keep asking the same memorized questions about fate again and again do not ever think of this essential meaning of fate. They never ponder about how this gorgeous universe was created by stages with an infinite knowledge and decision. They cannot observe these magnificent manifestations of fate; similarly, they cannot evaluate seeds, zygotes, sperms and genes from this point of view. However, those small creatures are like embodied plans and programs… They display Allah’s wonderful decision and fine wisdom to those who use their brains.

And humankind is supposed to believe in fate by disposition!.. Human beings are capable of understanding measures and numbers. They decide on the number of the rooms of the house they decide to build consciously. They build the kitchen, the bathroom and others all in the most appropriate places of the house. They make plans about their future, set goals for themselves and make decisions. And this disposition of theirs makes them responsible for believing in fate.

Let us ponder: What other being amongst all these creatures we see is aware of their own existence and stages of creation? Which one knows what it is, why it is created and where it is going to?.. Birds? Trees? The Sun? The Moon?...

Animals are unaware of the essences of their organs. Plants do not know about their leaves. Seas are unaware of the fishes swimming in them. The Moon does not know what it is rotating around.

Yet is it the same with human beings? They know both the system of their body and the system in their souls. They know the duties of elements, species of animals and heavenly systems. They can understand why every person, every species and every system was created and what kind of wisdom there is in them, at least to some extent. Due to this natural disposition, they can realize the innumerable manifestations of fate in everything to some extent.

Belief in fate is a source of peace

Belief in fate is the greatest source of peace for human beings. A true believer thinks that systems and rules which he sees both in his own body and in universe are full of much wisdom and that all of them result in mercy. He says “Everything is nice about fate” and seeks for mercy and wisdom in everything that happens to him.

He does anything that is necessary both for his life and afterlife happiness and eventually, trusts in Allah’s mercy and kindness, and finds peace. He does not feel sorry when he loses. He does not regret for the opportunities he missed in the past. He knows that saying “If it had been like that, it would not have been so” or “If it had not been like that, it would have been better” does not provide him with any benefits but just causes sorrow to his soul. He gets rid of the burden of the past off his back. He sets out to the future, having trust in Allah, and finds peace…

He does not boast about boons, wealth and skills Allah has endowed upon him and does not behave arrogantly. He knows that everything that is good is a blessing from Allah, and finds peace…

What do those who do not believe in fate suggest to humankind?

Do they suggest not to work and spend days lazily? Or do they suggest depending on causes and then not consenting to outcomes and grieving? What do they expect from it apart from giving people sorrow? What a heavy burden they place on the back of poor people with a sensitive soul and impatient body! Or is there something that they benefit from in restless, aggressive and rebellious souls in order to realize their devastating goals?

Can we blame our faults on fate?

We can divide the fate into two: forced fate and voluntary fate.

“We cannot have any affect on forced fate. It is totally out of our free-will. Our forced fate includes our place of birth, our parents, our shape, and our inborn skills. We cannot determine them. And we are not responsible for that kind of fate.

The second kind of fate is voluntary fate. Allah knows with His infinite knowledge and ordains whatever we will decide and whatever we will do. Your question must be discussed in this category. That is to say, you are deciding on a type of person to marry and look for him/her. And Allah introduces some people who have got the characteristics which you desire to you. You like one of them and accept him/her with your own free-will. The fact that Allah knows whom you will marry is fate and the fact that you choose your spouse with your free-will is a responsibility of human beings, which is called partial freewill.

Our hearts beat, our blood is refreshed, and our cells grow, reproduce and die. Many things which we do not know happen in our bodies. We are not the doers of any of them. Those things continue to happen even when we are asleep.

However, we know very well that there are things which we do of our own accord. It is us to decide to eat, drink, speak, and walk and so on. We have got a free-will though weak, knowledge though little and power though slight.

It is us to decide which way to go at the crossroads. And life is full of crossroads.

In this sense, on whom else but ourselves can we put the blame of the things we choose consciously and decide to do without any enforcement?

As Allah created the things we do, what is our fault?

Human beings’ free-will which is called partial freewill causes many significant things benefiting from the laws ruling in the universe although it seems insignificant.

Imagine that the top floor of an apartment building is full of boons and the bottom floor is full of tormentors; and a person is in the lift of this building. That person was informed about the state of that building before. He will reach the boons if he pushes the up button and he will be tormented if he pushes the down button.

In this case, what the free-will of the person does is only to decide which button to push and then push it. And the lift does not work with that person’s free-will and power, but it works based on certain physic and mechanic laws. So, the person does not go to the top floor or to the bottom floor not with his own power. Nevertheless, he is the one to decide where the lift will go, with his own free-will.

Everything one does with his own free-will can be evaluated according to that criterion. For instance, Allah the Glorious stated that it is sinful to go to a pub and virtuous to go to a mosque. And we are free to go to whichever one we want, just like the lift in the example given above.

Man’s will does not have any role in the occurrences in the universe; similarly, he does not have any role in the activities occurring inside his body. Human body works in accordance with divine rules which are called the universal law. However, wherever he will go is up to his decision. Whichever button he pushes, that is, wherever he wants to go, his body will move towards there and thus, the reward or the punishment of the place where he will go belongs to him.

Does fate treat people cruelly?

Some people are born rich, handsome and healthy; and some are born poor, ugly and handicapped. They are matters of “forced fate” which human beings cannot change with their will.

We hear people complaining about the cruelty of fate putting forward those differences. However, cruelty means depriving one of their personal rights. And servants (human beings) do not have any rights to expect from Allah. Whatever Allah has given to them, He has given them as a kind offer, not as a right.

What we should do is not to think of the boons which are not given to us, but to remember what we are given and be thankful for them. Lacks are for testing servants. The world is a hall of testing and all disfavored situations are questions in the test. Will testees rebel or will they be thankful for what is given and react to what is not given patiently?

Let us imagine a reach tradesman. He wants to do two poor people who enter his shop a favor only because he is merciful. He gives a shirt to one of them and trousers to the other. In addition to them, he gives a jacket and trousers to one of them. Can the man who takes only a shirt and trousers say “Tradesman has been cruel to me; he has given the other man more”? If he says, will it not be rudeness?

And we resemble those poor people. Allah gives us many boons and blessings from His treasury because of His infinite mercy. He is Allah who has created our bodies, minds, dreams, the air that we breathe in, the water that we drink and food that we eat. We did not work to deserve them. He gives them to us only because He is merciful. If the one who is given less waits patiently, he will gain eternal boons.

Worldly life is nothing but a short test… If one who is given less becomes aggressive like the first man in the story and calls it cruelty, it is rudeness. His duty is to be thankful for what he is given. Otherwise, he invites punishment to himself.

Allah is just in all of His works; He is never unjust or cruel. We should evaluate troubles from this point of view too. Troubles are either the results of our faults or means of testing.

A person whose house has been burnt down must look for a fault in himself even though he does not know a certain reason, before complaining about fate. Maybe, he broke someone’s heart! The one who has put the house on fire has committed a crime, but fate treats justly.

Are we leaves drifting with wind?

It can be said that a person who complains saying “what is my fault here?” making the fate his excuse, is indeed ignoring his free will.

If human beings are “leaves blown by the wind”, if they do not have the ability to choose, if they are not responsible for what they do, then what is the significance of crime? Does a person who says “what is my fault” not resort to court when he is wronged?

However, in this sense, that person should have thought like this: “that man put my house on fire. He defamed my honor, killed my child but he has got excuses. It was his fate to do those things, what could he do, he could not have acted otherwise.”

Do people who are wronged really think so?

If man were not responsible for what he did, words like “good” and “bad” would be meaningless. There would be no need to appreciate heroes and to despise traitors. Both of them would have done the things unwillingly. However, nobody can claim like that. Everyone admits in their hearts that they are responsible for what they do and they are not leaves blown by the wind.

Does the fact that Allah knows what we are going to do abolish our responsibility?

Let us imagine a screenplay: a detective is listening secretly to three men planning a robbery. When it is the time, he goes to the place where the robbery will take place. His aim is to arrest them red-handed. However, when starting the robbery, the men change their plan. One of them gives up and the other two act with a different plan. If another person’s knowing the robbery could affect the robbery, the plan would not be changed. The fact that the police knew about it did not affect the robbery at all.

If the plan had not changed, it would not have affected it anyway; they would do so because the police knew they would do so. And, they already did know what the police knew.

If they could put their plan into practice and got arrested; and if the police said that they had known their plan before; would they say “We committed this crime because you knew we would do. The real criminal is you. We are innocent.”? Is committing a sin and then blaming fate for it any different from those robbers?

The number of people, who think “I cannot escape my fate; what is written in your fate will find you one day. So why am I considered faulty because of my sins?” is not very few at all.

It is clear that this mentality belongs to a criminal who wants to get rid of the responsibility of his crime. Here is the formula: put the blame on fate and be relieved! I do not think that conscience which is a just moderator will find peace with this mentality because it is a careful witness of what we do. Doubtlessly, there is a “law of fate” and it puts its rules into practice, nevertheless, “free-will” is also a law. How can we forget that we commit every sin voluntarily? We cannot read what is written in our fate; we do not know our future. What we know is that there are two ways before us, one is good and the other is evil. We choose one of them to follow with our free-will, which we can never deny. We feel it very well that there is not anything else than our lower-self which forces us through that way. We learn our fate not before, but after it all happens.

I think the following example will set light on our way. Let us imagine a perfect cameraman. This man has filmed secretly ten days of our life in the future. That is to say, he knew our ten days’ life before. And we have learnt that there is a film about our life; yet we do not know what is in it. He let us watch the film on the eleventh day. We watched the mistakes we did, sins and crimes we committed. Can we say to the cameraman, “We would not have done all of those if you had not known our ten days’ life and filmed it”?

It is necessary to emphasize that knowing and doing are very different things. We gave an example before. The fact that we know a seed will grow into a tree does not mean that it does not need to grow into a tree.

Moreover, if there is a plan for the construction of a machine or a building, could we say, “there is no need for the building or the machine as there is the plan”?

Let us plan to go somewhere and eat these or those foods tomorrow. In this sense, do we say, “as what we will do is already planned now, we do not need to go and eat those foods”?

We cannot say so for simple daily things; similarly, one cannot say “why did Allah create human beings and why does He try them as He already knows what they will do.”

The true meaning of fate is that Allah knows what happened and what will happen. It does not ignore free-will. To know and to do are different. The one who knows is Allah and the one who does is His servants.

The fine detail here is that we do things not because Allah knows, but Allah knows because we will do them. As a matter of fact, it is impossible that Allah not know the future. If He did not or could not know, He would not be the creator.

Let us give an example for it: think of a teacher from saintly slaves of Allah. He says to one of his students “I will test you tomorrow from this book”. However, as the teacher knows that the student will not study because of playing football, having fun with friends or watching movies; so, he writes “0” point in his report beforehand. The following day, the student comes and he cannot answer the questions and when he realizes that he deserves “0” point, the teacher takes out his notebook from his pocket and says “as I knew you would not study and deserve 0 point from this test, I wrote 0 in my notebook beforehand”. In this case, can the student say “I got 0 from the test because you gave me 0. Otherwise, if you had written a higher point in your notebook, I would get a higher point now.”?

So we can say that we do not do so because Allah wrote it so, but Allah wrote them so because He knows we will do so. That is what we call “fate”.

We can say that Allah records what we do throughout our life with His pre-eternal camera on a tape called “Lawh Mahfuz”. However, we do not know what is recorded on that tape at all. Why should that recording affect out acts? As a matter of fact, we are responsible, of course. We are blamed for nothing else but because we choose bad/evil with out own free-will and commit sins. We do not have the right to say, “What is my fault if it is written in my fate?” If making a fault deliberately is not a fault, what is fault then?

What we should do is to repent for our sins, beg for His forgiveness and try to get rid of punishment by performing good deeds. We can deceive only ourselves, not Allah, by putting the blame on fate.

3 Can you explain the phrases, ‘imam al-mubin’ (Clear Record) and ‘kitab al-mubin’ (Clear Book) ?

Imam al-Mubin (Clear Record) and Kitab al- Mubin (Clear Book) are notebooks of al-Lawh al-Mahfuz (Preserved Tablets) and titles of divine knowledge. In Badiuzzaman’s words, the Clear Record, Clear Book and Preserved Tablets are all the titles of divine knowledge.
 In Maktubat (Letters), “the spheres of the knowledge of the body like the Clear Record, Clear Book and Preserved Tablets, which are the titles of Pre-eternal knowledge” are mentioned.   
In Şualar (Rays), the following expression is present: “and records the life-stories of all beings in the Clear Record and Clear Book, which are the notebooks of the Preserved Tablet”.
When those expressions are evaluated together, it is understood that all of them are recording tablets. All of them have become titles for the divine knowledge. When they are mentioned, divine knowledge is thought of; they are not knowledge themselves.
Badiuzzaman states that tafsir (interpretation) scholars put forward various opinions about the Clear Record and Clear Book that some scholars accepted those two as the same thing; then he gives his own opinion as follows:
“The Clear Record is a title for a variety of Divine knowledge and command which looks to the World of the Unseen rather than the Manifest World.
“'The Clear Record' looks at the Manifest World rather than the World of the Unseen. That is, it looks at the present rather than the past and future; it is a title of Divine Knowledge and Command , a book and a notebook rather than knowledge and command. If the Clear Record is the notebook of the divine will, the Clear Book is the notebook of the divine power.” (Sözler: Words)
Both the Clear Record and the Clear Book are the notebooks of the Preserved Tablets, but there is difference between them.
We can feel the subtle difference to some extent in the following statement: “Indeed, in a seed there are two manifestations of Divine Determining; one is self-evident and points to and tells of The Clear Book, which is a title of will and the creational commands; the other is theoretical, and alludes to and tells of The Clear Record, which is a title of Divine knowledge and the Divine command. Self-evident Divine Determining is the physical nature, states, and parts of the tree which the seed comprises. While theoretical Divine Determining is the stages, states, forms, motions, and glorifications which the tree will undergo and perform in the period of its life, and which are in the seed and will be created from it; these stages, states, forms, and acts, which constantly change and are called its life-history, each have a regulated measure in accordance with Divine Determining, like the tree’s branches and leaves.” (Nursi, Sözler: Words) 
The Clear Book expresses the creation plan and program of everything that lives in this world of existence. In the seeds of the fruit, eggs of the living beings or their sperms, all of the properties of the beings to come to the world are recorded. That is, man has understood that every being in the nature comes into existence in accordance with a plan and program but some men attribute that program to the nature of that being and do not realize the Clear Book, which is the divine knowledge and tablet of it.    
Seeds are broken into, germinate, become saplings, grow tall and branches start to come out from different directions. Then, flowers and leaves come out. They are all present in the first program called the genetic code. In short, everything of that tree is recorded in that seed. And that seed informs about the Clear Book.
On the other hand, it is impossible to find the following information in that genetic code: in which garden will the seed be sown, when will a naughty boy break a branch of it, when will it be exposed to a storm, what kind of damage will it have, what will happen in the end, where will it be taken after it is cut down and what will happen to it? Since they also take place within the sphere of divine knowledge, all of those phases should take place in accordance with some knowledge and a book in which that knowledge is written. That book is the Clear Record.
We can think of similar things for a man too: all of his physical properties are recorded in a sperm, which is his seed. Everything is written in that sperm: that he has two eyes, that they are placed on the face symmetrically; the number of his fingers and their order, the properties of red and white blood cells, the shapes, functions and sizes of his liver, kidney, heart and brain.
Different characteristics emerge due to the various arrangements of bases in genes.

However, the following information is like a separate book for each person: what school will he attend, when will he finish school, where will he attend high school and university, who will be his friends, where will he go with them, what will he do, what will he face in the testing of life, what diseases will he catch, where and when will he die, how will he be treated in the grave? And similar questions…  
That book has no relation with the program in the sperm. All of the phases of the journey that starts with the sperm are written in the Clear Book; however, the mind sees it necessary that there be an eternal notebook in which the whole of the life journey of man, with his body and spirit, is written. Badiuzzaman states that it is the Clear Record.
It should  be  kept in view that when the word ‘writing’ is used, it will be incomplete to understand it as writing the letters. The arrangement of the genes are different from writing. The recording of the memory is not like typing with the keyboard. The words and events are not recorded by a pen or pencil in audio and video cassettes.
The writing and recording of everything in the Clear Record and Clear Book, which are the notebooks of the Prescribed Tablets, takes place in a very different form. That recording has no relation with letters and words.
Lastly, let us mention another meaning of the Clear Book briefly. Many interpreters of the Quran state that one aspect of the Clear Book is the Quran. They explain especially the verse: “anything fresh or dry (green or withered) is (inscribed) in a Record Clear (to those who can read)” as the Quran.
Badiuzzaman agrees with that view by saying the following in his work ‘Sözler’: “According to one interpretation, the Clear Book or Record consists of the Quran. This verse states that everything, fresh or dry, is found within it, is that so? Yes, everything is found in it, but not everyone can see everything in it, for they are found at different levels. Sometimes the seeds, sometimes the nuclei, sometimes the summaries, sometimes the principles, sometimes the signs, are found either explicitly, or implicitly, or allusively, or vaguely, or as a reminder.”

4 Fate of a human being
5 about predestination

THE MEANING OF DESTINY AND DECREE
        There is nothing of which its treasuries are not with Us, and We send not down anything but in a known (pre-determined) measure.
        And all things We have kept in a Manifest Record.
The Arabic word translated as “destiny” is qadar. In its derivations, this word also means “determination,” “giving a certain measure and shape,” “dividing,” and “judging.” Muslim scholars of Islam define it as “Divine measure,” “determination,” and “judgment in the creation of things.”
Before discussing Divine Decree and Destiny further, we will provide the translation of some relevant verses:
        With Him are the keys of the Unseen. None but He knows them. He knows what is in the land and the sea. Not a leaf falls but He knows it, not a grain amid the darkness of the soil, naught of wet or dry but it is in a “Kitabun Mubin” (Manifest Book). (6:59)
        There is nothing hidden in the heaven or the Earth but it is in a Manifest Book. (27:75)
        It is We Who bring the dead to life. We record what they send (of their lives and conduct to the Hereafter) and what is left of them. All things we have kept in a “Imamun Mubin” (Manifest Record). (36:12)
        They ask: “When (will) this promise (be fulfilled), if you are truthful?” Say: “The knowledge is with God only, and I am but a plain warner.” (67:25-6)
        Nay, but it is a glorious Quran. On a “Lawhun Mahfuz” (Preserved Tablet). (85:21-2)
In one sense, Decree and Destiny mean the same thing. In another sense, however, Destiny means to predetermine or preordain, while Decree means to execute or put into effect. To be more precise, Destiny means that everything that exists, from subatomic particles to the universe as a whole, is known by God Almighty. His Knowledge includes all space and time, while He Himself is absolutely free both of them. Everything exists in His Knowledge, and He assigns to each a certain shape, life span, function or mission, and certain characteristics.
Consider the following analogy: Authors have full and exact knowledge of the book they will write, and arrange its chapters, sections, paragraphs, sentences, and words before writing it. In this sense, Destiny is almost identical with Divine Knowledge, or is a title of Divine Knowledge. It is therefore also called the “Supreme Preserved Tablet” (or the “Manifest Record”). Destiny also means that God makes everything according to a certain, particular measure and in exact balance:
        God knows what every female bears and what the wombs absorb and what they grow. And everything with Him is measured. (13:8)
        The sun and the moon are made punctual according to a calculation. The stars and the trees adore, in subservience to Him. And the sky He has uplifted; and He has set the balance, that you exceed not the balance, but observe the balance strictly, nor fall short thereof. (55:5-9)
The universe’s exact measure and balance, order and harmony, as well as that of all it contains, clearly show that everything is determined and measured, created and governed by God Almighty. Therefore, Divine Destiny exists. Such assertions as determinism, which is upheld by many people and even some Marxists, to explain such an obvious universal order and operation are tacit admissions of Destiny. But we have to clarify one point here: According to Islam, absolute determinism cannot be used in the context of human action.
All seeds, measured and proportioned forms, and the universe’s extraordinary order and harmony, which has continued for billions of years without any interruption or deviation, demonstrates that everything occurs according to God Almighty’s absolute determination. Each seed or ovum is like a case formed by Divine Power into which Divine Destiny inserts the future life-history of a plant or a living being. Divine Power employs atoms or particles, according to the measure established by Divine Destiny, to transform each seed into a specific plant, and each fertilized ovum into a specific living being. This means that the future life-history of these entities, as well as the principles governing their lives, are prerecorded in the seed or the fertilized ovum as determining factors and processes.
Plants and living beings are formed from the same basic materials. However, there is an almost infinite variety between species and individuals. Plants and living beings grow from the same constituent basic elements, and display great harmony and proportion. And yet there is such abundant diversity that we are forced to conclude that each entity receives a specific form and measure. This specific form and measure is established by Divine Destiny.
WHY IS DESTINY INCLUDED IN THE ESSENTIALS OF BELIEF?
Destiny and man’s free will, which marks the farthest point of perfection of one’s belief and submission, is something related to the inner experience and spiritual state of a believer, so it is not something indicated by science or theory. Man has free will, and is enjoined to follow the religious obligations. He cannot by any means ascribe his sins to God. Divine Destiny exists so that the believer does not grow proud of his good acts by ascribing them to himself. Man has free will so that the rebellious carnal self does not rid itself of the consequences of its sins by ascribing them to Destiny, and the pious person conceitedly ascribe his good acts to himself alone.
While it may be admissible for people to relate some misfortunes to Divine Destiny, so as not to be driven to despair in the face of calamities, no one can be absolved from his sins and exempt from his obligations by attributing everything to Destiny. So, belief in Destiny has been included among the principles of faith to preserve man from self-conceit, and man’s free will is recognized as the ground of his sins.
Man is completely responsible for his sins, because it is he himself who wills to commit them, and then does so. Sins are the cause of much disorder and destruction, so they may merit a terrible punishment-to cite an example, a house can easily be burnt to the ground just by the striking of a match. On the other hand, man has no right to boast about his good acts since, in reality, he has little share in them. It is the Divine Compassion which demands good acts and the Power of the Lord which creates them. God guides man to good acts and makes him succeed in willing and doing them, so the cause of a man’s good acts is the Divine Will. A man can possess and own them by means of faith and by praying to God to be able to deserve them, consciously believing in the necessity of performing them and being pleased with what God has ordained for him. It is man himself, on the other hand, who causes sins either through capacity and disposition or through choice and preference, just as the pure bright sunlight can cause some substances which are subject to decomposition to go bad and putrefy.
Man wills and commits sins, but it is God Who creates all his acts whether they are good or bad. God creates a sinful act as a requirement of a law He established for the life of man and the universe for many good purposes. Although man derives much benefit from rain, a person who has suffered some harm because of it cannot say that rain does not contain God’s grace for man. It is on account of this subtle reality that willing and committing evil deeds is evil but creating them is not. Although there may be an evil in creating evil deeds on the part of man, creation is absolutely good by its very nature and contains many instances of good for the general operation and life of the universe as well as for the one who wills and commits that evil. Ugliness in a man’s acts lies in his will and potential, not in God’s creating it.
As Divine Destiny is absolutely free from evil and ugliness in relation to results, it is also exempt from injustice on account of the causes. Divine Destiny always takes into consideration the primary cause, not the apparent secondary cause, and always does justice. Men, on the other hand, judge according to the apparent causes and draw the wrong conclusions. To cite an example, a court may condemn a person to imprisonment on a charge of theft, and do injustice because he has not committed any such crime-however, Divine Destiny actually passes this judgment on account of the murder which that person committed but which remained secret. Thus, while the court has done injustice by condemning him on a charge of which he is innocent, Divine Destiny has done justice by punishing him for a crime which remained unknown. It can be concluded from this example that God is absolutely just in all His acts, whilst man is liable to do injustice. Divine Destiny and Creation is absolutely free from evil and ugliness at the beginning and at the end of events, and on account of cause and results.
Question
If man has only a nominal share in his acts because his free will does not possess creative ability, why do we read in the holy Quran that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth takes man’s rebellion so seriously?

Answer:

Unbelief, rebellion and sinfulness mean destruction, and complete destruction can result from an act of disobedience of a most nominal weight. Just as a vessel may sink due to the helmsman’s negligence, whilst the efforts of the whole crew can achieve nothing to save it. A man’s free will can cause great depredations as a result of unbelief and sinfulness, no matter how insignificant a share it actually has in the performance of acts. Unbelief is so great a sin by its nature that it reduces the whole universe to something of no value, and contradicts the witnessing to the Oneness of God by the whole of creation, and denies the manifestations of the Divine Names. It is, therefore, entirely proper that God should take unbelief so seriously and threaten unbelievers so severely in the name of the whole of creation and the Divine Names, and it is absolutely just to condemn them to the eternal torment of Hell. Since rebellious men cause vast corruption through unbelief and sinfulness, the believers are in great need of God’s succor against them. A mischievous boy can set a whole house on fire although it is guarded by ten strong men, and those guards may need to apply to the parents of that boy to prevent him from committing such a crime. So too do believers need the help of God against rebellious and sinful men.
In short: It is permissible for the believer to speak of Divine Destiny and man’s free will, when his faith is perfect and when he is mature enough to perceive that all creation including himself is at God’s disposal. He assumes his responsibilities because he has free will and glorifies God by proclaiming Him to be free of any involvement with his own sins. He never forgets that he is a servant of God, and accordingly tries to follow all the Divine Commandments. On the other hand, he remains thankful to God by ascribing to Divine Destiny any good acts he has been able to achieve, and never boasts of them. Also he finds the strength to bear all his misfortunes by discerning in them the role of Destiny.

However, it is not proper for anyone who neglects the Divine Commandments to argue about Divine Destiny and man’s free will, since his defective thinking will lead him to ascribe the whole of creation to causes and ignore God completely. He appropriates all his skills and good deeds, regarding them to have originated directly with himself, and attributes his defects and failures to Destiny. This view means the reduction of Divine Destiny and free will to a senseless trick played upon man by his own commanding self (nafs ammara) to mislead him to the point where he disregards and denies his religious duties.

6 Is there any relation between Lahw-i Mahfoos and Destiny?

Lawh Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet) means destiny. There is no difference between “Destiny” and lawh mahfuz. Lawh Mahfuz, which is used to discern it from other terms related to destiny, has the special meaning of “the Largest Book of Destiny”.

Lawh Mahfuz is the eternal knowledge that contains the, past, the future and the present. Destiny has dimensions like qada (decree), ata (change) and  Lawh Mahw (expunction). Lawh Mahfuz contains all of them.

For the definition of Lawh Mahfuz, please click on the link given below;

What is the Preserved Tablet (Lahw-i Mahfoos)?

 

7 Will you give information about the fact that Allah knows what we will do and qadar?

We can think as follows: We know when the sun will rise and set. It is written in the calendar that the sun will rise at a certain time tomorrow. And the sun rises at that time. The writing on the calendar does not have any effect on the sun’s rising at that time; it will be a mistake to say, ‘we know that the sun will rise tomorrow; so, it does not have to rise tomorrow'. If the sun does not rise, many benefits that will be caused by it will not take place.

One of the reasons why Allah created man is worshipping.

1- Allah created man to test him. That reason cannot take place without the creation of man.  

2- Allah wants to see himself – in a way peculiar to Him – and with the eyes of others His beauty and perfection manifest in the universe. The first one that is meant by others is man. This also necessitates the creation of man.

3- Allah created man so that he will worship Him. For this reason, an existing being is necessary. Worshipping is not possible without the creation of man. Our place in Paradise is prepared depending on the amount of our worshipping in the world.

4- To declare that Allah is greater than everything and to spread the orders of Allah. For this reason, the creation of both, the one who conveys the message and the one to whom the message is conveyed, is necessary.

5- A seed needs to enter the ground in order to become a tree; similarly, man was sent to the field of the world so that it would become mature and develop.

6- If we were created in another realm, we would ask 'why we were created in that realm?' It can be said that 'man was sent to this world because it is the perfect examination hall for testing.'

7- It is necessary to emphasize that to know and to do are very different things. We had given an example above. The fact that we know that a seed will become a tree does not mean that that seed does not have to become a tree.

8- One of the reasons why man is tested is the fact that it is important for man to know what he did. As a matter of fact, man will be shown what he did in the Gathering Place and he will not have the opportunity to say anything against the justice of Allah. If He threw people into Paradise or Hell without testing, the soul would complain about it by saying it was injustice to throw a person into Hell without testing.

Think of a teacher. He knows the marks that his students will get. If he said to the students when he entered the class that he knew the marks they would get and he gave them marks without giving them any exams, the students would oppose. Our Lord tests us to prevent us from opposing.

If a plan is made for a machine or building, is it possible to say ‘since there is a plan, there is no need to construct the building or the machine’?

Suppose that we plan to go somewhere and eat certain things to morrow. Do we ever say, ‘since it is certain what we are going to do, there is no need to go there and eat those things’?

If we cannot say it even for simple things, we cannot say why Allah, who created man based on innumerable reasons, tests people since He knows what they will do.

Allah Almighty is wise and just. He does not do things without any reason; He is just. He does not oppress His slaves.

One meaning of qadar is the fact that Allah knows the life programs of the creatures He created through His pre-eternal knowledge. That is, everything from the moment a person starts to exist in the womb to the moment he is born and to the breaths he takes is written in qadar and they are all known by Allah.

Qadar is a program designed by knowledge and will. Qada is the name of the phase of the application of that program.

Qada is the manifestation of Allah’s power. Qadar is the reflection of Allah’s knowledge. Therefore, when qadar is mentioned, knowledge comes to the mind. As a matter of fact, the following verse shows that qadar means the fact that Allah knows everything:

“And there is not a thing but its (sources and) treasures (inexhaustible) are with Us; but We only send down thereof in due and ascertainable measures.” (al-Hijr, 21)

Since qadar is a program originating from knowledge, it does not have a forcing aspect regarding the deeds of man. As a matter of fact, the sentence, “Knowledge depends on what is known”, which is a rule of the science of Kalam regarding qadar expresses it more clearly. We can express it more clearly by giving the following example: The fact that we know when the sun will rise and set tomorrow does not affect the sunrise and the sunset. The sun does not rise or set at those times because we know it; on the contrary, we know it because the sun rises and sets at those times.

That Allah knows who will go to Hell and who will go to Paradise is an attribute of His divinity. Man has the qualities that can do the deeds that cause him to go to Paradise or Hell. Man can do the deeds of the people of Paradise or Hell through the partial free will given to him. The responsibility lies with him regarding the issue.

Qadar has two aspects: Things that are out of man’s will like being born, his parents, his time of death, etc. Man is not responsible for them since he cannot decide about them.

However, he is responsible for the deeds that he decides to do of his own accord. Everybody knows that a person goes to the mosque or to the pub of his own accord. Nobody forces him regarding the issue.

With the expression of a hadith of the Prophet, “every child is born with the nature of Islam.” One of the meanings of the word 'Islam' mentioned in hadiths is high ethics. That is, each person is created with the nature of high ethics and with the characteristic to approve the principles of belief. However, if a person changes that characteristic and accepts the belief of the people of Hell, doing the deeds of the people of Hell, he will definitely be held responsible.

8 Could you give detailed information about fate?

1-You can ask anything that occupies your about in fate. It does not mean that you deny fate. As a matter of fact, according to what we learn from the Quran, Prophet Abraham asked Allah how the dead would be resurrected and then said “My Lord, I am asking not because I do not believe but because I want my heart to be convinced.” For this reason, we can ask the questions in our minds. And we will try to answer them as much as we can do.

2- The true meaning of fate is the fact that Allah knows what happened and what will happen. We should pay attention that it does not ignore free-will. To know and to do are different. The one who knows is Allah and the one who does is His servant. Let us give an example regarding the issue:

Our Prophet informed us and gave the good news about the conquest and the conqueror of Istanbul hundreds of years ago. When the time came for it, it happened as he had told us. Now, was Istanbul conquered because the Prophet said it would be or did the Prophet said it would be conquered because he knew it would? Then, would it still have happened if Mehmet the Conqueror had not worked and had not prepared the army for it? So, it can be said that Allah knew that Mehmet the Conqueror would work and conquer Istanbul and informed His Messenger about it.

The focal point here is that we do things not because Allah knows, but because Allah knows we will do them. As a matter of fact, it is impossible to think that Allah will not know about the future. If He did not or could not know, He would not be the creator.

Let us give an example for it: think of a teacher from saintly slaves of Allah. He says to one of his students “I will test you tomorrow from this book”. However, the teacher knows that the student will not study because of playing football, having fun with friends or watching movies; so, he writes “0” point in his report beforehand. The following day, the student comes and he cannot answer the questions and when he realizes that he deserves “0” point, the teacher takes out his notebook from his pocket and says “as I knew you would not study and deserve 0 point from this test, I wrote 0 in my notebook beforehand”. In this case, can the student say “I got 0 from the test because you gave me 0. Otherwise, if you had written a higher point in your notebook, I would get a higher point now.”?

So we can say that we do not do so because Allah wrote it so, but Allah wrote them so because He knows we will do so. That is what we call “fate”.

3- Every person born into world is bound to be tested. Allah the Glorious knows with His infinite knowledge what one will do and what will happen to him. However, the fact that Allah knows does not force him to do so, because Allah has offered lots of options to people.

Whichever way one prefers using his own free-will, Allah creates that way. Therefore, it is the human being who is responsible.

It can be exemplified as follows: Imagine that the top floor of an apartment building is full of boons and the bottom floor is full of tormentors; and a person is in the lift of that building. That person was informed about the state of the building before. He will reach the boons if he pushes the up button and he will be tormented if he pushes the down button.

In this case, what the free-will of the person does is only to decide which button to push and then push it. And the lift does not work with that person’s free-will and power, but it works based on certain physic and mechanic laws. So, the person does not go to the top floor or to the bottom floor with his own power. Nevertheless, he is the one to decide where the lift will go, with his own free-will.

Everything one does with his own free-will can be evaluated according to that criterion. For instance, Allah the Glorious stated that it is sinful to go to a pub and virtuous to go to a mosque. And we are free to go to whichever one we want, just like the lift in the example given above.

Whichever button he pushes, that is, wherever he wants to go, his body will move towards there and thus, the reward or the punishment of the place where he will go belongs to him.

It is the same with marriage, too. There are lots of choices before a person who wants to get married. It is up to you to decide what kind of a person you want to marry. Allah creates the circumstances based on your choice. The fact that Allah knows whom you will marry does not force you into that marriage.

The Islamic criterion of marrying a non-Muslim person is as follows: a Muslim man can marry a woman from the people of the book, that is a Jewish or a Christian, but he cannot marry a non-Muslim woman who is not from the people of the book.

In addition, a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim man, even if he is from the people of the book.

4- We can divide the fate into two: forced fate and voluntary fate.

“We cannot have any affect on forced fate. It is totally out of our free-will. Our forced fate includes our place of birth, our parents, our shape, and our inborn skills. We cannot determine them. And we are not responsible for that kind of fate.

The second kind of fate is voluntary fate. Allah knows with His infinite knowledge and ordains whatever we will decide and whatever we will do. Your question must be discussed in this category. That is to say, you are deciding on a type of person to marry and look for him/her. And Allah introduces some people who have got the characteristics which you desire to you. You like one of them and accept him/her with your own free-will. The fact that Allah knows whom you will marry is fate and the fact that you choose your spouse with your free-will is a responsibility of human beings, which is called partial free will.

Our hearts beat, our blood is refreshed, and our cells grow, reproduce and die. Many things which we do not know happen in our bodies. We are not the doers of any of them. Those things continue to happen even when we are asleep.

However, we know very well that there are things which we do of our own accord. It is us to decide to eat, drink, speak, and walk and so on. We have got a free-will though weak, knowledge though little and power though slight.

It is us to decide which way to go at the crossroads. And life is full of crossroads.

In this sense, on whom else but ourselves can we put the blame of the things we choose consciously and decide to do without any enforcement?

The will of man, which is called partial free will, causes many significant things benefiting from the laws ruling in the universe, although it seems insignificant.

Imagine that the top floor of an apartment building is full of boons and the bottom floor is full of tormentors; and a person is in the lift of this building. That person was informed about the state of that building before. He will reach the boons if he pushes the up button and he will be tormented if he pushes the down button.

In this case, what the free-will of the person does is only to decide which button to push and then push it. And the lift does not work with that person’s free-will and power, but it works based on certain physic and mechanic laws. So, the person does not go to the top floor or to the bottom floor with his own power. Nevertheless, he is the one to decide where the lift will go, with his own free-will.

Everything one does with his own free-will can be evaluated according to that criterion. For instance, Allah the Glorious stated that it is sinful to go to a pub and virtuous to go to a mosque. And we are free to go to whichever one we want, just like the lift in the example given above.

Man’s will does not have any role in the occurrences in the universe; similarly, he does not have any role in the activities occurring inside his body. Human body works in accordance with divine rules which are called the universal law. However, where he will go is up to his decision. Whichever button he pushes, that is, wherever he wants to go, his body will move towards there and thus, the reward or the punishment of the place where he will go belongs to him. So it can be said that a person who complains saying “what is my fault here?” using the fate as his excuse, is indeed ignoring his free will.

If human beings are “leaves blown by the wind”, if they do not have the ability to choose, if they are not responsible for what they do; then what is the significance of crime? Does a person who says “what is my fault” not resort to court when he is wronged?

However, in this sense, that person should have thought like this: “that man put my house on fire. He defamed my honor, killed my child but he has got excuses. It was his fate to do those things, what could he do, he could not have acted otherwise.”

Do people who are wronged really think so?

If man were not responsible for what he did, words like “good” and “bad” would be meaningless. There would be no need to appreciate heroes and to despise traitors. Both of them would have done the things unwillingly. However, nobody can claim like that. Everyone admits in their hearts that they are responsible for what they do and they are not leaves blown by the wind.

5- There are different kinds of supplications (dua). For instance, you have an examination tomorrow. The supplication for the examination is studying. It is called practical supplication. After finishing studying, we raise our hands and say “My Lord, give me what is good for me”; and it is verbal supplication. One should supplicate sincerely and be ready to accept the result because Allah knows that what we want sometimes may not be good for us, but we do not know. As Allah who has infinite mercy knows that it will not be good for us, He accepts that supplication in a different way. Hazrat Mary’s mother vowed her to the mosque when she was about to be born. And when she saw that her child was not a boy but a girl, she was surprised and sad. Emphasizing that example, Islamic scholars say that Allah definitely accepts our supplication. Sometimes He accepts them in a different and better way. And Hazrat Mary was a girl equal to a hundred boys. One cannot say that Allah did not accept her supplication. As a matter of fact, He accepted her supplication in a better way. And sometimes one thinks that his supplication is never accepted on the earth. However, his supplication is accepted in a better and more elevated way in Heaven.

According to those explanations, what we must do for a good spouse is to search within the frames of religious criteria and to supplicate to Allah.

9 I wonder if prayer can affect qadar. Can we change our qadar through our prayer?

Qadar is the decision made about something. The carrying out of that decision is qada. To annul that decision and by skipping the carrying out of that judgment is ata (forgiving, grant). A soft grass can pierce a stone with hard grains; similarly, ata pierces the certainty of the law of qada. And qada pierces the decisions of qadar like an arrow. That is, the relation of ata to qada is like the relation of qada to qadar. Ata is an exception to the scope of the law of qada. And qada is an exception to the generality of the law qadar. A saint who is aware of this fact says, "O my Lord! My good deeds are out of your ata. My bad deeds are out of your qada. Were it not for your ata, I would be destroyed." (Mesnevi-i Nuriye, 206)

That is, ata is defined as the annulment of the decision given about something and skipping the carrying out of that judgment. When ata is mentioned, the pardon and grant of ar-Rahim (the All Compassionate), al-Karim (the Generous), al Ghafur (the Forgiver) is understood.

For instance, a certain misfortune was preordained in our qadar at a certain date; if that misfortune takes place at that date, it is called qada. However, a good deed of us or a prayer before that date may annul the judgment of that qada; the annulment of that judgment by Allah is called ata.   

We can explain the annulment of the law of qada by ata and the annulment of qadar by ata as follows: A king has general laws and the law of pardon and ata that he applies on certain dates. The king forgives some of the criminals on that day and alleviates the punishments of others; he promotes some of his officers and increases their salaries. The punishments, promotions and salaries that have been imposed by the general law are annulled by that law of ata.   

Suppose that a criminal was given an imprisonment of ten years for a certain crime that he committed. If that punishment is forgiven by the law of ata, the punishment is not carried out and the law of qada is changed. Since the punishment is not carried out, the law of qadar is changed; that is, the punishment given to him for his crime is annulled.    

As it is seen in the example above, the otherworldly punishments ordained by God Almighty for the sins that people commit are pardoned by His law of ata; that is, due to His pardoning and grant, qada is annulled; thus, the law of ata annuls the law of qada. Similarly, with the annulment of qada, the law of qadar is also annulled and the punishment that has been imposed is changed.  

Let us give another example: a slave leaves home with the intention and inclination of going to a place of sins. Since the slave pushes the button of will, Allah will create the result of his inclination and took him to the place where willed. However, a nice state of that person, for instance, the tears he sheds in the middle of the night, or driving one or two friends to a religious talk, may stir the Divine Mercy; Allah sends him a friend who will take him to a nice place not to a place of sin; thus, He changes the judgment due to the will of that person. That Allah changes a decree or a qada about a person with or without any reason is an ata belonging to Him. 

On the other hand, it is stated that ata is an exception to the scope of the law of qada. It can be explained as follows: the punishment imposed for a sin originates from a general law. That is, the decree stating that a person who commits a certain crime is given a certain punishment is a general law. If that person who commits that crime repents and if his sins are forgiven an exception to the scope of the law takes place. It also means an exception to the generality of the law qadar.

The rule we have tried to explain above brings to the mind the question whether qadar changes or not. We should state that it is impossible for the Divine Knowledge to change. All of the events that took place and that will take place, including the application of the law of ata, are included in that knowledge. That qadar does not change. The changes take place in Lawh al-Mahw wa Ithbat (the Tablet of Erasure and Confirmation), which is a changeable board of the fixed and deep Lawh al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet) in the scope of possibility. Many punishments that are preordained are forgiven through repentance and the law of ata; and they are erased from Lawh al-Mahw wa Ithbat. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a verse in the Quran:   Allah doth blot out or confirm what He pleaseth: with Him is the Mother of the Book. (ar-Ra'd, 39)

What is belief in Qada and Qadar?

10 What is the effect of partial free will? Since Allah gives everything, what is the importance of partial free will given to man?

The partial free will is a compulsory element for man who was sent for divine testing. Otherwise, it is impossible to talk of the justice of Allah. It is contrary to Islamic belief.

In the Quran, sometimes the universal will of Allah and sometimes man’s partial free will is emphasized depending on the context. This emphasis is a reflection of the style that shows the eloquence of that statement. The universal will is implicitly present where the partial free will is mentioned and the partial free will is implicitly present where the universal will is mentioned.

For instance, Allah stated the following in order to console Hazrat Prophet (pbuh), who was very disturbed by the attitudes of the deniers, and to emphasize that guidance and aberration, the good and the bad can only take place by the creation of Allah:

Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing And on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur). (al-Baqara, 2/7).

That position is a position of consoling; the absolute power, majesty and will of Allah are emphasized due to the weakness and sorrow of His messenger. The reason why Allah punished them like that is not explained. The reason is the fact that they insisted on denying using their own free will. The statement, “they will not believe” at the end of the previous verse gives some clues about the reason. That is, Allah knows that they will continue not believing using their partial free will and punishes them accordingly.

Allah’s universal will is implicitly present where man’s partial free will needs to be placed to the forefront. For instance, after reminding that the Quran is a book that teaches the truth, Allah states the following in order to emphasize that His messenger has no responsibility except conveying the message:

Say "The Truth is from your Lord": let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it). (al-Kahf, 18/29).

In fact, nobody can do anything unless Allah wills. The creation points of both denial and belief belong to Allah. Man wants unbelief or belief and Allah creates it. Here, the universal will of Allah is not emphasized unlike the first example because that is what eloquence necessitates.

When the slave uses his partial free will to do something, the universal will steps in and that deed is created. For instance, a person can only want to speak; the one that makes him speak is Allah. A person wants to study but the one that creates the deeds of seeing, understanding and writing for his study is Allah. Therefore, the partial free will of man is limited to wanting only. The one that creates the deeds that we want is God Almighty. Thus, it is not appropriate for man to attribute the good deeds that he committed to himself, that is, to say, “I did them.”

To sum up, man wants and Allah creates.

11 Were humans created without their free will?

Allah (SWT) did not ask anyone while He was creating the universe and He did not take anybody’s free will into consideration. “Doer (without let) of all that He intends.” (Surah Al-Burooj, 85/16)

 “But ye will not, except as Allah wills; for Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom.” (Surah Al-Insan, 76/30)

Allah (SWT) is the creator of all things. What we call as “thing” belongs to Him and is His creature. We too also belong to Him with our deeds. That is why the following is stated in the Qur’an: "But Allah has created you and your handiwork!" (Surah As-Saaffat, 37/96).

Even though man has free will, the command and the decision belong to Allah. Unless an order comes from Him, nothing happens. Unless He wills, nothing comes into existence! If He had not wished, there would not have been anything such as time and place at the moment. If he had not sustained the things that He created, everything would have been destroyed.

12 If Allah knows what we will do, why did He send us down to Earth?

While creating the Universe, Allah arranged it not according to our small brains’ engineering, but according to His infinite wisdom. It is normal that our brains cannot comprehend everything.

I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me” (adh-Dhariyat, 51:56). The verse indicates the reason of our creation.

The concept of justice is determined according to practices, not according to opinions. In this sense;

Imagine a teacher. He enrolls two new students, one named A and other named B. While enrolling them, he says “B will fail and A will pass and rank first”, depending on his former experience. Although he knows it, can he suggest those students to give up education saying “as the result of it is obvious, you do not need to come to school”? It is clear that the suggestion would not be appreciated by the students. What should be done is to provide those students with equal opportunities so that justice can be done. If the student, who fails at the end of the year, objects to the teacher by saying; “Teacher! I failed because you knew it”, of course the teacher’s answer is easy: “Knowing is not like causing; it cannot force someone to do something. That is, you did not fail because I knew it, but I knew that you would fail. Knowledge is known by what is obvious. Something is known the way it will happen. For instance, if I had not known, you would have still failed. I did not force you to fail with my knowledge. I provided you with the same opportunities as everyone. It is a great insolence to put the blame of ignorance and laziness on the teacher…”

13 Will the members of a nation be punished in this world or the hereafter due to the acts and deeds of that nation in the past?

According to Islam, nobody is held responsible due to the crime of others. Therefore, the saying, "The privacy of crime is essential" is a general rule. As a matter of fact, Hz. Noah's son did not believe in his father and died as an unbeliever. His father is not held responsible for it.

However, mothers and fathers need to bring up their children in a nice way and set good examples; similarly, states and nations need to bring up their citizens in accordance with Islamic principles. If they do not bring up their citizens and set bad examples with their bad deeds, they will be held responsible for not bringing up their citizens in a nice way and due to their bad deeds.  

Accordingly, the nations that come afterwards are not held responsible for the crimes and sins committed by their ancestors.However, if they do the same bad deeds as their ancestors did and support them, they will be held responsible too.

As for those who are suffering now due to the mistake of their ancestors, their situations will be regarded as a test. Those who fulfill the test in the best way under the current circumstances will be rewarded.

It cannot be guaranteed that they would be better Muslims if they lived under different circumstances; therefore, they are responsible for acting in accordance with the circumstances they live under. That is, a Muslim will not be accounted for where and when he lived; he will be accounted for how he lived.