[By Allama Muhammad Idris Saheb Kandhlavi (Rahmatullahi Alayh)]
ACTIONS AND DEEDS
Just as Allaah Ta’ala is the creator of human beings, so too is He is the Creator of their characters, habits, qualities and actions. These actions, be they good or bad, are all in the Taqdeer, control and knowledge of Allaah Ta’ala. Nevertheless, He is pleased with good and displeased with evil. One must remember this and remember well, that to attribute only evil to Allaah Ta ‘ala is contrary to respect and etiquette. It is inappropriate to (only) say that Allaah Ta ‘ala is the Creator of evil, it will be more befitting to say that He is the Creator of good and evil. One should say that Allaah Ta’ala is the Creator of everything. One should never (only) say that Allaah Ta’ala is the Creator of filth and pigs, etc. It is wholly disrespectful and sacrilegious to attribute such things (alone) to Allaah Ta’ala, Who is a Pure Being. In short, just as the servants are the creation of Allaah Ta’ala, so too are their actions the creation of Allaah Ta’ala. However, some actions of man are voluntary, which come into being with the order of Allaah Ta’ala, and others are involuntary, which occur without man’s intention or will, and without his intervention, like the hand of a person who shakes from shaking palsy. In this shaking there is no intention, nor desire of the person for it, hence this is known as an involuntary action. When the doer desires for an action and he initiates it, then it is known as a voluntary action, for example, when one stretches the hand to make musafaha (handshake), or one lifts his hand to strike someone out of anger. These are voluntary actions.
Just like how a person sees with the eyes given to him by Allaah Ta’ala, and he hears with the ears given to him by Allaah Ta’ala, so too does he carry out actions by the power and ability given to him by Allaah Ta’ala. All these actions of man, although they are created by Allaah Ta’ala, and they come into existence by His Will and Decree, however, since they are voluntary by man, and through these actions he carries out good actions, therefore he is compensated for it. If he does any evil action, then he will be punished for it.
The Mu’tazilahs and Qadariyyahs (deviant sects), hold this belief, that man has the full control of his actions and man is the creator of the same.
The Jabariyyah (another deviant sect) hold this belief, that man has absolutely no control of his actions, whatever man does is not out of his own choice, just like how the movements of a tree or stone occur, so too do the actions of man. Hence, their belief is that man will not be taken to task or punished for any evil actions, but he will be compensated for good actions. According to them the sinners and the Kuffaar are all excusable and they will not be questioned.
The Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaat say that both these beliefs are wrong and incorrect. The belief of the Qadariyyahs and Mu’tazilahs is incorrect because man does not have the ability to create his own actions. It is impossible for man to, bring a non-existent thing into existence. Also, the Pure Being of Allaah Ta’ala, Who has no partner is also free from this that there can be partners to His exclusive Quality of creating. He Alone has the quality of creation. As Allaah Ta’ala says:
“Do they ascribe partners to Allaah, that they (can) create like how He creates. They are equating the creation to Him, Say! Allaah is the Creator of everything. He is One, Most Powerful.”
The helplessness of man is such that he cannot even utter the letter `meem’ from the throat or the letter ”ayn’ from the lips. With such a profound debility, how can the quality of creation be attributed to man?
The belief of the Jabariyyah is incorrect because it is contrary to common sense and logic. Therefore, all intellectuals are unanimous on this point that actions are of two categories; voluntary and involuntary. They also agree on this point that whoever carries out a voluntary good action, he will receive a reward, and whoever carries out a voluntary evil action, should be punished. The Jabariyyah sect oppose this differentiation and categorisation of actions. According to them all actions are involuntary and no action is voluntary.
The trustworthy, protectors and protagonists of any land are rewarded and the rebels are imprisoned and punished. The thieves and evil people are imprisoned for a while and have to undergo a trail of suffering. If there was no system of reward or punishment in this world for good and evil actions then this world would have been absolutely destroyed and devastated long ago. When this system of rewarding the good and punishing the evil is acceptable and commended as being justice by the temporary governments of this world, then how come there is a doubt and objection to this system with regard to Allaah Ta’ala, Who is the Best Judge amongst judges.
If a thief is caught stealing and he offers the following excuse that he was forced to commit the crime and it was an involuntary actions on his part, then he will be told that he is lying and if he was forced, then how come he left his home? Can we say that it is an involuntary action to come out at night and break someone’s lock or break down his door? If man can be subservient to the temporary justice of man, how can he not be subservient to the eternal and perfect Justice of Allaah Ta’ala? The Ahlus Sunnat Wal Jamaat say that these two views, that man is completely in control and that he is completely helpless, are unacceptable and incorrect, and they are contrary to common sense and logic.
The Straight Path is the one that goes between the excesses. That is that man is neither completely in control (of his actions) nor is he completely helpless, in fact we are in between being forced and having full choice. Logically as well, this is the Truth, because the view of the Jabariyyah that man is completely helpless and incapable of intention and choice, is contrary to common sense and real life. Who does not know that man has the quality of choice and intention? Every person knows that his/her actions are not like that of a stone. The movements of a stone are done without its choice and intervention, whereas man has a choice and intention in his/ her actions.
Now that it is established that man has choice and intention, then there are now two possibilities. Either this choice is fixed and unshakeable or it is fixed to only this level that Allaah Ta’ala’s Will has no play in a person’s kufr and Imaan. This is the Madh-hab of the Qadariyyahs.
The second possibility is this that man has choice and intention. But this intention and choice is not fixed and firm, rather it is subservient to the Desire and Will of Allaah Ta’ala. This is the Madh-hab of the Ahlus Sunnat Wal Jamaat.
Logically and rationally, this is the truth. Because for a person to have such full and fixed control over his choice, that is not subservient to Allaah Ta’ala, is impossible. When the mere existence, qualities and character of man is not fixed but completely subservient to the Will and Desire of Allaah Ta’ala, then how can the quality of power and choice be fixed in man? Allaah Ta’ala says:
“And you do not desire, except that which Allaah Ta ‘ala, Rabbul Aalameen, Desires.”
From this we deduce that man has desire and choice, but this is limited to and under the control of Allaah Ta’ala. Therefore, the Ahlus Sunnat Wal Jamaat say that man is in between being totally in control or under control. In a way, he has a choice, therefore he is able to carry out actions by choice and intention. He is not totally helpless, but he also has no choice in this choice. Just like a how a person has the choice to see and listen, however, he has no choice in the ability of hearing and seeing. In the same way, man has choice in his actions, but he has no choice in this choice, in fact he is helpless in his having a choice. When a person carries out an action through this Allaah given choice, then in the Shariah we say it is ‘Khasab’ (earned). Allaah Ta’ala is the Creator of actions and He brings it into existence. Man is the earner, actor and doer of the actions. This earning and acting is sufficient to warrant reward or punishment. For the weak, a weak choice is appropriate, and a full and complete choice is appropriate for The Creator and not the created.
The difference between the Qadariyyah and the Ahlus Sunnat Wal Jamaat is this that the Qadariyyahs claim that man has fixed and total choice over his actions, and we say that this choice is not full or fixed. We take the middle path and say that man’s choice is between full choice and no choice, and this is what we call in the Shariah earning and acting.
In the Qur’aan Majeed, Allaah Ta ‘ala has in all places attributed the quality of creation exclusively to Himself, and earning and acting (carrying out actions) to His servants.
“And Allaah created you and you carry out the actions.”
In this Aayat, Allaah Ta’ala attributes the quality of creation to Himself and the carrier out of the actions is man. There is absolutely no doubt that every action of man comes into being by the Knowledge and Will of Allaah Ta’ala. However, Allaah Ta’ala has also granted a certain amount of power and ability to man, whereby man carries out actions and he becomes worthy of reward for it or punishment in this world. Similarly, he will be rewarded or punished for his actions in the Aakhiraat (Hereafter).
FATE & DIVINE DECREE
Fate and Divine Decree is Haqq (Truth), and it is Fardh (obligatory) to believe in it. To bring Imaan in Divine Decree means that one should believe that Allaah Ta’ala had pre-destined for mankind even before their creation, the good and the bad, Imaan and kufr, guidance and deviation, and obedience and disobedience, and all this has been recorded. Now whatever occurs in this universe, is doing so at the behest and wish of Allaah Taa’ala. Also whatever happens, Allaah Ta’ala knew about it in its entirety even before its occurrence.
The dictionary meaning of Taqdeer is to measure or estimate. That occurrence that happens by desire and intention, is done with full understanding and measure. For example, a person wants to build a house. First a plan will be drawn so that the walls, etc. of the house can conform to some set standard.
In the same way, when Allaah Ta’ala intended to bring this universe into existence, He first set out a plan in His infinite Wisdom and Knowledge, and He measured each and everything from the time of inception until the end. Hence this ‘design’ and ‘plan’ of Allaah Ta’ala is known as Taqdeer. Allaah Ta’ala, in His infinite Wisdom and Knowledge had already meted out that at a certain time a certain occurrence will happen at a certain place, or that a person after his birth will bring Imaan at a certain time, or that a person after his birth at a certain time will make kufr, etc., etc. As Allaah Ta’ala says:
“Indeed Allaah had made everything in measure.”
Taqdeer is that Allaah Ta’ala measured out everything of this universe even before its creation. Qadha (Fate) is that Allaah Ta’ala created and brought into existence everything according to His plan and measure. The dictionary meaning of Qadha is to create. As Allaah Ta’ala says:
“And He created in them seven skies.”
Hence the unanimous belief of the Ahlus Sunnat Wal Jamaat is that Fate and Decree are Haqq. There is not an atom (or even the smallest particle) which is beyond the Taqdeer of Allaah Ta’ala. No one has the ability or potential to ward of or evade His Decree. Or even to delay it or expedite it. Whoever He wishes, He grants guidance to and whoever He wishes He leads him astray. There will never be any questioning Him or asking for explanation. However, He will question His bondmen regarding their actions. They will then be rewarded or punished for their good deeds or their evil actions.
Nevertheless, Allaah Ta’ala’s Decree and fate is Haqq. There can never be any chance of mistakes or miscalculations in His Actions. A human will first draw a plan prior to building a house, and Allaah Ta’ala had planned this universe prior to His creating it, but between the planning and knowledge of man and that of Allaah Ta’ala is a vast difference. The difference is that man, due to some obstruction or the other, may have to change or alter his originally intended plans, hence the planning and knowledge of man can be incorrect and deficient. But when Allaah Ta’ala intends to do something, there is nothing that will or can ever prevent Him, because the planning and Taqdeer of Allaah Ta’ala can never be incorrect or deficient. His intentions always come into being and none can prevent it. Also, the knowledge of man is extremely deficient. There are many things that man only comes to know about after he had drawn up his plans, therefore, there will be a difference between the plan of man and the outcome. And the Knowledge of Allaah Ta’ala, because it is All-Encompassing, therefore there will never be a difference between the plan and the outcome of Allaah Ta’ala.
TAQDEER AS AN EXCUSE??
The Taqdeer of Allaah Ta’ala is Haqq. It is Fardh to bring Imaan in it. It is incorrect to present Taqdeer as an excuse to our actions and deeds.
For example, a man steals or commits Zina (adultery), and then he makes the excuse that this was written in his Taqdeer. This excuse of his is unacceptable and insufficient to avert punishment from him. Indeed, Allaah Ta’ala has decreed everything, but you did not have any knowledge thereof. When you had stolen or committed Zina, then you did so purely out of nafsaani (inner) desires and to satisfy yourself. At that moment you were unaware as to what was decreed for you. This is all an excuse, you have no knowledge of Taqdeer. You committed this act voluntarily and by purpose. You were not forced into doing it, in fact you expanded your effort, strength, desire and gratification, hence for anyone to say that he/she was compelled by Taqdeer to carry out a certain act is a lie and deception. The bondsman is not bound or compelled by Allaah Ta’ala or Taqdeer. Whatever the servant of Allaah does, he does so of his own intention and accord, even though this intention and thought is made possible by Allaah Ta’ala, nevertheless, the servant has the choice of carrying out the action, he is not forced.
TAQDEER BEING FORCED??
Now remains the contention that since it is impossible for the servant to act contrary to Taqdeer, is not this a form of being forced??
No this is not the case. Allaah Ta’ala’s Knowledge and planning is complete and flawless. There can never be a mistake in the Taqdeer of Allaah Ta’ala. Hence, to act contrary to this Taqdeer is impossible. Taqdeer is the information and ‘data’ of Allaah Ta’ala. Knowledge follows that which is known. Information and data is something that follows what is related and transmitted, and it conforms to the reality. What is known does not follow the knowledge of it and what occurs and the reality of a situation does not follow the information and data of that incident. Just like how Allaah Ta’ala has the knowledge of our actions and deeds, so too has He the Knowledge of His actions. Nevertheless, Allaah Ta’ala does not force anyone on account of His knowledge. In this way, understand that the servant is not forced due to Allaah Ta’ala’s knowledge or Taqdeer. Allaah Ta’ala’s Knowledge is on its place and the servant is on his place. In this world a person is not regarded as being forced. If people were being forced, then the governments would not need to make prisons for the transgressors. Allaah Ta’ala had granted His bondsmen choice and ability, whereby he conducts his Deeni and worldly affairs. But, this choice of the servant is not with him by choice. Just like how a person has eyes and ears, not by choice but the actions he does with the eyes (looking) and ears (listening) are done by his choice. In a similar way, a person makes a choice to do something and he has the ability granted to him to carry it out, by his own choice. It is for this reason that it is said that a person has no choice in his qualities, but he has choice in his actions.
To believe that Allaah Ta’ala is the Creator of man’s actions, movements and animations does not necessarily mean that these movements are out of man’s choice and power, because Allaah Ta’ala has created both the power and the one who has the power. He has created both the choice and the one who has the choice. Power is one of the qualities of man, which Allaah Ta’ala had created and Allaah Ta’ala has created both man and his qualities. All this is in His Control. If man carries out an action through this Allaah given quality of power of his, then according to all learned men, this is by his (man’s) choice, and not an involuntary action. In short, we say that the existence of man, his actions and qualities, although we relate all this to Allaah Ta’ala, does not mean that man is helpless.
Allaah Ta’ala’s Power and Will is connected to the existence of man, but owing to this connection man does not become obliterated. In a similar way, by Allaah Ta’ala’s Power and Will being connected to man’s power and choice does not make man helpless. Man is however the servant and the creation of Allaah Ta’ala. It is not possible for the creation’s existence and qualities to supercede the Encompassing Power and Will of the Creator. Those who aver that man is the creator of his own actions and that (Nauthubillah!) man’s actions have no relation to the Power and Will of Allaah Ta’ala, are trying to say that the creation can supercede the Creator’s Power and Will. The entire Ummat unanimously agree that “Whatever Allaah Ta’ala Wills comes to pass and whatever He does not Will does not occur.”
The Mu’tazilahs believe that the actions of the servant are excluded from the Will of Allaah Ta’ala. LAA HAWLA WA LAA QUWWATA ILLAA BILLAAHIL ALIYIL AZEEM.
Allaah Ta’ala has created this universe with different things in it, the size and shape of everything is different for one another. The ability of each thing also differs from the next.
Take the example of a tree which has thousand different types of wood, some are used for burning, others for making wooden boards, others for roofing, etc., etc. Everyone agrees that if everything in this universe had the same qualities and conditions, then this universe would not be able to function properly and smoothly.
Now remains the contention that why are the abilities of everything different. This answer has still not been fathomed until today.
Muslims say that all this is in the Wisdom of the All-Knowing and All-Wise. The atheists say that all these different abilities are due to the movements of the blind and deaf matter.
Just as Allaah Ta’ala, in His Infinite Wisdom has created the abilities and shapes of trees and stones different from one another, He has also created the abilities of man different from one another. Some He made intelligent and sagacious, whilst others He made stupid and ignorant. Some He made susceptible to the Haqq and others to kufr. He made the heart of some clean and clear, whilst that of others are black and dark. “None can ask about what He does, whilst they are at answerable.”
AN OBJECTION AND ITS ANSWER
The objection is that the actions and speech of man is dependant upon their respective abilities. And all this is pre-destined, and not in the power of man, hence why is there an indictment against the Kuffaar, when they are in actual fact helpless and without choice.
Allaah Ta’ala has created two types of creations. Some are those which Allaah Ta’ala did not give any knowledge or (intelligent) qualities, like trees and stones. This type of creation will have no questioning or retribution. They will not be rewarded or punished. The other type of creation is that one on whom Allaah Ta’ala placed intelligence and choice, like man and jinn. For this creation Allaah Ta’ala granted them intelligence, choice and power. They have also been given limbs and organs, whereby they willingly carry out actions, and these actions are attributed to them. For example, they say that we have done this action with our hands, or that ‘I have said this’, or ‘I did that’, etc., etc. They accept and agree that whatever (worldly) reward or recompense is due upon them for any action carried out, is for them and that they deserve it. But when it comes to reward or punishment in the Hereafter they say that we are helpless. They do not realize that Allaah Ta’ala has granted them intelligence and choice in this world so that they may follow and carry out the Commands of Allaah Ta’ala, and then be liable for either reward or punishment. Just like how in this world one is merely rewarded because of his ability and potential, so too is a person not punished in the Hereafter simply due to his ability. Reward and punishment will be meted out only after one carries out good or bad actions.
A person is not rewarded merely because he is brave and strong. He has to go out into the ring and prove himself. In a similar way, a person will not be rewarded (by Allaah Ta’ala) merely on account of his ability. He must carry out actions that will warrant a suitable retribution.
Further Reading: FATE AND DESTINY (AL-QADAA WA AL-QADAR)