Question: If Allah knows who will go to Hell, then why did He enjoin commandments and prohibitions? If it is Allah who creates good and evil, why are we held responsible for our evil deeds?
Both good and evil exist by the creation of Allahu ta’ala. Reward and punishment have been made dependent on man’s partial will (iradah al-juz’iyyah), which is called kasb. Kasb is from humans, and creating it is from Allah. A Qur’anic verse says (what means):
(Whoever does an atom’s weight of good or evil will receive the recompense for it.) [Az-Zilzal 7, 8]
Allahu ta’ala does not make humans sin by force. There are, say, two trains in front of us and the following is written at the train station:
“Those who get on the train on the right will go to Paradise, the abode of eternal felicity. However, those who get on the train on the left will go to Hell, the abode of eternal torment. People who travel on the railway that is on the right have to carry out some tasks and abstain from some prohibitions. For example, they have to observe the commandments of the religion, e.g., salat and fasting, and avoid sins. But those who travel on the railway that is on the left will not face any trouble during the journey. They will not suffer any hardship. Nor will they have to carry out any tasks. But they will be subjected to endless distress at the end of the journey.”
The traveler buys with his free will the ticket to wherever he wants to go and gets on the train he likes. Moreover, he can change his mind before arriving at the terminus and can return. Just as it is possible for the one who travels on the train moving on the right track to get off and to get on the other train, so it is possible for the one who travels on the train moving on the left track to get off and to get on the other train.
As is seen, humans are free. They can get on whichever train they please and go whichever country they choose, but there is a vehicle carrying them. They are conveyed by train. Also, there is a person who operates it. It is the train that takes humans either to the abode of felicity or to the abode of torment. Likewise, saying it is Allah who creates all actions, that is, good and evil, means that it is Allah who gives humans the power to perform these actions. If there were not the trains in our example, humans would not set out on this long journey. It would not be logical for a person who went to the abode of torment with his own partial will to put the blame on the railway company by saying, “If you had not organized a train journey for this abode, we would not have arrived here.” Nobody was compelled to get on this train; furthermore, necessary warnings were given when they were getting on the train, during journey, and until the last moment. So everybody will see the recompense for good and bad deeds that they did with their own free will.
There are people who quote the Qur’anic verses like “Allah misguides whom He wills and guides whom He wills” and say, “Since we remain in aberration by the will of Allah, Allah does not have a right to brand us as aberrant” and “Since it is Allah who creates good and evil, we are not responsible for the evil deeds we do.” Thus, they are trying to place the blame on Allah. It is not all that easy to understand the Qur’an al-karim. If it were easy, Allahu ta’ala would not have commanded His Messenger, “My Messenger, explain the Qur’an to people.” Some verses clarify some others. A Qur’anic verse says (what means):
(In the world and in the life to come, Allah holds firmly those who have faith. And He causes the unjust to go astray.) [Ibrahim 27]
That is, those who will not attain salvation are unjust people, traitors, and such wicked ones. Allahu ta’ala creates good and evil after humans will and desire them. He does not prevent a person from performing salat or another person from committing a theft. It is Allahu ta’ala who gives them the power to perform salat or commit a theft. Allahu ta’ala, if He wills, may guide a person to the true path even if he is not worthy of it, but he never leaves a good person in aberration. He causes an unjust and treacherous one to go astray in accordance with His justice. He rewards a good deed with tenfold or a hundredfold or a thousandfold. But generally, he gives one punishment as the recompense for one sin. Doing good or committing sins have been made dependent on humans’ partial will. Allah does not compel humans to sin by force. If He made them commit sins by force, would He ever ask them on the Day of Resurrection why they sinned?
Allahu ta’ala does not wrong them
Question: Some people claim, “It is Allah who makes us do everything. We are not to blame for it. We experience what was preordained for us.” Is this thought true?
Hadrat Muhammad Ma’thum Faruki states:
Man’s will and option assumes a certain role in the creation of everything good or evil. When man wants to do something, Allahu ta’ala creates it if He, too, wishes it. Man’s will and option is called kasb (acquisition). This means to say that every action, everything man does, is actuated by Allah’s creation upon man’s acquisition (option). The torment that will be inflicted on the murderer is a punishment of his acquisition (option). Sectarians called the Jabriyyahhave denied man’s will and acquisition. They have maintained that “Allah creates all of man’s deeds, regardless of whether man wishes or not. Everything man does is like the swaying of trees and leaves with the wind. Every action is done under Allah’s compulsion. Man cannot do anything.” These statements cause disbelief. Could it ever be said that the (involuntary) trembling of the feet and moving them voluntarily were the same things? It is declared in the Qur’an al-karim:
(Allahu ta’ala will interrogate them for all of their deeds.) [Al-Hijr 92, 93]
(Let him who wishes believe, and let him who wishes deny. We have prepared the Hellfire for those who deny.) [Al-Kahf 29]
(Allahu ta’ala does not wrong them. They wrong themselves.) [An-Nahl 33]
Allahu ta’ala is the Merciful; He has infinite mercy. He has always commanded men what is useful and what they will be able to do. He has forbidden harmful things.
The 286th verse of Baqarah Sura purports, “Allahu ta’ala has commanded men things that they will do easily.” It is so surprising that there should be people who deny man’s will. Then why are they angry with those who vex them and who do not obey them? Why do they try to educate their sons and daughters? Why would they be exasperated if they saw them in indecent positions? Why do they not tolerate such things by saying, “Man does not have will, so these people are compelled to do what they are doing”?
Everybody will suffer the recompense for their evil deeds. It is stated in the Qur’an al-karim, “Your Lord will certainly inflict torment. There will be no escape from it” (At-Tur 7, 8).
Allah’s knowledge and qadar
Question: A woman marries a wicked man. When he does evil, she says, “What can I do? It is my qadar.” Or a man steps on the gas. While he is driving at breakneck speed, he has a traffic accident. Then he says, “What can I do? The predestination is so.” Or a person commits a theft, and then he is convicted. He says, “What can I do? My qadar is so.” Or some people consume harmful food and drinks. Then they fall ill and suffer a stroke. They say, “What can we do? No one can avert qadar.” It is possible to increase such examples. Is these people’s putting the blame on qadar appropriate?
Of course it is wrong. Yes, such things are written in their qadar, but they themselves cause these events to occur. Qadar is Allahu ta’ala’s knowing in eternal past the events that will take place. Qada’ is His creating the events that exist in qadar when the due time arrives. Let us give three illustrative examples:
1. If a movie is screened many times and if a person watching it before says while watching it the third time, “The leading actor will fall off the horse and die,” will the performer die because one member of the audience said so, or does he knows it because he watched it before? Likewise, Allahu ta’ala certainly knows with His eternal knowledge who will die where, in what condition, and whether he will go to Paradise or Hell.
2. The times when the sun will rise and set in a year are calculated and written on charts and timetables. The sun rises and sets at those times written on charts and timetables. However, it does not rise or set at those times as they were written beforehand so. Their having been written does not affect its rising or setting. Likewise, Allahu ta’ala knows what will befall humans, and He wrote it in al-Lawh al-Mahfuz.
3. If a teacher writes down on his notebook about one of his very lazy student on the basis of his personal experience, “This student cannot get through his exam,” what has been written down will not affect the exam of the student. When the student fails it, it is wrong to put the blame on the teacher by saying, “I could not pass the exam because of what you wrote on the notebook.”
Allahu ta’ala does not do anything wrong. Everybody is held responsible for what he did.
Abussuud Effendi states:
Allahu ta’ala knew in eternity all the deeds that will be done. But a person’s goodness or badness, whether he will enter Paradise or Hell, is known only at his last breath. Our Master the Prophet declared:
(A person commits all through his lifetime the sins that will take him to Hell. Performing the good deeds that will take him to Paradise during the final days of his life, this very person goes to Paradise.) [Bukhari]
Allah ta’ala knows whether or not a certain disbeliever will remain in disbelief eternally. No one can say with absolute certainty that he will remain a disbeliever. Knowledge depends on what is known. Allahu ta’ala knows the events that will take place as they will take place. And some news given in the Qur’an al-karim with regard to some events is given as they will take place. A painter draws a picture of a horse as the horse has that shape. The horse does not have that shape as the painter drew it like that. That Allahu ta’ala knows some people will not have faith and informs us of that in the Qur’an al-karim is because those people intend to remain in disbelief with their own free will and they do not want to have faith. Otherwise, they do not become disbelievers as Allahu ta’ala knows it and informs us of it.
Acts of worship are necessary
Question: Because the deeds that I did and I will do were preordained and written down, then what is the point in performing acts of worship?
A person from one of the Blessed Companions asked the same question. Our Master the Prophet answered it as follows:
(Everybody gets ready for his own deed.) [Muslim, Tirmidhi]
When Hadrat ‘Umar asked the same question, he stated as follows:
(Everybody gets ready for the deeds preordained beforehand. Whoever is one of the people of felicity will work for felicity. Whoever is one of the people of wretchedness will work for wretchedness.) [Tirmidhi]
He recited the Shams Sura to another person who asked a similar question. The meaning of the verses in question is as follows:
(Allahu ta’ala granted ikhtiyar [the right to choose, partial will] to man so that He might teach him good and evil and the states of both and so that he might do one of them. He who has purified his nafs [from vices and adorns it with virtues] has been saved. He who has left it in sins, ignorance, and aberration has suffered a loss.) [Ash-Shams 8-10]
Humans are free in using their partial will. They are not compelled. If one uses it in goodness, Allahu ta’ala creates goodness. If one spends it in evil, He creates evil. Humans use their partial will, and Allahu ta’ala creates what they want. (The Booklet Irada-i Juz’iyya by Muhammad Akkarmani)
Unjust people and salvation
Question: The fourth verse of Ibrahim Sura says, “Allah misguides whomever He wills and guides whomever He wills.” There are other Qur’anic verses stating the same fact. Since our remaining in aberration is by the will of Allah, is it appropriate for Him to label us as heretics and disbelievers? Secondly, since it is Allah who creates good and evil, why are we held responsible for our evil deeds?
It is not all that easy to understand the Qur’an al-karim. If it were easy, Allahu ta’ala would not have commanded, “My Messenger, explain the Qur’an al-karim to humans.” Some verses clarify some others. For example, He states:
(Allah misguides whomever He wills. Whoever turns to the truth, He guides him to the true path.) [Ar-Ra’d 27]
(Verily, the unjust will not attain salvation.) [Al-Qasas 37]
This means to say that those who will not attain salvation are unjust people, traitors, and such wicked ones. Allahu ta’ala creates good and evil after humans will and desire them. He does not prevent a person from performing salat or another person from committing a theft. It is Allahu ta’ala who gives them the power to perform salat or commit a theft. Allahu ta’ala, if He wills, may guide a person to the true path even if he is not worthy of it. But he never leaves a good person in aberration. He causes an unjust and treacherous one to go astray in accordance with His justice. He can reward a good deed with tenfold or a hundredfold or a thousandfold. But generally, he gives one punishment as the recompense for one sin. Doing good or committing sins have been made dependent on humans’ partial will. Allah does not compel humans to sin by force. If He made them commit sins by force, would He ever ask them on the Day of Resurrection why they sinned? The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(Man will see what he had prepared beforehand.) [At-Takwir 14]
(We will set up scales of justice on the Day of Resurrection. No one will be wronged. Whoever does good as much as the weight of a mustard seed will receive the reward for it.) [Al-Anbiya’ 47]
If Allah wills
Question: A friend of mine said, “Allahu ta’ala does not want to burn His slaves in Hell. He throws them into it as they are deserving of it.”However, another friend of mine asserted, “Something Allahu ta’ala does not want cannot happen. Is there anyone compelling Him to do anything (never!)? He does not burn any of His slaves if He does not want to. That is, He wants to burn them.” Which one is correct?
This is related to the issue of qada’ and qadar, and explicating it with a few words is impossible. If a person wants to do an action, Allahu ta’ala creates it if He wills. If he does not want to do it, Allahu ta’ala does not will it and does not create it. Those who are going to Hell are going there as they want. Allah does not do them injustice.
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
Allahu ta’ala’s fayd, favors, blessings, gifts, that is, His kindness, reaches everybody every moment, no matter whether he is good or evil. Without discriminating, our Lord sends everybody property, children, food, the right way to Islam, guidance, safety, and every kind of goodness. The difference is in the way people accept and receive Allah’s gifts, or in their not being able to receive them. It is declared in the Qur’an al-karim:
(Allahu ta’ala did not wrong them. They wronged themselves [by choosing disbelief].) [An-Nahl 33]
If there were no option or power of choosing in man, Allahu ta’ala would not have said in this Qur’anic verse, “They wronged themselves.” (Maktubat-i Rabbani)
Born slave never suffers from his Lord;
What everyone suffers is his own deserts.
Time of death and divine preordainment
Question: Since it is Allah who preordains the time of death for everyone, why is a person who kills someone else or who commits suicide considered guilty?
Allahu ta’ala certainly knows who will die, when he will die, how he will die, whether he will commit suicide or not, and who will kill whom. The one who does not know them cannot be a god. Allahu ta’ala also knows who will go to Paradise and who will go to Hell. Allah’s knowing something does not mean that Allah compels a person to do it. For example, the times when the sun will rise and set during a year are calculated and written on charts and timetables. The sun rises and sets at those times written on charts and timetables. However, it does not rise or set at those times as they were written beforehand so. Rather these times are written as the sun will rise then. Likewise, Allahu ta’ala definitely knows what a certain person will do, when he will die, how he will die, and whether he will enter Paradise or Hell. This knowledge of His is recorded in his qadar. Man does not do these actions as they were recorded in his qadar. Rather what he will do is known by Allah and what is known is recorded in his qadar. Allah knows that so and so will commit suicide, that so and so will kill so and so, that so and so will commit such and such a sin. And what is known is recorded. Therefore, a person who sins is held responsible for his sin. He who murders a human is responsible for his murder. He who commits suicide is responsible for his self-murder.
What does qadar mean?
Question: Does the qadar preordained for us prevent us from doing good or evil actions?
No, it does not. Qadar means Allahu ta’ala’s knowing the deeds that we will do with our free will and the events that will come upon us. Allahu ta’ala records them in the destiny of a person. For instance, He writes: “This human will do such and such deeds with his free will” or “Such and such calamities will befall him at such and such a place” or “He will die of such and such an illness.” That is, we do good and evil deeds with our free will, and we are subjected to some events because of our deeds. If we are to die in a traffic accident or if we are to be hit by a stray bullet or if we are to die during an earthquake, all these things were recorded in our destiny. We do not die as they were written in our qadar, but they were written in our qadar as it was known that we would die of such causes. Similarly, a wicked man does not do wicked deeds as they were written in his destiny. Rather they were written in his destiny as it was known that he would do them. This subtlety should be understood well. Those who do not know of this fact and commit evil deeds try to put the blame on qadar to prove themselves innocent and say, “What can we do? It is our qadar.” Qadar is not to blame. Qadar means Allahu ta’ala’s knowing everything that will take place and His preordaining it. Qada’ means these events’ occurring when the time comes. It is certainly Allahu ta’ala who creates good and evil. It is wrong to say He does not create evil. Allah is the sole Creator. There is no creator besides Him.