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What is the Importance of Qadar as an Article of Faith?

28 February, 2024
Q Why do I need belief in destiny as an article of faith? For Christians it is simple: God knows where we'll end up. He doesn't make it our responsibly to know what that is. Jesus said don't concern yourself with tomorrow. Today has enough evil to deal with. Jesus said in His prayer that he doesn't lose anyone who comes to Him. He is the one that speaks to God on our behalf; otherwise, we speak and give account to God for ourselves. That is not a license to sin; it just means we practice living righteous lives. Some of us do better than others. God knows who are His, but we have forgiveness for past, present and future sins. But that is not possible outside of Christ. So what is the relevance or importance of this article of faith in Islam?


Salam (Peace),

Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

First, we should understand what qadar means.

For understanding’s sake we may simplify it as thus: qadar is the belief that every happening in the universe occurs within the parameters of a system God has set in motion, and that He has prior knowledge of it and nothing can happen apart from His Will.

Your question arises from the point of view of a Christian who is content with the belief that he is saved on the basis of his faith in Christ’s redemptive death on the cross.

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The Christian creed (i.e. the Nicene Creed or the Apostles’ Creed) does not have anything to do with Divine Decree (qadar) as such.

The Gospel (i.e. the recorded teachings of Jesus considered as the foundation of Christianity) and the Quran have a lot of difference between them, which also could be a hindrance for you in understanding the Muslim emphasis on qadar.

You have written that for Christians it is simple, as God doesn’t make it our responsibility to know where we will end up.

Humans in general do not know where they will end up ultimately.

It all depends on Allah’s grace and mercy. Qadar for Muslims is a matter of faith; because it is part of our understanding of Allah as the Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of the universe.

Differing from the Gospel, the Quran gives a number of verses describing the Majesty and Power of God, such as the following:

{SAY: “O God, Lord of all dominion! You grant dominion unto whom You will, and take away dominion from whom You will; and You exalt whom You will, and abase whom You will, In Your hand is all good. Verily, You have the power to will anything.} (Quran 3:26) also (Quran 2:255)

I presume that a pious Christian would have little disagreement with the concept of God presented in the above verse. But of course, Christianity does not make the idea of believing in qadar as implied in the above verse, an article of faith.

Hence your question: “Why do I need belief in destiny as an article of faith?”

Submission to Allah’s Will

Islam is submission to God’s will.

God willed the universe and everything in it into being. When He means to create anything, He simply commands: “Be” and it is. And nothing happens except by the will of God.

A Muslim is a person who willingly accepts whatever is willed by Allah, no matter whether it is pleasant or unpleasant.

Remember what Jesus said to God:

[Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.] (Mark 14:36).

This in fact is submission to the will of God, or Islam itself.

Qadar, in simple terms, is the will of God as realized in the universe, in the world around us and in our life.

An element of qadar is causation. Every event in the universe has a cause that is basically linked to qadar which is the natural corollary of the concept of the Creator.

The Quran gives us knowledge of the will of God and tells us that He created the human as His khalifah – vicegerent, ambassador, or deputy – on earth.

That is to say, human beings have the responsibility of managing their lives in the world following the commandments of God.

Allah says in the Quran that He created all that is on earth for the use of human beings:

{He it is who has created for you all that is on earth […]} (Quran 2:29)

Circumstances Beyond Our Control

As a human, gifted with God-given faculties, sets about changing the world around him/her; he/she becomes aware of the shortcomings and limitations which encumber his/her progress.

He/she is confronted by what one may call “circumstances beyond our control”, which makes a believer aware of how much he/she needs to seek the help and guidance of God even in the areas where we might foolishly think ourselves capable.

These are occasions in which we are face to face with qadar.

Indeed all events and actions occur only by the will of Allah. Whatever Allah wills, happens. And whatever He does not will, does not happen.

So according to Islamic teaching, to acknowledge qadar is part of a Muslim’s Submission to God.  

You write: “God knows who are His, but we have forgiveness for past, present and future sins, but that is not possible outside of Christ.”

In this context, we can consider what Jesus taught a man who came seeking the way to eternal life:

[(16) And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” (17) And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” (18) He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, (19) Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.] (Matthew 19:16-19)

The foregoing means that keeping the commandments is the way to eternal life.

What commandments?

The answer is clear: the Ten Commandments given to MosesAnd particularly remember the First and the greatest commandment given in the Torah:  

[Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; (5) and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.] (Deuteronomy 6:4)

And in the Gospel, Jesus reaffirms it:

[And Jesus declared, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment.] (Matthew 22:37,38)

Where in the Gospel does Jesus say that he as God (or apart from God) is the Forgiver of sins?  

On the contrary Jesus says:

[I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.] (John 5:30)

The Quran teaches that it is God who can forgive sins:

{To Allah belong all that is in the heavens and on earth. He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases; but Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful} (Quran 3:129)   

I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.


(From Ask About Islam archives)

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