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Does Belief in Qadar Justify Passivity?

Belief in Qadar (Predestination or the Divine Decree)[1] is one of the pillars of the monotheistic faith of Islam and whoever disbelieves in Predestination declares himself to be outside the fold of Islam.

In the well-known hadith of Archangel Gabriel when he came to the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) to inquire about the meaning of al-Islam, al-Iman (faith) and al-Ihsan (perfect performance of good deeds), the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said about al-Iman,

That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Apostles, in the Day of Judgment, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree about good and evil.” (Muslim)

Jabir Ibn `Abdullah narrated another hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said:

A slave (of Allah) shall not believe until he believes in al-Qadar [the Divine Decree], its good and its bad, such that he knows that what struck him would not have missed him, and that what missed him would not have struck him.” (At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albani)

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The Divine Decree defined

Muslim scholars differed as regards with the definition of the Divine Decree, but Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal gave a very satisfactory and well-phrased answer when he was asked about its meaning as saying, “The Divine Decree is the Power of the Ar-Rahman [Allah, the Most Gracious].”[2]

Accordingly, the meaning of the Divine Decree is what is decided and determined by Allah the Almighty in His saying,

{Say [to them]: Indeed, the whole of every affair belongs to God alone.} (Aal `Imran 3:154), and

{Thus to Him alone every matter shall be returned [for final Judgment.]} (Hud 11:123), and

{Then highly exalted is the One in whose mighty Hand is all dominion over all things.} (Ya-Sin 36:83)

In addition, numerous other Quranic ayahs indicate the fact that nothing can take place in the whole universe without the Will and Consent of Allah, the All-Powerful.

Skewed understanding

It is worth-mentioning here that many people manipulate the concept of Divine Decree as they use it to justify their reluctance to and shunning from supporting what is right and resisting what is wrong. They do this either to hide their cowardice or hypocrisy. They claim that so long as everything is predestined, they should do nothing at all as were it not Allah’s Will, it would not have taken place in the first place!

This assumption ignores the fact that we are granted the ability to choose and act within the framework of the Divine Decree. To be liable for our actions, Allah gave humans freedom to select their paths in this life. Such choices are pre-known to Allah and recorded by Him. They are conducted by humans through the power given to them by Allah. Thus, they still remain within the realm of Allah’s dominion and control that none can escape.

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About Dr. Ali Al-Halawani
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation Studies. He is an author, translator, and writer based in Canada. To date, Al-Halawani authored over 400 original articles on Islam and Muslims, most of which can be accessed on and other famous websites. He has recently started to self-publish his articles and new books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle. You can reach him at [email protected].