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Belief in Qada and Qadar  >  The Mu'tazilah and the Jabriyyah

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The Mu'tazilah and the Jabriyyah

Question: A man who rejects the fact that belief in qadar is one of the fundamentals of faith claims, "The Messenger of Allah did not say anything about belief in qadar. If belief in qadar were included in the fundamentals of faith, then since what we will do would be preordained and recorded beforehand, it would be Allah who would make us commit sins. In that case, why would He send us to Hell?" What answer can we give to him?
Those who deny belief in qadar are the adherents of the Mu'tazilite, or Qadariyyah, sect. They maintain that Allah does not interfere in our good or evil actions. Those who claim that Allah compels humans to commit sins are the followers of the sect of Jabriyyah, or Murjiyyah. Both positions are wrong. The Ahl as-Sunnah is a middle path between these two.

The Sect of Jabriyyah

The followers of this sect say, "The One who gives us faith and who makes us perform acts of worship is Allah. Every action is done under Allah's compulsion. Man is doomed to his qadar, so no one is responsible for the sins he commits." And they cite the following Qur'anic verses to corroborate their views:
(Allah guides whom He wills and leaves to stray whom He wills.) [Ibrahim 4]

(If your Lord had willed, all the people on earth would have believed. Then will you force people to become Believers? No one can believe except by the permission of Allah.) [Yunus 99,100]

(It is Allah who creates you and what you do.) [As-Saffat 96]

These Qur'anic verses are a perfect answer to the Mu'tazilites, who deny qadar, that is, Allah's creation of our actions. How can it be denied despite these verses?

Hadrat Muhammad Ma'thum explains the last verse as follows:

"Man's will and option assumes a certain role in the creation of good and evil and what we do. Man's will and option is called kasb (acquisition). When man wants to do something, Allahu ta'ala creates it if He, too, wishes it" (Vol. 2, Letter 83).

This means to say that every action, everything man does, is actuated by Allah's creation upon man's acquisition (option). Man wants to do something, and Allahu ta'ala creates it. The Mu'tazilites, who assert that Allahu ta'ala does not create actions, are in a heretical path. Today some would-be Mu'tazilites try to deny qadar by teaching it the way the sect of Jabriyyah defined.

Sectarians called the Jabriyyah have 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." These statements cause disbelief. Trembling of the hand is different from moving it optionally. A Qur'anic verse says:
(Let him who wishes believe, and let him who wishes deny. We have prepared the Hellfire for those who deny.) [Al-Kahf 29]

If it were Allahu ta'ala who forced people to believe, then why did He say, "Let him who wishes believe, and let him who wishes deny"? This means to say that Allahu ta'ala has bestowed free will upon human beings. Believing or disbelieving is within their power.

Does a proponent of the Jabriyyah not vex a person who attacks him? Does he say that it is Allah who actuates the attacker? For example, if we give a slap on the back of the neck of a proponent of Jabriyyah, he will say, "What the hell do you think you are doing?" If we say to him, "It is qadar. The One who has done it is Allah," will he acknowledge us to be right?

The adherents of the Jabriyyah claim, "Disbelievers are excusable because the agent of deeds is Allah. They are compelled." These statements of theirs cause disbelief. The following four Qur'anic verses say (what means):
(Keep them at the place of Judgment. They will be called to account.) [As-Saffat 24]

(By your Lord, We will question them all on what they have done.) [Al-Hijr 92, 93]

(Any person who has done the tiniest amount of good or evil will receive the requital for it.) [Az-Zilzal 7, 8]

(Every human will see what he had prepared, what he brought.) [At-Takwir 14]

Our Master the Prophet stated:
(The Murji'ah [the Jabriyyah] and the Qadariyyah [the Mu'tazilah] have no share from Islam.) [Bukhari]

(Allahu ta'ala cursed the Qadariyyah and the Murji'ah by the tongues of 70 prophets.) [Tabarani]

(The Qadariyyah and the Murji'ah cannot approach the Hawd al-Kawthar or enter Paradise.) [Abu Dawud]

Today, the proponents of the Jabriyyah are a few in number, but there are many would-be Mu'tazilites who rely on their reason.

The Sect of Mu'tazilah

Saying, "Everybody is the author of his own qadar. Allah does not interfere in the actions of humans," the Mu'tazilite sect, or the Qadariyyah, denied qadar. However, belief in qadar is fard. This issue is established by the Qur'an al-karim and hadith-i sharifs. Allahu ta'ala knows beforehand with His eternal knowledge when humans and all other creatures will be born, when they will die, and what they will do. Of course a god must be omniscient and omnipotent. The one who is nescient, impotent, in need of someone or something cannot be a god. Allahu ta'ala knows what everybody will do. It is declared in the Qur'an al-karim, "Allah knows what they did and what they will do" (Al-Baqarah 255).

All the events that will befall humans and all the information concerning their births, deaths, and deeds are recorded in a book called al-Lawh al-Mahfuz. The pieces of information existing in this book are called qadar. How can they be denied? Some Qur'anic verses about qadar are as follows:
(No disaster takes place in the earth or befalls you, but it is [recorded in al-Lawh al-Mahfuz] in a book before We create it. This is certainly easy for Allah.) [Al-Hadid 22]

(Allah knows the place where every living creature stands and where it will be left in the end. All of them are written in a clear book
[Al-Lawh al-Mahfuz].) [Hud 6]

(Everything they did, small or great, is written line by line in the books.)
[Al-Qamar 52, 53]

(There is no one whose death is not conditional upon Allah's permission.) [Al-i 'Imran 145]

(It is Allah alone who decrees the time of death.) [Al-An'am 2]

(We created everything by qadar.) [Al-Qamar 49]

Some hadith-i sharifs on this issue are as follows:
(Iman [faith] is to believe in Allah, angels, books, prophets, the Day of Resurrection [that is, Paradise, Hell, the Reckoning, and the Balance], qadar, that good and evil are from Allah, death, and the Resurrection after death. It is to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am His servant and messenger.) [Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai]

(Belief in qadar is one of the essentials of faith.) [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi]

(He who does not believe in qadar will not attain the reality of faith.) [Nasai]

(He who denies qadar has no share from Islam.) [Bukhari]

(Belief in qadar is the basis of belief in the existence and oneness of Allah.)

(Wicked people will talk about qadar in the Last Age.) [Hakim]

(Those who deny qadar will appear in the Last Age.) [Tirmidhi]

(I am anxious about these three things that will take place in the Last Age: giving credence to what soothsayers say, the rejection of qadar, and the tyranny of rulers.) [Tabarani, Ibn 'Asakir, Hatib, Ibn Abi Asim]

(Do not reject qadar; Christians reject it.) [Jami-us-saghir]

(My Ummah is firm in the religion unless they reject qadar. They will perish when they deny it.) [Tabarani]

(Whoever denies qadar will not be looked at with a look of mercy in the Hereafter.) [Ibn Adiyy]

(I am afraid of these three things:
1. The slip-up of a scholar,
2. Hypocrites' getting into a dispute by saying, "The Qur'an says so,"
3. The rejection of qadar.)

(All prophets cursed the following:
1. He who interpolates into the Book of Allah what is not in it
[he who lies by saying "It is written so in the Qur'an" or who interprets the Qur'an according to his/her own point of view],
2. He who denies Allah's qadar,
3. A cruel ruler who exalts whom Allah has degraded and who degrades whom Allah has exalted.)

(Hold your tongue when [the issue of] qadar is mentioned.) [Tabarani]

(All prophets curse him who denies qadar.) [Tabarani]

(No one is considered to have believed until he believes in qadar and that good and evil are from Allah and until he believes that whatever has befallen him would have never missed him and whatever was decreed not to befall him will never befall him.) [Tirmidhi]

(The Qadariyyah has no share from Islam. They say that evil was not predestined.) [Bayhaqi]

(Qadar is in the hand of Allah, the Compassionate. He exalts some people, and He abases some others.)

(For whomever Allahu ta'ala wills good, He gives the livelihood of that person with ease. For whomever He wills evil, He gives his livelihood with difficulty.) [Bayhaqi]

(Allahu ta'ala said: "Whoever believes in Me but does not believe in qadar and that good and evil are by My decree and preordainment, let him look for another Rabb besides Me.") [Shirazi]

(The destruction of my Ummah is caused by three things: racism, denial of qadar, and disregarding narration [naql].) [Tabarani]

(Allahu ta'ala created the Pen first and ordered it, "Write the qadar and what happened and what will happen.") [Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud]

(Everything was written in the eternal past, and the Pen dried up.)
[Tirmidhi] (That is, qadar and preordainment came to an end, and nothing was left for the Pen to write. Humans cannot do anything outside this qadar.)

(If all people gathered to benefit you, they could do no more than that which Allahu ta'ala preordained for you. If all people strived to do you harm, they could do no more than that which Allahu ta'ala preordained for you because the Pen writing qadar dried up, and its records have become final in a way that cannot be changed.) [Tirmidhi]

(Allahu ta'ala said: "I am the Lord of the worlds. None but I determine good and evil. Woe to him about whom I wrote evil. Glad tidings for him about whom I wrote good.") [Ibn Najjar]

Allahu ta'ala says in the last one, "Woe to him about whom I wrote evil." If He compelled people to do evil, would He have said "Woe to Him …" for a decree He Himself wrote? This statement means, "Since I knew with My eternal knowledge that they would commit evil by their own choice and free will, woe to those about whom I wrote evil."

Allahu ta'ala certainly knows whether His slaves will commit evil or good and whether they will enter Hell or Paradise. He wrote what He knew. It is not that a person has to do a certain action as He recorded it before. The Jabriyyah maintains that Allah forces humans to do actions, while the Mu'tazilah denies Allah's qadar.

When people asked the Messenger of Allah, "O Messenger of Allah, since the deeds we did and we will do were preordained and written, what is the point in doing a deed?" he answered, "Everybody gets ready for his deed" and "Everybody gets ready for the deeds that were preordained" (Muslim, Tirmidhi).

He recited Surah ash-Shams to another person who asked the same 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 [acts of obedience and sins] 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]

As is seen, Allahu ta'ala's knowing does not mean His compelling His slaves. For example, the times when the sun will rise and set in a year are calculated beforehand 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 those times are recorded as the sun will rise then. Similarly, Allahu ta'ala certainly knows that a certain person will commit a sin. This is written in his destiny. The reason why this was written is that it was known that he would commit that sin. He does not commit it as it was written beforehand.

Despite these Qur'anic verses and hadith-i sharifs, most of which are narrated in al-Kutub al-Sittah, the ulterior motive of the so-called Mu'tazilites, who dare to say that the Messenger of Allah did not say such things, is very clear.

The Mu'tazilite sect
How did the Mu'tazilite sect emerge? What are their doctrines?
The Mu'tazilah, one of the corrupt sects, was established by Wasil ibn Ata, who attended the classes taught by Hadrat Hasan al-Basri. Because he dissented from the way of the Ahl as-Sunnah by saying that the one who committed a grave sin was neither a Believer nor a disbeliever, Hasan al-Basri, a great scholar of Ahl as-Sunnah and a great Sufi, said, "I'tazala anna," about him, which means, "He has dissented from us." Because of the word i'tazala (which means "He dissented), Wasil and his followers were called Mu'tazilites.

In the course of the following years some people, notably those who studied philosophy and who were interested in it, following in Wasil ibn Ata's footsteps, fell into disagreements over Allahu ta'ala's attributes, His will and preordainment, the relationship between faith and deeds, and other matters to the extent that they pushed the limits of the Islamic religion.

Some of the doctrines of the Mu'tazilah, which relies on reason and is one of the heretical sect, are as follows:

The Mu'tazilites reject the fact that all of the As-hab al-kiram (Companions of the Messenger of Allah) are just and will go to Paradise. However, the Qur'an al-karim says (what means), "We promised Husna [Paradise] to them all" (Al-Hadid 10).

They disbelieve the Mi'raj, mu'jizah, and karamah. Some Qur'anic verses proving that karamah is true are as follows:

A person who possessed 'ilm al-ladun (spiritual knowledge related to divine secrets) brought the throne of Bilqis in an instant. (An-Naml 40)

Hadrat Maryam would always be provided with fresh fruit and food. (Al-i 'Imran 37)

The As-hab al-Kahf (Companions of the Cave) slept for centuries without dying. (Al-Kahf 17, 18)

They also claim, "The inhabitants of Paradise will not see Allah." But it is declared in the Qur'an al-karim:
(In the Hereafter, they will look at their Lord with faces beaming with light.) [Al-Qiyamah 22, 23]

Furthermore, they hold that a person who commits a sin becomes a disbeliever and that deeds form a part of faith (iman). According to Ahl as-Sunnah creed, deeds are different from faith, and the one who commits sins cannot be labeled as a disbeliever. If anyone who commits a sin became a disbeliever, there would be no Muslim on earth. Being sinless is an attribute of angels. It is declared in the Qur'an al-karim:
(Allah does not forgive shirk [disbelief]. As for all other sins, He forgives whichever He wishes.) [An-Nisa' 48]

They say, "When one visits a grave, it is not permissible to ask prophets or holy ones for help." However, in a hadith written in Hadith al-Arbain, the following is said, "Ask those who are in graves for help when you are confused or in trouble."

They deny the questioning and torment in the grave. But a hadith-i sharif says, "The torment in the grave is true" (Bukhari).

They claim that du'a (supplication, prayer) is not of benefit to the dead, while a hadith-i sharif states, "Through the prayers of the living, mercy is given to the deceased greatly. The present to be given to the deceased by the living is to say prayers and ask forgiveness for them.) [Daylami]

They say that there is no such thing as the Sirat Bridge, the Balance (Mi'zan), and intercession (shafa'ah). However, it is declared in hadith-i sharifs:

(In the Hereafter, the Balance and Sirat will not discomfort martyrs.) [Bayhaqi]

(The Sirat Bridge will be built over Hell.) [Bukhari]

(I will intercede for those who commit grave sins.) [Nasai]

They argue, "Power of reason is equal in everyone, and it is unerring proof. Things that are liked and approved by reason are termed fard, and things that are disliked by it are termed haram. It is possible to find out what is haram and what is fard by means of reason, even if the religion does not inform us of them."

Though reason is a power that distinguishes good from evil, it is not a standard for judging everything. It is not proof in the knowledge pertaining to Allahu ta'ala. If the mind were able to find out the commandments and prohibitions of Islam on its own, there would be no need for prophets and scholars. A person who has not heard of the commandments of Islam will not be punished. As a matter of fact, a Qur'anic verse says (what means):
(We do not torment anyone without first sending a prophet.) [Al-Isra' 15]

Some things that were permissible for the previous nations have been made unlawful for us, and vice versa. Whether something is fard or haram is made clear by the order of the religion, not by reason. For example, the fat of the cow and sheep was forbidden for the past dispensations, but we are permitted to eat it. (Al-An'am 146)

Ahl as-Sunnah scholars state:
To try to investigate with reason the things that have been understood through revelation, in other words, the things which Prophets have explained, is like forcing a loaded cart to go uphill while it can hardly move on a level road. If the horse is whipped uphill, it will either fall down or die from fatigue. Or, in order to get on the level road it is used to, it will turn right or turn left, overturning the cart and spoiling its load. So if reason is forced to solve the reality of the next world, which it cannot cope with and which it cannot understand, the person will either go out of his mind, or, by attempting to liken it to worldly affairs, which he is accustomed to, he will go astray, become deceived, and deceive others.

Reason is a gauge, a tool used to measure things that are like those that can be perceived, or felt through the senses and things that are relative to them. Reason can compare them with one another and distinguish the good ones from the bad ones. Since it cannot discern things that have no relation with such things, it will be overwhelmed by them. Then, there is no other way than to believe the things communicated by prophets.

The scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah proved with Qur'anic verses and Prophetic sayings that the Mutazilite school was in heresy.

Killing two birds with one stone
Are the lines below not contrary to the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah?
No disaster befalls man unless Allah writes it;
He doesn't send disaster unless he deserves it.
They agree with the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah. The first line is an answer to the sect of Mutazilah, and the second line is an answer to the sect of Jabriyyah. By means of these lines, two birds are killed with one stone. The creed of Ahl as-Sunnah has been explained in a nutshell in these two lines.

The Mu'tazilite school of thought argue that everyone shapes his own qadar. So the first line is an answer to that view. It says that man cannot do anything unless Allahu ta'ala wills. Since the sect of Jabriyyah misunderstood the Qur'anic verse "Allah guides whom He wills and leaves to stray whom He wills," they claimed that Allah made us do everything by force. Therefore, the second line says that Allah's decree and preordainment is according to the deeds of humans.

Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
Since many people fail to understand the issue of qada' and qadar, they deviated from the straight path. While some of them supposed that humans were compelled in their voluntary actions, most of them thought that humans were the creators of their actions and that Allahu ta'ala did not interfere in their voluntary actions. The third is the word of those who are on the true path and who have understood Islam well. They are the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah, which is the only group blessed with the good news that it has been named the "Saved Sect." Unlike the first and second groups of people, they did not go to extremes but preferred a moderate path.

Imam-i Ash'ari and the doctrines of Jabriyyah
Is what Imam-i Ash'ari said about the will of humans close to the position adopted by the Jabriyyah?
He said some statements that were close to the positions adopted by the Jabriyyah. However, closeness does not mean subscribing to the doctrines of the Jabriyyah. Imam-i Ash'ari is one of the two Sunnite imams in theology. What Imam-i Maturidi (the other imam) expressed differs from what Imam-i Ash'ari expressed only in phraseology. As a matter of fact, Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:

Doing a deed is one thing, and whether it is good or bad is another. Then in order for an action to be good or evil, power must affect it separately. Just as it is Allahu ta'ala who creates the power of humans, so it is Allahu ta'ala who creates effectiveness in this power. For this reason, the power of man has an effect, too. What differentiates Imam-i Ash'ari's statements from the doctrines of the Jabriyyah is this: The proponents of the Jabriyyah argue, "Saying that a person has done an action is in the metaphorical sense. That is, only Allah has done that voluntary action. He executed it through that person's hand. Man does not have power." Imam-i Ash'ari states, "In reality, the agent of an action is man. However, man does not do it by his will, but by the will of Allahu ta'ala. Ahl as-Sunnah scholars, other than Imam-i Ash'ari, say that man's power affects the voluntary actions he does. As for Imam-i Ash'ari, he says that man's power causes only the creation of an action but does not affect its creation. Then according to the both parties, it is true to say that man does actions, whereby the Ahl as-Sunnah differs from the Jabriyyah. The school of Jabriyyah rejects the fact that man does voluntary actions himself and claims that it is metaphorical to say that man does actions. Such views of theirs cause disbelief. (Vol. 1, Letter 289)

Date of Update
20 Ocak 2017 Cuma
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