Religion Wiki

Part of a series on the Islamic creed:

Five Pillars

Shahādah - Profession of faith
Ṣalāt - Prayers
Ṣawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Zakāh - Paying of alms (giving to the poor)
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca

Six articles of belief (Sunni)

Tawhīd - Oneness
Prophets and Messengers in Islam
Islamic holy books
The Last Judgment

Principles of the Religion (Twelver)

Tawhīd - Oneness
‘Adalah - Justice
Nubuwwah - Prophethood
Imāmah - Leadership
Qiyamah - Day of Judgement

Practices of the Religion (Twelver)

Ṣalāt - Prayers
Ṣawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Zakāh - Tithes
Khums - One-fifth tax
Jihad - Struggle
Commanding what is just
Forbidding what is evil
Tawallā' - Loving the Ahl al-Bayt
Tabarrá - Disassociating Ahl al-Bayt's enemies

Seven Pillars (Ismaili)

Walāyah - Guardianship
Ṭawhid - Oneness of God
Ṣalāt - Prayers
Zakāh - Purifying religious dues
Ṣawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Jihad - Struggle


Kharijite Sixth Pillar of Islam.

This is a sub-article of Sunni Islam, Aqidah and Predestination.

Qadar is divine destiny in Islam.[1]


Qadar is the Arabic word for Destiny. Qada' is the Arabic word for Decree. They may or may not be used interchangeably depending on the context. Essentially, Destiny is what Allah has decreed. Allah has knowledge of everything in his creation. Nothing occurs except by his will. Human beings are given free will, and it must be made clear that destiny does not have a cause-and-effect influence of the choices humans make. The choices that humans make are all within Allah's knowledge.

The destiny of everything is recorded in Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuud (The Preserved Tablet). In a sunni hadith narrated by At-Tirmithee and Abu Dawuud, Prophet Muhammad said “Verily, the first thing Allah created was the pen. He said to it: ‘Write.’ It replied: ‘My Lord, what should I write?’ So He said: ‘Write all that will occur and all that has occurred.’ So in that hour, everything that will occur until the Day of Recompense was recorded.” Another hadith indicates that this was 50,000 years prior to creation.


The phrase reflects a Muslim doctrine that Allah has measured out the span of every person's life, their lot of good or ill fortune, and the fruits of their efforts [4]. When referring to the future, Muslims frequently qualify any predictions of what will come to pass with the phrase Insha'Allah, Arabic for "if God willed [it]." The phrase recognizes that human knowledge of the future is limited, and that all that may or may not come to pass is under the control of God.

Qadar is one of the aspects of aqidah. Muslims believe that the divine destiny is when God wrote down in the Preserved Tablet ("al-Lauḥ al-Maḥfūẓ") all that has happened and will happen, which will come to pass as written.

According to this belief, a person's action is not caused by what is written in the Preserved Tablet but, rather, the action is written in the Preserved Tablet because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time.[2]

Another perspective asserts that God is omniscient and therefore has foreknowledge of all possible futures. With divine power, God then also deems which futures will be allowed, and man's choice is between those possibilities approved by God.


There are two groups who represent the extremes regarding Qadar and are considered outside the fold of Islam. Al-Jabiriyah are of the opinion that humans have no control over their actions and everything is dictated by Allah. The other group is Al-Qadiriyyah (not to be confused with the Sufi sect, Al-Qaadirriyah) and they are of the opinion of humans having complete control over their destiny, to the extent that Allah does not even know what we will choose to do. The Sunni view is in the middle between these two views, where they believe that Allah has knowledge of everything that will be, but that humans have freedom of choice.

Among the historical proponents of the Sunni view of the doctrine were:

  • Ibn Umar was a strong proponent of this concept[3]

Among those who criticized the Sunni view of the doctrine were:

  • Ma'bad al-Juhani, the first man who discussed Qadar in Basra

Sunni view

Sunni enumerate Qadar as one aspect of their creed Template:Istr They believe that the divine destiny is when God wrote down in the Preserved Tablet ("al-Lawhu 'l-Mahfuz") all that has happened and will happen, which will come to pass as written.

According to this belief, a person's action is not caused by what is written in the Preserved Tablet but, rather, the action is written in the Preserved Tablet because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time.[2]

An individual has power to choose, but since God created time and space he knows what will happen. God is without any bond of time and space so what will happen has only meaning to humans, who are limited in time and space. An analogy is with someone who watches a movie for the second time, who knows what will happen next, while for the first time watcher the next move is unknown.

Belief in al-Qadar is based on four things

1 – العلم Al-'Alam – Knowledge: i.e., that Allah knows what His creation will do, by virtue of His eternal knowledge, including their choices that will take place.

2 – كتابة Kitabat – Writing: i.e., that Allah has written every thing that exists including the destiny of all creatures in al-Lawh al-Mahfuud prior to creation.

3 – مشيئة Mashii'at – Will: i.e., that what Allah wills happens and what He does not will does not happen. There is no movement in the heavens or on earth but it happens by His will. This does not mean that he forces things to happen the way they happen in the area of human beings' voluntary actions. It means that He knew what they will chose, wrote it and let it happen, and was, is and can always change it when He wants.

4 – الخلق Al-Khalaq – Creation and formation: i.e., that Allah is the Creator of all things, including the actions of His servants. They do their actions in a real sense, and Allah is the Creator of them and of their actions.


Stages Of Taqdeer (Fate)

There are five stages where Qadar is determined and prescribed/send to creation:

1. The Decree of Allah that is written in Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuud 50,000 thousand years before the creation of the universe. This destiny written in the preserved tablet is never changed and encompasses everything that will be.

2. Allah made a divine decree after the creation of Adam. Allah took out all of the progeny of Adam (i.e. all of the humans from the beginning of time until the end of time), and asked them "Am I not your Lord?" and all of the humans responded "We testify that You are our Lord!" Then Allah decreed to them who shall go to paradise and who shall go to hell.

3. The Life-time decree. This occurs when a person is in the womb of the mother, specifically 120 days after conception. Allah sends an angel to put a soul into the person, and the angel writes down the decree that Allah has made; his life-span, his sex, his sustenance (how much he will earn throughout his lifetime) and whether he will be a dweller of paradise or a dweller of hell.

4. The yearly decree. This is during the Night of Qadr (Night of Decree) where Allah sends down his decrees from heaven to earth, in it he destines the actions (deeds, sustenance, births, deaths, etc.) of creation for the next year. The word Qadar should not be confused with Qadr; Qadar is destiny, Qadr is that which has been destined, i.e. decree, thus the translation – Night of Decree.

5. The Daily Decree. Allah decrees the daily actions of his creation.

An example of how these categorizations help clear the idea of destiny is as follows: It is possible that Allah sends a daily/yearly decree dictating that a person will get a profit. However, due to that person's good deeds (for instance, fulfilling the ties of kinship [being good to your relatives and maintaining the relationship] Allah sends another decree increasing that person's profit. The reversal of the two decrees is all within Allah's knowledge and is recorded in the Preserved Tablet. The person himself knows nothing of his own destiny or of Allah's decrees, but what he does know is that if he performs certain good deeds, then he will increase his profit (as in the example above) more than if he does not do that deed.

In the light of the above the following may be derived:

  • Our supplications do change destiny and are of much avail.
  • Good deeds are a source of increase in ones sustenance, and avert calamities.
  • Sins result in a decrease in ones sustenance, and invite calamities.[4]

Shi'a view

Shi'a also believe in predetemined fate similar to the sense defined by the Sunnis. The Shi'ah believe that an individual is responsible for his action and that he or she has 'free will' to carry out his or her actions. But this free will is not something that excludes God's authority like the view of the Mu'tazila. Rather the free will itself is created by God.

A [Motahari (R)], a Shi'a scholar, explains:[5]

The Beginnings of Kalam:

Though nothing definite can be said about the beginnings of 'ilm al-kalam among Muslims, what is certain is that discussion of some of the problems of kalam, such as the issue of predestination (jabr) and free will (ikhtiyar), and that of Divine Justice, became current among Muslims during the first half of the second century of Hijrah. Perhaps the first formal centre of such discussions was the circle of al-Hasan al-Basri (d. 110/728-29). Among the Muslim personalities of the latter half of the first century, the names of Ma'bad al-Juhani (d. 80/ 699) and Ghaylan ibn Muslim al-Dimashqi (d. 105/723) have been mentioned, who adamantly defended the ideas of free will (ikhtiyar) and man's freedom. There were others who opposed them and supported predestination (jabr). The believers in free will were called "qadariyyah" and their opponents were known as "jabriyyah".

Gradually the points of difference between the two groups extended to a series of other issues in theology, physics, sociology and other problems relating to man and the Resurrection, of which the problem of jabr and ikhtiyar was only one. During this period, the "qadariyyah" came to be called "Mu'tazilah" and the "jabriyyah" became known as "Asha'irah". The Orientalists and their followers insist on considering the beginnings of discursive discussions in the Islamic world from this point or its like.

However, the truth is that rational argumentation about Islamic doctrines starts with the Holy Qur'an itself, and has been followed up in the utterances of the Holy Prophet (S) and especially in the sermons of Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (A). This despite the fact that their style and approach are different from those of the Muslim mutakallimun[6]

See also


  1. "Qadar"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Moral Responsibility and Divine Will. Re: Blaming Destiny?
  3. 431 hadith found in 'The Book of Faith (Kitab Al-Iman)' of Sahih Muslim. [1]
  4. Faith & Taqdeer
  5. [2] [3]
  6. See Murtada Mutahhari, Sayri dar Nahj al-balaghah, pp.69–76, where the author has discussed the difference between the approach of the Nahj al-balaghah to the problems of theology and metaphysics and the approach of Muslim mutakallimun and philosophers to such problems. (Translator)

External links