Predestination in Islam

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

Qadar (Arabic: قدر‎, transl.: qadr, English: fate; divine foreordainment/predestination)[1] is divine destiny in Islam.[2] More precisely, Qadar relates to the Knowledge and Omniscience of God about all events. Linguistically, Qadar means "measure", and when used in relation to God, means His exact knowledge of all events. Islamic theology claims that Omniscience of God is not rationally inconsistent with the notion of free will granted to man in his earthly life.



Qadar (Arabic: قدر‎) is an Arabic word for destiny and divine foreordainment. Qada' (Arabic: قَضَاء‎, transl.: qaḍāʾ) is an Arabic word with multiple meanings incl. divine decree/fate.[1] Both Arabic words may or may not be used interchangeably depending on the context. Essentially, destiny is what Allah has decreed.

Al-Qadr and the problem of Free Will

The core Islamic belief is that man has been given free will in this life, and the retribution in the Hereafter is based on how he utilizes his freedom of choice in the worldly trial. Reconciling it with the notion of predestination is one of the most complex issues in Islamic theology. However, scholars have responded to this problem by stating that God is independent of space-time, and hence al-Qadr actually refers not to predestination (which has the notion of time) but to His knowledge of all events and actions, irrespective of time. Thus, who will go to Hell and who will enter Heaven is determined (not predetermined) for God, but for man, he will always bear the fruit of his actions. The issue can be solved only by considering God and man independently, and not on the same scale. In other words, Omniscience of God is not the opposite of Free Will.


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 [1]. 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 wills [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. Some 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[citation needed].

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.[3]

In the Quran

The doctrine of Predestination is sometimes only implied, and not mentioned together with the first five articles required for belief (i.e., God, hereafter, angels, Book, and the Prophets), which are stated in the same verses one after the other. In fact, Quran does so more than once,[clarification needed] God goes on to emphasise it in another way, He forbids the denial of the same five articles of belief, once again without the notion of Predestination;[Quran 2:177][Quran 4:136]


There are only two groups who represent the extremes regarding Qadar and are considered outside the fold of islam[by whom?]. 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 order, 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.

Sunni view

At the time, Sunnis generally belonged to one of the two opposing groups. Over-time, with other differences in Aqaid (Theology) they became more distinct with the Ash'ari and Mu'tazili. This debate went on for centuries and many famous Sunni scholars adhere to one of these schools of thought. It is said today that 80% of Sunni's are Ashari.

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.


See also


  1. ^ a b J. M. Cowan (ed.) (1976). The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Wiesbaden, Germany: Spoken Language Services. ISBN 0-87950-001-8
  2. ^ "Qadar"
  3. ^ Moral Responsibility and Divine Will. Re: Blaming Destiny?

External links

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