Praise be to Allaah.
Praise be to Allaah and blessings and peace be upon the
Messenger of Allaah and his family and companions.
You should understand, may Allaah bless you, that some people
have been misguided with regard to the issue of al-qadar (the divine will
and decree), because they think that if Allaah decrees that an action should
happen, that means that He likes that thing, and this leads them to think
that evil actions happen outside of the will of Allaah. Thus they attribute
weakness and incapability to Allaah, when they say that nothing happens in
His dominion that He does not want, and so He may will a thing and it does
not happen – exalted be Allaah far above what they say. In fact there is no
connection between what Allaah loves and wants in terms what is permissible
and not permissible, and what He wills and decrees should happen in the
universe. This may be explained further as follows:
In the Qur’aan and Sunnah, the will and decree of Allaah is
divided into two categories:
His universal (kawni) will and decree.
Nothing happens outside of this will. The kaafir and the Muslim are equal
under this will. Acts of worship and acts of disobedience all happen by the
will and decree of Allaah.
For example, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But when Allaah wills a people’s punishment, there can be
no turning back of it”
“And whomsoever Allaah wills to guide, He opens his heart
to Islam; and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed
and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky”
(shar’i) will, which
applies only to that which He loves and is pleased with.
For example, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Allaah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make
things difficult for you”
“Allaah wishes to accept your repentance”
“Allaah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He
wants to purify you”
The difference between the two wills.
There are differences between the universal will of Allaah and His
legislative will, which distinguish each from the other. These differences
include the following:
The universal will has to do
with that which Allaah loves and is pleased with, and with that which He
does not love and is not pleased with, whereas His legislative will has to
do only with that which Allaah loves and is pleased with.
By His universal will he may
decree something not for its own sake, but to serve another purpose, such as
the creation of Iblees, for example, and all evil things, because of which
many things happen which Allaah loves, such as repentance, striving and
His legislative will has to do with that which He prescribes
for its own sake, for Allaah wants us to obey Him and He loves that, so He
prescribes it and is pleased with it for its own sake.
His universal will must
inevitably come to pass, such as the birth or death of a person, etc.
But His legislative will – such as Allaah wanting everyone to
believe – does not necessarily come to pass. It may happen or it may not. If
it were inevitable that it should come pass then all of mankind would become
His universal will has to do
with the Oneness of Allaah’s Lordship and the fact that He is the only
Creator, whereas His legislative will has to do with His Divinity and Law.
His two wills come together in
the case of one who obeys Him. The one who prays – for example – combines
both, because prayer is beloved to Allaah; He has enjoined it and He is
pleased with it and loves it, so it is prescribed by His legislative will in
that sense. But the fact that it happens indicates that Allaah willed that
it should happen, so it is decreed by His universal decree in that sense.
Hence the two wills are combined in the case of one who obeys Allaah.
His universal will is at work on its own in the case of the
disbelief of the kaafir and the sin of the disobedient. The fact that these
things happen indicates that Allaah willed that they should happen, because
nothing happens except by His will. But the fact that Allaah does not love
them and He is not pleased with them indicates that they happen by His
universal will, not by His legislative will.
His legislative will is at work on its own in the case of a
kaafir who starts to believe, or a sinner who starts to obey Allaah. These
things are beloved to Allaah so they come under His legislative will. The
fact that they do not happen – even though Allaah has enjoined them and
loves them – indicates that they come under His legislative will only.
These are some of the differences between the two wills.
Whoever understands the difference between them will avoid many doubts that
cause people to stumble and go astray. Whoever looks at people’s actions
with this double-faceted understanding will have clear insight, but whoever
looks at it on the basis of the universal will only, without the legislative
will, or vice-versa, it will be as if he is one-eyed.
Everything that Allaah does is good, wise and just.
Allaah does what He does for reasons that are known to Him;
His slaves or some of them may know some of those reasons, or their limited
minds may be unable to comprehend much of the divine wisdom behind things.
General decrees may be for general reasons and universal mercy, such as
sending Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), as Allaah
says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We have sent you (O
Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Allaah is
Most Wise. He does not do anything in vain or for no purpose. This is
indicated by His words and the words of His Messenger (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him).
And Allaah knows best. May Allaah send blessings and peace
upon His Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
See A’laam al-Sunnah al-Manshoorah,
147; al-Qada’ wa’l-Qadar fi Daw’ al-Kitaab wa’l-Sunnah by Shaykh Dr. ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Mahmoud; al-Eemaan bi’l-Qada’ wa’l-Qadar by Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamd.