The Qadariyya and Mu`tazila

The evidence that Allah Almighty created both good and evil is His saying: “The guilty are in error and madness. On the day they are dragged to the fire on their faces, they will be told: ‘Taste the touch of hell.’ Lo! We created every thing with proportion and measure (qadar)” (54:47-49). That verse was revealed concerning the proponents of absolute free will or Qadariyya who were thus told: “That belief of yours is in hellfire.”

As further evidence of what has been decreed the Exalted said: “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the Cleaving from the evil of what He has created” (113:1). The reading of that oath at the time something good befalls Allah’s servant will repel (foreordained) evil before it reaches him. There is also in the hadith that good deeds and upholding family ties repel a bad death and eventually turn it into a good one.[15] Also, “Supplication (al-du`a) and affliction (al-bala‘) are suspended between heaven and earth, vying, and supplication repels affliction before the latter is able to come down.”[16]

The Mu`tazila claimed that Allah the Exalted has not foreordained matters, that His knowledge does not precede them, that they begin to exist only when they occur and that He knows them only at that time. They lied concerning Allah. Exalted is He above their falsehoods, and higher yet. They went into oblivion.

Now the latter-day Qadariyya say that the good is from Allah while the bad is from other than Him. Allah is also Exalted high above such a statement. In a sound hadith the Prophet said: “The Qadariyya are the Zoroastrians of this Community.”[17] He named them Zoroastrians because their school of thought resembles that of Zoroastrian dualism. The Dualists claim that good is effected by light and evil by darkness, and thus earned their name. Similarly the proponents of free will ascribe the good to Allah and the bad to other than Him, whereas He is the creator of both good and evil.

The Imam of the Two Sanctuaries said in his Kitab al-Irshad that some of the Qadariyya said: “It is not we but you (Ahl al-Sunna) who are the Qadariyya because of your belief in the so-called Decree.” Al-Juwayni answered these ignoramuses that they had ascribed the power of decree to themselves, and whoever claimed, for example, the power of evil and ascribed it to himself, he has earned its label, rather than one who ascribes it to other than himself and denies any authorship of it.[18]


[8] In Tadrib al-Rawi (1:389).

[9] In Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:32) in the entry of Ahmad ibn Ja`far al-Istakhri.

[10] Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (6:330 #858).

[11] Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra (2:277).

[12] In Mizan al-I`tidal (3:280).

[13] See Ibn Abi `Asim, al-Sunna (p. 87-88 #197-199) and al-Dhahabi, Siyar (7:415).

[14] Narrated from Ibn `Abbas and Abu Hurayra by Bukhari and Muslim: “None perishes with Allah except he who is bound for destruction.” Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari (book of Riqaq, Chapter 31 #6491): “That is, he who is adamant in clinging to evil in his resolve, his speech, and his deed, and avoids good by design, speech, and deed.”

[15] The following hadiths are related from the Prophet: “In truth, charity (al-sadaqa) certainly extinguishes the Lord’s anger and repels a bad death.” Narrated from Anas with a weak chain by Tirmidhi, who said it is a single-narrated (gharEEb) hadith as he related it. Also: “Verily, because of charity and keeping uterine family ties Allah increases life, repels a bad death, and repels all kinds of evils.” Narrated from by Abu Ya`la al-Musili in his Musnad. Also: “Keeping family ties and good manners builds up one’s house and increases life.” Narrated from `A’isha by Ahmad in his Musnad.

[16] Something similar is authentically related from the Prophet by the following: Ibn Majah in the introduction to his Sunan (Muqaddima #10, hadith on qadar from Thawban) and the book of Fitan (#66); Tirmidhi in his Sunan (Witr #21, Qadar #6); Ahmad, with three chains in the Musnad; and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih.

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