Qada And Qadar

The Creator of all classes of beings knows all the things which He has created and will create, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, all from motes to the Arsh [1], material and immaterial ones alike. He knows them altogether and at the same time. He knew all of them before creating them.

Everything has two kinds of existence. One of them is its existence in knowledge; and the other is its material existence in the outside. Al-imam al-Ghazali [2] explains this with the following example: A civil engineer first plans in his mind the shape and all the particulars of the building he is going to construct. Then he draws this plan on paper, and gives the project to the foremen. They construct the building according to the plan. The plan on paper is the building's existence in knowledge, and has the shape and form as envisaged before. This is called (existence in knowledge, or in mind, or in imagination). And the building which is made of lumber, stones, mortar and bricks is its existence in the outside. The shape which the architect forms in his mind, that is, his knowledge about its shape, is his qadar of the building. Because the knowledge of qada and qadar is intricate, reading about it may evoke some wrong ideas, delusions and fancies.

Qadar is Allahu ta'ala's knowing in the eternal past the things that will be created afterwards.

Allahu ta'ala creates everything with His power and knowledge. This knowledge is qadar.

The Ahl as-sunnat wa'l-jama'at [3] believed in qadar, and said that it is a principle of iman [4]. In other words, they said that he who disbelieves in qadar is not a Believer.

Qadar is always from Allahu ta'ala, whether it is good or bad, sweet or dismal. For, qadar means to create what one knows. [The words qadar and qada are used interchangeably. Qada is used instead of qadar].

Great savant Al-imam-ul-Baghawi says, "The knowledge of qada and qadar is one of the secrets which Allahu ta'ala has hidden from His slaves. He has not disclosed this knowledge to the closest angels, nor even to Prophets 'alaihimussalam' who are owners of Shari'ats! [5] This knowledge is a great ocean. No one is permitted to dive into this ocean, or to talk about qadar. We must know thus far: Allahu ta'ala creates human beings. Some of them are shaqi [6], and will remain in Hell. Others are sa'id [7] and will enter Paradise." When a person asked hadrat Ali 'radiyallahu anh' about qadar, he said, "It is a dark way. Do not walk on this way!" When he was asked again, he said, "It is a deep sea." He was asked again. This time he said: "Qadar is Allahu ta'ala's secret. He has hidden this knowledge from you."

[1] 'Arsh: the end of matter bordering the seven skies and the Kursi, which is outside the seventh sky and inside the 'Arsh.
[2] imam: i) profound 'alim; founder of a madhhab; ii) leader in congregational salat; iii) caliph.
[3] Ahl as-Sunna (wa'l-Jama'a): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali.
[4] iman: faith, belief, beliefs of Islam; kalam, i'tiqad.
[5] Shari'at: (pl. of Shari'a) i) rules and commandments as a whole of the religion. ii) religion.
[6] shaqi to resist or become defiant toward Allahu ta'ala
[7] sa'id happily ever after