False Roots of Fatalism in Islam – Destiny and Measure

The following article describes the Natural Order (fitrat = “فِطْرَة”) that we can see in the creation of every single thing. It also unveils the roots of belief in ‘divine predestination‘ , which was foisted into the ‘pillars of faith‘ a long while after the decease of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Free Will (Iradah), Being (Shay) and the Natural Order (Fitrat) in Qur’an Al-Karim

“Shay = شَيْئ” and “fitrat = “فِطْرَة” are closely related words in Arabic. “Shay” means “a being”. “Fitrat” is the body of laws that forms, changes and improves the structures of beings, i.e., the Natural Order. “Qadar” is the measure/criteria for a thing to come into existence. “Iradah” is desire or decision to bring something into existence. “Qadar” which is mostly mistranslated as predestiny, and “iradah” play important roles while a being comes into existence.

The word “shay” is both a verbal noun (masdar) and a noun in Arabic. Masdar is the root from which the word is derived. The word ‘mashiat (مشيئة)’ is derived from ‘shay’ with ‘m’ (م) as a masdar. “Mashiat” does not exist in the Qur’an. The word may rarely be seen in some weak hadiths and literary works. “Mashiat”, which is generally not known by Arabs, was later ascribed the meaning ‘iradah = (free) will’ for no reason; and then, this meaning was transferred to the verb “shaa’e (شاء)”, which is frequently used in the Qur’an. After that, the following principle was fabricated:

لا فرق بين المشيئة و الإرادة عند أهل السنة

There is no difference between “mashiat” and “iradah” according to Ahl-al Sunnah.” [1]

However, the verb “shaa’e (شاء)” is a derivative of shay (شَيْء), just like mashiat (مشيئة).  According to Arabic grammar rules, a derivative cannot have a meaning that is irrelevant to the root (masdar). Since the word “shay” means “a being”, the verb “shaa’e” can only be assigned a meaning related to “to bring into being”. Unfortunately,  the damage was done and the verb “shaa’e (شاء)” was ascribed the meaning “to will = iradah” which is totally irrelevant to the verbal noun “shay (شَيْء) = being/existence”. This chain of wrongdoings has prevented Muslims from correctly understanding the verb “shaa’e”. The resultant mistranslations of the Qur’an verses which include the verb shaa’e disconnected Islamic sciences from life and made the “belief in predestination” a pillar of faith. So, this topic is utterly important.

A. SHAY (شيئ)

The word “shay (شيئ)” is used in the Qur’an either for the things that have been created or for the beings whose measures have been specified by God. We understand this by the following verse sent down by The Almighty God:

إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئاً أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ

“Whenever He wills a thing (shay), He just commands it ‘Be’, and then it forms.” (Ya-sin 36:82)

When God wills a certain thing (shay) to exist, that thing itself does not exist, yet. However, the verse still calls it a “thing = shay”. This is because the measure/criteria that must be met for its existence are specified and known. The thing itself comes into existence at the end of a process of formation.

 The word shay’an = شَيْئاً” in the verse is masdar (verbal noun), and the tanween (similar to double dash) above it stands for another ‘shay’. As it should originally be شيْئَ شَيئٍْ (= shay’a shay’in), the second شيئ is dropped and the tanween is added on the first “shay”, instead. The dropped “shay  شيئ” is the object of the first “shay ئيش” which is the verbal noun. This expression can be translated into English as: “bringing a thing (shay) into being (shay)”.

The word “kun = كُنْ”  in the verse is a full verb[2] and its subject is ‘shay (شيئ)’.
فَيَكُونُ (fayakoon), is also a full verb. Therefore, the part (إِذَا أَرَ‌ادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ) has the meaning, ‘(شيء و تكوينه إِذَا أَرَادَ  إحداث ):when He desires to bring into existence and form a thing’[3]. Because the meaning of كُنْ: kun, which is a full verb, is “kawwin كوِّنْ : begin to form!” or “uhdus أحدث : take to the stage of existence!”. Sourcing from here, it is understood that infinitive شيئ means ihdas (إحداث) or takween (تكوين).

The verb (شاء) is derived from the infinitive shay (شَيْء). Its origin is (شَيَأَ). Since fatha exists before ya (ي),  ya transforms into alif and the word becomes (شاء). The infinitive and the verb cannot have difference in meaning. The only difference is that the verb takes place in a specific time slice. Therefore, shaae (شَاء) means “formed the shay”.

The verb shaae is transitive (always takes object)[4]. The object is usually not mentioned, since it is understood by the flow of the sentence. The object becomes ‘belief’ if the matter is belief, ‘kufr’ if the matter is concealing the belief, or another thing according to the matter.

The conditions and the measure of a thing are formed at first, and then the thing itself is. If the matter is forming the measure of the thing, the verb shaae (شَاء) is assigned the meaning “formed the measure of the thing =كوَّنقدرالشيء” If the thing itself is being formed, then it should mean “formed the thing =الشيءكوَّن”.

Every formation begins by Allah’s command. Nothing comes into existence unless He commands. Our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) enjoins as follows:

ماشاء الله كان وما لم يشأ لم يكن

“What Allah brings to existence takes place, and what Allah does not bring to existence does not take place.”[5]

We should better translate this sentence as follows:

“What Allah commands comes to pass, and what Allah does not command does not come to pass.”[6]

Below are a few related verses:

إِنَّ هَذِهِ تَذْكِرَةٌ فَمَن شَاء اتَّخَذَ إِلَى رَبِّهِ سَبِيلًا وَمَا تَشَاؤُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاء اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

“This is information; whoever fulfills the conditions for it, takes the path to his Lord. You cannot form anything unless Allah does (command). Allah knows all and judges rightly.” (Al-Insan/ The Human 76:29–30)

وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ رَ‌بُّ الْعَالَمِينَ. لِمَنْ شَاءَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يَسْتَقِيمَ. إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ‌ لِلْعَالَمِينَ

“It (the Qur’an) is not else, but (dhikr) correct information for the worlds. Whoever among you takes righteousness as the measure makes use of that information. You cannot form anything, except according to the measure that Allah, the owner of all things, has set.” (At-Takwir/ The Folding Up 81:27-29)

Now, let us review why this meaning was assigned to the verses above:

In the verse لِمَن شَاء مِنكُمْ أَن يَسْتَقِيمَ , the subject of شَاء  is human and the object of it is, the expression يَسْتَقِيمَ أَن. When the meaning  كوَّ is assigned to  شَاء, the comment of this verse becomes:

لِمَن شَاء أي كوَّن منكُمْ أَن يَسْتَقِيمَ أي قدر الإستقامة

Whoever among you takes righteousness as the measure makes use of that information.

وَمَا تَشَاؤُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاء اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

This is a sentence of Istisna’a. The negative meaning beginning with وَمَا تَشَاؤُونَ was turned to positive via إِلَّا and the objects were eliminated. If we place the objects, the meaning of the verse becomes:

وَمَا تَشَاؤُونَ أي وَلا تكوَّنون شَيْئاً إِلَّا أن يَشَائه اللَّهُ أي كونه الله رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Allah gives the order “كُنْ  = be/form” after the necessary conditions are met and the measure is set.  Allah The Almighty commands:

قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّـهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرً‌ا

“Indeed, Allah has set a measure (qadr) for all things.” (At-Talaq/ The Divorce 65:3)

A thing is not called ‘shay’ unless its measure has been set. The Glorified Allah commands:

أَوَلَا يَذْكُرُ الْإِنسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَمْ يَكُ شَيْئًا

“Does man not know that We created him before, while he was nothing?” (Maryam/ Saint Mary 19:67)

هَلْ أَتَى عَلَى الْإِنسَانِ حِينٌ مِّنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُن شَيْئًا مَّذْكُورًا

“There has been a long period of time until man became a “madhkoor” thing.” (Al-Insan/ The Man 76:1)

Madhkoor means ‘that is subject to dhikr (mention)’. Dhikr means, correct information that is ready to use.[7] The expression: “until man became a madhkoor thing” means, “until the information about that person is produced”. The first information is its measure.

According to verses, thing (shay (شَيْء)) is formed in seven steps:
First is iradah, second is (تكوين قدر الشيئ) -formation of the measure of the thing, third is inspiration, fourth is approval, fifth is record, sixth is (تكوين الشيئ) -formation of the thing and seventh is granting power to the thing.

1. Iradah

Iradah is deciding to form something. Iradah, root rawd (رود), means going forth and back from one point to a destination. This is the act of a person who goes forth and back to seek a stopover and pasture. That person is called ra’id in Arabic. Ra’id moves around and chooses the most appropriate place to put out the herd to pasture.

Arabs say: ‘لنا يرود والمنزِلَ بَعَثْنا رائداً الكَلأَ: We sent ra’id, he will look for pasture and stopover for us’. [8]

Iradah (إرادة), is formed by transformation of rawd (رود) from intransitive form to transitive. It means, ‘sending the ra’id’.

There is such ability in human that shuttles like the ra’id and forms the person’s desires and decisions. Iradah is activating that ability. It begins with desire and ends in decision or indecision. Therefore, iradah is of two types: desire and decision.

The following verse mentions iradah that is in the meaning of desire:

وَاللّهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الشَّهَوَاتِ أَن تَمِيلُواْ مَيْلاً عَظِيمًا

“Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow their passions want you to digress into a great deviation.” (An-Nisa/ The Women 4:27)

Iradah, which is in the meaning of desire, may not be coming true. Allah desires all the people to repent, but they do not. The ones who follow their passions cannot mislead all the people, although they desire.

Allah’s iradah in the meaning of decision certainly comes true. The Glorified Allah commands:

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ
“Indeed, your Lord is the doer of what He wills.” (Hud/ Hood 11:107)

 

The following verse also points out that the iradah in the verse above, is in the meaning of Allah’s decision:

وَإِذَا قَضَى أَمْراً فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ

“When He decrees a thing, He merely says, “Be,” and there it forms.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:117)

The following verse is an example of iradah in the meaning of human’s decision:

وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْ‌ضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ

“Mothers suckle their children for two whole years if the father decides the suckling to be completed.”  (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:233)

People can implement their decisions only when Allah provides the conditions. For example, a mother must have the means that Allah provides, to be able to breastfeed the child. Therefore, Allah commands:

فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

“And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” (Al-e-Imran/ Family of Imran 3:159)

2. Formation of the Measure (تكوين قدر الشيئ)

Qadar means measure. Allah first forms the measure of the thing He is going to create. Related verses are as follows:

إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَاهُ بِقَدَرٍ‌

“We have created everything according to a measure.” (Al-Qamar/ The Moon 54:49)

وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَّقْدُورًا

“Allah’s command is in a firmly determined measure.”  (Al-Ahzaab/ The Allies 33:38)

إن الله على كل شيء قدير

“Allah sets a measure for all things.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:20)

That means, Allah creates things, according to the required measure; neither less nor excess. [9]

Measure for human is different than measures for goods or animals. When Allah The Almighty commanded the earth and the sky: “Come, willingly or unwillingly”, they both had responded: “We have come willingly”.[10] Though, they would not be able to disobey Him even if they did not want to obey. About people it is decreed:

إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا

“Indeed, We have guided him to the path, whether he be thankful or ungrateful.” (Al-Insan/ The Human 76:3)

That means, people disobey the commands of Allah if they do not want to obey. Therefore, There is no compulsion in religion. The Glorified Allah commands:

لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىَ لاَ انفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“There is no compulsion in religion.[11] Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disobeys the astray and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is The All-Hearing, The All-Knowing.”  (2:256)

The words (شَاكِرًا) and (كَفُورًا) in the verse 76:3 are important. Shakir (شَاكِر), is from the root shukr (الشكر). Shukr means remembering the granted boons, praising the One who bestows them and recompensing it.[12] Human owes everything to Allah. A verse is as follows:

وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا

“And He gave you from all you asked for. And if you should count the boons of Allah, you could not enumerate them.”  (Ibrahim/ Abraham 14:34)

These boons are the debt of people to Allah. Debt means ‘dayn (الدين)’ in Arabic. Dayn forces the person to obey. Religion, ‘Diyn (الدين) in Arabic’ is the name of the system that forces the people to obey Allah in return of the debt people owe to Allah. Diyn and dayn are of the same root. There are a lot of people who ignore the debt they increasingly owe to Allah, and still do not like to obey Him.

Person who ignores and pretends not to see is called ‘kefoor (كَفُور). Kefoor (كَفُور) is a noun representing the doer of action ‘kufr (الكفر)’; just as ‘kafir’. Kufr to boons is concealing its existence and not praising for it.[13] This is ingratitude; and the greatest ingratitude is the one to Allah. Many people setup their relations with Allah not the way it should be but the way they like it to be. They do not value the boons He bestows and they get into such business to spoil His system. This is due to the freedom given to human. This will be paid off on the Day of Rising. The Glorified Allah commands:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا لَا يَخْفَوْنَ عَلَيْنَا أَفَمَن يُلْقَى فِي النَّارِ خَيْرٌ أَم مَّن يَأْتِي آمِنًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ اعْمَلُوا مَا شِئْتُمْ إِنَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

“Those who stand aside when faced with Our Signs are not hidden from Us. Is he who will be cast into the fire better, or he who comes secure on the Day of Rising? Do what you do; Allah sees all of it.”  (Fussilat/ Expounded 41:40)

The subject of the verb (شاء) and its derivatives is either Allah or human in the Qur’an. No other creature is assigned as the actor of this verb. Allah forms all things and their measures. The power of human is limited, though. What human makes is good if it complies with the commands of Allah and the fitra, and it is bad otherwise. Human can do opposite things such as, creating or destroying civilizations, making peace or war, destructing or improving the environment because, he/she has the freedom to do both. The Glorified Allah commands:

شَاء اللّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَلَـكِنِ اخْتَلَفُواْ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ آمَنَ وَمِنْهُم مَّن كَفَرَ وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلُواْ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ

“We made some of those Messengers excel the others. Among them was one with whom Allah Himself had direct talks. There were others whom He raised high in rank in other ways. Likewise We gave clear signs to Jesus, son of Mary, and supported him with the Holy Spirit. Had Allah commanded so, the people who had seen those clear signs could not have fought against one another after them. But they disagreed; then some of them believed; others ignored, and have become of those who conceal. If Allah had commanded so, they could never fight against one another, but Allah does whatever He pleases.”  (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:253)

 

وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَـكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَآ آتَاكُم فَاسْتَبِقُوا الخَيْرَاتِ إِلَى الله مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

 

Had Allah commanded, He could have made you a single community. But that He may test you in what He has given you (He has made this way). So compete one with another in good works. To Allah you will all return, and He will then inform you of that on which you disagreed.” (Al-Ma’ida/ The Feast 5:48)

 

وَإِن كَانَ كَبُرَ عَلَيْكَ إِعْرَاضُهُمْ فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَن تَبْتَغِيَ نَفَقًا فِي الأَرْضِ أَوْ سُلَّمًا فِي السَّمَاء فَتَأْتِيَهُم بِآيَةٍ وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ لَجَمَعَهُمْ عَلَى الْهُدَى فَلاَ تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ

“When their evasion is difficult for you, had you been able to seek a tunnel into the earth or a stairway into the sky to bring them a sign, you would. Had Allah commanded, He would have surely united them upon guidance. So never be of the ignorant.” (Al-An’am/ The Cattle 6:35)

وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ مَا أَشْرَكُواْ وَمَا جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِوَكِيلٍ

Had Allah commanded, they would not have associated others with Him. We have not appointed you a watcher over them, and you are not their guardian.” (Al-An’am/ The Cattle 6:107)

وَلَوْ شَاء رَبُّكَ لآمَنَ مَن فِي الأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا أَفَأَنتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَكُونُواْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

“And had your Lord commanded, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then [O Muhammad], will you compel the people in order that they become believers?” (Yunus/ Jonah 10:99)

وَلَوْ شَاء اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَهُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَكِن يُدْخِلُ مَن يَشَاء فِي رَحْمَتِهِ وَالظَّالِمُونَ مَا لَهُم مِّن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ

Had Allah commanded, He could have made them all a single community. But He admits whoever exerts the effort into His Mercy. And the wrongdoers have not any friend or helper.” (Ash-Shura/ Consultation 42:8)

سَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُواْ لَوْ شَاء اللّهُ مَا أَشْرَكْنَا وَلاَ آبَاؤُنَا وَلاَ حَرَّمْنَا مِن شَيْءٍ كَذَلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِم حَتَّى ذَاقُواْ بَأْسَنَا قُلْ هَلْ عِندَكُم مِّنْ عِلْمٍ فَتُخْرِجُوهُ لَنَا إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلاَّ الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ أَنتُمْ إَلاَّ تَخْرُصُونَ. قُلْ فَلِلّهِ الْحُجَّةُ الْبَالِغَةُ فَلَوْ شَاء لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ.

“Those who joined others with Allah will say, ‘If Allah had not commanded, we would not have joined [anything] and neither would our fathers, nor would we have prohibited anything.’ Likewise did those before them hold on to lie, and finally they tasted Our punishment. Say, ‘Do you have any knowledge with you that you can present us? You follow not except assumption, and you are not but falsifying.’

Say, ‘With Allah is the conclusive argument. If He had commanded, surely He would have guided you all.’ ” (Al-An’am/ The Cattle 6:148-149)

law (لَوْ), at the beginning of the expression ‘law shaa Allahu’ (لَوْ شَاء اللّهُ), is a conditional preposition suggesting that the first clause cannot come to pass, because the second one does not happen. This is so, in case both the condition and the requital are positive. If the requital is negative as in here:  “مَاأَشْرَكْنَا = we would not have associated others”, then ‘law’ (لَوْ) suggests that the first clause does not come to pass since the second one does happen. Therefore, the polytheists say: “We have joined others with Allah, because He commanded. So did also our fathers. We have also prohibited some of the things. We would not do this way, otherwise (if Allah had not commanded)”. They are liars, because Allah has not ever commanded so.

Despite, Allah ordains:

“Had Allah commanded, He would have guided you all.” He would not let some be believers and others polytheists.

As seen above, the real meaning of ‘shaae’ (شَاء) is, ‘has done shay’. The ‘shay’ here, is ‘guidance’. If Allah desires to form a thing, He commands “be”, and then that thing forms. The polytheists say, “Allah would command ‘be’ if He had desired us to be guided, and we would be.” This is a fatalistic approach. If Allah had such a system, He would have given that command for everybody. However, Allah commands ‘be’ in this matter, only for the ones who exert effort in the way of guidance, not for others.

So the polytheists mean, “Allah, has created us this way, and we are not at fault therewith.” Like all the other people, the main source of information of polytheists is fitra, i.e., their lives. Everyone knows that Allah does not force anyone to the right or the wrong path, just as He does not force anyone to produce grapes or wine. The verse informs, that fatalism is a lie and a bizarre delusion, and this assertion cannot be proven right.

Servitude to Allah begins in mind. If a person forms the measure of servitude to Allah in his mind and decides to do so, then he/she tries to fulfill its requirements. In the meantime, Allah commands “be” and the person can start servitude.

If love of worldly life forges ahead, Allah warns him/her. Every person hears this warning from inside. There are also ones who hear it from others. Allah The Almighty commands:

“And Allah would not consider a people astray after He admits them into His path until He makes clear to them what they should avoid. Indeed, Allah is The All-Knowing.” (At-Tawbah/ The Repentance 9:115)

This way, man can understand his fault clearly. But, if the love of worldly life outweighs, that person spoils his relation with Allah. Then, Allah approves this person to stray and commands “be!”. So, this person becomes one of the people he tends towards, which is of the astray.  He tries to assimilate the religion to conform to self. Allah The Almighty commands:

“… and woe to those who conceal, from a severe punishment; the ones who prefer the worldly life over the hereafter and prevent the way of Allah, seeking to deviate it. They have gone far astray.” (Ibrahim/ Abraham 14:2-3)

This prevents the will of servitude to Allah from turning into a decision. Some people prioritize Allah using their minds and serve Him all their lives. Whereas, some others feel the need to serve Allah when they are in trouble, and put Allah in second place after getting over that. Allah The Almighty commands:

“And they could not measure the true value of Allah…” (Al-An’am/ The Cattle 6:91)

When someone decides to do something, Allah firstly inspires whether it is good or bad.

3. Inspiration

 

Inspiration is the way something intuits into the heart of Allah’s servant by means of Him.[14] Allah The Almighty commands:

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا. قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا. وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّاهَا.

“And by the One Who inspired the soul to rebel, and to protect itself. He has succeeded who purifies it, and he has failed who fouls and defiles it.” (Ash-Shams/ The Sun 91:8-10)

The person is inspired if his decision means rebellion or protection. Then, he either carries on or gives up on it. Whoever makes the right decision feels more and more relieved. If the decision is wrong, he feels sorrow, compunction and even depression. The following verse points out both types of inspiration:

“And whomsoever Allah has decided to guide, He opens his breast to Islam, and whomsoever He has decided to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky. Thus Allah lays the abomination on those who believe not.” (Al-An’am/ The Cattle 6:125)

Allah The Almighty has set the following measures about the people He is going to guide:

وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَنْ أَنَابَ

 “Allah guides those who turn to Him.” (Ar-Ra’ad/ The Thunder 13:27)

وَمَن يَعْتَصِم بِاللّهِ فَقَدْ هُدِيَ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

 “And Whoever holds fast to Allah will certainly be guided to the straight path.” (Al-e-Imran/ Family of Imran 3:101)

Allah The Almighty does not admit the following into His path until they repent: The ones who conceal, sin, wrong, lie, disbelieve in His signs; who are ingrate, wasteful. The following verses signify these:

وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ

 “Allah does not guide the people who conceal.”[15]

وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

 “Allah does not guide the people who sin.”[16]

وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

“Allah does not guide the wrong-doers.”[17]

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِب كَفَّار ٌ

 “Allah does not guide the liar concealer.” (Az-Zumar/ The Companies 39:3)

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ مُسْرِفٌ كَذَّابٌ

“Allah does not guide the wasteful liar.” (Al-Mu’min/ The Believer 40:28)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللّهِ لاَ يَهْدِيهِم اللّهُ

 “Allah does not guide those who do not believe in His signs.” (An-Nahl/ The Bee 16:104)

 

Wabisa b. Mabad says:
“I came to the messenger of Allah and he said: ‘You have come to ask about righteousness?’. I said: ‘Yes.’ Then he tapped his chest thrice with his closed fingers and said: ‘Wabisa, consult your heart, consult yourself! Goodness is what your heart finds peace in. Sin is what disturbs the heart, the thing that wanders around in chest, even though people had given you a fatwa or had found the thing that you do acceptable.’ ” [18]

Another hadith of Our Prophet is as follows:
“Abandon what arouses your suspicions and follow what is certain. Truthfulness gives satisfaction; lie causes suspicion and hesitation.”[19]

Allah ordains as follows about people who behave intentionally wrong:

لاَ يَزَالُ بُنْيَانُهُمُ الَّذِي بَنَوْاْ رِيبَةً فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ إِلاَّ أَن تَقَطَّعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

“The building which they built will never cease to be a cause of doubt in their hearts, unless their hearts are cut to pieces.” (At-Tawbah/ The Repentance 9:110)

4. Allah’s Approval

The word that expresses approval is ‘idhn (الإذن)’. In Arabic: ear is called ‘udhun (الأذن)’; information received by ears or announced to ears is called ‘idhn (الإذن)’; person reciting that information aloud is ‘muadhdhin (المؤذن)’; and the thing informed is called ‘adhan (الأذان)’.[20] Nothing takes place without Allah’s approval. Allah The Almighty commands:

مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

 “No event comes about without Allah’s leave; and whoever believes in Allah, guides aright his heart; and Allah is All-Knowing of all things.” (At-Taghabun/Mutual Deception 64:11)

Decisions are made from inside. Nobody else, not even angels, knows it, but Allah. Allah The Almighty ordains:

إِذْ يَتَلَقَّى الْمُتَلَقِّيَانِ عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ الشِّمَالِ قَعِيدٌ مَا يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ

“There are two registrars [angels], sitting on the right and the left. Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer [angel] prepared [to record].” (Qaf 50:17-18)

 

وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَافِظِينَ . كِرَامًا كَاتِبِينَ . يَعْلَمُونَ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ .

 “It is a truth that there are guardians over you. Worthy scribes they are, who know what you all do.” (Al-Infitar/ The Cleaving 82:10-12)

Nobody is registered as Muslim without Allah’s approval. Because every human-being believes in Allah in his own way, but Allah does not approve every type of belief. Allah The Almighty ordains:

وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَن تُؤْمِنَ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ

 “It is not for a soul to believe except by the approval of Allah, and Allah lays abomination on those who do not use their minds.” (Yunus/ Jonah 10:100)

5. Record

Allah informs the registrar angels of His approval, at first. They record this immediately. Formation begins after this record. Allah The Almighty ordains:

 

مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّبْرَأَهَا إِنَّ ذٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ

“Every event[21] that comes about on the earth and in your selves is registered in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah.” (Al-Hadid/ The Iron 57:22)

 

Something which is not recorded does not occur. Therefore, Allah The Almighty commands us to say:

 

“Say, ‘Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our friend.’ And only upon Allah let the believers rely.” (At-Tawbah/ The Repentance 9:51)

 

We are advised to pray as follows, for the decree to be good:

 

“And decree for us in this world [that which is] good, and also in the Hereafter… indeed, we have turned to You…” (Al-A’raf/ The Elevated Place 7:156)

 

After the record, begins the formation of the thing.

 

6. Formation of the Thing

The ways Allah and a human beings form a thing are different. Allah only says “be”, for a thing He has decided to form. Thus, it begins to form.

Allah is capable of doing everything for which He has set a measure. Allah The Almighty commands:

يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاء أي مَا يكون قدره وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْقَدِيرُ

 “Allah creates the thing of whose measure He has set. He knows all and sets the measure.” (Ar-Room/ The Romans 30:54)

قَالَ رَبِّ أَنَّىَ يَكُونُ لِي غُلاَمٌ وَقَدْ بَلَغَنِيَ الْكِبَرُ وَامْرَأَتِي عَاقِرٌ قَالَ كَذٰلِكَ اللّهُ يَفْعَلُ مَا يَشَاء أي يكون قدره

“Zechariah said, ‘My Lord, how will I have a boy when I have reached old age and my wife is barren?” The angel said, “This is so; Allah does whatever He has set the measure for.’ ” (Al-e-Imran/ Family of Imran 3:40)

Human is not that capable. He can only form a thing according to the laws Allah has made. Therefore, Allah The Almighty ordains:

 

وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذٰلِكَ غَدًا . إِلَّا أَن يَشَاء أي يكونه اللَّهُ

 “And never say of anything, ‘Indeed, I will do that tomorrow;’ except [when adding], ‘If Allah provides the conditions.’ ” (Al-Kahf/ The Cave 18:23-24)

 

Every formation has essential conditions. A person needs soil, water, vine stock, manure, agriculture equipment, proper weather conditions, knowledge, ability, etc. to be able to grow grapes. He can produce grapes if he exerts the necessary effort. Afterwards, he can say: “I produced this”, or “Allah created this”. Since grapes would not be grown, unless Allah had made those laws and had provided the person with those conditions. The wine producer is in a similar position, too. Allah has made grapes lawful and forbidden wine. However, He neither forces people to produce grapes, nor obstructs the production of wine. All human actions are like this. Allah The Almighty ordains:

وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَى

“And man owns nothing, except for which he strives.” (An-Najm/ The Star 53:39)

 

That means: A person has no work of own, unless he makes an effort himself. Anything obtained as inheritance, as presents, etc. cannot be criteria to classify the person as good or evil, since he doesn’t have any contribution to their obtainment.

 

7. Granting Power to the Thing

Taqdeer, is setting the measure of and granting power to a thing.[22] Since creation is by a certain measure, taqdeer means ‘granting adequate power to the thing’, when it is mentioned in verses about post-creation. Allah The Almighty commands:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّى وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَى

 “Exalt the name of your Lord, the Highest. Who created and proportioned, and Who gave power and then guided.” (Al-A’la/ The Most High 87:1-3)

 

The word ‘sawwa’ سَوَّى mentioned in the first verse means, ‘equalized, and completed its creation’. Allah creates every creature by the measures that are specific to its kind. A pear seed does not grow to be an apple. It inherits the shape and characteristics of the strain it belongs to.

 

The word ‘qaddara’ قَدَّرَ mentioned in the second verse is related to post-creation period, and it means, granting adequate power to something. So, Allah grants some power to every entity He creates.

 

The words ‘fa hada’ فَهَدَى in the second verse mean, ‘then guided to the path’. All the entities take the path Allah shows, which makes them objects of Allah’s commands. Allah The Almighty ordains:

 

ُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاء وَهِيَ دُخَانٌ فَقَالَ لَهَا وَلِلْأَرْضِ اِئْتِيَا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا قَالَتَا أَتَيْنَا طَائِعِينَ

“Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke, and He said to it and to the earth: Come both under my command, willingly or unwillingly. They both said: We come willingly.” (Fussilat/ Expounded 41:11)

 

It is significant that the entities say: “طَائِعِينَ أَتَيْنَا : We come willingly.” It proves that they are conscious and they see the truth. The following verse expresses this more clearly:

 

تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدَهِ وَلَـكِن لاَّ تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا

“The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts Allah because of His praise, but you do not understand their exalting.”  (Al-Isra/ The Night Journey 17:44)

 

Hamd (translated as ‘praise’) means, giving glory to someone because of something he did.[23] Exalting Allah because of His Hamd, is exalting Allah since He does everything beautifully. This proves the consciousness of the things other than human.

 

The power that differentiates human from other entities is granted after the completion of human’s creation in mother’s womb. Allah The Almighty ordains:

 

مِن نُّطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ

“Out of a zygot did He create human and then granted power to him.” (Abasa/ He Frowned 80:19)

 

The differentiation stage of human[24] is after the spirit is blown into the body. This stage is explained below:

 

ثُمَّ سَوَّاهُ وَنَفَخَ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِهِ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ

“Then Allah equalized that fetus (to other human beings as for its organs) and breathed into him from His soul. Thus, He made for you hearing and eyes with vision and hearts (that make decision). How little you are grateful!” (As-Sajda/ The Prostration 32:9)

 

At this stage, radical changes occur. Ear turns into a means of learning as it dissociates sounds. Eyes acquire the skill to see through events, and heart takes over the decision mechanism that is responsible for love, hatred, belief, disbelief and all others.

 

 

B. FITRA (NATURE)

‘Fitra’ is the body of laws that create, change and develop the structures of  beings. These laws are made by careful examination of the relations between things (شيئ) and the measures Allah set for those things. Human beings, animals, plants, earth, heavens, institutions, entities, in short everything run according to fitra. Qur’an names these laws and every being formed according to them as ‘Signs/Verses’. These verses and the written verses of Qur’an are in perfect unity. Allah The Almighty commands:

“So set your face steadily and truly to that religion, the fitra* of Allah, in which He has created the mankind. There is nothing to replace what Allah creates. That is the righteous religion. But most people do not know.” (Ar-Room/ The Romans 30:30)

According to this verse, religion is fitra. Therefore, fitra is emphasized very often in Qur’an. All of the examples in Qur’an are also from the nature.

Things in themselves and relations between things are systematic according to fitra. Every person knows this by his own experience and knowledge. Similarly, rulings in Qur’an are systematic in themselves and in their relations with each other. This system is fully compliant to fitra. Otherwise, examples could not be chosen from the nature.

Divorce by men (talaq) is called as a thing (شيئ) in Qur’an. The system of divorce may be given as an example of compliance to fitra. Allah The Almighty commands:

 

“O Prophet, when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them by regarding their waiting period; and keep count of the waiting period; and fear Allah, your Lord. Do not turn them out of their [husbands’] houses, nor should they themselves leave during that period unless they are committing a clear immorality. And those are the limits set by Allah. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah has certainly wronged himself. You know not; perhaps Allah will bring about after that a different matter.

And when they have fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms (maruf)[25] or part with them according to acceptable terms. And bring to witness two just men from among you and establish the testimony for the acceptance of Allah. That is instructed to whoever should believe in Allah and the Last day. And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out.

And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed

Allah has set a measure for all things.”  (At-Talaq/ The Divorce 65:1-3)

 

Since “Allah has set a measure for all things.” (شيئ), divorce is also considered as a thing (شيئ) whose measures are set.

 

The man who would like to divorce his wife needs to comply with the measures of divorce. Those measures are as follows:

  1. Divorce should be performed within the waiting period. That is, the woman must not be in her menstruation period. If the woman is clean, they must not have had sexual intercourse in this clean period.
    The man may divorce his wife easily during the menstruation period. Because he could be teased by the nuisance of menstruating woman and by not having the chance of intercourse with his wife. A man, who had intercourse with his wife right after the end of menstruation period, may also divorce his wife easily. Because he has attained what he desired. In both cases, fitra (human nature) requires the divorce to be invalid.
  2. Husband must keep the count of waiting period. The man who has to count the number of days the woman spends at home, would have to be interested in the divorced wife.
  3. The woman must not be turned out of her husband’s house. The couple, which has to spend the three months of waiting period together in the same house, may most probably solve their problems. If they still cannot get on, that reveals the seriousness of the problem.
  4. Similarly, the woman must not leave the house. If the wife leaves, that may estrange the couple and reuniting the family becomes difficult.
  5. The man must either return to his wife or leave her within the waiting period. Both should be done according to acceptable terms, i.e. kindly. A reluctant marriage harms the family. If the man and woman divorce kindly, they might come together by a new wedding in the future.
  6. There must be two witnesses during the act of divorce, and returning or leaving.

 

Thus, the Muslims who are aware of the situation seek reconciliation through assigning two arbitrators; each from the families of spouses. This is compliant with the verse 35 of Surah An-Nisa (The Women). The man can return to his wife before the end of waiting period, under the condition that he is well-intentioned. (Al-Baqarah 2:228) This should also be established by witnesses.

Witnessing is also required in case of divorce, so that everybody learns the marriage is over.

The 1st and the 6th conditions are indispensable. Divorce is void without these.

This is the first divorce (talaq). The man can divorce his wife once more in compliance with these conditions. At the third time, only 1st and 6th conditions apply. After the third divorce, the man cannot wed his wife again, unless the woman marries another man. All of these are the requirements of fitra.

 

CONCLUSION  

 

As understood; thing, measure and desire are related words. These relations were broken off throughout the history; and therefore religion was set apart from science and nature (fitra). This prevented Qur’an from being understood correctly.

We think, the greatest problem of these days is not to focus on the relation between religion and science. The resource of science is fitra. If the one-to-one correspondence between religion and nature (fitra) can be brought to light, that would majorly serve humanity.

We hope this work serves this target.

 

 

 

 


[1] Nuruddin al-Sabouni, el-Bidaye fi usul’id-din, Ankara 1995, p. 72. For synonymous phrases of Ash’ari, see: Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Bajuri  (d. 1277/1860), Sharh Jawharatul Tawhid, Beirut 1403/1983, p. 65.

[2] كان is either full or naqis verb. When it is a full verb, it takes subject, just as it does here.

[3] See: Al-Khazin, Ali b. Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Baghdadi, Lubab at-Tawil fi Ma’ani at-Tanzil. Matbaa Al-Amirah 1319 h., p 223 (Inside Kitab Majmuah min at-tafaseer)

Another related verse is as follows: أَمْراً فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ  قَضَى  وَإِذَا When He decrees a thing, He merely says, “Be,” and there it forms. (Al-Baqarah 2:117) The word قَضَى here means ‘used His iradah’, and the word أَمْر means ‘thing’ (shay). أَمْراً  قَضَى  وَإِذَا means, ‘when He desires to form a thing’. Qurtubi expresses this as; إذا أراد خلق شَيْء : when He desires to create a thing. (Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Ahmad al- Ansari al-Qurtubi, al-Jami li-Ahkam al-Qur’an, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut 1408/1988, v. II, p. 61.)

[4] In the verse 80 of Al-An’am, the subject of (شاء) is mentioned as شَيْئًا: إِلاَّ أَن يَشَاء رَبِّي شَيْئًا

[5] Abu Dawood, Adab (General Behavior) 110.

[6] Abu Dawood, Adab (General Behavior) 110.

[7] والذكر يقال اعتبارا باستحضار المعرفة Raghib al-Isfahani, Mufradat, (pub. Safvan Adnan Dawoodi), Damascus and Beirut, 1412/1992, Art. ذ كر .

[8] Jamaluddin Mohammad b. Manzoor, Lisan al-arab, Beirut (n.d.), Art. (رود)

[9] Mufradat, Art. قدر

[10] Surah Fussilat/Expounded 41:11

[11] The basis of religion is belief and the basis of belief is approval of the heart. Heart is the inner-world of human where he is fully free. Only Allah and the person himself know what is inside the heart. Therefore, nobody can be forced to believe or disbelieve. People cannot be forced to worship either, because worships require niyyah (intention). Intention comes from the heart, too. Since nobody can be forced to intent to do anything worships cannot be forced, either.

 

[12] Mufradat, Art. شكر

[13] Mufradat, Art. كفر

[14] Fakhr al-Din al-Radhi, At-Tafsi al-Kabir, Matbaa al-Amira, v.VIII, p. 583.

[15] Al-Baqarah/The Cow 2:264; Al-Maida/The Feast 5:67; At-Tawbah/The Repentance 9:37; An-Nahl/The Bee 16:107.

[16] Al-Maida/The Feast 5:108; At-Tawbah/The Repentance 9:24, 80; As-Saff/The Rows 61:5; Al-Munafiqun/The Hypocrites 63:6.

[17] Al-Baqarah/The Cow 2:258; Al-e-Imran/ Family of Imran 3:86; Al-Maida/The Feast 5:51; Al-An’am/The Cattle 6:144; At-Tawbah/The Repentance 9:19, 109; Al-Qasas/The Stories 28:50; Al-Ahqaf/The Curved Dunes 46:10; As-Saff/The Rows 61:7; Al-Jumu’ah/The Friday 62:5.

[18] Sunan Al-Darimi, Buying&Selling’, 2; Ahmad bin Hanbal, 4/228

[19] Tirmidhi, Qiyamat, 60.

[20] Mujam al Maqayis al-Lugha, Mufradat

 

[21] The word ‘مُّصِيبَةٍ  museebat’ in the verse is from the root sawb (صوب). According to Mu’jam Maqayis al-Lugha, it means, coming down and settlement of a thing into its place. (يدلُّ على نزولِ شيءٍ واستقرارِهِ قَرَارَه). Therefore, we assigned the meaning ‘every event that comes about’, either good or bad. The next verse approves this meaning. It is:

لِكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا عَلَى مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ

“So that you may not grieve over the loss you suffer, nor exult over what He gave you. Allah does not like the vainglorious, the boastful.”

[22] Mufradat  والقدر يدلُّ على مَبْلَغ الشَّيء وكُنهه ونهايته. والتقدير إحداثه أو أعطا الشَّيء القدرة

[23] Mufradat Art. حمد

[24] Surah Al- Mu’minoon/The Believers 23:14

[25] Maruf means, well- known thing. This knowledge is obtained through traditions or the Book and the Sunnah. If it is obtained through traditions, then it must conform to Qur’an and The Messenger’s Teachings. Such information is of global qualities, since it represents the facts of nature (fitra).

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Date: Aug 3, 2013