If the Killer had not Killed, would the Killed have Died?
A question that people generally wonder about qadar (destiny) regarding a murder is the issue whether the killed would have continued living if the killer had not killed him. If the killer had not killed him, would the killed have died due to another reason? Or, would he have continued living?
Before we answer the question, we need to learn the meanings of the concepts “cause” and “effect” that we will use while answering the question. In a murder, the killer is the cause. The incident took place because of his intervention. The killed person is the effect. He was affected by the deed of the killer. That is, when we say the cause, we mean the killer; and when we say the effect, we mean the killed.
Now let us answer the question: Allah Almighty attributed everything in this realm to a cause.
For instance, a child is an effect. The cause is the mother and the father. Allah Almighty preordained that child to be created through that mother and father.
It is called "qadar’s involvement with the cause and effect at the same time". Some people who do not know his mystery think that the cause and the effect are separate qadars; that is, they consider the parents and the child separately; therefore, they deduce a wrong judgment: “Since it is written in his qadar that he will come to this world, he will come to this world even if his mother and father are not existent.”
Some other people attribute real effects to causes and say, “If his parents had not existed, that child would not have been born.”
In fact, the best sentence to utter about the issue is this: “Since qadar sees the cause and the effect at the same time, when the cause is assumed to be non-existent, there is nothing to say about the effect. That is, if the mother and the father were non-existent, would the child be born? The scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah answer that question as follows: “It is unknown to us what will happen; we cannot put forward an idea about it.”
There is a truth that we can see: The child was born out of his mother and father. When the non-existence of the mother and the father is assumed, how can we make a judgment that the child will be born? Therefore, we cannot make a guess whether God Almighty will make that child be born out of another mother and father or not.
Suppose that one person coming from Erzurum and another person coming from Istanbul meet in Ankara.
One of them says, “We would not have met, if we had not come here.” The other says, “It was written in the qadar that we would meet. Even if we had not come here, we would have met.”
Both of those statements are wrong because Allah Almighty’s knowledge and writing in qadar are dependent on their meeting that is known. When what is known, that is, their coming to Ankara is assumed to be non-existent, nothing can be said about whether they will be able to meet somewhere else or not.
Let us deal with our question now: If the killer had not killed him, would the killed have died? Or, would he have continued to live? In order to be able to ask such a question, one needs to suppose that Allah does not know the cause and the effect,
through His pre-eternal knowledge at the same time. That is, Allah did not know that the killer would kill that person through His pre-eternal knowledge and preordained a lifespan for the killed person. Then, the killer caught that person and killed him before he lived until the time preordained by Allah came as if he would have lived longer if the killer had not killed him. It is impossible because Allah encompasses the cause and the effect at the same time through His pre-eternal knowledge. Allah preordained a lifespan for that person in the pre-eternity because He knew that the killer would kill that person. If the killer had not killed that person,
Allah might have killed him at that time due to another reason or He might have given him a longer life.
That is, under our question, there lies a wrong thought which assumes that the pre-eternal knowledge of Allah cannot be involved with the killer and the killed at the same time and that Allah was unaware of the killer when He preordained a life span for the killed person. That is, the ignorance that lies under the question does not know the rule, “knowledge is dependent on the thing known” and Allah’s attribute of pre-eternity. If it had been known that the divine preordainment had been written by considering the cause and the effect at the same time, that question would not have been asked.
Now, let us repeat the answer to be given to that question and settle the issue. Allah’s pre-eternal knowledge encompasses the killer, that is, the cause, and the killed person, that is, the effect at the same time. Since Allah knew that the killer would kill that person using his own will, He ordained the killed person a lifespan like that. If the killer had not killed, what would have happened to the killed person? It is something that only Allah can know. Allah might have preordained a longer lifespan for him or might have killed him due to another reason.
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