Is the destiny (qadar) of man written while he is in the womb? Will you evaluate the issue acting upon the relevant hadith?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

An Explanation about Qadar (Destiny/Predestination)

TheProphet states the following in a hadith:

“The creation of each one of you is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days; then, he becomes a clot of thick blood (alaqah), and then he becomes a piece of flesh (mudghah). Then, Allah sends an angel and he is ordered to write four things: the livelihood (rizq), date of death (ajal), deeds of this creature and whether he will be a person of Paradise or Hell. Then, spirit is blown into him.” (Bukhari, Qadar, 1; Bad’ul-Khalq, 6; Anbiya, 2; Tawhid, 28;Muslim, Qadar, 1; Abu Dawud, Sunnah, 17; Tirmidhi, Qadar, 4, 8).

The following questions and similar ones are asked about the statement “whether he will be a person of Paradise or Hell” in the hadith:

“If it is known beforehand what man will do, how can he be held responsible for what he does?”

“If Allah knows what will happen in the future, can it be said that human beings who do the things that are known beforehand have free will?”

“Knowledge is dependent on the known”

In Qadar, God Almighty’s name al-Alim (the Knower of All) is dominant. Knowledge, which is the manifestation of that name, is essential in Qadar. This state is expressed as follows by Islamic scholars: “Knowledge is dependent on the known”. Allah knows the things that will happen because they will happen. However, His knowledge does not determine them. For, knowledge is dependent on the known; knowing does not determine what will happen. What is meant by the statement“knowledge is dependent on the known”?As itis known, knowledge means to learn and know the reality of something by reading, searching, seeing and listening. Knowledge is different from thought. Thought is view, preference, faith and idea that is not definite.

Then,“what does known mean and what does the statement knowledge is dependent on the known mean?”Known is the thing that is known and that is the topic of knowledge and science. The word known includes anything thatis the topic of knowledge and science and anything that is created. We think the examples below will be helpful in understanding the issue:

First, let us try to understand the issue with the following example: The road between Antalya and Isparta has a certain length.This length is called “known” since it is the topic of knowledge. We know the existence of that road and that it is 120 km long. It is called “knowledge/science”. Our knowledge here is dependent on the known; it is in compliance with it and that is why it is called knowledge. We know that this road to be 120 km long because it is 120 km long. It is not 120 km long just because we say it is 120 km long.

If the known were dependent on knowledge, the road would be 150 km long when we said “this road is 150 km”.

There are other examples that explain the issue in scientific data. Scientists determine on what day and at what time the sun will be eclipsed based on experience and research. When that day and time come, the sun is eclipsed. Let us ask now: 

“Was the sun eclipsed because they said ‘the sun will be eclipsed on that day and that time’ or did the scientists determine it like that because the sun was going to be eclipsed at that day and time?”

Let us deal with the issue in terms of qadar:

As the rule “knowledge is dependent on the known” indicates, Allah knows what happens and will happen with His pre-eternal knowledge. His knowledge is also dependent on the known. We do not do things because He knows them so; He knows them because we do or will do so. If the known were dependent on knowledge, we would do things because He knew; in that case, He would direct our will and prevent us from acting freely with our free will. However, Allah knows what happened and what will happen as they are. That is, His knowledge is also dependent on the known.

“Was everything known beforehand?”

Yes, the pre-eternal knowledge knew everything beforehand. Besides, knowing something beforehand and afterwards is not in question for Allah because Allah sees the past, the present and the future at the same time. The whole universe is like an atom in the eye of Allah. That is, he knows the immense universe and manages it as he knows and manages an atom. Less-more, big-small does not matter for His power; His knowledge encompasses everything in the past and in the future.

“Since God Almighty knows with His pre-eternal knowledge that we are people of Paradise or people of Hell, what is the point of making efforts based on our will?”

He knows whether we are people of Paradise or people of Hell. However, He knows it because He knows what we will do based on our free will. His knowing does not bind our will. For, the principle of knowledge is dependent on only knowing the known things and beings. Those beings are not managed from outside through knowledge. That is, a being does not exist because you know that it exists. It does not cease to exist because you know that it does not exist. In other words, you cannot change the properties and place of a being only with your knowledge. The manifestation of will and power is necessary to change the shape, nature and place of a being. Allah makes only His name al-Alim manifest in the issue of qadar just like the length of the road will not change by knowing in the example given above.

It is Allah who creates both the good and the evil. His universal will is dependent on our partial free will.If we want to go to a mosque, He will create that deed. If we want to go to a forbidden place, He will create it too. We are held responsible because we use our partial free will in the bad way..

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