Predestination and Taqdeer (تقدیر)

Predestination and Taqdeer (تقدیر)

Surely, Allah is All-Powerful and  has Supreme Control over everything. BUT this does not mean that He has no laws, no rules, no principles and would do anything, at any time He desires. Although He CAN do, BUT he does NOT do and would not DO. Why? Because He has prescribed Laws for all things and events in the Universe and He does not infringe upon these Laws nor let anyone else change these laws even though He is All-Powerful to do so.

Inna Allaha AAala kulli shay-in qadeerun

إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

In the following verses, it is stated that “inna Allaha AAala kulli shay-in qadeerun”:

[2:20, 2:106, 2:109, 2:148, 2:259, 2:284, 3:26, 3:29, 3:165, 3:189, 5:17, 5:19, 5:40, 5:120, 6:17, 8:41, 9:39, 11:4, 16:77, 22:6, 24:45, 29:20, 30:50, 33:27, 35:1, 41:39, 42:9, 46:33, 48:21, 57:2, 59:6, 64:1, 65:12, 66:8, 67:1]

Other verses which refer to the Qudrat (قدرت) of Allah are: Qadir [6:37, 6:65, 17:99, 36, 81, 46:33, 86:8], Qadiroon  [23:18, 23:95, 70:40, 77:23], Qadireen  [75:4, 75:40], Muqtadir [18:45, 54:42, 54:55], and Muqtadiroon [43:42].

Meanings of the word Qadar (قدر):

The root of the word is Q-D-R which leads to the following meanings:

-To measure, compute or determine (e.g., the quantity, size, measure, bulk, proportion, extent, amount, sum, limit, limits or number of a thing or things

-To estimate

-To make a thing according to its measure, or proportion it or adapt it according to its measure

-To decree, decide, appoint, ordain, divide,  distribute, or apportion (according to a measure)

-To straiten or render scanty (according to a measure)

-To have power or ability to do, affect, accomplish, achieve or attain a thing

Meanings of the word Taqdeer (تقدیر)

The primary meaning of the word Taqdeer is ‘making a thing according to a measure’.

Taqdeer can be defined as ‘occurrence of events according to pre-defined measures, standards or criteria’. Its concept is different from the commonly understood notion of predestination. 

Take an example:

A fashion designer conceives a design of a shoe in his mind. According to his conception, he makes a design of the shoe on paper. According to the design-on-paper, a cobbler cuts the leather sheet and makes the shoe. ‘Making of the shoe’ according to its ‘design-on-paper’ is taqdeer of the shoe’. Event that has happened in this case is ‘the making of the shoe’ and the ‘measure’ is the design-on-paper according to which ‘the making of the shoe’ takes place.

Take another example.

At sea level, Water freezes at 0oC and boils at 100oC. Freezing of water at 0oC and boiling at 100oC is thetaqdeer of water. The events in this case are freezing and boiling and the measures are 0o and 100otemperatures, respectively. This Taqdeer of water can never change, provided all the conditions are same, e.g. same impurity level in water and the same sea level.

Let us see some verses of the Quran in which the word taqdeer has been used:

فَقَضَاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ وَأَوْحَىٰ فِي كُلِّ سَمَاءٍ أَمْرَهَا وَزَيَّنَّا السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَابِيحَ وَحِفْظًا ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ

“And He it is Who ordained that they become seven Heavens in two stages and assigned to each heaven its function. And We decorated the sky of the world with shining lamps, and made them secure. Such is the making of things by the Almighty, the Knower, according to his self-defined measures (taqdeer)”. [41:12]

وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَا ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ

“And the sun: it runs its appointed course. Such is the making of things by the Almighty, the Knower, according to his self-defined measures (taqdeer)”. [36:38 ]

فَالِقُ الْإِصْبَاحِ وَجَعَلَ اللَّيْلَ سَكَنًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ حُسْبَانًا ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ

“He is the Cleaver of the daybreak. He has appointed the night for stillness, (rest and tranquility) and the sun and the moon to run their well-calculated courses. They become means of calculating time for you (10:5). Such is the making of things by the Almighty, the Knower, according to his self-defined measures (taqdeer)”. [6:96 ]

Allah has defined measures, standards or criteria for everything

إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَاهُ بِقَدَرٍ

“Surely We have created everything according to a measure”. [54:49]

وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا عِندَنَا خَزَائِنُهُ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ إِلَّا بِقَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ

“And there is not a thing but with Us are the treasures of it, and We do not send it down or make it happen but according to a known measure”. [15:21]

اَللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَحْمِلُ كُلُّ أُنثَىٰ وَمَا تَغِيضُ الْأَرْحَامُ وَمَا تَزْدَادُ وَكُلُّ شَيْءٍ عِندَهُ بِمِقْدَارٍ

“Allah knows what any female bears, and what decrease or increase takes place in the womb. Everything has a due measure with Him”. [13:8]

الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَدًا وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا

“He, Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Who did not take to Himself a son, and Who has no associate in the kingdom, and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure”. [25:2]

وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا

“And give him sustenance from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him; surely Allah attains His purpose; Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything”. [65:3]

وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَىٰ

“And Who makes (things) according to a measure,then guides (them to their goal)”. [87:3]

For example:

وَالَّذِي نَزَّلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً بِقَدَرٍ فَأَنشَرْنَا بِهِ بَلْدَةً مَّيْتًا كَذَٰلِكَ تُخْرَجُونَ

“And He Who sends down water from the cloud according to a measure, then We raise to life thereby a dead country, even thus shall you be brought forth”. [43:11]

وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً بِقَدَرٍ فَأَسْكَنَّاهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰ ذَهَابٍ بِهِ لَقَادِرُونَ

“And We send down water from the cloud according to a measure, then We cause it to settle in the earth, and most surely We are able to carry it away”. [23:18]

أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌ بِقَدَرِهَا فَاحْتَمَلَ السَّيْلُ زَبَدًا رَّابِيًا وَمِمَّا يُوقِدُونَ عَلَيْهِ فِي النَّارِ ابْتِغَاءَ حِلْيَةٍ أَوْ مَتَاعٍ زَبَدٌ مِّثْلُهُ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْحَقَّ وَالْبَاطِلَ فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَاءً وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ

“He sends down water from the height causing the riverbeds to flow according to their measure, and the flood bears on its surface swelling foam. And, when they use fire to refine metals for their jewelry or equipment, foam is produced like it. In this way Allah is citing for you the example of the Truth and the Falsehood. For, as far as the foam is concerned, it passes away as scum upon the banks. While that which is of benefit to mankind, abides on earth. (The real existence on earth is of the person or the system that benefits humanity). This is how Allah uses analogies for you to understand”. [13:17]

وَلَوْ بَسَطَ اللَّهُ الرِّزْقَ لِعِبَادِهِ لَبَغَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَٰكِن يُنَزِّلُ بِقَدَرٍ مَّا يَشَاءُ إِنَّهُ بِعِبَادِهِ خَبِيرٌ بَصِيرٌ

42/27 “And if Allah should amplify the provision for His servants they would certainly revolt in the earth; but He sends it down according to a measure as He pleases; surely He is Aware of, Seeing, His servants”. [42:27]

The measures, standards or criteria defined by Allah are known or can be known

وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا عِندَنَا خَزَائِنُهُ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ إِلَّا بِقَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ

“And there is not a thing but with Us are the treasures of it, and We do not send it down or make it happen but according to a known measure”. [15:21]

According to what is implied in 15:21, the measures, standards or criteria defined by Allah according to which everything happens in the universe, are known (ma’aloom) (معلوم) or can be known.

There are two main areas for these measures, laws, standards or criteria: Physical world and man’s social world. The example of physical world is freezing or boiling of water. Pure water at sea level will boil whenever the temperature is 100o C and will freeze whenever it is 0o C. This is the criterion. Now we can wait for temperature to get by itself to 100o C or 0o C in order to get it boiled or frozen. Or we can put the water container on heat or in the freezer to get it boiled or frozen. The law that water boils at 100o C and freezes at 0o C will never change. Similarly in man’s social world, there are universal laws, criteria or standards according to which events are affected. It may be the case that we do not know all of these laws and criteria up until now but they can be known by deliberation and research in the Universe [i.e. the work of Allah] and in the Quran [i.e. the word of Allah]. Some of the laws such as those govern the rise and fall of societies and nations are given in the Quran and are well known,  and some of the laws that govern the physical worlds have already been discovered by scientists through research.

The measures, standards, laws or criteria defined by Allah never change.

Even He Himself does not change these measures, standards, laws and criteria, although He is all powerful to do so. Please refer to the following verses: 

لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ


لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ


وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا


فَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَحْوِيلًا


وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا


وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ


لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ


لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ


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