Qadari Contention: Why is intention so important in our religion if we do not create it?

Qadari Contention: If real intention, not created by Allah, does not exist, why is it so prominent in our religion?

Sunni Response: Intention does exist, but it is an action and therefore a creation of Allah:

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Meaning: “Allah created you and what you do.” (As-Saaffaat. 96)

Intention also cannot be without Allah willing it:

وما تشاءون إلا أن يشاء الله

Meaning: “You do not will anything unless Allah has willed it.” (Al-Insaan, 30)

This means that Allah is the creator of our intentions, but we are the one’s that commit the intentions. When we intend something, we feel the ability to intend something else, and we do not feel forced to choose to intend. It is not like, for example, when our bodies shiver from cold temperatures. However, this feeling of ability, the process of choosing to intend, and the intention finally made are all Allah’s creations, while we are the ones that commit these inner actions.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

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7 Responses to Qadari Contention: Why is intention so important in our religion if we do not create it?

  1. Mashsha'i says:

    salam,

    i’d be interested in your thoughts on my criticism of the general Ash’arite doctrine of ‘kasb’ which you hold.

    • I looked at your article, which claims that Sunnis believe that creating an event must in itself be an event in need of a creator. You pointed out that such a belief leads to the problem of infinite regress.

      Actually, Sunnis do not claim that Allaah’s actions are events and would hence need a creator. The essence of what we say is that this world, i.e. events, are intrinsically possible and not eternal. The world’s existence tells us that it must have been brought into existence by other than it, i.e. by Allaah. The world, being possible, needs both specification and to be brought into existence, hence Allaah must be attributed with Will and Power. However, these attributes must be eternal and necessary attributes, otherwise we would indeed encounter a problem of infinite regress. This is the position of all Sunnis. In other words, Allaah does not change, so He is not in time. All statements that may seem to indicate otherwise are due to the limitations of language. E.g. it is very difficult to explain anything without verbs, and verbs always carry a meaning of time. This is why Taftazani’s statement is confusing. In general, Kalaam topics are very intricate and difficult to explain, so there are plenty of opportunities to be vague or misleading to some of the audience. Especially when taken out of context. One is forced to assume a lot from the reader, because one cannot explain everything all the time. Taftazani is not addressing an audience with people who do not have a sheikh to guide them or an advanced background in Sunni Kalaam science as such an audience has no reference framework to understand him.

      It is very easy to get confused on this issue you raised regarding the attributes of will and power if one comes at it from another angle than the one above. I.e. one needs to look at what is necessarily true about Allaah, and then not ask “how”, because there isn’t one. It is beyond human beings to grasp the reality of Allaah’s attributes, such as those of will and power. However, we do know that they are not events and not created.

      • Mashsha'i says:

        “Actually, Sunnis do not claim that Allaah’s actions are events and would hence need a creator. [...]”

        i know they don’t. i never claimed otherwise. in other words, that’s not the issue. the issue is that holding, as Taftazani says the Ash’rites do, that God creates our acts for us “following upon” the exertion of our power and will leads to an infinite regress. why? because to exertion our will, to intend, it itself an act. as such, God creates it for us. but insofar as it’s an act, it will require a further exertion of our will and power, which is another and which also because, as an act, be created for us by God. and so on ad infinitum with the consequence an infinite has been actualized and will never in perform any given act.

      • I already explained this issue above. Al-Taftaazaaniyy is referring to taˆalluq, i.e. the taˆAllur follows, i.e. from our perspective of mental relations; of describing the action of the created actor. Kasb is not something that has independent existence, it is a description of a creation’s act based on the fact that he is the actor. E.g. when a person sits, it is the person that sits, not the Creator of that act. It is this incident of acting (such as the sitting) in the actor that is referred to as kasb. As for expressions some might utter, like “after that Allaah created so and so” etc. I have explained this more in the article I linked. It is from a descriptive perspective that refers to how one creation relates to another – taˆalluq. They are not meant to say that Allaah passes through time, doing one thing and then another. No, Allaah does not change and does not pass through time.

  2. You are assuming that Allaah is in time. I have already explained that Sunnis do not accept this assumption, exactly because it leads to infinite regress. I have also provided you with the links that explains this to your brothers in overactive imagination: the wahabis.

    • Mashsha'i says:

      I don’t think I’m assuming that at all. Can you clarify? The infinite regress follows from the assumption that God creates our acts for us “after” (whether this “after” is temporal or not is irrelevant) we intend or exert our wills to perform the act.

      As for your quips, there’s no need for them. Let’s stay focused on the issue here.
      Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

      • Like I said, you are referring to taˆalluqaat. It is disingenuous of you to beat around the bush as much as you and then ask for focus. Let me ask you this: what is time?

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