Qadari Contention: Can we deny that Allah has put certain causes and effects, which can be observed into different aspects of His creation as He wills?
Sunni Response: We do not deny everything that we call cause in our daily language. You must believe, however, that what we call “cause” in our daily lives is not something that brings things into existence. Remember that words are just words, and what is important is the meaning behind them. The “cause” that Ahl al Sunnah denies is what in Arabic is called ta’thir, or influence. Only Allah can bring something into existence, however minute, so no event can truly and actually influence another event. If you believe this, then we are in agreement. If you do not, then you believe in more than one Creator, even if you call it something different. When we say that all is predestined by Allah, it means that all events, large and small, substances and actions have been created by Allah. When we say “created”, we mean brought into existence. So when a glass breaks, it is in reality because Allah created its breaking, and specified all details of how it is to be, not actually because of the impact of its fall or whatever. This is clearly all according to the Qur’aan:
“وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ”
Meaning: “Allah created everything.” (Al-‘An’aam, 101)
i.e. He brought everything, absolutely and categorically into existence.
“وما تشاءون إلا أن يشاء الله”
Meaning: “You do not will anything unless Allah has willed it.” (Al-Insaan, 30)
“وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا”
Meaning: “And He created everything and predestined it.” (Al-Furqaan, 2)
“هَلْ مِنْ خَالِقٍ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ”
Meaning: “Is there another creator than Allah?”
We can conclude from these that nothing brings anything whatsoever into existence except Allah, whatever it may be.
However, it should also be noted that what we normally call causes in our daily lives do exist. They exist because Allah has willed for certain events to always correspond with others. So, for example, if a field of wheat received no water then it will not grow, and if one jumps out of an airplane one will fall down, etc. Anything else would be considered extraordinary. This is because Allah creates relationships between such events, so that they always correlate. Based on our experience we call this “cause,” and say for example, “he died because he fell over a cliff,” “there is not enough food because of the drought,” etc.
These “causes of normalcy,” as we might call them, are a mercy from Allah, as they help us to deal with our daily lives. If there was no predictable gravity on earth, for example, imagine how difficult it would be to get through your day. Moreover, these “causes of normalcy” make it clear to us what is extraordinary and what is not, so that we can recognize miracles and distinguish Prophets from other people.
Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji