Qadari Contention: Good Deeds are Useless

Qadari Contention: “If you say that there is no such thing as one event causing another to exist, then there is no need for good deeds, because good deeds do not bring about the mercy or forgiveness of Allah.

Sunni Response: Only Allah brings anything into existence, because this is the definition of creating, and Allah is the only creator. Nothing influences Allah, because He has no needs. How can someone think of themselves as actually influencing the Creator of this world. Subhan-Allah.

Al-Bukhari narrated through Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: “Your deeds will not put you in Paradise.” They asked: “Not even for you, O Messenger of Allah?” He answered: “No, not even for me, except that Allah will cover me with grace and mercy.” (Sahih Al-Bukhaari No 5349, 5/2147; Umdat-al-Qaari 21/227)

What this means is that Allah is not obliged to do anything, and that your deeds do not influence Allah or anything else. It does not mean that you do not need to do anything. It means that if you do not, then this indicates that Aļļaah has not willed good for you, and this is a sign that you are heading for loss in the Hereafter. At-Tahaawi states: “The deeds of creation are created by Allah and acquired (committed) by creation.” Allah says in the Quran:

“وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَقْدُورًا”

Meaning: “All created beings are predestined by Aļļaah.” (Al-Ahzaab, 38 )

This means that all things, has been specified and created exactly how they are to be by Allah. To clarify further:

“وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ”

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

The truth of this aayah can be seen by looking at yourself. For example, take a simple act like standing up. This simple act requires the contraction and coordination of millions of muscle fibers, through signals from the brain, none of which we are even aware of. It is actually something extremely complex and coordinated. It must therefore be under the control of someone with a will to specify this complex event, and that is none other than Allah.

That does not mean that we do not have a choice. It means rather, that the choices we perceive as options, the perceived ability to choose one of them, and the choice finally made, is created by Allah. In other words, we commit choices, but Allah creates them. This is different from involuntary acts, such as shivering. In this case we have no choice, not even a created one. Our accountability for our deeds is for deeds for which we had a created choice. We are not accountable for involuntary acts, such as shivering.

With regards to the fact that all which exists is by Allah’s Will and Creating, it is useful to recount the debate between Al-Qadi Abdul Jabbaar of the Mutazili sect, and the great Imam of the Sunnis of the time, Abu Ishaaq Al-Isfaraayiini (418 h.) When the two met, AbdulJabbaar said, “Exalted is Allah, who transcends the obscene.” (While this is a sound expression, what he meant to say was that Allah does not create evil. This is blasphemous, because Muslims must believe that Allah is the only creator, as it is stated in the Quran that He created everything, and that no one wills anything except by His Will.)

Imam Al- Isfaraayiini realized what he had implied and responded, “Exalted is Allah, nothing happens in His dominion but by His Will.” The Mutazili then made another attempt and said, “Does our Lord like to be disobeyed?” Al-Isfaraayiini quickly replied, “Could He be disobeyed against His Will?” Upon that AbdulJabbaar tried again to defeat his adversary and said, “If God denied me guidance, then ruled that I be destroyed for it, has He treated me fairly?” Al-Isfaraayiini calmly answered, “If He denied you something that was yours, then He would have been unfair, but if it was not rightfully yours, then Allah does with His creation what He wills.” AbdulJabbaar fell silent, and could not argue further. After all, Allah is the true owner of all creation. (V.4/ P. 261-262. Tabaqaat-al-Shafi’iyyah-al-Kubraa).

Finally, before one delves more on this, one should remember that Allah said:

لا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُون

Meaning: “He is not asked about what He does to creation, but the creation is asked.” (Al-Anbiyaa’, 23).

Qadari Contention: With all due respect to Al-Isfaraayiini, there is a difference between what is fair legally and what is fair morally. Legally, Allah has created all that is, and it is His to do as He wishes. Morally, however, is different.

Sunni Response: The answer is that whether you call it legally or morally, the fact remains that Allah does not have a judge. Allah is neither subject to morals, nor laws, because He does not have a judge. AbdulJabbar did not answer Al-Isfaraayiyni, because he knew that injustice (thulm) is linguistically (in Arabic): “to put something where it does not belong,” and in common usage: “to deal in the rights of others without a right, or to transgress beyond one’s limits.” None of these meanings can apply to the Creator, as all right belong to Him, and all things belong to Him, and He is not limited in any way.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

4 Responses to Qadari Contention: Good Deeds are Useless

  1. loveProphet says:

    Ah this is great, JazakAllah Khair!

  2. Ibn Mazhar says:

    wa iayyakum, Sidi

  3. Attari says:

    Barak Allahu Feekum Sayyidi

    Out of curiosity, did Abdul Jabbar revert back to the ways of the Ahlus Sunnah after being blatantly defeated?

  4. Assalaamu^alaykum,

    No, I do not think so.

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