Can we change our Qadr? Is Qadr of Allah changeable or unchangeable?
The most debatable topic is the issue of ‘Qadar’. So many questions arise such as; is our future determined by fate and destiny? Do human beings have free will? Is it possible to alter Allah’s knowledge? Is it possible to change your destiny? Do human beings have free will or are we compelled to do things? Qadaa means to judge or decide while Qadar means to assess or measure.
The former means that events are decided by Allah because it is within his will and knowledge while the latter signifies that the events are divinely assessed or determined because the nature and time of the events are fixed by Allah. Qadar is one of the pillars of Eman so one cannot be a true believer if one does not believe in qadar.
Qadaa and Qadr in the light of the Qur’an
Verses in the Quran showing the evidence of Qadaa and Qadar:
“We hold the store of every thing and we send it down in an appointed measure”. (Surah al-Hijri, 15:21)
“Allah has set a measure for all things”. (Surah al-Talaq, 65:2)
Do human beings have free will?
Humans can do whatever they want and can abstain from doing anything they want due to their will and choice. There are so many factors that influences a man such as emotional and psychological factors but that doesn’t mean we are tied to them. We are at liberty to do whatever we want to do, we are as free as birds. Man has a power to change his own destiny.
“Allah never changes the condition of a nation unless it changes what is in its heart”. (Surah al-Ra`d, 13:11)
“We have shown man the right path. Now it is up to him to be grateful or thankless”. (Surah al-Dahr, 76:3)
Practical examples to demonstrate how Qadar can be changed
According to Ibn- Taymiyah, there are two types of records;
A. The records in the preserved tablet(unchanged )
B. The records in the possession of the angels which is subject to change
a. This type of qadr is fixed and unchangeable. It has gone beyond the power and control of human beings. They are fixed by Allah because he is the only one that has knowledge of it. Example; where and what time babies are born, time and place of death, natural disaster that strikes us or an epidemic that will befall on us
“The same was the way of Allah in respect of those who passed away earlier. And you will not find the way of Allah undergoing a change”. (Surah al-Ahzab, 33:63)
Righteous people become successful at the end and the earth belongs to them. All these is irrevocable.
“Allah never changes the condition of a nation unless it (first) changes what is in its heart”. (Surah al-Ra’d, 13:11)
According to emotional and moral factors, one cannot get the exact type of government one deserves. The practice is divinely irrevocable.
b. Actions of human beings can change qadar in the records of the angels. Allah has knowledge that is reversible. Divine degree is changeable. So the actions and will of man can actually change the destiny as surprising as it sounds. This signifies the topper most form of control of man of the qadar. Destinies are determined by causes. Let us look at 2 different scenarios to explain the qadr that changes and the one that doesn’t.
Example; heavenly abstracts, it has one form of existence and it is not influenced by any cause, so its destiny is unchangeable. While a seed(non-abstract) that is planted can grow very well if it is subjected to a favourable climate condition, good quality fertilizer and exposure to sunlight and it can also die if it is not exposed to such. This means it can evolve over time, meaning its destiny is changeable.
Sometimes destiny changes as circumstances change; when a person is sick, there is definitely something causing that sickness which emerged this particular destiny. The sick person now takes medicine which will make him feel better producing an entirely different destiny. The patient may also be treated by 2 doctors; one who prescribed a good medicine and the other a deadly one so the patient has 2 different destinies to choose from. This means neither of the choices are unchangeable. So if the patient takes the good medicine and gets better or if he takes the bad one and dies or if he doesn’t take any medicine but continues to experience pain it is all according to his fate and destiny. Also if one travels out of America a day before it got hit with an epidemic, it is in accordance to his fate and destiny. One cannot escape his destiny.
However in the non-abstract’s there are cases destinies are irrevocable. Example; when sperm meets the ovum of a female it produces a single cell which forms a child with a particular hereditary features. If the same sperm meets with the ovum of a different woman, a different child with different features will be born but if the embryo has already developed it is not possible to change its features so the destiny is irrevocable. That is why the womb of women is referred to as a “table of fate and destiny”.
There is a hadith that says Allah will increase your age if you visit your relatives regularly and other ties of kinship. This signifies that qadar can be changed by another qadar. The angels are commanded by God to record all the things that will occur in one’s life. So in case a person increases his ties to kinship, Allah instructs the angels to increase his life span. This increment is only known by God and not the angels.
“Allah creates whatever He wants (out of what was recorded previously) and records whatever He wants (that was not recorded previously) and with Him alone is the Mother Book”. (Surah al-Ra’d, 13:39)
“Imam Ali (a) was sitting under the shade of a bent wall. He moved from that place and went to another wall. Someone said to him: “O Commander of the Faithful! Do you flee from a divinely ordained destiny?” He said: “Yes, I flee from one destiny to another” (Tawhid by Shaikh Sadduq).
This means that if he sits under a damaged wall and it falls on it that would be in accordance to his destiny. Also it would be within a divine destiny if he left the bad wall and as a result becomes safe. If I am alerted of a danger and I leave the place it is in accordance with divinely fate and destiny. It means I had left one ordained destiny to another.
For one to be a true believer one has to believe in both the good and evil of Qadar. Allah is the only true creator and he guides whomever he wishes as a result of his immense mercy and he misguides whom he wishes out of justice. He created both good and evil and Human beings have free will. Allah most high is the most knowledgeable of everything. All factors are determined by destiny in this world. But when things happen it is as a result of both destiny and cause effects. So destiny cannot compel or force a factor to be in a specific way.
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